Pulitzer Center Update

This Week in Review: Libya's Sexual Revolution

The wall carpet of Col. Qaddafi placed on the floor so that all may walk on him. Image by Ayman Oghanna. Libya, 2011.

This Week
Libya's Most Eligible Bachelors

After toppling a string of dictators across the region, the Arab Spring can also claim credit for launching a sexual revolution of sorts. Ellen Knickmeyer, writing for Foreign Policy, reports that young men in Libya, especially those who took up arms against the Qaddafi regime, suddenly find themselves looking more attractive to women.

“Forget doctors and engineers: We want to marry a rebel,” goes one widely circulated text message from a young female.

All of this is part of a larger phenomenon that political scientists have dubbed “waithood”—the crippled outlook for the under 30-generation of the Arab World. “Unable to find jobs, or jobs that paid a living wage, millions of young Arabs were fated to live unhappily at home, unable to afford marriage. And in conservative Islamic societies, marriage is the only launch there is into independence, dignity and a life of one’s own,” Ellen writes.

On a series of grants from the Pulitzer Center, Ellen has been tracking the Arab Spring from Tunisia to Saudi Arabia, focusing her reporting on the so-called “youth bulge.” Almost two out of three Arabs are under 30, a level exceeded only in sub-Saharan Africa. It is this generation’s anger and frustration that has been one of the key drivers of the upheavals taking place across the region. In addition to her story from Libya, Ellen also files a report on Tunisia’s surprising young Islamists.

Southern Discomfort in Iraq

Pulitzer grantee Yochi Dreazen, who covers national security for the National Journal, had an unpleasant encounter with Iranian security forces when he tried to take a few pictures of Iran’s fortress-like consulate in southern Iraq’s oil-rich city of Basra. Yochi reports on the massive presence that Iran has established in this part of Iraq—just as U.S. troops are preparing to pull out.

Seven Billion and Counting

As the planet’s population approaches the 7 billion mark—October 31 is the official date for the milestone—the PBS NewsHour this week featured highlights of reports on population issues filed earlier this year by Pulitzer Center grantees Fred de Sam Lazaro and Steve Sapienza.

The Pulitzer Center is interested in photojournalism that challenges our ideas of what to expect from images of crisis. We are presenting some of our best photography from the last year in an exhibition and panel discussion, Beyond Witness: New Approaches to Crisis Photography, for FotoDC, a weeklong photo festival in Washington, DC, running November 4-12.

Until next week,

Tom Hundley
Senior Editor