This piece was originally published on December 6th, 2019 on Al Jumhuriya and was co-written with Dara Foi’Elle (pseudonym). Translations: Spanish, German.

On 22 October, five days into the ongoing Lebanese uprising, an artist based in Syria’s Idlib drew a mural of the late Palestinian-Syrian-Lebanese intellectual Samir Kassir with the quote: “When the Arab Spring blooms in Beirut, it announces the time of roses in Damascus.” Kassir wrote these words on 4 March, 2005, less than three months before his assassination, in the context of Lebanon’s Cedar Revolution against the Syrian regime. …


This piece was originally published as part of Al-Jumhuriya’s “Gender, Sexuality, and Power” on 20 December 2018. A translation into Arabic was also made by Yasser Alzaiat.

In the summer of 2017, as (unfounded) rumors began to spread on social media of Syrians “going to protest against our honorable army,” a wave of hyper-masculine ultra-nationalism mixed with the usual xenophobia saw random Syrian men targeted by Lebanese men. Videos of Lebanese men filming themselves angrily beating Syrian men in revenge attacks went viral, and the already-intensifying talks of expelling Syrian refugees found themselves, if only for a few days, reaching…


This piece was originally published on Al Jazeera on November 14th, 2019.

On Tuesday, November 5, the 20th day of the ongoing uprising in Lebanon, an Ethiopian Airlines flight from Beirut arrived at Addis Ababa’s Bole International Airport. Its cargo was seven dead bodies of Ethiopian domestic workers who had died in Lebanon. According to Ethiopian journalist Zecharia Zelalem, “100s of family members, some from as far as Wolaita were at the airport in what became a mass mourning procession.”

Zelalem had previously published a long investigation into efforts by both the Lebanese and Ethiopian authorities to cover up Ethiopian…


Reading Lebanon: A Country in Fragments by Cambridge University’s Dr. Andrew Arsan feels like reading a socio-political biography of the country’s millennials, myself included. My mother was pregnant with me when the Syrian regime bombed our home, and shortly before I was born the Lebanese government passed an amnesty law forgiving most crimes committed during the fifteen-year-long war. I was 9 when Israel was forced out of Lebanon; 14 when Prime Minister Rafiq al-Hariri was assassinated and I went to my first protest opposing Syrian troops’ presence in Lebanon; 15 when Israel bombed Lebanon (again); 17 when Hezbollah took over…


Palestinian science fiction and the protracted now.

Still from from Larissa Sansour’s “Nation Estate”. Reproduced by kind permission of the artist

This piece was initially published on Mangal Media on August 25th, 2019.

There is a concept coined by the Lebanese writer Walid Sadek which denotes a present endlessly postponed by the lack of pasts and futures. He calls it ‘the protracted now’. Since discovering it in his The Ruin to Come, Essays from a Protracted War, I have been carrying this concept around with me, like an overweight suitcase that I’d rather check in at the nearest counter than shove it in the overhead compartment as I fly over fictional borders that harm…


Last year, a period of time that now seems to have been relegated to the distant past in light of the COVID-19 crisis, Fortress Europe was once again brutalising the bodies of migrants and refugees on its borders with Turkey.

This piece was initially published on Byline Times on April 2nd 2020.

Just a few weeks ago, a period of time that now seems to have been relegated to the distant past in light of the COVID-19 crisis, Fortress Europe was once again brutalising the bodies of migrants and refugees on its borders with Turkey.

While most of our attention…


When Hezbollah started sending its men to Syria in 2011, the revolution against the Assad regime was still producing extraordinary momentum. The rest, as they sadly say, is history. At the time of writing, the Assad regime, backed by Russia, Iran and (mostly Iranian-backed) paramilitary forces, has retaken large parts of Syria. A Pyrrhic victory that has left behind sieges, destruction and the slow, torturous, subterranean dungeons that have made this such a notorious regime, even by the region’s abysmal standards.

In 2011, with stories being passed from Syrian mouths to Lebanese ears, Hezbollah initially denied the rumours of its…


In 2019, simultaneous uprisings in Hong Kong and Lebanon led activists, organizers, and writers from these two locales to engage with and think about each other’s struggles

This piece was originally published on Lausan on June 13th, 2020.

‘The people want the downfall of the regime’: Lebanon in struggle

Lausan Collective (LC): Can you tell us a bit about why the protests in Lebanon began?

Joey Ayoub (JA): In Lebanon, there exists a system of sectarianism, which is essentially a power-sharing agreement between sectarian elites. The example usually given is how the president must be a Maronite Christian, the prime minister a Sunni Muslim and the speaker of parliament a Shia…


The October 2019 uprising in Lebanon has unleashed a wave of creativity that continues to rock the very foundations of Lebanese politics.

Originally published on Shado Mag on November 9th, 2019. Republished by Transnational Solidarity Network.

Ever since it erupted on the night of October 17th, the uprising in Lebanon has unleashed a wave of creativity that continues to rock the very foundations of Lebanese politics. Whether to express anger or joy, or somewhere in between, the chants have become a central point of unity. …


Beirut: we are not resilient, we are broken

I have been racking my brain for several weeks trying to find the words to express what happened on August 4th 2020 at 6:08pm

This piece was originally published on Mangal Media on September 22nd, 2020.

If I were in Beirut when the explosion happened I might have forced myself into some sort of writing trance and written about the experience. The sound, the smell, the apocalyptic scenes, the mixtures of emotions – fear, anger, desperation – that kept being overtaken by shock. At least it would have been recorded. …

Joey Ayoub

writer, researcher, cinephile and linguaphile. originally from Lebanon, currently in Switzerland. joeyayoub.com

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