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Protests-Revolts

Sinai: War in a Distant Province

[Aftermath of the assassination of Anwar al-Sadat in October 1981. Photo from Wikimedia commons]

The July 1 battle in which the Egyptian Armed Forces regained control of a small border town from the self-proclaimed Sinai Province of the Islamic State (formerly known as Ansar Beit al-Maqdis or Supporters of Jerusalem) has heightened fear, anger, and above all self-congratulation among both the government’s supporters and its critics. Days after still unknown assailants had assassinated the country’s Prosecutor General by means of a car bomb, IS fighters attacked a series of checkpoints in the northern Sinai peninsula and appeared briefly to have taken control of Shaykh Zuwayed near the border with Gaza and Israel. The attack occurred more or less on the ...

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Breaking the Myths of Power: The Struggles of the Haitians, Algerians, and Greeks

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What do the struggles of the Greek people have in common with those of the Haitian slaves at the end of the eighteenth century or those of the Algerians in the middle of the twentieth century? Of course, these struggles are incomparable in many ways, but there is one important parallel that can be drawn. Both moments of anticolonial resistance compelled ruling power to show its true face and managed to shatter the myths informing that power’s universal claims and its so-called humane intentions. The Greek people are now doing the same thing with the myth of the “European Compromise.” The clear-cut rejection of European austerity policies in the recent referendum is yet ...

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Egypt under the New July Republic

[President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi and government officials at the funeral of Prosecutor General Hisham Barakat who was killed in a car bomb attack on 29 June 2015. Source: Official Facebook Page of the Spokesperson of the Egyptian Armed Forces.]

The prevailing characteristic of the time before the revolution, all those moons ago, was Egypt’s political moribundity.  There were elections of sorts, or at least votes went in ballot boxes but their provenance was not always from voters. Political parties did politics, sort of, following a script. There was a parliament. But outside of university campuses and the workers’ movement genuine politics was largely absent from public life. Egyptian Facebook was a very different animal back then, and while it would prove useful for mobilization in 2011 and beyond, the majority of people ignored both political developments, when there were any, and the routine and ...

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Pixelated Intifada: An Interview with Palestinian Filmmaker Amer Shomali

[Image via Amer Shomali]

This interview was conducted in Ramallah, Palestine on 16 June 2015 following the local and international release of Amer Shomali’s film, The Wanted 18, which opens in US theaters on 19 June 2015. Isis Nusair (IN): Where did the idea of the film come from? Amer Shomali (AS): I grew up in the Yarmouk [Refugee] Camp in Syria. During the first intifada (in 1987), my parents would tell me stories about Palestine. As a kid, they could not tell me all that was happening. I remember one story about an uncle who was arrested by the Israeli authorities after he was hiding in a palm tree! These stories about Palestine and the nature of the people stayed with me. I was obsessed ...

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Her Yerdeyiz!

HER YERDEYİZ! 27 Mayıs 2015 Yaşıyorsak ve hala nefes alıyorsak, bilinmelidir ki o güzel çocukların gülen yüzü hürmetinedir!     Herkes biliyor, son iki yıldır artık farklı bir ülkede yaşıyoruz. Havası, suyu,  sesi,  kokusu farklılaştı bu ülkenin. İktidarı, muhalefeti, meslek odası, sendikası, genci, yaşlısı, işçisi, işsizi, Türkü, Kürdü artık farklı… Kabul eden için de etmeyen için de hayat farklılaştı… Bu ülke GEZİ’yi yaşadı. Haziran’ın sıcağını iliklerine akıttı.  Milyonlar şarkılarını dillerinden düşürmeden kararlı ve direngen bir duruşu tarihin içinden geçerek yaşadılar. Cesur yürekli kadınların ve ...

