|# 419|| March 1, 2013 |
CENTRAL AMERICA/ CARIBBEAN
As Castro era drifts to close, a new face steps in at number two
By: Damien Cave and Victoria Burnett, NY Times, February 27, 2013
Though a stranger to many Cubans, Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez suddenly became the chosen one when he was promoted to first vice president as Raúl Castro announced he would retire after his current five-year term ended in 2018. Díaz-Canel will need to display the authority of a future president while acting as if he does not want the job, maintaining the submissiveness and loyalty that the Castros require.
Chile: Modern slavery rears its ugly head
By: Marianela Jarroud, IPS, February 27, 2013
In recent years, Chile has become a source, transit, and destination hub for human trafficking victims. According to judicial authorities, forced labor and sexual exploitation are the crimes most frequently associated with this “modern form of slavery”. While a recent law criminalized human trafficking in the country, a pending task identified by the experts consulted is the need to raise awareness on the issue among Chileans and promote greater tolerance towards immigrants.
Chile: US pressed Pinochet to accept defeat
By: AFP, February 26, 2013
The United States warned Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet against plans to use force to overturn a 1988 referendum that ended his military regime, according to declassified documents released. The US documents released by the nonprofit National Security Archive show that the Pinochet regime sensed it was going to lose the October 8, 1988 plebiscite and began plotting to override the outcome by “encouraging and staging acts of violence” to begin a cycle of rioting and disorder.
Colombia: Coffee farmers strike
By: Al Jazeera, February 27, 2013
An estimated 30,000 coffee growers are on strike in Colombia to demand increased government support for the struggling crop. There have been reports of clashes with police and use of tear gas to subdue the protesters. The government announced Wednesday that it will negotiate with farmers only if they first stop blocking roads in protest.
Colombia: ‘Let’s revoke Congress’
By: Cati Restrepo, Global Voices, February 27, 2013
On February 13, 2013
, Colombian netizens promoted the hashtag #revoquemoselCongreso (Let's Revoke Congress) to expose the reasons why the country's members of Congress should leave their jobs, including widespread corruption and scandals. The hashtag comes from a citizen initiative with the same name and is looking to collect the necessary signatures to promote a constitutional referendum to achieve their objective.
Ecuador: Activists confront government for auctioning the Amazon
By: Amazon Watch, February 26, 2013
Dozens of activists protested against the Ecuadorian government in Paris on Tuesday, where officials met with European investors and oil company executives seeking to auction off an enormous swath of pristine Amazon rainforest. Protesters staged a theatrical oil drilling operation to represent the dangers of transforming the Ecuadorian Amazon into a vast oil field and presented an international petition signed by 1,092,950 people calling on President Rafael Correa to suspend his government's tendering of oil concessions that threaten to devastate the rainforest and indigenous communities.
Ecuador: Avaaz sets up oil drillings in Paris to prevent Amazon destruction
By: Avvaz, February 26, 2013
Ecuadorian officials met oil investors in Paris to offer millions of hectares of the pristine Amazon forests for auction to companies. In response, the global campaign group Avaaz has installed an oil rig of its own outside the hotel where the meeting is taking place, calling on Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa to stop the oil rush which threatens to destroy pristine Amazon forest. This action is part of a campaign was started by members of the Kichwa tribe in the Sani Isla region which has been supported by over 1 million citizens worldwide.
Ecuador: Petition to halt oil exploration in Amazon gets one million signatures
By: Jonathan Watts, The Guardian, February 6, 2013
A global campaign to stop oil exploration in a pristine corner of the Ecuadorean Amazon has collected more than a million online signatures in little more than a week. The show of support is a major boost to the small indigenous community of Sani Isla that has been resisting intrusions by Ecuador's state-run oil company Petroamazonas, and it is also a rebuke to Ecuador's president, Rafael Correa, as he campaigns for re-election.
China: Angry scenes amid land grab protest
By: AFP, March 1, 2013
Villagers in southern China were Friday locked in a tense standoff with police after angry protests over land rights as Beijing prepares for its annual meeting of legislators. Residents of Shangpu have occupied the village square since last Friday amid claims that corrupt local officials were selling local land. Hired thugs employed by local officials attempted to remove the protesters on Sunday but were repelled in angry scenes which saw 30 cars being smashed.
China: Foreign correspondents call for inquiry into assault on German TV crew
By: Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China, February 28, 2013
Thugs apparently linked to local authorities in Hebei province of China brutally assaulted a German TV crew this week. The crew narrowly avoided serious injury when two men attacked their vehicle with baseball bats after a high speed chase down a major highway. The crew had been filming a village square. Police told the German reporter that an investigation had found that villagers had been "offended" by the TV crew's presence and that they should have asked permission to film.
Five Tibetans arrested over suicides
By: Andrew Jacobs, NY Times, February 28, 2013
Security officials in the Chinese province of Gansu have arrested five Tibetans and accused them of inciting a series of self-immolations late last year by convincing participants that they would become heroes in death. The arrests are part of an increasingly desperate government campaign to stop the suicidal protests through intimidation, jail time and rewards for those who cooperate with the police.
North Korea: How 3G networking could chip away at regime
By: John Biggs, Tech Crunch, February 28, 2013
Jen H. Lee, the Korea bureau chief for AP, has access to a foreigners-only 3G network when she is in North Korea and has been tweeting and posting pictures from inside the country. She is tweeting the mundanity of real life out of a country that is seen in the media as an iron-clad box filled with dynamite. Her efforts to humanize the country as a place of potential may help the West work to ensure that the edicts of madmen don’t impinge on human dignity.
China: Censorship’s many faces
By: Yu Hua, NY Times, February 27, 2013
Censorship in China is not always consistent: A film, for example, might be banned for 20 years, while the novel on which it is based sells briskly throughout that same period. This might seem puzzling, but the reason is simple. China has more than 500 publishing houses, so if a book is rejected by one publisher there’s still a chance another will take it. In contrast, films are not released until officials in the state cinema bureau in Beijing are satisfied, and once a film is banned it has no hope of being screened.
China: Open letter calls for political reforms
By: Celia Hatton, BBC News, February 27, 2013
Some of China's most prominent scholars, journalists and activists have released an open letter urging leaders to implement political reforms, for the second time in three months. More than 100 people signed the open letter, which was posted on several prominent Chinese websites and blogs, urging Beijing to ratify an international human rights treaty. It comes just days before Chinese leaders gather for the annual parliamentary session in Beijing in which new Communist Party leader Xi Jinping will be installed as China’s president.
