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DARS Media Roundup (May-June 2017)

[Protesters clash with riot police in northern Morocco, 2 June 2017. Image by arif_shamim, via Flickr] [Protesters clash with riot police in northern Morocco, 2 June 2017. Image by arif_shamim, via Flickr]

[This is a bi-monthly roundup of news articles and other materials circulating on Resistance, Subversion and Civil Society 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

March for “Justice” by Erdogan Opponents in Turkey Gains Momentum and Alarms Government, by Kareem Fahim
On 15 June, the day after the arrest of Enis Berberoglu, a CHP parliament member, a two hundred sixty-mile march began to protest a spate of government arrests. The march that had seemed likely to fizzle or be stopped by the authorities had instead swelled in size since it left Ankara, the capital. 

Women Protest Construction in their Meadow with Scythes, Rakes, by BIA News
Women in İnköy Neighborhood in Kütahya, Turkey, have protested the construction of an archeological museum, planned to be built in their meadows, where they graze their animals, with clubs, axes, scythes, and rakes. 

Murray Bookchin and the Kurdish Resistance, by Joris Leverink
Bookchin’s municipalist ideas, once rejected by communists and anarchists alike, have now come to inspire the Kurdish quest for democratic autonomy.

Morocco's rebellious mountains rise up again, by Ursula Lindsey
In the town of Al Hoceima, the Eid holiday at the end of Ramadan was a time of clashes rather than celebration. The police and authorities blockaded roads leading to the town and prevented protesters from gathering in its main square. Crowds managed to assemble anyway, on side streets, before being violently dispersed by riot police. Al Hoceima has been the center of a protest movement (the Hirak movement) for eight months.

Morocco Witnesses Its Biggest Protests in Years, by Gilad Shiloach
Morocco witnessed a wave of anti-government demonstrations after thousands have taken to the streets of the capital Rabat and other major cities in mid-June. Local authorities estimated the number of protesters ranged between twelve and fifteen thousand, a figure activists derided, claiming the number was closer to a million. The protest was a show of solidarity against corruption and abuse in Morocco’s neglected Northern Rif region, which has a largely ethnic Berber population. Demonstrators demanded the release the scores of activists who were arrested during the turmoil in the Rif, including protest leader Nasser Zefzafi.

The Relentless Tide of Morocco’s Rif Protests, by Maâti Monjib
The Moroccan authorities are unsuccessfully using their influence over religious discourse and the media to try to turn the public against protesters in the Rif.

Empowering Women Through Land Policy Change: The “Soulaliyate” Movement, by Mohamed Said Saadi
This research report illustrates how the Soulaliyate movement was able to gain limited recognition of the their right to collective land via public authorities, and to bring about modest policy change. 

Egypt: Crackdown Continues Amid Controversial Land Deal, by Farah Najjar
Egypt's recent blocking of sixty-four websites that are not aligned to state media's narrative is part of the government's crackdown on civil society, analysts have said. With presidential elections scheduled to take place next year, and amid the controversial Tiran and Sanafir deal that was approved by parliament on 14 June, analysts say that this is the government's attempt at neutralising resistance and eliminating potential presidential candidates.

The Pro-Democracy Movement and June 30: Then and Now, by Mada Masr
Four years have passed since the ouster of former President Mohamed Morsi on 30 June 2013, along with Muslim Brotherhood rule. Since then, Egypt has faced important political transformations that have translated into economic and social change. On the fourth anniversary of this crucial point in the country’s political history, Mada Masr explores the various actors who made 30 June 2013 possible, including: Pro-democracy political forces, the Salafi political movement, Coptic communities and the Coptic Church and Al-Azhar. What did they want back then, and where are they today?

These Tunisian Women Are Combatting Extremism in the Best Way Possible – by Being Mothers, by Ioana Moldovan
The author travelled to Tunisia to better understand the push and pull factors driving a number of youth in the country to turn to radicalization. While there, she spoke with people from local nongovernmental organizations, state officials, long-time unemployed persons, people who almost got radicalized, former fighters and the families of those who joined different extremist groups. Their experiences―and the experiences of those close to them―provide a glimpse into this complex situation.

Tunisia Gas Field Protesters Reach Deal, Production to Restart – Government, by Reuters
On 16 June, protesters blockading oil and gas fields in southern Tunisia have reached an agreement with the government to end a sit-in and allow production to restart immediately. Protests over jobs in southern Tataouine and Kebili provinces hit oil and gas production in a region where French company Perenco and Austrian producer OMV operate. The deal calls for jobs in oil companies and development projects. "It is an agreement that addresses all our demands for the region and we will end the sit-in," Tarek Haddad, one of the protest leaders at the Kamour site told Reuters. 

