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DARS Media Roundup (September 2015)

[Protester in downtown Beirut, wearing his shirt on his face to protect himself from tear gas fired by security forces. Image by Victor Choueiri, via Flickr.] [Protester in downtown Beirut, wearing his shirt on his face to protect himself from tear gas fired by security forces. Image by Victor Choueiri, via Flickr.]

[This is a monthly roundup of news articles and other materials circulating on Resistance and Subversion in the Arab world and reflects a wide variety of opinions. It does not reflect the views of the DARS Page Editors or of Jadaliyya. You may send your own recommendations for inclusion in each monthly roundup to] 

News & Comments

Lebanon Activists Block Ministry in Electricity Protest, by Ahram Online
Dozens of protesters blocked access to Lebanon's energy ministry early on Tuesday 29 September in a surprise demonstration against the notoriously ineffective and costly electricity sector. Activists from the "We Want Accountability" campaign linked arms outside the building in Beirut's Corniche al-Nahr district, preventing employees from entering.

Iraq’s Electricity Protests Expose Its Real Power Issue, by Zeina Khodr
The protest movement started because of electricity shortages in the extreme heat. People could no longer cope. It was a spontaneous movement that brought Sunnis and Shias together. They put the history of sectarian warfare behind and looked forward for a better future. They then directed their anger at what they called corrupt politicians, asking to reform a political system, which since 2003 has been based on distributing power among sects and ethnic groups, as well as party loyalties. But now Tahrir Square has become a place where a political power struggle between Iraq's Shia politicians is being played out.

Women Are Underestimated in Lebanon’s Protests, by Diana Moukalled
Diana Moukalled comments on the coverage of the protests in Lebanon and specifically how female protestors have been portrayed in the media. She argues that “the fact that photos of ordinary female protestors turned into such a big deal takes us back to square one in regards to how the Arab public views women and how Lebanese women are specifically stereotyped.” 

Al-Aqsa Tensions Straining Palestinian Solidarity, by Ahmad Melhem
While suppressing a march in Bethlehem on 18 September denouncing Israeli violations at Al-Aqsa Mosque, several members of the Palestinian security forces assaulted a teenager, beating him with batons after he had fallen to the ground. The Palestinian Authority's repressive approach to recent demonstrations is leading some to wonder whether popular anger against Israel might soon be turned against Palestinian security forces.

Electricity Crisis Tests Right to Protest in Gaza, by Rasha Abou Jalal
In mid-September massive protests were triggered in Gaza by ongoing chronic power outages. Gaza experienced an increase in power cuts this summer, with most residents only receiving four to six hours of electricity a day. The protesters blame President Mahmoud Abbas, the consensus government, as well as Hamas and Fatah for the situation and are demanding that the parties separate their political bickering from the electricity crisis paralyzing all aspects of life in Gaza.

Arab Christians in Israel Stage School Strike to Protest Finding Cuts, by Deutsche Welle
Thousands rallied on Sunday 6 September in Jerusalem to demand more funds for Christian schools which they say receive a third of what the Israeli government allocates to Jewish ones. Israel's forty-seven Christian schools have been on strike since the academic year began, with parents and school officials accusing the government of discrimination in appropriations.

Palestinian Cooks Put Resistance on the Menu, by Agence France Press
Fatima Kadumy’s weapons of resistance include stuffed squash and yoghurt with garlic — for her, food is just as powerful as stones or petrol bombs. Kadumy came up with the “crazy idea” seven years ago to use Palestinian traditional cuisine to promote her people’s cause and act as advocate for the independent state they have long sought. Since 2008, she has hosted more than a thousand and two hundred visitors from countries including China, Australia, Germany and the United States, among others. “There are politics and resistance behind cuisine,” she said in the small kitchen at her center in Nablus’s Old City that she has named Bait Al-Karama, which is Arabic for House of Dignity.

EU Parliamentarians Support Labelling of Israeli Settlement Products, by Middle East Eye
EU parliamentarians voted overwhelmingly on Thursday 10 September on a motion that encouraged labels to be put on consumer goods produced in Israeli settlements in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights. The motion, which reportedly passed with 525 votes out of 626, said the labelling of Israeli settlement produce in the EU market “in the spirit of differentiation between Israel and its activities in the Occupied Palestinian territories” would “ensure that all agreements between the EU and Israel unequivocally and explicitly indicate their inapplicability to the territories occupied by Israel in 1967."

