An initiative of Virtual Activism, the Middle East NGOs Gateway Project (MENGOS) describes itself as “an Internet gateway containing information about non-governmental organizations, funding agencies, events, projects, success stories of individuals as well as organizations, and other topics relevant to nongovernmental organizations across the Arab Middle East.” It is a multi-lingual (Arabic/English/French) database of NGOs based in countries that are members of the Arab League — NGOs that “work on progressive human rights and development issues.” The database allows Internet users to search for NGOs of interest by name, region, area of focus, or primary contact person — in three languages — making it easier for donors to identify potential grantees.
Moreover, MENGOS “encourages networking among civil society organizations in the Arab Middle East, and is committed to harnessing the potential of information and communication technologies for sustainable and equitable development and for the promotion of human rights and democracy.” MENGOS is registered in the United States, and its branch office — called the Center for Knowledge Society — is based in Cairo, Egypt.
The MENGOS website makes available a number of reports on topics of political import. Among these titles are:
Fatal Strikes: Israel’s Indiscriminate Attacks Against Civilians in Lebanon (an April 2006 report by Human Rights Watch): “By consistently failing to distinguish between combatants and civilians, Israel has violated one of the most fundamental tenets of the laws of war: the duty to carry out attacks on only military targets. The pattern of attacks during the Israeli offensive in Lebanon suggests … the commission of war crimes.”
A Preliminary Analysis of the Humanitarian Impact of the Barrier in the West Bank (an August 2006 report by the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs): This document discusses the hardships which Palestinians face as a result of Israel’s construction of the anti-terrorism fence in the West Bank.
Command’s Responsibility: Detainee Deaths in U.S. Custody in Iraq and Afghanistan (a February 2006 report by Human Rights First): “Since August 2002, nearly 100 detainees have died while in the hands of U.S. officials in the global “war on terror.” According to the U.S. military’s own classifications, 34 of these cases are suspected or confirmed homicides; Human Rights First has identified another 11 in which the facts suggest death as a result of physical abuse or harsh conditions of detention.”
Save Jerusalem from the Apartheid Wall and Ethnic Cleansing: “[This] comprehensive fact sheet on Jerusalem shows the dramatic process of Judaization that the city is undergoing. [The analysis begins with] the historical, cultural and spiritual role the Palestinian capital played before the Nakba [Arabic word meaning “the catastrophe,” a reference to Israel’s creation] in ’48 until today.”
Beyond Abu Ghraib: Detention and Torture in Iraq (a March 2006 report by Amnesty International): “Nearly three years after United States and allied forces invaded Iraq and toppled the government of Saddam Hussein, the human rights situation in the country remains dire. The deployment of U.S.-led forces in Iraq and the armed response that engendered has resulted in thousands of deaths of civilians and widespread abuses amid the ongoing conflict.”
The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy (a March 2006 report by John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt): “… [T]he Bush Administration’s attempt to transform the region into a community of democracies has helped produce a resilient insurgency in Iraq, a sharp rise in world oil prices, and terrorist bombings in Madrid, London, and Amman. … The combination of unwavering U.S. support for Israel and the related effort to spread democracy throughout the region has inflamed Arab and Islamic opinion and jeopardized U.S. security.”