[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
Global Map of Protests: 2013 So Far, by Mona Chalabi
The Global Database of Events pulls together local, national and international news sources and codes them to identify all types of protest from collecting signatures to conducting hunger strikes to rioting.
Nine Killed in Cairo Clashes, by Al Akhbar English
Nine people were killed in Cairo on Tuesday in clashes between opponents and Islamist supporters of Egypt`s deposed President Mohammed Mursi.
Egyptian Revolution Broadcast in Hebrew, by Jacky Hugl
Events in Egypt are now being interpreted in the Israeli news media, and on social media, by Hebrew-speaking Egyptians who are shattering the image of the Arab world in Israel. Egyptian academic Heba Hamdi Abu Sief has become one of the main Hebrew-speaking spokespersons of the anti-Morsi protest movement.
Turkish Women Push Back Against Patriarchy, by Ariam Fresghi
Among the issues bringing protestors to Gezi Park, the now-iconic site of struggle in Istanbul’s Taksim Square, is the demand for women’s liberation. Coming from many walks of life and expressing a myriad of ideals and values, the women of the Occupy Gezi Movement have voiced a collective desire: to fight the undercurrent of deeply entrenched patriarchal values and reclaim autonomy over their own bodies and lifestyles. These demands are now coalescing around proposed legislation from the country’s Health Ministry to limit the sale of oral contraception.
Istanbul’s Troubled Gardens: Gezi Park’s Flowers, by Elif Batuman
Sealed off by police barricades, after the protesters had been removed Gezi Park had a spooky appearance, like a sinister, floating island. There was a lot of speculation at first about what was going on in there. As it turned out, government gardeners were planting flowers, working around the clock. While Gezi Park continues to be the center of unrest in Taksim, a second park-related project, on the other side of the Golden Horn, has sparked a new aesthetic-political controversy: to make way for a new park, the municipality is planning to destroy the Byzantine bostans (market gardens) of Yedikule, along the old city walls of Constantinople.
The Gezi Protests Have Shown The Rampant Institutional Bias In Turkey’s Media Which Now Leaves Little Room For Facts, by Burcu Baykurt
Baykurt looks at media coverage of the protests in Turkey, and finds that there are concerns from both sides that pro-government and alternative media are distorting and ‘re-constructing’ the facts to favour the government or the protestors. Also, worrying are the increasing written, verbal, and online attacks on members of the foreign media. For now, there is little room in Turkey for professional journalism that reports as objectively as possible.
Turkey’s Gezi Park Protesters Regroup for Ramadan, by Fehim Taştekin
The spirit of Turkey’s Gezi Park protests has brought the profane world to its knees — down to Ramadan "iftars" (dinners to break day-long fast) on the sidewalk. The protests, sparked by anger against the government’s patronizing and majoritarian policies, continue to add novelties to Turkey’s political and social landscape. The “religion card” Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has used in his black propaganda campaign to discredit the protesters is slipping through his fingers!
We had a dream…, by Suat Kınıklıoğlu
The reverberations of the Gezi Park protest continue to rattle the country. Not the month of Holy Ramadan or the summer season has been able to calm things down. Political scenarios, predictions and pessimism pervade the country. Turkey`s polarization has been solidified by the Gezi Park protests. It did not start with the Gezi Park protests. Way before the Gezi Park protests, there were signs of stalling.
Has Gezi Park Become Turkey’s 1968? by Klaus Jurgens
No two countries` societies are the same, but there are similarities in what triggers the birth of a protest movement. First, assuming that class wars are over and that step-by-step European societies, including Turkey, transform themselves into middle class territory, a certain feeling of everyone being “comfortably numb” (courtesy of Pink Floyd, “The Wall”) emerges. Everything seems fine, everything looks all right, yet the entire system is based on everyone doing his or her bit, going to work, coming home and doing the same routine tomorrow. Nothing out of the ordinary is expected anymore -- everything is settled. And this is where trouble starts.
The new "opposition," by İhsan Dağı
The Gezi Park protests are deeply rooted in the perception that the government is interfering in individual lifestyles and choices. The research by MetroPOLL confirms the point that a significant part of the population in Turkey has observed the government`s interference in their private lives. There is an increasing perception that the government wishes to dictate its own choices of values, morality and way of life on the rest.
Hundreds Protest Israeli Bedouin Resettlement Plan, by Associated Press
On Monday 15 July, hundreds of protesters staged demonstrations in Israel against a plan to resettle nomadic Bedouin Arabs in the southern Negev desert.
Hamas Blocks Mass Pro-Bedouin Protest in Gaza, by Mohammed Suliman
In late June, the Israeli Knesset passed the Prawer Bill, which intends to displace tens of thousands of the Bedouin inhabitants in the Naqab (Negev), who constitute part of the Palestinian Arab minority in Israel, from their homes and lands in the Naqab in southern Israel. In the Gaza Strip, the Brawer Bill has generated a public outcry as protests against the Israeli plan were planned in Gaza’s Central Square on Monday. The protest lasted for only fifteen minutes before protesters were asked to leave by Hamas security, supposedly for “failing to license the protest through the Ministry of Interior.”
An "Electoral Uprising" in Iran, by Kevan Harris
“Iranian society surprised itself,” sociologist Hamid Reza Jalaeipour told a Tehran University crowd a week after the balloting. “Mobilizational potential turned into an electoral uprising.” The “electoral uprising” reveals that a single ideological stream cannot permanently divert the course of Iran’s political system. The main reason lies not in the structure of the state but in the social forces that recurrently remake it from below.