China: AIDS activists clash with police
By: RFA, February 27, 2013
More than 100 people from the Chinese province of Henan who were infected with HIV via tainted blood transfusions clashed with police at the Ministry of Civil Affairs in Beijing after traveling there to demand promised welfare benefits. Some AIDS patients have tried unsuccessfully to sue the local authorities for failing to deliver promised treatment packages and adequate compensation after they were infected via tainted blood supplies in local hospitals and clinics.
Chinese pollution study ‘blocked on grounds of state secrecy’
By: Tania Branigan, The Guardian, February 26, 2013
China's leading environmental watchdog has refused to disclose the results of a major national soil pollution study on grounds of state secrecy. The news comes amid growing public concern about the impact of years of economic growth on the environment and people's health, thanks in large part to the winter's terrible air pollution in Beijing and other areas. The case is a reminder of the continuing sensitivity of environmental issues, despite the growing focus that the government has placed on the problems.
Japanese Prime Minister accuses China’s rulers of using island disputes to retain power
By: Chico Harlan, Guardian Weekly, February 26, 2013
China has a "deeply ingrained" need to spar with Japan and other Asian neighbors over territory, because the ruling Communist party uses the disputes to maintain strong domestic support, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has said. Clashes with neighbors, notably Japan, play to popular opinion, Abe said, given a Chinese education system that emphasizes patriotism and "anti-Japanese sentiment".
SOUTH/ SOUTHWEST ASIA
Bangladesh: New clashes erupt
By: Al Jazeera, March 1, 2013
Fresh clashes between pro-government supporters and followers of the rival Jamaat-e-Islami party have erupted in Bangladesh a day after the sentencing to death of a senior Islamist leader unleashed violence that left at least 34 dead. The scale of recent secular protests show a large section of Bangladeshis support moves to punish those linked to atrocities during the liberation war.
India: Protest over ‘sex attack’ on seven-year-old girl
By: BBC News, March 1, 2013
There have been violent protests in the Indian capital, Delhi, after reports that a seven-year-old girl was sexually assaulted at school. The issue of sexual violence against women and girls has been under intense scrutiny in India after the rape and murder of a student on a Delhi bus in December led to widespread protests.
Nepal: Unknown group attacks human rights activist with rods
By: Kalendra Sejuwal, Republica, March 1, 2013
Executive Director of Human Rights Alliance Nepal, Yadab Bastola, was attacked with iron rods by an unidentified group on Thursday evening. A group of four attacked Bastola after blindfolding him. Bastola believes he was attacked for advocating justice for the family of the late Surya Poudel, an insurgency era victim.
Bangladesh: Forty-year quest for justice
By: Shahidul Alam, NY Times, February 28, 2013
For the past month, tens of thousands of Bangladeshis have filled Shahbagh Square here, demanding justice for crimes committed in 1971, when Bangladesh attained its independence from Pakistan. Ordinary people, including women and children, have come out in throngs, in anger, but also in joy. The protests in Shahbagh must be seen as more than a demand for blanket death sentences: they are also a democratic outcry, demanding that justice finally be done.
Maldives: Multiple attacks on journalists
By: International Federation of Journalists, February 28, 2013
Three journalists were attacked in Maldives on February 22, in what observers call deliberate efforts to threaten and harm journalists at a particularly contentious time in politics in the country. Observers argue the attacks were attempts to curb press freedom and prevent journalists from free and fair reporting of ongoing political events, including frequent rallies and protests organized by both the ruling party and the opposition.
Maldives government to appeal flogging of rape victim for premarital sex
By: Agence France-Presse, February 28, 2013
The Maldivian government said Thursday it would seek to overturn a court decision to publicly flog a 15-year-old rape victim convicted of having premarital sex, which would lead to the teenager would receive 100 lashes when she reaches 18. President Mohamed Waheed said on his Facebook page that he was “saddened” by the sentence, which was decried by rights groups.
Maldives: Former President Nasheed’s request to travel abroad denied
By: Mohamed Nasheed, February 28, 2013
A court in Maldives has declined former President Mohamed Nasheed’s request to travel abroad in order to speak at the opening of the Cultural Season 2013 event in the United Arab Emirates, where ‘The Island President’ documentary on climate change’s effects on the Maldives was to be screened. “It is deeply regrettable that President Nasheed was unable to attend this event which showcases a global issue through the Maldives lens” Nasheed’s spokesperson stated.
Maldives: Democracy usurped
By: Minivan News, February 28, 2013
Former President Mohamed Nasheed continues to face persecution after a police and military mutiny. It is daunting to note that the nation’s first democratically elected president is being tried in a court with hand-picked judges by the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) – whose composition includes his key political rivals. What came forth after the usurpation of Nasheed’s democratically elected government was a practical narrative of what Gene Sharp had described in his book, From Dictatorship to Democracy: “The collapse of an oppressive regime will be seen by some persons and groups as merely the opportunity for them to step in as the new masters.”
Bangladesh war crimes trial sentence sets off protest
By: BBC News, February 28, 2013
A tribunal in Bangladesh has sentenced Islamist leader Delwar Hossain Sayeedi to death for crimes committed during the country's 1971 war of independence. The verdict was cheered by his opponents but set off protests in which at least 30 people were killed. Recent weeks have seen a series of angry demonstrations demanding the execution of war criminals being tried by the tribunal and counterprotests against the court.
Maldives girl raped by father is sentenced to 100 lashes after admitting adultery with another man
By: Sara C. Nelson, Huffing Post, February 27, 2013
A teenage girl whose step-father is accused of repeatedly raping her and murdering their subsequent child has been sentenced to 100 lashes for admitting to having pre-marital sex, which is illegal in the country, in a separate incident. The decision had sparked outrage from government institutions including the Gender and Human Rights Ministry. The stepfather is accused by police of repeatedly raping her and fathering a child by her which he subsequently murdered.
Maldives’ former President Nasheed: ‘I had no choice but to resign’
By: Azra Naseem, Dhivehi Sitee, February 25, 2013
On 4 July, 2012
, former Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed testified at the Commission of National Inquiry on how his government came to an end on February 7 of that year. “I was forced to resign. I resigned under duress. I was threatened… They were going to literally sack the town. I felt that I had no other option, other than to resign.”
Nepal: Anti-corruption protests continue
By: Himalayan Times, February 24, 2013
Nepalese activists have been carrying out anti-corruption campaigns to combat the widespread problem of corruption in the country. Many have been arrested, but protests continue, with activists submitting a list of demands to the government before going on strike. Observers argue that the government’s lack of response to the demands of its people creates a breeding ground of impunity in the country.