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New Texts Out Now: Bedross Der Matossian, Shattered Dreams of Revolution: From Liberty to Violence in the Late Ottoman Empire

[Cover of Bedross Der Matossian,

Bedross Der Matossian, Shattered Dreams of Revolution: From Liberty to Violence in the Late Ottoman Empire. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2014. Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book? Bedross Der Matossian (BDM): I have always been interested in the history of the late Ottoman period, in particular the era of Abdülhamid II (1876-1909) and the Second Constitutional Period (1908-1918). Most of the scholarship about the period in the past has been written from the perspective of the dominant ruling elite/political center. It is only in the past decade that we see new studies that provide a broader picture of the period by incorporating non-dominant groups. It ...

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الثورات العربية في سياق الربيع العربي والديمقراطية

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كثر الحديث عما سمي بالربيع العربي والذي يعبر في حقيقته عن سلسلة الثورات العربية السياسية التي اجتاحت أقطاراً عديدة في بلاد الشرق الأوسط العربية ضد ديكتاتورية الحكومات، انطلاقاً من تونس ثم مصر ثم ليبيا وأقطار عربية أخرى أبرزها سوريا التي لا تزال تشغل حيزاً في الإعلام الدولي حيث لا يعرف الكثير كيف ستنتهي هذه الثورة داخلياً، على الرغم من أن آثارها خارجياً أصبحت واضحة للعيان، فمنها انطلقت داعش وتوسعت داخل العراق لتحتل أراض واسعة تمتد عبر حدود البلدين، وتؤسس لكيان يعرف باسم" الدولة الاسلامية"، وقد دفعت أخيرا هذه الخطوة، متبوعة بسياسة الكيان العنيفة في إدارة الأراضي التي يسيطر عليها، قوى التحالف الأمريكي الأوروبي للتصدي إليه باعتباره خطراً كبيراً يهدد الإنسانية ...

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On May Day, We Are in Taksim and We Are Everywhere!

[Image via mustereklerimiz.org]

[This statement, by Müşterekler (Our Commons), was first published in Turkish on 28 April 2015. The original version can be found here. It was translated into English by Cihan Tekay.] We Have Been Here for a Thousand Years! On May Day, We Are in Taksim and We Are Everywhere! Look there, there, under that tree There, under that tree We are the there, rising from nature in that square. Look closely there, at that square, and you will see... Because we have been here for almost a thousand years!  Our voices, which have been bottled up in factories, offices, campuses, and homes, are filling the streets to the brim. Our anger resonates in Soma, Yırca, Akkuyu, ...

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Setups and Slander against Morocco's Dissidents: Sex, Drugs, Money, and Videos

[Image of a 2011 protest in Morocco. Image by Imrane Binoual/Wikimedia Commons]

A series of cases have touched resistance leaders and activists who participated or supported the 20 February Movement, from al-Adl wal-Ihsane (AWI) Islamists to members of secular institutions. Sex, financial, or drug scandals: for each activist, a "crime" was deployed to play on a taboo of their ideology in order to discredit and undermine the Moroccan version of the "Arab Spring."  On 17 March, a dozen plainclothes police officers arrested Hicham Mansouri, a journalist and activist with the Moroccan Association of Investigative Journalism (known by its French acronym as AMJI). The door to his apartment was violently smashed. He was beaten on ...

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What Brings them There? Reflections on the Persisting Symbolism of Tahrir Square

Cairo’s Tahrir Square presents a riddle. This irregular expanse of land and surrounding building surfaces has acquired a central symbolic place in Egyptians’ collective memory, demonstrated by its recurrent use for decades as the primary site for voicing people’s grievances and proclamations. To its romantics and its detractors, what happens in or around Tahrir Square remains crucial as an index to some perceived collectivity. Despite being a twentieth-century addition to a city with a much longer history, and despite the presence of older squares with central locations and considerable sizes (including Maydan Ramsis and Maydan Abdin), Maydan al-Tahrir now sits ...

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Four Years On: No Easy Answers in Syria (Part 1)

[Syrian boys, whose family fled their home in Idlib, walk to their tent, at a camp for displaced Syrians, in the village of Atmeh. Photo by Muhammed Muheisen/AP Photo.]

