[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
The Storm Before The Storm, by The Economist
The police assault on the morning of August 14th, though, backed up by army units, was one of stunning brutality. Although not unexpected, it was surprisingly savage. It will make the interim government`s work toward a new constitution and new elections even harder to pull off. A slide into prolonged strife, possibly even civil war, may be hard to avoid.
Why Egypt’s Protests Could Fail Like Tiananmen Square’s, by Rachel George
While sit-ins are inherently non-violent, they have a scattered and relatively violent history. Recent headlines comparing Tiananmen Square to Egypt can be problematic because they ignore the complex intricacies of the situation unfolding in Egypt. Still, while many details of the violence in Egypt remain unclear, some parallels do exist between the cases.
Why Sit-Ins Succeed – or Fail, by Erica Chenoweth
For weeks, opponents of Egypt’s military-led transitional government have held mass sit-ins in Cairo, Alexandria, and elsewhere in an attempt to force the reinstatement of President Morsi. In a study of nonviolent campaigns from 1900 to 2006, no popular movement that relied on a single method alone -- such as sit-ins -- worked. Effective civil resistance involves a number of skillfully sequenced moves that increase broad-based, diverse participation, allow participants to avoid repression, and lead regime loyalists to defect. Without a broader strategy based around these steps, sit-ins can end in catastrophe.
It’s The Democracy, Stupid, by Nuno Coimbra Mesquita and Ozan Aşık
Whether you are talking about protests in Mediterranean countries amidst the financial crisis in Europe, or public outcry in Egypt, the economy is often cited as the reason why people go out of their way to protest. A comparative analysis of recent protests in Brazil and Turkey reveals that the economy is far from the only motor of these social developments. The challenge staring both governments in the face is one of political inclusion.
As Egypt Lionizes Police, Activists Worry, by Tom Perry and Shadia Nasralla
The army-backed government is lionizing the police force that crushed Cairo protests by supporters of deposed President Mohamed Mursi this week, killing at least 578 people. Accompanied by the army`s move back to the heart of government, the elevation of the police is worrying those Egyptians who fear a newly assertive security apparatus will try to knock a badly shaken democratic transition even further off course.
Democracy May Succeed if Violence Doesn’t Rise, by Peter Ackerman
The Egyptian military’s declaration of a state of emergency calls into question whether the road map to democracy can survive in Egypt. But Peter Ackerman believes that the military’s violence has to become more sustained before that road map can be called a failure and Egypt moves to martial law. Unless the current violence intensifies, each political pillar in Egypt – the military, the Islamists and the secularists -- has room to compromise.
It Only Gets Worse From Here, by Issandr El Amrani
The question about the violence that has shaken Egypt is whether this escalation is planned to create a situation that will inevitably trigger more violence – whether this is the desired goal. In their strategy against the July 3 coup, the Brothers and their allies have relied on an implicit threat of violence or social breakdown, combined with the notion of democratic legitimacy, i.e. that they were after all elected and that, even if popular, it was still a coup. At least on the former argument, they got things very wrong: their opponents will welcome their camp`s rhetorical and actual violence, and use it to whitewash their own.
Egyptian Liberals Call for Crackdown Against Pro-Morsi Sit-Ins, by William Booth and Sharaf Al-Hourani
Liberal commentators, activists and politicians — on state-controlled media and across a spectrum of independent channels — say it is long past time to evict the tens of thousands of Morsi supporters and Muslim Brotherhood backers from their sit-ins around Cairo University and the Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque. The Egyptian liberals making these calls are aware that a crackdown by the military or police on a committed, cohesive, religiously inspired group could lead to bloodshed.
In Cairo Camps, Protesters Dig In and Live On, by Ben Hubbard
Breaking up the pro-Morsi camps in Cairo will be difficult because of the crowds they have amassed, the infrastructure they have built, and the religious fervor the protesters bring to the fight. The military and the police have already killed dozens of people, and human rights groups have reported cases in which Morsi’s supporters have detained and tortured opponents. But instead of scaring the protesters into going home, the crackdowns have reinforced their conviction to stay.
Why Egypt Shouldn’t Break The Pro-Morsi Sit-Ins, by Bassem Sabry
With the recent round of international diplomatic mediation efforts officially declared as having “ended” without any noticeable breakthroughs, and with the government and media rhetoric becoming noticeably sharper over the past few days, many theorize that the government will try within days to break up Cairo`s two major pro-Mohammed Morsi sit-ins. Breaking up the sit-ins by force, despite the arguments voiced in support, would be overall a dangerous and counterproductive course of action, especially from the viewpoint of decision-makers in Cairo.
Rabaa and Nahda Give Birth to New Victory Sign, by Motasem A. Dalloul
A sign of a hand with four fingers raised with the thumb closed is fast spreading as a profile picture among Facebook and Twitter users who reject the military coup in Egypt. This sign became common after the dispersal the pro-Morsi supporters in the two protest camps, Rabaa Al-Adawiya and Al-Nahda Squares, in Cairo last Wednesday.
Tunisian Youth Do More Than Protest, by Nour Awaiss
Youth leaders in Tunisia have high hopes for their country, and are ready to work for an inclusive future. They are calling upon politicians in this transitory period to use the energy spent fighting over political ideology on the economic development of Tunisia. Some are mobilizing to work toward the future stability of their country by countering violence head on.