Thailand: Farmers vow mass protest if rice price cut
By: Bangkok Post, March 1, 2013
Thailand’s proposal to slash the rice pledging price has infuriated paddy farmers, who are threatening to hold a mass rally if it goes ahead. Kittisak Ratanawaraha, head of a network of rice growers in 17 northern provinces, said any move by the government to go back on its promise to pay 15,000 baht for each tonne of pledged rice would be completely unacceptable.
Burma needs ‘bottom-up action to match top-down reform’
By: Democracy Digest, February 28, 2013
President Thein Sein’s government top-down reform process has pushed through important initiatives at a rapid pace to open unprecedented political space in Burma. “But open political space will not bring meaningful change unless more people throughout the country and in all segments of the society move into this space and start to use it,” says Michael H. Posner of the U.S. State Department.
Philippines: Compensation to victims of dictatorship
By: Ken Butigan, Waging Nonviolence, February 28, 2013
Almost three decades after nonviolent people power brought down dictator Ferdinand Marcos of the Philippines, the government signed a law this week providing compensation to the victims of his regime. Reportedly blocked for years by elements in the military and the resurgent Marcos family, the law authorizes the Philippines to pull more than $220 million from Marcos-controlled Swiss bank accounts to compensate people who were tortured, raped and jailed under the dictatorship.
Thailand agrees to talks with southern Muslim rebels
By: Siva Sithraputhran and Stuart Grudgings, Reuters, February 28, 2013
Thailand's government will hold formal peace talks with a major Muslim rebel group for the first time next month, marking a breakthrough in efforts to end a worsening conflict in the country's south that has claimed over 5,000 lives since 2004. The talks follow a shift in Thailand's stance last year when it acknowledged the conflict's "political nature" for the first time after years of relying on military action that has steadily alienated majority Muslims in the southern provinces.
Thailand: British human rights activist faces jail threat
By: David Eimer, The Telegraph, February 28, 2013
Andy Hall, who has worked with the Burmese Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, has been charged with broadcasting false statements under Thailand's Computer Crime Act, a charge that carries a maximum jail term of two years. Mr Hall, from Lincolnshire, has also been charged with defaming and damaging the National Fruit Company by broadcasting false statements to public media. He said he believed the charges were politically motivated.
Burma: Clashes over land seizures batter police
By: Thomas Fuller, NY Times, February 27, 2013
When angry villagers clashed with security forces on Tuesday over land seizures in Burma, the police apparently got the worst of it – one officer had been killed and dozens had been wounded. The episode took place in the township of Maubin when the police tried to disperse villagers who were protesting the taking of land by a private company. It was the second time in four months that a crackdown by the police related to land seizures turned violent.
Thailand: Murder of environmentalist highlights failure to protect activists
By: Kate Hodal, The Guardian, February 27, 2013
Human Rights Watch is pressing Thailand to investigate the recent murder of an environmentalist who exposed the dumping of toxic waste, and condemned the government's "fundamental failure" to protect activists fighting for social and environmental change in the kingdom. More than 30 human rights defenders and environmentalists have been killed in Thailand since 2001, with suspects charged in fewer than one in five cases.
Europe’s protest parties on the march
By: Ian Traynor, The Guardian, March 1, 2013
Holland's iconoclastic populist Geert Wilders is plotting a new campaign to rile the political establishment in a "resistance tour" of the Netherlands. It is not difficult to discern where Wilders is getting his inspiration from: Rome. The barnstorming and highly effective campaign by Beppe Grillo and his Five Star Movement in Italy, combining the latest in social media and internet savvy with old-fashioned piazza-pounding up and down the country, has transformed Italian politics. It may yet amplify its effect across a Europe uncommonly volatile and vulnerable to a Grillo-style insurrection.
Italy: Protest, polls and political paralysis – Video
By: Al Jazeera, February 28, 2013
The results of Italy's elections are in, and there is perhaps even more uncertainty than there was before the vote began. Tired of the same old politics and politicians, Italians have thrown their support behind the grassroots campaign of one-time comedian Beppe Grillo. His Five Star Movement has become the largest single party in the country by campaigning on a non-party platform.
UK: Occupy one year on
By: Tim Gee, The Guardian, February 28, 2013
The perception that the Occupy movement in Britain is dead is slightly awry: Protests continue in solidarity with local anti-cuts campaigns, most recently in the form of occupations in a library and adventure playground in London. The UK movement helped change the debate, involved new people, may have influenced the last set of elections and when the activists seriously discussed the possibility of moving the protests indoors in protest at unpaid "workfare" labor being used to stack chainstore shelves, numerous retailers rapidly abandoned the practice.
Belarus: ‘Tell the Truth!’ movement set to field 1000 candidates for local elections
By: Office for a Democratic Belarus, February 28, 2013
The "Tell the Truth!" movement of Belarus plans to participate in the 2014 local elections and put forward up to 1000 candidates. The campaign, started in 2010 by the educational and research institution “Movement Forward,” aims at collecting and distributing the truth about the government of Belarus, Europe’s last dictatorship.
Belarus: Journalists detained
By: Charter 97, February 28, 2013
Three journalists were detained as they were interviewing people on the street in Belarus. The asked people to answer the question “Who are you ready to back – the government or the opposition?” In custody, police asked about the aims of the interview, and then released the journalists.
Czech Republic: Foes want leader prosecuted over amnesty
By: Dan Bilefsky, NY Times, February 27, 2013
Czech President Vaclav Klaus will step down next week after two five-year terms, and his presidency threatens to end in ignominy as his opponents try to press charges of high treason against him over his granting of amnesty to dozens of people accused of corruption. Few analysts believe that the attempt to charge Klaus has much chance of success, but one campaigner pressing to charge him argue that doing so represents a “fight against evil, and to show those who have lost faith in democracy in this country that even the president is not above the law.”
France: Stéphane Hessel, author and activist, dies at 95
By: Bruce Weber and Maia de la Baume, NY Times, February 27, 2013
Stéphane Hessel, a hero of the French Resistance who marshaled the same defiant spirit in a manifesto that inspired social protesters in Europe and the U.S., died on Tuesday in Paris. He was not widely known until October 2010, when he published “Indignez-Vous!” — a pamphlet that urged young people to revive the flame of resistance to injustice that burned in himself and others during World War II, this time in peaceful rebellion against what he termed the dictatorial forces of international capitalism, and to reassert the ideal that the privileged class must help the less fortunate rise.
