Perspectives Middle East & North Africa #10: Borders - Lines in the Sand or in the Mind?

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When ISIS announced the establishment of the so-called ‘Islamic State’ it fuelled discussions as to whether this would herald the ‘end of Sykes-Picot’ – borders artificially drawn by the colonial powers at the beginning of the twenti­eth century. But borders are more than ‘lines in the sand’: they divide. While the privileged few may cross legitimately by simply presenting their passport, for most, these borders present difficult if not insurmountable hurdles. People fleeing from war, climate change or economic hardship, attempt to cross the Mediterranean but many drown trying.

While borders between nations might be the best documented, there are plenty of other lines of division: social, ethnic, religious and ideological. How firm or permeable the divi­sions are is subject to change, but any border is a painful memory of the fact that it is not an individual’s choice to define which side he or she is on.

Our tenth edition of Perspecives Middle East is illustrated by the Lebanese artist Nadine Bekdache with her take on space, borders and transgression.


Product details
Date of Publication
September 2016
Heinrich Boell Foundation - Middle East Office
Number of Pages
Language of publication
Table of contents
  • Editorial
  • Is Partitioning Syria a Solution?

    Haid Haid
  • The Kurds and the Shifting Borders of the Middle East

    Bakr Sidki
  • The Dream of Overcoming all Borders

    Hanaa Edwar
  • On the Borders of Dreams - Stories from the Front Lines of Political Partitions

    Tamara Qiblawi
  • The Myth of Demographic Purity

    Mohammed Dibo
  • Frontières Fluides

    Katrin Ströbel & Mohammed Laouli
  • Hungary Successfully Stops Birds’ Attempt to Migrate to Europe

    Al Hudood Team
  • If Europe is a Fortress, then its Walls are Full of Cracks: the Case of Sub-Saharan Migrants in Morocco

    Mehdi Alioua
  • Borders, Drugs and Migrants in Northern Morocco

    Khalid Mouna
  • On More Subtle Borders
  • A Discussion with Author, Director and Performer Sawsan Bou Khaled

    Abraham Zeitounv
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