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DARS Media Roundup (February 2017)

[Syrians protest in Berlin against expulsions and the regime in January 2017. Image by Thorsten Strasas, via Flickr] [Syrians protest in Berlin against expulsions and the regime in January 2017. Image by Thorsten Strasas, 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

Ahwaz Protests in Iran: A Sign of Things to Come? by Heshmat Alavi
The city of Ahwaz in southwest Iran has been the scene of continuous unrest, as locals are protesting a slate of disastrous plans implemented by the mullahs’ regime to reroute Karoon River, a major source of water for agriculture and other vital aspects of life in this area where the summer is scorching hot. However, the most concerning aspect of the entire situation for the regime involves the growing number of street protests that began on 12 February and continued for at least a week in the face of numerous warnings issued by the repressive state security apparatus. And despite heavy security measures to prevent any escalation of such rallies, even a gathering brewed in Tehran’s Vanak Square where protesters expressed solidarity with their fellow countrymen and chanted against the mullahs’ regime.

Bahrain Hit by Protests on Uprising Anniversary, by Agency France Press
Demonstrators marked the sixth anniversary of an anti-government uprising in Bahrain, while an explosion wounded two civilian passers-by in a village outside the capital Manama, the interior ministry said on 15 February. The ministry did not say what caused the blast, but protestors sometimes throw petrol bombs during the sporadic protests that still grip the Sunni-ruled but Shi‘i -majority kingdom since the bloody suppression of the 2011 uprising.

Bahrain: Fears of Further Violent Crackdown on Uprising Anniversary, by Amnesty International
Authorities in Bahrain must refrain from using excessive force against protesters, Amnesty International urged as mass protests are under way on 14 February, to mark the sixth anniversary of the 2011 uprising. Bahrain is on the verge of a human rights crisis, as recent weeks have seen a pattern of increased repression, characterized by violence against protesters, executions, arbitrary detentions, and a crackdown on freedom of expression.

Resistance Compounded: Sudan’s Female Protest Movement, by Nafida Eltahir
Liberation of the exchange rate by the Sudanese government in early November closed the threefold gap between the official Sudanese Pound-to-Dollar rate and existing devalued black market prices. Prices immediately spiked, most notably for fuel, electricity and medicines. The drug price surge became the most common rallying cry, and the anger was compounded by the feeling that the government had been intentionally mismanaging its budget. As small scale demonstrations spread throughout the country, people started to take notice when groups of young women, using social media, organized demonstrations in various locations throughout the greater Khartoum area. […] While the prominence of women in this last period is noteworthy, it is not at all new. A quick look back at Sudan’s history reveals a women’s movement that has been active not only on women’s issues but in the larger politics of the country. 

Sudanese Man “Burns Himself Alive” in Protest Against President, by The New Arab
A Sudanese man attempted to self-immolate in the capital Khartoum after shouting criticism of longtime Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir. The man set himself on fire near the presidential palace in the latest act of protest against the Sudanese government. "I am Sudanese and Bashir is a dictator," he reportedly shouted before he made the suicide attempt. It is the first incident of self-immolation in the country. 

The World Against A Yemeni Revolution, by Malak Ali
The people of Yemen attempted to adjust the conditions they live in, however they have not received the results they wanted. Two main influential attempts to make a difference are the reasons behind the major changes in Yemen. It all began with the Yemeni revolution in 2011, followed by the Houthis or “Ansarullah” influence over Yemen leading to the Saudi American aggression on Yemen. 

Protests Erupt in Idlib as Turkey Steals Syrian Land with New Border Wall, by Paul Antonopoulos
Protests have erupted as Turkey has constructed a border wall that penetrates into Syria’s Idlib province proper, in what has been described as an illegal annexation of Syrian territory.

Palestinian Women Lead Resistance in Budrus, by Jaclyn Ashly
This article describes a recent resistance action against Israeli forces preparing to demolish a house in the Palestinian village of Budrus. The resistance effort was organized spontaneously and was led by women. This was not the first time that the women of Budrus have claimed victory against Israeli incursions on their lands. They led the village’s resistance movement against Israel’s separation barrier in 2003.

Answering Five Common Objections to Israeli Apartheid Week, by Ben White
In this article Ben White “deconstructs” five common objections and misconceptions about the Israeli Apartheid Week.

Israel’s Travel Ban: Knesset Bars Entry to Foreigners Who Call for Boycott of Israel or Settlements, by Jonathan Lis
The Israeli Knesset approved a bill that forbids granting entry visas or residency rights to foreign nationals who call for economic, cultural or academic boycotts of either Israel or the settlements.

Israel's Ugly New Travel Ban Tells the World: Stay Away if You Do Not Agree With Us, by Allison Kaplan Sommer
At first glance, Israel’s sweeping travel ban passed by the Knesset on Monday night essentially changes nothing. The authorities at Israel’s borders and airports already have complete discretion to keep anyone out, and numerous prospective visitors have been blacklisted and turned away because they are believed to be hostile to Israel. […] But, actually, it changes everything. The statement it makes and the message it sends - that those who so deeply object to the occupation that they choose not to buy settlement products--are no longer welcome to visit, see and experience their country is a drastic shift in Israel’s relationship with the outside world.  