France’s Stéphane Hessel: ‘There is always an alternative to injustice’
By: Katrina vanden Heuvel, The Nation, February 27, 2013
The author introduced French activist Stéphane Hessel, who died on Wednesday, at an event in September 2011: “Hessel calls on us all, those in his beloved France and those around the world, to engage actively in defense of human and economic rights…. To those who would say there is no alternative, Stéphane’s rousing retort is—there is always an alternative. He once told me, ‘Never give up, never be indifferent, never believe things cannot be changed.’”
Belarus: Activists call for tougher sanctions
By: Derek Brooks, Reuters, February 23, 2013
Opposition politician Andrei Sannikov, recently released from jail in his native Belarus, urged the international community to impose tougher sanctions on his country to end human rights abuses. Sannikov was sentenced to five years in jail last year for taking part in a protest against Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko's re-election, after running against him in 2010 elections.
MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA
Egypt: Hundreds demonstrate in Tahrir Square
By: Joel Gulhane, Daily News Egypt, March 1, 2013
Hundreds of people turned out in Tahrir Square on Friday to protest against President Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood. Protesters chanted against the regime and the Brotherhood, and held placards displaying demands, including the resignation of the prosecutor general. The same sign also compared the police with the Brotherhood.
Egypt: The US hasn’t helped the liberals nearly enough
By: Tarek Radwan, The Atlantic, March 1, 2013
The most glaring gap in U.S. support to Egypt in the two years since the overthrow of Mubarak, lies in the arena that can most significantly impact the democratic transition: support for liberals and liberal ideology. With news that newly appointed U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry would soon arrive in Egypt, expectations run high in the hopes that the Obama administration can move away from an economy-based approach and instead engage in a new political strategy that supports the transition to democracy and fulfills the president's promise.
Israel undermining own security with settlements, allies warn
By: Carol J. Williams, LA Times, March 1, 2013
As Israel pursues an expanded settlement agenda in Palestinian territory, the European Union issued a damning report, calling the Israeli government’s construct-and-control strategy "the biggest single threat to the two-state solution" aimed at bringing peace to one of the Middle East’s most violence-prone regions. And for the first time in its annual evaluation of Israeli settlement policy, the EU, Jerusalem’s most important trading partner, hinted at a possible boycott of goods produced on illegally occupied land.
Palestinian premier says civil resistance way to statehood
By: The Daily Star, February 1, 2013
Palestinian premier Salam Fayyad said at a protest in the West Bank on Friday that the ongoing civil resistance to Israeli occupation was the right way to achieve statehood. Fayyad was taking part along with other Palestinian leaders in a weekly demonstration near the village Bilin, which marked the eighth year of such protests by villagers against the encroachment of the Israeli barrier on their lands.
Palestinians fight to walk down the street
By: Mel Frykberg, IPS, March 1, 2013
Palestinian protestors, supported by Israeli and international activists, are in a campaign that began last Friday to open Shuhada Street in Hebron in the southern West Bank to Palestinian pedestrians, motorists and businesses. Following the shooting of 29 Palestinian worshippers in the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebrony in 1994, Israeli authorities banned Palestinian motorists from accessing Shuhada Street, Hebron’s main commercial hub. At the beginning of the second Intifadah in 2000, the Israeli military also banned Palestinian pedestrians from accessing the street, allegedly for the protection of approximately 800 Israeli settlers.
Tunisia’s Ennahda divided
By: Serge Halimi, Le Monde Diplomatique, March 1, 2013
In a report on the Salafist challenge in Tunisia, the International Crisis Group concluded that Ennahda “is divided: between religious preachers and pragmatic politicians as well as between its leadership’s more flexible positions and the core beliefs of its militant base. Politically, such tensions give rise to an acute dilemma: the more the party highlights its religious identity, the more it worries non-Islamists; the more it follows a pragmatic line, the more it alienates its constituency and creates an opening for the Salafis.”
Tunisia marks belated first in sheltering women
By: Camille Lafrance, Womens E-News, March 1, 2013
About 47 percent of Tunisian women aged 18 to 64 have been the victim of violence at least once in their lifetime. Rabia Mekki, a project manager at the Ministry of Women's Affairs, opened in December 2012 a shelter that accommodates 50 women and their children and offers legal and psychological assistance.
Bahrain: Court jails woman activist for three months
By: Reuters, March 1, 2013
Bahraini rights activist Zainab al-Khawaja has been sentenced to three months in jail for insulting a public employee after an appeal court overturned her earlier acquittal. Khawaja is the daughter of prominent Shi'ite Muslim human rights activist Abdulhadi al-Khawaja who was a leading figure in the 2011 uprising and who is now serving a life sentence.
Saudi Arabia arrest 176 in prisoner protest
By: Reuters, March 1, 2013
Saudi police arrested 176 people in the Gulf Arab kingdom's central Qassim province on Friday after a protest calling for fair treatment for security prisoners. It was the latest in a string of small-scale demonstrations in Qassim and the capital Riyadh in the past two years demanding better treatment of prisoners held on security grounds.
Arab Spring countries use ‘Harlem Shake’ for protest
By: Mariam Fam and Salma El Wardany, Bloomberg, March 1, 2013
Farid Sayed says more than two years of protests are bringing about little change in Egypt, so he decided to try something different: dancing. The student and his friends brought the ‘Harlem Shake’ dance to the headquarters of the Muslim Brotherhood on Thursday. “We are sending a certain message: Our revolutionary struggle will continue and we will continue to be creative and sarcastic,” Sayed said. Tunisians are also using the dance as a protest vehicle, as a Facebook group is calling for a mass ‘Harlem Shake’ today at the Ministry of Education, which is investigating students who made a dance video.
Egypt: Should the opposition boycott elections?
By: Ursula Lindsey, The Arabist, February 28, 2013
To boycott or not to boycott, that is the opposition's question. Elections were used, almost from the start and quite explicitly, to contain the revolution, not to advance it. The suspicion of the "democratic" process is not unjustified. Yet it's hard to see how non-Islamist groups can survive, let alone develop, in the future political landcape if they don't compete in elections. The problem is the opposition -- which is divided along ideological and especially generational lines, doesn't quite know what it wants.
Egypt quietly stifles NGOs by cutting off foreign cash flow
By: Kristen Chick, CS Monitor, February 28, 2013
Civil society organizations in Egypt are struggling to work, and sometimes even survive, as the government begins to cut off the foreign funding they rely on. Cairo is using a law that requires government approval of all foreign funding of domestic nongovernmental organizations to block the delivery of grants, forcing NGOs to curb their work for lack of funds.