After Forty Days, Palestinians Suspend Mass Hunger Strike in Israeli prisons, by Ma’an News Agency
On 27 May, hundreds of Palestinians held in Israeli prisons suspended a forty-day mass hunger strike during dawn hours on Saturday, after reaching an agreement with the Israel Prison Service (IPS) that reinstated the prisoners' family visitation sessions to two times per month, according to initial information from Palestinian leadership and IPS, with details yet to emerge regarding any additional achievements.

Mass Protests on Gaza’s Borders Over Electricity Crisis, by Ezz Zanoun
On 16 June, hundreds of Palestinians protested along Gaza's borders with Israel, as international rights groups warned of a "total collapse" of basic services amid a steadily worsening electricity crisis.

Sexy Women, “Missions” and Bad Satire: Israeli Government App Recruits Online Soldiers in Anti-BDS Fight, by Allison Kaplan Sommer
Supported and spearheaded by the Ministry of Strategic Affairs, the campaign, branded as under the slogan “Stop the Hate, enlists Israel’s supporters as foot soldiers against online efforts to “demonize” and “undermine” the country’s legitimacy. 

Lawmakers in Spain Endorse Right to Boycott Israel, by Ali Abunimah
On 27 June, the International Cooperation Committee of the Congress of Deputies, Spain’s lower house, unanimously adopted a resolution calling on the government to “recognize and defend the right of human rights activists from Palestine, Israel and other countries, to engage in legal and peaceful activities, protected by the right to freedom of speech and assembly, such as the right to promote boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaigns.”

Little Openness Towards Women Working in Opposition-Controlled Areas in Syria, by Enab Baladi
Syrian women have never been absent from the workplace alongside men. However, this issue has received varying levels of attention and acceptance according to the historical context and the economic and educational situation in the country. After the Syrian revolution, the security situation in the areas controlled by opposition factions, continuous shelling and poor economic conditions have resulted in the restriction and decline of women’s role in this respect. 

The Role of Women in Yemen’s War, by April Artrip
Saferworld, along with the Center for Applied Research in Partnership with the Orient (CARPO) and the Yemen Polling Center (YPC), has released a report analyzing how the conflict in Yemen affects the lives of the country’s women. It finds that although the war brings great insecurity about livelihoods and safety, many women feel empowered by their new roles in war efforts or peacebuilding, such as first aid, child protection, and psychosocial support. Despite restrictions and anxieties, Yemeni women have made important contributions to civil society.

Iran Bans Zumba, and Its Fans Fume, by Thomas Erdbrink
An edict issued in June by the head of the Iranian Sports for All Federation, a government institution promoting sports and a healthy lifestyle, effectively banned Zumba classes for being contrary to Islamic precepts. “It is as if they have legalized alcohol — everyone is talking about it,” Ms. Nafisi, a Zumba instructor in Tehran, said, referring to the liquor ban in the country. Even her mother-in-law called from California to ask if this was the end of Zumba in Iran. “Of course not,” Ms. Nafisi fumed. “Zumba will not be stopped.”


Protest Singer Brings His Music to Jordan, Fleeing Both Regime and Hardline Islamists “Who Only Know the Language of Violence”
A few years ago, Alaa al-Hassoun was singing before massive protests in Maarat a-Numan, his hometown in Syria’s northwest Idlib province. Trained as a musician and singer before the war, al-Hassoun tells Syria Direct that each singer eventually finds his voice. “I found mine as a revolutionary among crowds crying out for freedom against the tyrants and thieves in their homeland.” But his political activism and protest songs angered regime security forces as well as the hardline Islamic factions that largely control Idlib. Al-Hassoun fled to Jordan in April 2016. 

Events & Conferences

Empire, Capital, and Translational Resistance Conference, 13–15 September 2017, University of Brighton, UK.  

Peace and Justice Studies Association Annual Conference, 25-28 October 2017, University of Alabama, Birmingham, USA.

The Contentious Politics of Higher Education. Student Movements in Late Neoliberalism Conference, 15-16 November 2017, Institute of Humanities and Social Sciences, Scuola Normale Superiore (SNS), Florence, Italy.

Rethinking Pacifism for Revolution, Security, and Politics Conference, 22–24 November 2017, University of Otago, New Zealand.  

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