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DARS Media Roundup (September 2016)

[An Amazigh Woman in Morocco. Image by Ron Lussier, via Flickr.] [An Amazigh Woman in Morocco. Image by Ron Lussier, 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

Morocco’s Amazigh Women Fight for Language Rights and Place in Society, by Celeste Hicks
The Voice of Amazigh Women is a Moroccan campaign group promoting the lives and experiences of the rural Amazigh women, otherwise known as Berbers. An estimated 27 percent of Morocco’s population speaks one of three dialects of the Amazigh languageTamazight as their mother tongue, a language that until very recently it has had no official recognition. The group is working towards the official recognition of the Amazigh language, as well as to help Amazigh women to find jobs and integrate into wider Moroccan society.

Launching Watching Western Sahara, by Madeleine Bair
Watching Western Sahara Checkdesk provides curated and contextualized videos by Sahrawi media activists so that reporters, human rights monitors and people around the world can witness, understand, and act upon the human rights issues that take place in the occupied territory.

Israeli Navy Intercepts Women’s Flotilla on Way to Break Gaza Blockade, by Gili Cohen, Jack Khoury, and Judy Maltz
The Israeli navy intercepted a flotilla aiming to break the blockade on the Gaza Strip on Wednesday 5 October, about thirty-five nautical miles from the coast.  According to an Israeli high-ranking officer, passengers on board the Zaytouna-Olivia offered no resistance when the troops took over the boat. The boat was redirected to the Israeli port city of Ashdod.

Gaza’s Women Flotilla “Challenging Israel’s Blockade,” by Al Jazeera Staff
Wendy Goldsmith, a Canadian member on board the all-femaile flotilla making its way to the besieged Gaza Strip reflects on the journey.

Two Women’s Boats Set Sail for Gaza in Effort to Break Blockade, by Allison Deger
On Wednesday 15 September, two vessels with all-female crews set sail for Gaza from Spain in an attempt to break the nine-year Israeli blockade on the coastal Mediterranean strip. The “Women’s Boat to Gaza” is the fourth of its kind, captained by women-only, with thirty female activists and high-ranking officials aboard the Arabic-named Zaytouna (“Olive”) and the Amal (“hope”). Notable passengers on the boat include Nobel Peace Laureate Mairead MacGuire from Northern Ireland, retired U.S. army colonel and State Department official Ann Wright, parliamentarian Marama Davidson from New Zealand’s Green Party, and playwright Naomi Wallace.

Women’s Flotilla to Gaza Is More than Mere Symbolism, by Susan Abulhawa
Amal and Zaytouna, a flotilla of two boats with all-women crews and passengers, set sail from Barcelona en route to besieged Gaza in another maritime attempt to break Israel's illegal blockade on the tiny strip of Palestinian coastal territory. It is perhaps difficult to see the real and material impact of international activists setting sail to try to visit Gaza, only to be intercepted, arrested and deported. But the significance of these endeavours becomes apparent when viewed in the wider context of popular movements taking root around the world.

Israel’s War on Peaceful Activism, by Khaled Diab
Israel’s NGO Monitor is increasingly labeling charities and NGOs working in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip in the field of humanitarianism and peaceful activism as a threat to public security and order. As a result, some organizations have had to suspend their operations. The NGO Monitor, together with the NGO law the Knesset recently passed, “are aimed at crippling the activities of and silencing the voices of organisations dedicated to critiquing Israeli government policy and actions," notes Nadeem Shehadeh, a lawyer with Adalah, the first Palestinian-run legal centre in Israel.

Hundreds of Women March on Jerusalem for Peace, by Stuart Winer
Hundreds of women set off Tuesday 4 October on a two hundred-kilometer march from the north of Israel to Jerusalem, where they will assemble outside the prime minister’s and president’s residences during the upcoming Sukkot festival to demand a negotiated end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Jordanians Protest Writer’s Assassination, by Al Arabiya
Protesters in Jordan demanded that the government resign on 26 September for its failure to protect Nahed Hattar, a Christian writer shot dead outside a court where he was to stand trial after sharing on social media a cartoon image seen as insulting Islam. Hundreds of demonstrators gathered near the Prime Minister’s office after the writer was shot by a former Muslim preacher on the steps of the palace of justice.

Amman Hit by Protests Over Secret Jordan-Israel Gas Deal, by Mel Plant
Thousands of protesters swamped the centre of Amman on 30 September to demonstrate against the behind-closed-doors signing of an energy deal to bring Israeli gas into Jordan - a move condemned by opponents as a sop to the "Zionist entity" and against Jordanian interests. Crowds chanted "raise your voice in Amman" and "the people want national dignity" in protest at the government over the deal, in a demonstration titled "The enemy's gas is occupation."

Sufi Women Break Norms by Leading Sacred Song Rituals in Tunisia, by Emma Djilali
Once a week, over the summer, a group of women gather at the Sidi Belhassen Zawiya (shrine) in Tunis to participate in the Hadra, a Sufi ritual that involves the performance of songs accompanied by sacred rhythms. However, there is some disagreement as to how this ritual fits into Sufism. 

Hundreds of Thousands Join Saudi Women-Led Campaign to End Male Guardianship in the Kingdom, by Zuhour Mahmoud
Saudi women launched a campaign demanding an end to male guardianship for basic practices such as work, property ownership and travel. Using the hashtag #TogetherToEndMaleGuardianship, hundreds of thousands of supporters worldwide took part in this campaign. The campaign was sponsored by Human Rights Watch and follows the release of its lengthy report entitled “Boxed In: Women and Saudi Arabia’s Male Guardianship System.”

Meet the Saudi Men Fighting for Women’s Rights, by Nazzar Al-Barraq
For the past few weeks, a Human Rights Watch campaign demanding the end to the “legal guardianship” system has been widely shared on social media. Many Saudi women have been supporting the campaign by tweeting using the hashtag #TogetherToEndMaleGuardianship. But there have been also a few men openly showing their support for women’s rights as well.


Meet the Banksy of Syria, by Barrett Limoges
Over the past three years, Abu Malek al-Shami’s canvas has been the besieged rebel city of Daraya. Splashed across the fields of destruction, a cityscape laid waste by four years of relentless bombing, are 32 of his murals. They crop up randomly, like wildflowers, adorning the ruins of what once were homes, schools and hospitals.

Palestinian Images of Resistance Showcased at Toronto Film Festival, by Jilian D’Amours
The film Off Frame AKA Revolution Until Victory had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival in September. It is a new Palestinian documentary that splices together footage shot by Palestinian revolutionary filmmakers in the 1960s and 1970s.

Events & Conferences

The Obscured Role of Women in Nonviolent Movements, 6 October 2016, U.S. Institute of Peace, Washington D.C, U.S.A.

Fighting Walls: Street Art in Egypt and Iran + a Rebel Scene, 1 October 2016 – 18 December 2016, New Art Exchange, Nottingham, United Kingdom

A Century of Youth Engaging Politics in the Arab World Conference, 16-19 May 2017, University of Manitoba, Manitoba, Canada (Call for Papers Deadline: 23 September 2016).

Left-Wing Trends in the Arab World (1948-1979): Bringing Transnational Back in Conference, 12 December 2016, Orient-Istitut Beirut, Beirut, Lebanon. 

Create Syria Exhibition, 21 September – 2 October 2016, Talking Peace Festival, House of Vans, London, UK. 

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