Egypt still can spare itself from political disaster
By: Bassem Sabry, Al Monitor, February 28, 2013
Egypt remains hostage to the intoxication of power and a degree of paranoia by President Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood, and a lack of effective strategy, disorganization, and the influence of radical voices on the opposition’s side. There is also a profound ideological divide that makes solutions even more complicated, as well as an international community whose contribution appears to be ineffective if not, at times, counterproductive. Nevertheless, with enough boldness, honest dialogue and willingness to fairly engage the concerns of all sides by enough people, Egypt can still be spared potential disaster.
Syrian civilians take reins in rebel areas
By: David D. Kirkpatrick, NY Times, February 28, 2013
With Syria’s two-year-old civil war showing signs of stalemate, scores of new local councils in rebel-held towns are not only fighting deprivation but trying to set up courts, police forces and social services. Their efforts amount to Syria’s first experiments in self-government after decades of tyranny under President Bashar al-Assad and his father. Civilian leaders say the councils are also trying to pry power from the armed rebel brigades that are already staking out control of resources and territories in the vacuum left by the government’s retreat.
Syria: US to give opposition $60 million more in non-lethal aid
By: Mark Memmott, NPR, February 28, 2013
The Obama administration will ask Congress for an additional $60 million in aid to help the Syrian opposition council provide basic goods and services in areas under rebel control. "President Assad is out of time and must be out of power,” Secretary of State John Kerry said when he made the announcement Thursday.
Syria: The folly of arming rebels
By: Robert Dreyfuss, The Nation, February 28, 2013
Once again, the White House is reported to be resisting the provision of weapons, including Stinger missiles, that the anti-Assad forces want, and instead will provide “nonlethal” aid to the Syrian opposition. The United States should remain in the camp of those who, like Russia and the UN’s Lakhdar Brahimi, believe in a negotiated solution, not a military one.
Iran: Internal divisions threaten regime stability
By: Afshin Shahi, openDemocracy, February 28, 2013
The biggest threat to the survival of the Islamic Republic might not come from sanctions imposed by the west, but from growing divisions that are disintegrating the regime from the inside. The Iranian political system is no longer about the supremacy of a top-down ideology. Indeed, extreme factionalism is exhausting the standardizing, unifying and mobilizing properties of the state’s ideology. Should factionalism reach the security apparatus of the regime, in particular the Revolutionary Guards, then the Islamic Republic is facing an existential threat.
Tunisian president testifies in probe of politician’s murder
By: Reuters, February 28, 2013
Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki testified on Thursday before a judge probing the murder of opposition leader Chokri Belaid, as police narrowed their hunt for his killer. The shooting of secular politician Belaid by a suspected Islamist radical on Febuary 6 provoked the biggest street protests in Tunisia since the overthrow of President Ben Ali two years ago.
Tunisia: ‘Harlem Shake’ as protest
By: Juan Cole, Informed Comment, February 28, 2013
Hard line Salafi fundamentalists showed up at a school in Tunisia’s capital on Wednesday to attempt to stop the filming of a video clip of the ‘Harlem Shake’, electronic-music performer Baauer’s internet sensation. The students at the language school drove off the Salafis and went on with their filming. The Minister of Education, however, is making noises about expelling the students involved. In turn, that threat has provoked calls for a public demonstration against the government in downtown Tunis that will involve mass performance of the ‘Harlem Shake.’
Tunisia: Freedom pushes past snags
By: Justin Hyatt, IPS, February 28, 2013
The extent to which Tunisians are able to express themselves freely is an ever-changing phenomenon. While the country is still in the grips of turmoil after the recent killing of left-wing politician Chokri Belaid, which sparked some of the largest protests since the initial revolution in 2011 that toppled Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, the airing of dissent has become second nature for many. It is widely agreed that freedom of speech is the most significant achievement in the wake of the collapse of the former regime.
Libyan youth voices
By: Nada Basir, International Political Forum, February 28, 2013
The euphoria of Libya’s uprising, the passion that overtook many Libyans for national building, unity, and democracy, has been dissipating among news about militias, kidnappings, displaced persons, and massive corruption. However, blanketing all the ugliness is hope: Hope for the future is still alive, and reenergizes the Libyan people in a way that is so much stronger than the fear that the Qaddafi regime had instilled in Libyans.
Arab rappers take revolts to next level
By: Alison Tahmizian Meuse, AFP, February 28, 2013
Sitting on the fringes of upheaval in the Middle East, Lebanon's capital Beirut has become the scene of experimental music-making by Khat Thaleth, a group of rappers out to take the revolts that started during the Arab Spring to the next level. The collective has members from around the region -- ranging from Tunisia, birthplace of the Arab uprising, to the Palestinian refugee camps of Lebanon -- and vocalises the realities of a new generation carrying the baggage of the past.
Egypt: Opposition has opportunity to advance under Brotherhood mismanagement
By: Issandr El Amrani, The Arabist, February 27, 2013
Anyone who follows Egyptian politics will have probably made two broad conclusions by now. First, that the Muslim Brotherhood and President Mohammed Morsi, out of a combination poor judgment, paranoia and greed, have made the choice of sacrificing the possibility of a stable and inclusive transition for the sake of consolidating their control over the old regime machinery rather than reforming it. Second, that the “liberal” or secular opposition gathered under the banner of the National Salvation Front is missing a golden opportunity to benefit from the Brotherhood’s actions and the public indignation they have caused by behaving in an utterly politically clueless manner.
Egypt: Obama calls on Morsi to ‘protect democratic principles’
By: Joel Gulhane, Daily News Egypt, February 27, 2013
US President Barack Obama telephoned President Mohamed Morsi on Tuesday to discuss Egypt’s on-going political transition and its role in regional security. Obama reportedly “emphasized President Morsi’s responsibility to protect the democratic principles that the Egyptian people fought so hard to secure.”
Syria: How social media has helped the revolution
By: SMEX, February 27, 2013
Last week, the Syrian American Council hosted a Google Hangout with Syrian activists inside and outside the country who have been using the Internet for the revolution. The activists discussed different ways in which tools have been used: to coordinate before protests, to communicate between civilian networks, and to appeal to international populations to influence their political leaders to do something to stop the violence.
Two Palestinians end hunger strike that fuelled protests
By: Noah Browning, Reuters, February 27, 2013
Two Palestinian prisoners held without formal charge whose hunger strike stoked clashes in the West Bank have ended their protest after Israel agreed to release them in May. Their worsening state, coupled with the death of another Palestinian in detention on Saturday, fuelled the violence in which at least six Palestinian protesters were shot and badly wounded.
Palestine: Anger reaches tipping point in West Bank
By: Jillian Kestler-D’Amours, Al Monitor, February 27, 2013
A widespread sense of anger and frustration was palpable as more than 10,000 people gathered on Febuary 25 in the West Bank, for the funeral of Arafat Jaradat, who had died two days earlier in an Israeli prison. Youths have taken to the streets throughout Palestine over the past several weeks in support of the more than 4,600 Palestinian prisoners currently held in Israeli jails, including a dozen who are now conducting open-ended hunger strikes to protest their imprisonment and poor treatment.
Iran: Bahá’í student expelled from university ‘on grounds of religion’
By: Saeed Kamali Dehghan, The Guardian, February 27, 2013
Paniz Fazl-Ali, an Iranian student belonging to one of the country's most persecuted religious minorities, the Bahá’í, has been expelled from Iran's University of Science and Technology because of her beliefs. Bahá'ís are a banned religious minority in Iran, and the Bahá’í community is demanding justice and equal treatment in the Islamic Republic.
Iran charges ex-prosecutor over murders of protesters
By: BBC News, February 27, 2013
Iranian prosecutors have accused Saeed Mortazavi, a former Tehran prosecutor and an ally of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, of being an accessory to the murder of anti-government protesters. The opposition says more than 80 of its supporters were killed following the presidential elections.
Iran: Political payback of justice for Tehran’s ‘Butcher of the Press’?
By: Golnaz Esfandiari and Mohammad Zarghami, RFE/RL, February 27, 2013
Years after three young men were tortured to death after being detained for participating in mass protests that followed Iran's 2009 presidential election, Said Mortazavi, best known as the “Butcher of the Press,” has finally gone on trial. Outside observers of the closed-door trial, however, argue that the trial is less a sign of justice and more a part of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s escalating political struggle against his opponents as the presidential election approaches.
Saudi women sit-in to take a stand
By: Al Jazeera, February 27, 2013
Saudi security forces in the town of Buraida arrested a group of women protesting against the long-term detention of their male relatives. The demonstrations were the most recent iteration of the ongoing Buraida sit-ins staged against the Saudi Ministry of the Interior. Previous protests saw 18 women and ten children detained and reportedly threatened with flogging.
Saudi Arabia: Women protesters call for fall of Interior Minister
By: Osama Khalid, Global Voices, February 27, 2013
A group of women and children who are relatives of uncharged prisoners managed to organize a small sit-in in the Saudi Arabian city of Buraida to protest the approximately 30,000 arbitrarily imprisoned people in the country, challenging the monarchy’s strict ban on demonstrations. This week's sit-in had an unprecedented, explicit demand: the fall of the Interior Minister.
Tunisia’s Ennahda will cede key ministries
By: Tarek Amara, Reuters, February 27, 2013
Tunisia's ruling Islamist party Ennahda will allow independent figures to take over the most important ministries in the next government, in a concession to the non-Islamist opposition. Opposition parties had argued that putting independents in charge of four key ministries would improve the political climate and reduce tensions between Islamists and their critics before the vote.
Bahrain police acquitted in protester death cases
By: Bill Law, BBC News, February 27, 2013
A court in Bahrain has acquitted two policemen charged in the shooting death of a protester, just two days after a court confirmed the acquittal of two other policemen in the deaths of protesters in February 2011. The rulings threaten to fuel more unrest in the country, where anti-government protests have been frequent in the past two years.
Bahrain takes on new tactics for crackdown
By: Amy Austin Holmes, Cairo Review of Global Affairs, February 27, 2013
The Al Khalifas of Bahrain, the Sunni family which has lorded over the Shia-majority population since 1783, has a long history of thwarting revolutionary uprisings. They’ve recently added five new tactics to their repertoire: paralyzing the parliament, empowering the king, monopolizing the ministries, disenfranchising the people, and shutting out the world.
Iran tackles ‘inappropriate dressing’ by teaching chastity and hijab to toddlers
By: The Guardian, February 26, 2013
With spring coming and temperatures rising, Iranians can expect the time-honored crackdown on "inappropriately dressed women". Iran's morality police will bundle women who show too much hair or wear too much makeup into minivans, exposing them to a few hours of boredom at the local police station. This year, however, they have decided to take a more root-and-branch approach: teaching hijab and chastity to toddlers.
Iran: Voice of Russia Persian website blocked
By: RFE/RL, February 26, 2013
When it comes to official censorship, Iran doesn’t appear to distinguish friends from foes. The Persian-language website of the Voice of Russia -- the international broadcaster financed by the Russian government -- said in a statement that it has been blocked in Iran since February 13.
Dissolve the Palestinian Authority
By: Steven A. Cook, Council on Foreign Relations, February 25, 2013
Palestinians have tried almost everything to force the Israelis to be more forthcoming on the issues that divide them—settlements, refugees, Jerusalem—all to no avail. The solution may be for Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas to dissolve the PA. In doing so, the Palestinians might actually create a more favorable political environment for negotiations, and if it does not force Israel’s hand, the end of the PA will finally bring Oslo and the fiction of Palestinian sovereignty in the West Bank to an end.
UAE: Canceled conference on Arab Spring revives concerns about academic freedom
By: Ursula Lindsey, February 25, 2013
The London School of Economics and Political Science abruptly canceled an academic conference on the Arab Spring it planned to hold over the weekend at the American University of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates, citing "restrictions imposed on the intellectual content of the event that threatened academic freedom." The last-minute cancellation took place after Emirati authorities requested that a presentation on the neighboring kingdom of Bahrain—where a protest movement was harshly repressed with the support of Saudi Arabia and the Emirates—be dropped from the program.
Kuwaitis deserve a say in governance
By: Talal Al Rashoud, Gulf News, February 24, 2013
As Kuwait geared up to celebrate its National and Liberation days on February 24 and 25, a festering political crisis casted its shadow over the festive atmosphere. Faced with a popular opposition movement demanding democratic reform and an end to corruption, the Kuwaiti government has responded with repressive measures that threaten to undermine the relative openness of the country’s political system.
Saudi Arabia: Governance of sectarian diversity - Paper
By: Jafar Alshayeb, Arab Reform Initiative, February 2013
Religious diversity is predominant in Saudi Arabia, with up to seven Islamic schools in its territory. However, this very diversity has strengthened an exclusivist religious culture manifested in hard-line attitudes, alienation and accusations of apostasy that reflected itself very negatively on relations among the sects’ followers. This paper aims to review the issue of sectarian diversity in the Kingdom from social and historical points of view and the various projects and initiatives that ensued from the challenges they faced.
