Quick summary: My name is Joey Husseini-Ayoub. I am a writer, researcher, scholar, editor and podcaster currently based in Switzerland (2020-) after four years in Scotland (2017-2019) and England (2015-2017). Born in France in 1991, I grew up in the Mashreq eco-region on some mountain in Lebanon and lived in Beirut for a few years.
I host The Fire These Times podcast and I’m an editor at Shado Mag. I am a 2023 Fellow of the Post Growth Institute, and a board member of the Domestic Workers Alliance Network (DoWAN).
I’m also a research associate at the Center for Social Sciences Research and Action and a member of Sustainability Transitions Research Network (STRN), Degrowth Switzerland, L’Observatoire de la Post Croissance et de la Décroissance (OPCD), and Anarchist Studies Network (ASN).
I’ve been published in a number of publications including Al Jumhuriya, Al Jazeera, Byline times, IFEX, International Socialist Review, Addis Standard, Crimethinc., Rusted Radishes, Shado Mag, GenderIT, Arab Reform Initiative, LSE Middle East Blogs, Harvard Kennedy School’s Journal of Middle Eastern Politics and Policy (JMEPP), Mangal Media and more. I’ve also published on some other sites anonymously for security reasons. Archives for most of these pieces are on this website.
I’ve written a number of book chapters, peer-reviewed papers, and I’ve co-edited a freely available book entitled Enab Baladi: Citizen Chronicles of the Syrian Uprising co-published by Amnesty UK and Bosforos Libros.
Longer bio below.
Social media: I am no longer active on social media because I have concluded that the corporate takeover of Web 2.0 is destroying everything I hold dear about the internet. For that reason: I am progressively moving all my activities on the Fediverse, and I occasionally post on Mastodon.
My formerly-hyperactive Twitter account is still up for archival purposes, and I occasionally post on the podcast’s Twitter account. I’m also on Instagram but I rarely visit that site.
Reaching out: the easiest way to reach out to me is through email at firstname.lastname@example.org. The next step usually is to exchange Signal/Whatsapp numbers and we can chat there (I prefer Signal, and I donate to them, and you should too.)
Longer (and probably more boring) story:
I’m of Lebanese, Argentinian, Palestinian and Italian heritage, and a citizen of the former two countries. More importantly, I’ve inherited the experience of multiple generations of people who were displaced for one reason or another, either persecution or economic hardships, or both. This has naturally influenced my own experience, for better or worse, of being a migrant in Europe.
Up until 2010, I had a relatively uneventful life. I did witness momentous events in Lebanese history, such as the 2005 uprising against the Syrian regime’s presence, the 2006 Israeli-Hezbollah war and the 2008 ‘Beirut conflict’, but I don’t remember ever truly understanding these were about. At the end of 2010, I started my Bachelor of Science at the American University of Beirut (AUB) in Environmental Health. This would go on until 2013, during which time my world opened significantly. It’s when I really realized that my exposure to the world had until then been fairly limited. At AUB I met Palestinians and Syrians as well as Lebanese of all backgrounds in a way that was simply not possible where I grew up. This, in retrospect, would be the beginning of a more active life.
Around that time I also started a blog called Hummus For Thought. For a few years, it got a sizeable audience and with that came a level of media attention that I didn’t quite know how to handle (spoiler alert: I was autistic all along and had no idea). I primarily blogged about Lebanon’s racist Kafala system, which is a form of slavery, LGBTQ rights, women’s rights and broadly anti-sectarian politics. I was involved in a group called ‘the Youth Movement’ which took part in the 2010 Laique Pride movement advocating for secularism in Lebanon.
So 2010 to 2013 were what you might call ‘formative years’. By 2015 I was very active in a number of initiatives and protest movements. In the summer of 2015, I helped organise what was then the biggest independent protest movement in recent Lebanese memory, the ‘You Stink’ movement. I mostly helped out as a media liaison officer (as I learned later) and, separately, helped with Global Voices’ coverage of the protests. You’d note that I’m calling it a movement rather than an uprising, although it was technically that too. This is to differentiate it from what happened in October of 2019, but that’s for later.
Although I helped organise that movement, I also had to leave while its momentum was still going. That’s when I moved to London where I received my MA in Cultural Studies (with distinction, thank you very much) a year later in 2016. That single year at SOAS, University of London was probably the most active few months I had experienced thus far. I was involved with the SOAS Palestine Society as well as the SOAS Syria Society. I also supported the SOAS Kurdish society, but I wasn’t very active.
My Master’s thesis was on the politics of language and the case study I used was Hebrew and Yiddish in pre-WWII and contemporary Jewish political thought. This is the bit where I mention that I am obsessed with languages, which is why I undertook that study. I also did it because, as a Lebanese-Palestinian who grew up in Lebanon, studying the politics of Hebrew and Yiddish wasn’t exactly a common thing. My uncle said I was just being provocative, and I guess he was right since he seemed very provoked.
to be continued (still writing)