Tragedy off the coast of Lebanon, and protests in Iran

Here’s a round-up of Al Jazeera’s Middle East coverage this week.

A harrowing story from the eastern Mediterranean Sea, protesters are still demanding change in Iran, and the death of one of the Muslim world’s leading religious scholars. Here’s your round-up, written by Abubakr Al-Shamahi, Al Jazeera Digital’s Middle East and North Africa editor. 

The people on the boat had probably run out of options, hope, or maybe both before settling on a risky escape to Europe. They never made it. A short time after leaving from northern Lebanon, the vessel they were on sank off the coast of Syria. There were about 150 men, women and children onboard – Lebanese, Syrians, Palestinians – all seeking what they believed would be a better life. More than 100 of them are now dead – others are missing.

Mohamed Fares was one of the few who survived. His wife and three children did not. He told Mia Alberti about the moment he saw his daughter floating lifeless in the water, and that made me think about what it must have felt like, watching the waves crash into the boat, and being helpless to save his family. Fares says he’s lost everything, and doesn’t care about going to Europe anymore. But other survivors of similar incidents have told Al Jazeera’s Zeina Khodr they’d do it again. In a heartbeat. That’s how bad Lebanon’s economic crisis is.

Protests in Iran this week were smaller but the anger over the death of Mahsa Amini is still very much there. Amini died after she was detained by the country’s morality police. Since then, dozens of people have been killed in a crackdown on protesters by Iranian authorities.

[READ: What is Iran’s morality police, and why do they police what women wear?]

Getting information about what’s going on in Iran has been a struggle. That’s because Iranian authorities have heavily restricted the internet. And while a lot of people thought that Elon Musk would step in and provide internet access through his Starlink satellites, that doesn’t seem likely now.

Amini was an Iranian Kurd, and her home province of Kurdistan has been the site of some of the biggest protests. Iranian officials now say that what’s been going on there is part of a wider plot, involving Iranian-Kurdish rebels based in Iraq. As a result, Iran attacked rebel bases in northern Iraq this week, including on Wednesday, when at least 13 people were killed.

Yusuf al-Qaradawi dies

If you’ve in any way paid attention to Muslim religious affairs in the Middle East over the last few decades, you’ll have heard of Yusuf al-Qaradawi. The Egyptian religious scholar and activist influenced many people in the region looking to find a way to mix their religious identity with the political world they lived in. He died in Qatar on Monday, at the age of 96. Usaama al-Azami looks back at the man’s life – and legacy.

It’s not all bad news

China may have failed to qualify for this year’s World Cup, but there’s no hard feelings. They’re sending two pandas instead, Suhail and Soraya, as a gift to Qatar.

The long search for a missing daughter

The 40th anniversary of the Sabra and Shatila massacre in Lebanon was marked earlier this month, to commemorate the lives of the mainly Palestinian refugees who were killed. As many as 3,500 people died that day. Here’s the story of some of the survivors, including a mother who thought she’d lost her daughter, only to find her alive 22 years later.

A roman mosaic near the entrance of the National Museum of Beirut [Maghie Ghali/Al Jazeera]
A roman mosaic near the entrance of the National Museum of Beirut [Maghie Ghali/Al Jazeera]

[READ: Blackouts put Lebanon’s artefacts at risk]

In brief

Turkey and Greece trade accusations as tensions in the Aegean rise – A coup leader in Sudan is trying to co-opt the pro-democracy movement – Iran and the IAEA restart nuclear talks – Palestinians attacked and arrested after ultranationalist Jews enter Al-Aqsa Mosque compound – Cholera death toll in Syria stands at 29, but IRC says likely much higher – Four Palestinians killed during Israeli raid on Jenin.

Refugees at the EU’s border

Children are dying at the borders of the European Union, brought along by their families in an attempt at finding a better life. A UN envoy is among those who have said that the families themselves shoulder some of the blame for those deaths. But Karolína Augustová, an academic at Aston University, argues that by adopting this narrative, “EU governments and officials seek to absolve themselves of responsibility for refugee children’s deaths. But the blame very much lies with them.”

[READ: Brazil’s Richarlison subjected to racist abuse in football match against Tunisia in France]

­­Quote of the Week

“Their policy is to distort the facts in their coverage by using a cultural weapon such as comics and movies – it is a process of feeding the audience with propaganda.” — Comic artist Michael Jabareen grew up in the Israel-occupied West Bank and explains why he isn’t a fan of Marvel’s Israeli superhero Sabra. She’ll be making her first appearance in a Marvel movie next year – and is a member of Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency.