“Arab Spring”


refugees

by Remi Piet, al Jazeera, September 10, 2015

Instead of joining Europe in its quest for liberalism, the new EU members are putting up obstacles.

For over a week, networks around the world have covered the fate of refugees striving to reach safe havens in Europe. The narrative has been one of wild contrasts.

In Austria and Germany, Syrian populations have been welcomed with flowers and applause as opposed to refugees in Budapest facing harassment from Hungarian soldiers. The underlying theme has been the same with nation states throughout Europe paralysed by inaction inaction and sputtering an adequate answer. Yet the reality is more complex.

With a very low unemployment rate and an ageing population, Germany has a need for immigrants and the generosity of Germans, however laudable, should not overlook existing economic interests and racial tensions.

Earlier this year, the streets of Germany were taken over by anti-immigration rallies from the extreme right movement, Pegida, who vented racial slurs and propaganda.
(more…)

sanaaart

With reports of Saudi coalition troops massing on the border to invade Yemen, the situation in Yemen gets even more dangerous. Will the beautiful Old City of Sanaa become the next Aleppo?

salman

This blog post is also available in Swedish

patient

Plenty of patients but little patience as the war drags on…

by Rachid Ghannouchi © Qantara.de 2015

Translated from the German by Nina Coon

A battle for freedom and dignity

In the wake of the attacks on Sousse and the Bardo Museum, Tunisia has to stand up to those who oppose the nation’s democratic development. The best way to counter the feelings that draw young people to extremism, writes Rachid Ghannouchi, chairman of the Ennahda Party, is to ensure participation, fair economic growth, and security without restricting the country’s hard-won freedoms

On 4 July, the United States celebrated the attainment of freedom and independence as it does every year. In Tunisia, 4 July also marked a turning point on the path to freedom and democracy – but not in the positive sense. On this day, Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi felt compelled, in response to the growing threat of terrorism, to declare a national state of emergency and curtail important personal freedoms.

The latest attack in Sousse has again made it clear just how stony Tunisia’s path to a secure democracy remains. After all, the bloodiest terrorist attack in the history of our nation seeks to destroy what we have built up in the few years since Ben Ali was ousted, namely an open society with a pluralist governmental system and a democratic constitution enshrining fundamental rights and freedoms.

Battle for the young generation

We were all horrified by the gruesome images of tourists murdered on the beach. But those images have also galvanised Tunisian citizens and their political representatives in their opposition to those who oppose our path to democracy. This battle is a battle for freedom and dignity, but first and foremost, it is a battle for the next generation, for the young people in Tunisia, but also in Libya, Syria and the entire Arab world. (more…)

For those interested in the issue, the recently published July issue of International Sociology (30:4) is devoted to the Arab uprisings. It includes articles on the relations of revolution to such various dimensions as space, cultural symbols, microdynamics of mobilization, political Islam, and current scholarship:

Contents

Mohammed Bamyeh and Sari Hanafi, “Introduction to the special issue on Arab uprisings”

Atef Said, “We ought to be here: Historicizing space and mobilization in Tahrir Square”

Zaynab El Bernoussi, “The postcolonial politics of dignity: From the 1956 Suez nationalization to the 2011 Revolution in Egypt”

Hatem M Hassan, “Extraordinary politics of ordinary people: Explaining the microdynamics of popular committees in revolutionary Cairo”

Mazhar al-Zo’by and Birol Başkan, “Discourse and oppositionality in the Arab Spring: The case of the Muslim Brotherhood in the UAE”

Nada AlMaghlouth, Rigas Arvanitis, Jean-Philippe Cointet, and Sari Hanafi, “Who frames the debate on the Arab uprisings? Analysis of Arabic, English, and French academic scholarship”

Politics rules the news cycle on Islam and the Middle East. Given the colonial history of the region, there have been numerous puppet leaders installed or allowed to dangle over the years. But the latest puppet regime in Egypt, which has had its share, centers around a cosmetically enhanced widow matron that lolls around in a negligeé and talks about sex. Her name is Abla Fahita and she is a puppet in a new Egyptian tv series. She is turning heads in post-Brotherhood Egypt; if Morsy was still in power, it might very well be her own head that would have been in cinematic danger, although she has been on Youtube for several years and made an appearance on Bassam Yousif’s show. She even has her own MTVish video.

Humor has never been in short supply in Egypt, so even if her Friday night show is censored off the air, other puppets will appear. But in the meantime, if you want to laugh along with a lot of Egyptians, who are in need of something to laugh about beyond politics, just put “Abla Fahita” into Youtube, sit back and enjoy.

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