[See Part II here] After four years of killing and mayhem, the truth remains that there are no easy answers in Syria. What might appear to be natural liberal solutions are not only lacking in realism, but are also embedded in half-baked world views about freedom, justice, development, international relations, and even human dignity—contested as some these terms might be. No consequential camp or political actor approximates the pure. No camp is immune to faults, even to despicable behavior. Those groups who escape that harsh realism—the heroic Syrian men and women who keep life moving on a daily basis outside the confines of militarism, violence, and blind ...

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The Wanted 18: On Film, Comedy, and Resistance in Palestine: A STATUS/الوضع Conversation between Amer Shomali and Noura Erakat

In this interview, Amer Shomali discusses his film debut The Wanted 18, including the filmmaking process, creative resistance during the first Palestinian Intifada, and why he chose talking cows as his protagonists. Shomali tells Noura Erakat that the mix of animation, comedy, and documentary was a vision that many funders dismissed as impossible, but that he believed the non-traditional resistance of the first intifada also required a non-traditional way of telling the story. Wanted 18 premiered at the Toronto Film Festival in September 2014 and was screened at the Abu Dhabi Film Festival (Best Documentary from the Arab World), the Montreal ...

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مدينة الرقة السورية: من المدنية إلى مستقبل مجهول

منازل الدنيا أربعة (دمشق والرقّة والري وسمرقند)، هذا ما قاله الخليفة العباسي هارون الرشيد، أما الرقّة فهي محافظة في شمال شرق سورية تقع على ضفاف نهر الفرات، وفيها يلتقي رافده نهر البليخ، وفي اللغة العربية يعني اسمها الأرض الملساء التي يغمرها الماء ثم ينحسر عنها. أصبحت الرقة محافظة مستقلة عن دير الزور في ستينيات القرن الماضي، وحظيت باهتمام الحكومة السورية في السبعينيات بإقامة مشروعات حيوية مثل سدي الفرات والبعث إلا أنها تحولت خلال العقود القليلة الماضية إلى إحدى المدن المنسية، وسقطت من خطط الحكومة التنموية ...

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The Land of Fear and Oppression

Kazeboon revisits Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi's Egypt two years after the 3 July military coup. The video below serves as a collage of footage highlighting what sort of state Egypt has become under Sisi. Archival footage traces Sisi's rise to power and his broken promises, including his pledge not to run for the office of the president. The video brings to focus how Egypt under Sisi has faced increased press censorship, repression, and politicization of the judiciary. Torture and abusive practice have ...

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New Texts Out Now: Reem Abou-El-Fadl, Revolutionary Egypt: Connecting Domestic and International Struggles

Reem Abou-El-Fadl, editor, Revolutionary Egypt: Connecting Domestic and International Struggles. London and New York: Routledge, 2015.       Jadaliyya (J): What made you put together this collection? Reem Abou-El-Fadl (RA): Along with many friends and colleagues, I experienced the outbreak of the Tunisian and then Egyptian revolutions while far away, in my case based at Oxford in the UK. As time wore on, I had to try to make sense of all the momentous changes in the long ...

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Triple Exposure

During the wave of uprisings and resulting crackdowns on Islamists in Egypt in 2013, all the media outlets were accused of taking sides. “When you point a camera to a side you neglect the rest of the real scene,” a protester said to me. “People are following those media outlets that confirm what is already in their minds, not to get new information!” he added. For this project, I have been shooting many events related to the latest waves of the uprising in Egypt including the police storming of the ...

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Statement on the Anniversary of the Gezi Park Uprising

[This statement was released by the Taksim Gezi Park Association in May 2015.] Gezi Park Is an Indestructible Momumental City Park. Come and Breathe Freely Here As the symbol of the great Uprising of Turkey (2013), Taksim Gezi Park is a city park within the borders of Beyoğlu, a historically cosmopolitan urban district in Istanbul. Located between Taksim Square and Elmadağ, Gezi Park is well known as the first park of the Republican Era. ...