West Papua: Call to pull special forces out of country
By: Ridwan Max SIjabat and Margareth S. Aritonang, Jakarta Post, February 27, 2013
The Papuan Regional Representatives Council has strongly urged Indonesia to cease military operations and withdraw special forces from Papua and West Papua to end the prolonged violence in the country’s easternmost provinces. The Council said that the presence of the troops had caused animosity among local groups who have launched attacks against them. “If Jakarta wants to end violence, the militaristic approach has to stop,” the Council’s chairman said.
Kenya heads to polls as women seek justice for violence during last election
By: Clar Ni Chonghaile, The Guardian, March 1, 2013
Kenyan activists estimate at least 3,000 women were raped, with at least 60% of the reported gang rapes attributed to the security forces, in the post-election chaos in 2007 and early 2008. Campaigners fear a repeat of sexual atrocities if violence erupts after the next presidential election on March 4. One woman who was raped by two police officers after the last elections explained that she never reported the rapes because, as she says: "How do I report the government to the government?"
Videos expose Kenya cash-for-votes scandal
By: Al Jazeera, March 1, 2013
Ferdinand Waititu, standing for the Nairobi governor seat for the TNA Party, was caught on camera seeming to bribe a group of young people in Donholm, a less affluent suburb of Nairobi, on February 6. The independent Kenya Human Rights Commission, which released the video, said "a significant number of positive steps have been and continue to be undertaken towards securing a free, fair and peaceful election," but bribery, violence and intimidation, incitement and "the use of unsavoury language" have been observed across the country.
Sudan: Crackdown on civil society
By: Princeton N. Lyman, Al Jazeera, February 28, 2013
Efforts in Sudan to advance the interests of their country through open public consultations on creative proposals to resolve long-standing problems and to organize peaceful protests against government policies they consider harmful to the nation's interests have often been met with intimidation and arrests from the state. The civic space for individual citizens to freely express their views and to organize events has drastically narrowed as Sudan cracks down on civil society.
South African police face inquiry over death of man ‘dragged behind van’
By: Haroon Siddique, The Guardian, February 28, 2013
South Africa's police watchdog has launched a murder investigation after video footage emerged appearing to show a man being tied to the back of a police van and dragged along the road while bystanders looked on. The video footage of Tuesday’s incident provoked outrage, with Amnesty International describing it as “shocking” and called it “the latest in an increasingly disturbing pattern of brutal police conduct in South Africa.”
South African President shocked over police dragging
By: BBC, February 28, 2013
South African President Jacob Zuma has condemned an incident captured on video in which a Mozambican taxi driver was handcuffed to the back of a police van, dragged through the streets, and died in custody later. President Zuma called the incident "horrific" and "unacceptable." Human rights groups have often accused South African police of brutality.
Mauritanian youth groups hold protest
By: Magharebia, February 28, 2013
Mauritanian youth from Mauritania’s 25 February Youth Movement protested before the National Assembly on Monday but were dispersed by police. Democratic opposition parties and anti-census group "Don't Touch My Nationality" joined the occasion to voice their demands for reform. Their aim is to "make the state a servant of the people".
South Africa: Farmworkers denied permission to march to Parliament
By: Times Live, February 28, 2013
The Cape Town city council and the police have denied farmwokers permission to march to Parliament this weekend to protest against low wages. The Farmworkers' Coalition issued a statement saying, “This is clearly a political decision to frustrate the legitimate struggles of farmworkers" and was part of efforts to undermine the new minimum wage for workers that was achieved after recent violent protests in the country.
Kenya voters wield technology to fight fraud
By: Al Jazeera, February 28, 2013
As Kenyans prepare for a presidential election on Monday, efforts are being made to prevent a repeat of the violence following the polls in 2007. Technology played a role in inciting that unrest, but this time around it is being used to do the opposite: technology is now being used to promote a free and fair election.
Kenya election: Musicians sing for peace
By: BBC, February 28, 2013
A peace concert has been held in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, ahead of key elections next week, on the fifth anniversary of the accord that ended post-poll violence in which more than 1,000 people died. It was broadcast on national radio and TV stations and afterwards the small audience drummed the saucepans and utensils they had been asked to bring along to make a “big noise” in what musician Eric Wainaina called “a symbol of them participating in the democratic process.”
Kenya: Crowdsourcing blog wins award for documenting human rights violations
By: CIO, February 28, 2013
In 2008, Kenya was ravaged with violence following a disputed election. An ad-hoc group of tech bloggers decided to act: They built a software platform, called “Ushahidi” (“bearing witness”) to shine a light on human rights violations. The software enabled Kenyans to document and report on incidents in real-time, giving the media, governments, and relief organizations an immediate picture of what was happening on the ground. Ushahidi has received the MacArthur Award for its exceptional creativity and effectiveness in documenting the violations.
Guinea security forces clash with protesters
By: Saliou Samb, Reuters, February 27, 2013
Guinea's security forces fired teargas at thousands of rock-throwing anti-government protesters in the capital Conakry in clashes that wounded more than 50 people. The violence in Guinea is a result of soaring tensions ahead of a parliamentary election the opposition says is being rigged by the administration of President Alpha Conde.
Zambia: Civil society groups request review of human rights
By: CDDR, February 27, 2013
Zambian police arrested and charged Zambia’s opposition leader, Hakainde Hichilema, with inciting violence. Meanwhile, seven civil society organizations have called upon Zambia’s Human Rights Commission, other human rights defenders and the international community to review Zambia’s human rights records and denounce their violation by the Zambian government.
Monitors slam Zimbabwe human rights
By: News 24, February 27, 2013
UN monitors have urged Zimbabwe to live up to international human rights standards, voicing concerns over violations ahead of next month's constitutional referendum and elections expected in July. The trio of monitors, who oversee countries' respect for freedom of assembly and expression and the treatment of human rights campaigners, said that they wanted to raise the alarm amid increasing reports of intimidation and harassment, physical violence and arrests.
Zimbabwe: Vice President insists no Western election monitors allowed
By: Alex Bell, SW Radio Africa, February 26, 2013
Vice-President Joice Mujuru has indicated that no election observers from Western nations will be allowed to monitor Zimbabwe's next poll, despite the country turning to Western donors for election funding. "Why should we be monitored by other countries outside the Southern African Development Community when we are a sovereign state?" Mujuru said.
Kenya cracks down on hate speech before elections
By: Roopa Gogineni, VOA, February 23, 2013
During the 2008 post-election crisis and violence in Kenya, hate speech on native language radio stations and online fanned ethnic tensions. With little more than a week remaining until Kenya’s presidential elections, media monitors watch closely for language that could once again incite violence. With a society wracked by ethnic divisions, the line between ordinary political dialogue and potentially inflammatory rhetoric is blurry.
