By the end of 2023, the Athar Network had 191 members across seven countries. These members are leaders in more than 35 campaigns and movements, working towards various causes in the region. Throughout the year, they showed solidarity and resilience differentways:
- Political Understanding:
The network focused on improving political comprehension of different situations among various groups, whether at the country or issue level. The members implemented different creative ideas to help engage other members and strengthen their comprehension of the context. Examples of such were live broadcast tours in specific locations. For instance, a local Palestinian took online viewers on a tour of Tiberias and Ein ‘Awd tour to help them understand the Nakba, while members in Lebanon organized a tour of the Beirut Port location to help them comprehend the explosion incident and its consequences.
- Intersectionality Understanding:
Training sessions were held to help the members develop their understanding of intersectionality as a methodology and lens to comprehend the Arab context. This approach helped in understanding how identity is formed in the Arab region and explored the connection between issues within the broader perspective of social justice.
- Collective Calls to Action:
Within its members, the network launched more than nine joint calls for action, some digital and others on the ground. Initiatives ranged from supporting earthquake victims in Syria and addressing the ongoing challenges in Masafer Yatta -Palestine to campaigns’ calls to action like “BDS Jordan” urging members to boycott Carrefour and the “Ebni” campaign calling on members action pressuring the Ministry of Health to meet their demands. Additionally, the network mobilized its members in Jordan to stand against the then-proposed Cyber Law by applying the tactic of a “Phone Bank” to influence members of the parliament and convince them to vote against it.
As the year came to a close, members from across the network issued various calls for action at all levels in support of Gaza and Palestine, including boycotts and protests in different countries.
The network members joined activists from around the globe, gathering hundreds of signatures to pressure Egypt through its embassies to open the Rafah crossing for humanitarian support. In a personal human touch, messages were sent to the network’s 24 members inside Gaza to show support and solidarity as much as possible given the circumstances.
Athar members continued their dedication to learning and knowledge sharing from global leaders and activists throughout the year. It began with a webinar commemorating the 12th anniversary of the Egyptian revolution, which featured Rami Shaath – a Palestinian-Egyptian activist who spent nearly two years in Egyptian prisons. After that, there were sessions with the “Youth for Parliament” group from Zambia, which has established an extensive network in their region with over four thousand members in the past four years. Finally, in a timely session, members were introduced to different forms of resistance from different perspectives. They gained insights into how people resist oppression in different parts of the globe.
In late 2022, we organized an extended meeting for leaders of campaigns and movements. We called it the “Campaigns Forum”. The first forum brought together 18 campaigns from the Arab region. The focus was on knowledge exchange, motivation retention strategies, expanding their bases, and utilizing popular education for awareness and effectiveness. In 2023, we continued these gatherings as spaces to celebrate campaign successes on the ground and opportunities for practical learning.