Activists Must Reclaim a Co-Opted Movement, by Karima Bennoune
Muslim fundamentalists in Tunisia have tried to use 2011’s opening to impose their own repressive agenda. The challenge is to effectively counter that fundamentalist agenda in nonviolent and rights-respecting ways. Since late July, activists have protested peacefully at the Constituent Assembly in Tunis. According to Tunisian human rights lawyer Bochra Belhaj Hamida the spirit of the Arab spring persists in today’s “extraordinary resistance” to Islamism.
Tamarod Breathes New Life Into Bahrain’s Pro-Democracy Movement, by Nada Alwadi
It is too early to evaluate the outcomes of the new Tamarod movement which started a few days ago in Bahrain. However, it is fair to say that the organizers of the “Tamarod August 14” movement have managed to achieve one important goal at this stage: lots of attention. Tamarod in Arabic means rebellions and the word was inspired by the grassroots movement in Egypt that collected 22 million signatures for a petition demanding the former Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi call for an early election. The success of this movement was inspiring to many Arab countries, including Bahrain.
Bahrain Amends Law to Ban Manama Protests, by The Daily Star
Bahrain`s King Hamad has banned protests in Manama, the capital, in an amendment to a law on public gatherings, ahead of a major opposition demonstration called for mid-August. His decree modifies the law to "ban organizing protests, rallies, gatherings or sit-ins in Manama, with the exception of sit-ins outside (offices of) international organizations" held with written police authorization. Authorities have already decided to ban the mid-August protest and threatened to severely punish those who take part.
Bahrain Activists to Test Ban at U.S. Embassy, by Ali Khalil
Bahraini opposition activists, inspired by the success of street protests in Egypt, plan to demonstrate near the US embassy on Wednesday in defiance of a government ban. The government has assumed sweeping new powers to crush demonstrations, but the protest organizers insist they will go ahead regardless. They have called on Washington to use its influence with the authorities to ensure that a pro-democracy demonstration can be held on the doorstep of its embassy without bloodshed.
Youth Fighting Delinquency Among Morocco’s Youth, by El-Yassmine El-Achir
Across Morocco, more than 70,000 children live in child detention centers, where they either are put as a result of delinquency or mental instability, or are allowed to stay because of poverty. Troubled youth, searching for an identity, are easy prey for terrorist groups. Civil society and government have worked independently to handle this issue in the past, but it has not been enough: they must also work with the youth themselves.
Iraq: Crackdown on Baghdad Protests, by Human Rights Watch
Baghdad’s new governor, Ali al-Tamimi, should immediately declare that he will support Iraqis’ right to exercise free assembly, Human Rights Watch said. He should revoke regulations that allow police to prevent peaceful protest. On August 2, 2013, security forces invoked the regulations, which breach safeguards contained in Iraq’s constitution, to detain 13 people who attempted to protest against corruption and Iraq’s continuing slide into violence.
Turkey’s Women Strike Back, by Suzy Hansen
In June, the protest that began as a tiny demonstration against the destruction of Gezi Park in Istanbul’s Taksim Square morphed into a large-scale, country-wide standoff with the Turkish government that has been followed around the globe. What hasn’t been much noted abroad, however, is how many of the activists closest to the front lines are women. One of the most emblematic images of the protests is of a woman in a red dress being pepper-sprayed in the face. And a study of the Gezi movement estimated that more than half of those taking part have been women.
Stop New Israeli Settlement in Hebron
This is a campaign to prevent the transfer of the Al Rajabi family building in Hebron’s Old City to Israeli settlers.
Resistance and Art: Call for Papers
This is a call for papers for a BRISMES graduate conference entitled `Art and Resistance in the Middle East: History and Change` that will take place on Saturday 16th November 2013 at the University of Edinburgh. The
Writings on Egypt’s Walls, by Jonathan Guyer
At the Muslim Brotherhood’s sit-in at Rabaa al-Adawiya, in the Nasr City neighborhood of Cairo, where protesters spent more than a month protesting the ouster of President Mohamed Morsi, cartoons were a form of resistance. Wherever Egyptians fall on the political spectrum, they work to craft a joke, jab, or remembrance that will push readers to think outside of the frame.
Women in Arts: Activism and Censorship, by Gabriela De Cicco
In recent years, women artists from different regions have been censored after criticizing governments or faith-based laws, or after using art to explore sexuality or lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBT) rights issues. AWID spoke to Palestinian artist Larissa Sansour, who has faced censorship for her pro-Palestinian art, about how she addresses political issues in her art, the link between art and activism and why it is important to address censorship head on.
Wadja and The Saudi Women Fighting Oppression From Within, by Rachel Shabi
The women in "Wadjda" - a new film from Saudi Arabia, the first to be directed by a woman there - are not depicted as wholly passive victims, but rather come across as striving, enterprising and possessing some agency within the constraints imposed upon them. The film has brought Saudi Arabia into the spotlight at a time when there are mixed reports about the country`s emerging social changes, or lack of them.
Because Our Cause is Just is a documentary produced by Women’s Learning Partnership about the struggle of women in countries experiencing the so-called ‘Arab Spring.’
Conferences & Events
Spaces of Liberation, 12 September 2013, Berkeley, California, USA
Representation, Politics and Violence, 11-13 September 2013, Brighton, UK
Iraqi Social Forum, 26-28 September 2013, Baghdad, Iraq
Revolt and Revolution, 4-6 November 2013, Athens, Greece
Art and Resistance in the Middle East: History and Change, 16 November 2013, University of Edinburgh, UK