[This is a bi-weekly 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 bi-weekly roundup to DARS@jadaliyya.com by Sunday night of every second week.]
News & Commentary
Today we are all someone new! By Müştereklerimiz
The resistance for Gezi Park ignited the collective capacity to organize and act between us common citizens. The journey which started in Gezi has nurtured our strength and courage with its tenacity, creativity, determination, and self-confidence. In no time, the resistance blossomed from Gezi park to Taksim Square, and from Taksim to all Istanbul and then the rest of the country.
Gezi: The Park That Shook Up Turkey, by Gulay Turkmen-Dervisoglu
What started as a peaceful protest might have ended in a few days if it weren`t for the police raid. But this crowd was not the `usual suspects`: activists protesting the government`s policies. What set it apart was the presence of white-collar and wealthy Istanbulites, most of whom were attending a civil protest for the first time. Meanwhile, the silence about the events in most Turkish news media continued. Although the demolition of a park was the symbolic trigger, the protesters are the most heterogeneous opposition group Turkey has seen in two decades.
Turkey’s Protests: The Politics of an Unexpected Movement, by Didem Collinsworth and Hugh Pope
The Istanbul unrest started out on 27 May as a small sit-in by a handful of people who wanted to prevent the uprooting of trees in Gezi Park, a rare patch of green in central Istanbul. Removing the trees was part of a government plan to redesign the adjacent Taksim Square. When, early on Thursday, 30 May, police tried to expel the Gezi Park activists with tear gas and set their tents on fire, the protests morphed into a popular movement.
Neither Turkish Spring Nor Velvet Revolution, by Ali Gokpinar
This is not a revolution. This is not the mobilization of the western oriented and secular middle classes only against a popular leader. This is a democratic quest from below to ‘get back to the basics’ against Turkey’s increasingly authoritarian and conservative ruling AK Party and the ideologically driven and impotent opposition parties.
Occupy Gezi: The Reason Why Politicians Are So Afraid of the Bodies, by The Funambulist
For the last two years, many “professional politicians” in power learned what it is to be afraid of the multitude. When thousands of bodies choose to be localized together in the streets or on a square, in such a way that they are not participating to the economy and might even have to confront the physical violent encounter with the various forces of suppression, rather than choosing the comfort of the private realms, a strong political gesture is being created.
Turkey’s Resistance Image Forged As Pepper Spray Burns Woman in Red Dress, by Luke Harding
The photo of Sungur, an academic at Istanbul`s Technical University, has become a global symbol of anti-government resistance. She had dashed out from the university`s urban planning department in a red summer cotton dress to join the protests. Her picture, a peaceful protester getting pepper sprayed, sums up the protests that have gripped Turkey over the past 10 days, driven by secular, middle-class Turks incensed by Erdogan`s neo-Islamist social agenda and abrasive ruling style.
Palestinian Girls Look for Ways to Protest, Without Stones, by Emily Harris
For many Palestinian boys, throwing stones at Israeli soldiers — and getting arrested — is considered a rite of passage. Palestinian girls rarely take part, though many say they are just as deeply committed to the Palestinian goal of an independent state.
Teaching Visitors to Say ‘Occupation’ in Hebrew, by Andrew Esensten
All that’s Left, a newly formed leftist Israeli collective, is taking to the streets with visual and educational strategies to reshape how visitors think about Israel. On the anniversary of the start of the 1967 Six Day War, the collective painted a literal Green Line in Jerusalem to remind Israelis that Palestinians are living under occupation.
FEMEN Stages Nude Protest, First in Arab World, by Mohammad Yassin al Jalassi
Three European women — two French and one German — affiliated with the feminist activist group FEMEN staged a bare-breasted protest on May 29 in front of the Ministry of Justice in Tunis against the arrest of a fellow Tunisian activist Amina Tyler, who posted topless photos of herself online. This stunt is the first of its kind in the Arab world, where no Arab state has ever seen women using nudity in protests in a public place.
The New Suffragettes: Courage in Cairo – the Arab Women’s Awakening, by Catrina Stewart
Continuing a week-long celebration of campaigners whose commitment merits comparison to that of the original suffragettes, Catrina Stewart talks to Sally Zohney, a young Egyptian whose heroism has inspired tens of thousands of supporters across the Middle East and beyond. Remarkable women have emerged from the revolution, but few have galvanised women across the Arab world to challenge societal taboos in the way that Zohney has.
How We Lost the Syrian Revolution, by Edward Dark
How did a once inspirational and noble popular uprising calling for freedom and basic human rights degenerate into an orgy of bloodthirsty sectarian violence, with depravity unfit for even animals? The simple answer to the above question is the miscalculation (or was it planned?) of Syrians taking up arms against their regime, a ruthless military dictatorship held together by nepotism and clan and sectarian loyalties for 40 years of absolute power.
Hit Her is the provocative title of a new anti-domestic violence campaign initiated by youth in Saudi Arabia. The campaign is sponsored by Libra Productions, a Jeddah-based audio production studio. The campaign shows several Saudi youth holding placards with messages condemning violence against women. The photos have been posted on their Twitter accounts using the hashtag #اضربها .
Anti-Morsi ‘Rebel’ Campaign: An Inside Look, by Osman Sharnoubi
The founders of Egypt’s `Rebel` campaign, a newly established movement that aims to withdraw confidence from President Mohamed Morsi by collecting citizens` signatures, spoke at an open forum on Wednesday to discuss the campaign, which has recently gone viral online and on the streets. `Rebel` campaigners hope to collect 15 million signatures and hold a mass sit-in on 30 June – marking the end of Morsi`s first year as president – to call for snap presidential elections and force Morsi out of office.
Venice Biennale Responds to Trouble in Turkey, Aaron Cezar
Turkish curators, artists and cultural workers visiting Venice for the Biennale organised a public demonstration to bring awareness to escalating situation in Turkey. On 1 June, approximately 30 people gathered in Piazza San Marco carrying handwritten signs, banners and leaflets produced overnight.
Fears Over Istanbul Biennale, by Gareth Harris and Cristina Ruiz
The organisers of the Istanbul Biennial are reconsidering plans to use Taksim Square and Gezi Park, sites of ongoing anti-government protests, as venues for the 13th edition (“Mom, Am I Barbarian?” 14 September-10 November). The organisers stress that the biennial will go ahead despite the dissent, which has spread to the Turkish capital, Ankara, and the southern city of Adana.
ART WAR is the story of young Egyptians who, through art and enlightenment, and inspired by the Arab Spring, use their creativity to salvage the revolution. Using graffiti murals and rebellious music and films, they inspire the youth culture around the world and throughout the streets of conquered Egypt. The film follows revolutionary artists through 2 years of post-revolutionary anarchy, from the 2011 Arab Spring until the final 2013 Parliament election. It describes the proliferation of creativity after Mubarak’s fall, showing how these artists learn to use art in new ways--as a weapon to fight for their unfinished revolution.
Conferences & Events
Protests as Events/Events as Protests, 12 June 2013, Leeds Metropolitan University, UK
The Lady Doth Protest: Mapping Feminist Movements, Moments, and Mobilisations, 21-23 June 2013, University of Nottingham, UK
Middle East Studies Center Summer Institute: The Arab Uprisings, 12-14 July 2013, Portland State University, USA
Summer School on Democratization and Political Transitions in the Arab World: Actors, Challenges, and Policy Options for the EU, 17-19 July 2013, University of Minho, Portugal
Representation, Politics and Violence, 11-13 September 2013, Brighton, UK
Revolt and Revolution, 4-6 November 2013, Athens, Greece