“Basil Al-Araj Was A Beacon for Palestinian Youth,” by Shatha Hammad and Zena Tahhan
On 6 March, the Israeli army killed Basil Al-Araj, a well-respected figure by Palestinians across the spectrum. Basil was known for his activism and resistance to the ongoing Israeli occupation. He led a youth movement against what he believed were the dangers of normalization with Israel, and simultaneously organized protests. In April 2016, the Palestinian security forces arrested Basil and several of his friends, claiming that the young men had unlicensed weapons and were attempting to carry out an attack on Israeli targets. Subject to torture and ill-treatment in prison, the young men went on a hunger strike for nine days, spurring a popular movement to press for their release. After his release in September, Basil went into hiding and had been wanted by Israel ever since.

Protest, Outrage Follow Assassination of Palestinian Youth Leader Basil al-Araj by Occupation Forces, by Samidoun
Protests rang out in Palestine and the refugee camps in memory of Al-Araj on Monday, in Ramallah, el-Bireh, Haifa, Dheisheh refugee camp and elsewhere, including Nahr el-Bared camp in Lebanon. Protesters denounced the killing of Al-Araj, a beloved youth leader and demanded an end to Palestinian Authority security coordination with the Israeli occupation.

Popular Resistance in Palestine: Decline and Hope for Change, by Thimna Bunte
This is a book review of Marwan Darweish and Andrew Rigby’s book Popular Protest in Palestine - The Uncertain Future of Unarmed Resistance. A decade ago popular protests against the separation wall, settlements, and occupation were the great promise of the Palestinian struggle. Now this book takes a look at why these demonstrations were never actually able to bring out the Palestinian masses to the streets, and what activists can learn for the future.

Egypt: Workers Charged Over Protests, by Human Rights Watch

Egyptian prosecutors should drop all charges against at least twenty six workers who were arrested and charged in recent months in connection with peaceful strikes and protests, according to Human Rights Watch. The parliament should also revise a new trade unions draft law to fully legalize independent unions and amend penal code provisions that criminalize the right to organize and strike. “Arresting workers for striking is another example of how Egyptian authorities are determined to stifle all space for peaceful mobilization,” said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch.

Egypt Detains Twenty-Five Port Said Residents, Including Minors, for Protesting Stadium Tragedy Deaths, by Mada Masr

The prosecution ordered the detention of twenty-five Port Said residents, including six minors, who were arrested during protests against the upholding of death sentences for defendants over the Port Said Stadium tragedy in 2012. Over one hundred people were arrested during the protests of 27 February. Charges against the detainees range from illegal gathering, to use of force, burning a police vehicle and resisting authorities.

Telling the Stories of Egypt’s Endangered Journalists, by Mohammed Elshamy
Many journalists and photojournalists are being detained, sentenced to death or just disappear, in Egypt. The author, an Egyptian photojournalist, reflects upon this struggle of his colleagues, and highlights the importance of his profession: “the world needs photojournalists who risk their lives in selfless pursuit of the truth. We might be arrested, abducted, traumatized or even killed, yet we continue to document the world’s tragedies and to document the truth.”

In Final Ruling, Egypt Court Finds Mubarak Innocent in Killing of Protesters, by Mahmoud Mourad and Haitham Ahmed
On 2 March, Egypt's top appeals court found former president Hosni Mubarak innocent of involvement in the killing of protesters during the 2011 uprising that ended his thirty-year rule, the final ruling in a landmark case.  


AUB Secular Club: Art Is A Form of Political Activism, by Hadi Afif
AUB’s Secular Club held an exhibition titled “Creative Uprisings: A Political Art Exhibition” in order to commemorate the “Arab Spring” six years after the uprisings spread across the Arab region. With a focus on street art, the exhibit showcased political art that emerged in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Libya, Bahrain, and Syria.

How Do Museums React to Events? Political Turmoil, Protests, and Sporting Triumphs, by Adrian Murphy
Following a tumultuous year in politics resulting in protests and marches Advisor takes a look at how museums react to events both political and non-political. 

Events & Conferences 

Israeli Apartheid Week 2017, March- April 2017, around the world.

Revolution and Authoritarianism in North Africa, 13 March 2017, King’s College, London, UK. 

Hanan Toukan - Starting the Revolution from a Different Place: Art, Protest, and Diplomacy in the Arab World, 8 March 2017, Watson Institute, Brown University, Rhode Island, USA.

International Workshop “Social Movements & Contentious Politics in the Arab World: Diffusion, Practices, Organizations, and Political Dimensions,” 27-28 April 2017, Université Paris-Dauphine, Paris, France. 

A Century of Youth Engaging Politics in the Arab World Conference, 16–19 May 2017, University of Manitoba, Manitoba, Canada. 

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