US: Civil disobedience against deportation
By: Todd Miller, NACLA, February 28, 2013
Raul Alcaraz Ochoa talks about what frustrates him when U.S. immigration policies tear families apart and what drove him to lie down in front of the Border Patrol vehicle, despite all the risks inherent in this act of civil disobedience. "My community deals with unemployment, lack of medical insurance, housing issues, and police harassment and detention on a regular basis. So to me injustice takes place on a daily basis. You know, there comes a point when you say 'ya basta!'—enough is enough.”
US: Statue of Rosa Parks is unveiled at Capitol
By: Ashley Southall, NY Times, February 27, 2013
More than half a century after Rosa Parks helped kindle the civil rights movement by refusing to give up her seat on a segregated bus in Alabama, she has become the first black woman to be honored with a life-size statue in the Capitol. The statue of Parks captures her waiting to be arrested on December 1, 1955, after she refused to give up her seat for a white passenger on a crowded segregated bus in Montgomery, Alabama.
US: Congress honors Rosa Parks while Supreme Court targets Voting Rights Act
By: Ari Berman, The Nation, February 27, 2013
As Congress unveiled a statue honoring Rosa Park on Thursday, the civil rights leaders of today were gathered inside the Supreme Court, listening to a challenge to the centerpiece of the Voting Rights Act. The stark contrast illustrated the profound contradictions of American democracy when it comes to race and political power—the progress we’ve made has always been met by equally intense efforts to roll back that progress.
US: Activists converge on high court for challenge to voting rights
By: Matthew Charles Cardinale, IPS, February 26, 2013
The U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments Wednesday in a challenge to the constitutionality of key sections of the historic Voting Rights Act. Numerous organizations are rallying in support of the act, including Dr. Charles Steele, CEO of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, are traveling to Washington, DC to protest outside of the court.
ARTICLES OF INTEREST
Bernard Lafayette still on King's mission to "institutionalize and internationalize nonviolence"
By: Jaquetta White, USA Today, February 28, 2013
Bernard Lafayette had been in Memphis with the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. the day before the civil rights leader was slain. "The last thing he said to me is that we needed to figure out a way to institutionalize and internationalize nonviolence," Lafayette said. "I realized that the training could be applied to any conflict situation," Lafayette said. "That was the thing that was so fascinating to me, the universality of it."
Progress for women worldwide, but male revolution needed too
By: Barbara Auger, Global Voices, February 27, 2013
Trading the traditional tools of protest for dance, song, poetry, and art, thousands of people around the world demanded an end to violence against women as part of the “One Billion Rising” movement on February 14. The movement shook up global conversations on gender roles, but what is required now, alongside the female revolution, is no less than a male revolution: a radical, structural, non-violent, non-sloganistic revolution, which can promote a more mature and fulfilling relationship between the two sexes.
Musicians join forces with UN to highlight women’s rights
By: UN, February 25, 2013
More than 20 musicians from across the globe are joining forces with the United Nations to spotlight the importance of empowering women through a song that will be released on International Women's Day, celebrated on 8 March. The song, entitled “One Woman: A song for UN Women,” inspired by real stories of women, seeks to become a rallying cry that inspires listeners and engages them to join in the drive for women's empowerment and gender equality.
BOOK & FILM REVIEWS
Honduras: Struggles for land, food and democracy
By: Upside Down World, February 25, 2013
“Grabbing Power: The New Struggles for Land, Food and Democracy in Northern Honduras” by Tanya Kerssen provides alternatives to the current reality of land grabs in Honduras. Kerssen talks about the few cooperatives that never lost their land, cooperatives prosperous enough to invest some of their land in food production with the goal of achieving food sovereignty. They stand as an example of what peasant cooperatives could be without the violence and rapacity of the Dinant Corporation and other land grabbers in Honduras’ oligarchy.
IN OTHER LANGUAGES
Les coups de crayon d'Ali Ferzat contre le régime syrien
By: Hélène Sallon, Proche-Orient, February 25, 2013
Le temps d'une pose, faisant mentir la réserve qu'il inspire sous ses allures dandy, Ali Ferzat révèle toute son espièglerie. Avec un large sourire, le caricaturiste syrien agite, menaçants face à l'objectif, ses longs doigts effilés. Pendant de nombreuses années, l'homme s'est employé à dénoncer, par le filtre de représentations symboliques, la dictature du parti Baas et du régime de Bachar Al-Assad. Dès mars 2011, ses coups de crayon ont accompagné le soulèvement syrien, se débridant au fur et à mesure que sautait le verrou de la peur. Jusqu'à représenter et dénoncer sans détours les crimes du régime.
Women and the Arab Spring: Resistance, revolution, reform – call for papers
By: AWID, June 3, 2013
Two women’s rights activists are assembling an edited volume about women's initiative and actions up to and during the so-called Arab Spring. This comprehensive collection will examine historical roots of Arab women's leadership from antiquity to the present, giving voice to women's voices by exploring wide-ranging topics such as tweeting in Tunisia, graffiti in Egypt, the campaign for driving in Saudi Arabia, the "women's revolution" in Syria, the raisons d'etre of Islamist women, the roles of minority women, and more. Deadline for abstracts is June 3.
Democratic Development course available
By: Larry Diamond, Coursera, April 1, 2013
Gain an understanding of the political, social, cultural, economic, institutional and international factors that foster and obstruct the development and consolidation of democracy. This course is primarily intended for students in developing or prospective democracies to use the theories, ideas, and lessons in the class to help build or improve democracy in their own countries. The next session begins on April 1.
New book: "The Paradox of Repression," and panel discussion with authors
By: Lester R. Kurtz and Lee A. Smithey, George Mason University, March 7, 2013, 7:30pm
From Bull Connors' dogs and fire hoses attacking US civil rights demonstrators to the massacre at Amritsar in colonial India and the shooting of nonviolent demonstrators in Soviet Tblisi in 1990, the use of coercive force often backfires. Rather than stopping dissidents, repression often ironically fuels resistance and undercuts the legitimacy of a regime. This volume systematically explores what we call the paradox of repression: efforts by regimes to oppress movements often mobilize popular support for the movement and undermine authorities' legitimacy.
Beyond Assad: Building a new Syria from the grassroots – Event
By: Stimson Center and the Middle East Institute, March 7, 2013, 10:00am
Under exceptionally harsh conditions, various civilian actors are striving to create the foundations of a post-Assad Syria. Their work encompasses civil society, local governance and service provision, and humanitarian relief efforts. A diverse panel of activists and experts involved in different realms of Syrian society will discuss their efforts and insights into the challenges and needs on the ground.
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