Celebrating Rouhani’s Victory in Iran Makes A Mockery of Green Movement, by The Guardian’s Tehran Bureau contributor
Four years ago, Iran`s green movement offered some lessons to the world about street politics. Today the lessons come from the streets of Egypt. Blind street politics, the type of politics that is concerned only with immediate personal or group interest, turns the populace into puppets of power.
The Arab Spring Wasn’t Successful for Everyone in the Region, by Matt Vasilogambros
In this interview, Nazeeha Saeed, a journalist from Bahrain discusses the state of journalism in Bahrain in the context of the Arab uprisings.
Hopes and Disappointments: Revolutionary Narratives from Egyptian and Syrian Feminists, by Miriam Cooke
This paper deals with the revolutionary memoirs of two influential feminist writers, Egyptian Nawal El Saadawi and Syrian Samar Yazbek, who participated in their countries’ uprisings and then wrote about their hopes and disappointments.
The Protest Is Only The Beginning, by Anne Applebaum
In Brazil, the protesters wore halter tops and shorts. In Egypt, they wore headscarves and long sleeves. In Turkey, they wore more of the former, some of the latter, and quite a bit of face paint as well. In each of these three places, they looked different, used different slogans, spoke different languages. Yet the parallels among these three protest movements on three different continents in three countries run by democratically elected leaders are striking, not least for what they reveal about the nature of the modern street protest.
The Resistance Always Comes Out on Top, by Ibrahim Al-Amin
Once again, European countries have demonstrated their clear bias against the Arabs and their legitimate rights, at the top of which is the right to armed resistance to occupation. Hezbollah’s actions do not warrant their inclusion on the EU list of terrorist organizations, even according to a large number of European politicians and human rights activists.
The Tribal Factor in Syria’s Rebellion, by Nicholas A. Heras and Carole O’Leary
Tribalism remains a primary form of communal identity among Arab Sunnis across Syria, regardless of whether they live in rural or urban areas. As a powerful source of socio-political mobilization, Syrian Arab tribalism has shaped the conflict since the first demonstrations against the Bashar al-Assad government were led by disaffected tribesmen in the north-eastern city of al-Hasakah in February 2011.
Challenges Faced By The Southern Movement, by Anita Kassem
The 22nd anniversary of the unification of Yemen was welcomed with huge protests in the South, especially in Aden. Thousands of Southern Movement supporters have rallied, and not for the first time, to express their discontent with what they call the “Sana’a regime” and to demand secession. The Movement attributes the miseries of the south to the post-unification era, the period when they were exploited and oppressed by the populated north.
Stop Prawer Plan!
A call on international solidarity activists to organize demonstrations on the 1st of August against the Prawer Plan.
Tamarod movement spread across the Middle East
In Tunis, in this petition, which has gathered over 200,000 signatures, the organizers are calling for the dissolution of the National Constituent Assembly which they believe is trying to embed religion into the draft constitution. In Libya, activists are demanding the armed militias be disbanded, denouncing the various political parties that are delaying the drafting of a new constitution, through their own power struggles. And a signature campaign is also underway in Syria, condemning divisions within the Syrian National Council.
The Syrian Artist Versus The Regime, by Pierre Abisaab
The Syrian dissident artist, Youssef Abdelke was arrested on Thursday 18 July, near Tartous, along with NCB member Adnan al-Dibs and CLP member Toufiq Imran. A statement by the Gathering of Independent Syrian Visual Artists accused regime agencies of arresting the three leaders and called for their immediate release. The Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression also issued a statement calling on the Syrian government to “put an end to the policy of forcible disappearance as a form of punishment against peaceful activists and defenders of human rights and the freedom of opinion and expression.”
Iranian Film-Maker Mania Akbari: "Cinema Threatens The Government,” by Tom Seymour
Cancer, arrests and exile from Tehran haven`t stopped Mania Akbari from making her politicised, potent films. She is determined to examine marriage, abortion, infidelity and lesbianism at home in Iran. Now, after 15 years of censorship, "of living in fear and frustration", Akbari is finally seeing her films screened commercially for the first time.
Haifaa Al-Mansour: "It’s Very Important to Celebrate Resistance," by Liz Hoggard
Haifaa al-Mansour, Saudi Arabia`s first female film-maker, shares her thoughts about her debut film, Wadjda. She talks about topics including segregation, her 11 siblings, and driving to her wedding in a golf cart.
Beirut Walls become Forum For Social. Political Messages, by Paige Kollock
Barely a wall in Beirut is untouched. From murals to political messages to advertisements, the walls are serving as a place for public dialogue and political debate.
Telling Women’s Stories: Post-Orientalist Film in the Arab World, by Rawan Hadid
Telling compelling stories about dissenting voices that would otherwise be silenced is one way of pursuing political resistance. Samt el Qusur (The Silences of the Palace) and Sukkar Banat (Caramel) are two thought-provoking films from the Arab world exhibiting this type of resistance. They bypass circulating discourses, and avoid the usual methodological and ideological pitfalls of orientalist representations.
Conferences & Events
Revolutionary Nonviolence: Building Bridges Across Generations and Communities, 1-4 August 2013, Georgetown University, Washington, DC, USA
Spaces of Liberation, 12 September 2013, Berkeley, California, USA
Representation, Politics and Violence, 11-13 September 2013, Brighton, UK
Revolt and Revolution, 4-6 November 2013, Athens, Greece