Palestinians Could Learn from Bolivia’s Indigenous Movement, by Nick Rodrigo
Bolivia’s indigenous nations make up over 60 per cent of the country’s population and have a long history of struggle with the state. This has linked material grievances to the ethnic segregationist system, which emerged after the arrival of the Spanish in the 16th century. The author argues that Palestinians, who are witnessing the plundering of their natural resources, particularly water, by a military occupation with overt commercial interests, could learn much from the Bolivian indigenous movement, which defeated a move to privatize water in 2000.

Are Pro-Israel Bullies on US Campuses Planning Dirtier Tactics? by Nora Borrows-Friedman
A member of the University of California’s governing body has called for the expulsion or suspension of students for expressing their views about Israel, under the guise of combating anti-Jewish bigotry. This comes as Israel lobby groups, flush with huge new injections of cash, are stepping up their efforts to silence the Palestine solidarity movement on campuses nationwide.

Egyptian Protesters Thwarted Once Again, by Safiaa Mounir
The civil servants’ uprising against the Civil Service Law has yet to subside. President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi issued this law on 2 March with the aim to replace the employees in the state institutions. On 12 September, the opposition to this law by a number of civil servants and representatives of independent trade unions escalated. The coordination committee of Tadamon (Solidarity)—a movement that includes a number of independent trade unions objecting the law—had announced the expected participation of large numbers of protesters, but the security forces thwarted the protest. Tadamon had issued a statement warning that this might happen forty-eight hours before the protest.

How Feminist Groups Are Taking on Post-Revolution Egypt, by Florence Massena
In 2012, international media talked about collective rapes targeting women in the protests in Tahrir Square for the first time. In reaction, several civil groups, such as Tahrir Bodyguard, OpAntiSH and Basma, were created to protect women and establish actions to prevent rape during the protests. Three years later, they had to change their way of action, from emergency to sustainability, with more or less success. The Egyptian revolution, from 2011 to 2014, seems to have brought together and strengthened civil initiatives against sexual harassment and for gender equality. “The feminist group called Nazra exists since 2005, and was working mainly on helping women to represent themselves in the 2010 parliamentary elections. But it became more active in 2011 as women started to be more involved in the public sphere,” Mahy Hassan, who is in charge of the Women Human Rights Defender Program in Nazra, told Al-Monitor.

The Brief Jordanian Spring, by Sascha Lübbe
In 2010-2011 the Arab World was in uproar. Young people took to the streets; the demonstrations led to regime change, but also to civil war. In Jordan, however, the protests lasted only briefly and generated few results. The Jordanian journalist Tamer Khorma took part in the protests at that time. In this interview, he explains why things came to a head and talks about the current situation in Jordan.

Sanaa Demo Protests Saudi “Banning Yemenis From Hajj,” by Agence France Press
Hundreds of rebels protested Friday 11 September in Sanaa over claims that Saudi Arabia, home to Islam's holiest sites and host to the hajj, was denying Yemenis the right to attend this year's pilgrimage. Dressed in the white shrouds worn by pilgrims and brandishing assault rifles, they shouted "No to politicising the hajj."


Egyptian Women Urged to “Put on Your Dress,” by Hala Ali
Dina Anwar, an Egyptian pharmacist, is leading a campaign dubbed “Put on your dress and take back your femininity” to fight sexual harassment in the Egyptian street. She created a Facebook page in August calling on Egyptian women and girls to go back to wearing dresses and showing their femininity.


Iraqi Political Cartoonist Draws Trouble, by Omar Al-Jaffal
The caricatures by young Iraqi artist Ahmed Fallah mock and criticize Iraqi politicians. While he and other political cartoonists are threatened, young Iraqis share the drawings on social networking sites and use them during protests to express their anger at the politicians. 

Rhymes, Revolution and Resistance, by BBC
Four years since the start of the revolution, which became known in the West as the Arab Spring, music journalist Jackson Allers talks to MC Amin from Egypt, Malikah from Lebanon and Al Sayyed Darwish from Syria. They are all rappers who dared to speak up in a region where freedom of expression can come at a heavy price. Jackson also discusses the political tensions that have divided a once united hip hop movement.

Events & Conferences

Rhythms, Rebels and Resistance: Omar Offendum and DJ Lethal Skillz on Politics in the Middle East, 28 October 2015, University of Sydney, Australia.

The Arab Revolutions: Five Years On, 21–23 January 2016, Doha Institute for Graduate Studies, Doha, Qatar.

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