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المملكة العربية السعودية وحرب الشرعية في اليمن

 في 21 نيسان\إبريل، 2015 أعلن التحالف العسكري للدول العربية الذي تقوده السعودية أن "عملية عاصفة الحزم"، الحملة العسكرية ضد اليمن التي شُنّتْ في 25 آذار\مارس، دخلت في طور جديد أكثر سلمية، تحت مسمى "إعادة الأمل". بعد ذلك بوقت قصير، ألقى الرئيس اليمني عبد ربه منصور هادي خطابه الأول للأمة من منفاه في المملكة العربية السعودية، مكرراً الكثير من التهم والإنذارات نفسها ضد الحوثيين. وقد استُؤنف القصف بعد ساعات فقط من إعلان التحالف، وبعد أكثر من أسبوع، لم يُظهر أي إشارات تباطؤ. ويبدو أن ...

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تقرير خاص: اليمن: الصحفيون والمدافعون عن حقوق الإنسان معرضون للخطر أثناء الحرب

أصدر مجلس الأمن التابع للأمم المتحدة، في نيسان، قراراً يدعو لاستئناف سريع لمحادثات السلام ووضع حد للعنف في اليمن. ومع ذلك تواصل القتال في جميع أنحاء البلاد مع استمرار الغارات الجوية السعودية التي تستهدف قوات الحوثيين خلال الشهر الماضي والتي يدفع ثمنها المدنيون، وكذلك فإن القوات الحوثية تستهدف الأشخاص أو المجموعات التي تعمل ضدها بما في ذلك التحالف الذي تقوده السعودية. وفي الوقت الذي وعدت فيه المملكة العربية السعودية هذا الأسبوع  بإنهاء حملة القصف التي خلفت 1000 قتيل على الأقل وآلاف ...

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Academics for Palestine Ireland supports the organisers of the Southampton conference

Academics for Palestine, a group of Irish academics – from both the Republic of Ireland and the North of Ireland – set up to create awareness and build the academic boycott of Israel campaign in Ireland, expresses its support for the organisers of the International Law and the State of Israel: Legitimacy, Responsibility and Exceptionalism conference which was due to take place on 17-19 April 2015, at the University of Southampton, UK. The University blocked the conference citing reasons of ‘health and ...

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The Stages of Peaceful Resistance in the Occupied Western Sahara

Introduction In any history of occupation, the forms of resistance the colonized populations adopted have been shaped by, and shape, the modes of occupations. Peaceful resistance in the Western Sahara has been no different; Saharawi methods of nonviolent protest underwent transformations, first during Spanish colonialism and throughout several phases under Moroccan occupation. The Saharawi peoples’ ongoing struggle to secure their independence has faced repressive ways and means, either during the ...

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Four Years On: No Easy Answers in Syria (Part II)

[See Part I here. Parts II and III are combined below] The Irony of Calamity There are no easy answers in Syria. Though undramatic, this is not how most seem to approach the Syrian tragedy in practice. What follows is not a recipe for an answer as much as it is a reminder against repeating the same mistakes if/when calling for solutions. If one’s vision is not yet clear regarding what path to take, or what existing combination of forces to support, one should be steadfast in understanding what went ...

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R-Shief and Scholarship on Digital Activism Featured in The Chronicle of Higher Education

[The following article on R-Shief was written by Ursula Lindsey and published in The Chronicle for Higher Education on 9 March 2015 under the title "Scholar Re-Examine Arab World's 'Facebook Revolutions.'"] In January 2011, Laila Shereen Sakr realized something momentous was happening in the Middle East when her server crashed. Shereen Sakr, at that time a graduate student in the University of Southern California’s media arts and practice program, had been monitoring digital activism in ...

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Who Are the People? A Conversation on the Assemblages and the Archives of the People

Scholars of the Middle East have grappled for several decades with what seemed to be the death of “formal” or “official” politics in their attempt to explain the seemingly impenetrable force of authoritarianism and the pacification of Arab politics. Some work reified older understandings of the idea of agency and the centrality of state institutions. Others broke new ground on the idea of the individual, critically deconstructing the seemingly self-evident meaning and universal values of “freedom” and ...

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