[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
Contesting Patriarchy-As-Governance: Lessons From Youth-Led Activism, by Deniz Kandiyoti
The recent waves of citizen-led activism that swept the globe inspired numerous attempts to identify common drivers across diverse instances of public disobedience and protest. This article explores the reasons behind the apparent anti-patriarchal thrust of struggles against authoritarianism in some parts of the MENA region, and pose a relatively neglected question: Are there any lessons to be drawn from youth-led activism for a new politics of gender?
From Facebook Movements to City Square Movements, by Geoffrey Pleyers
A spirited argument, tinged by technological determinism, has developed on the extent of the role played by social networks in movements that have sometimes been described as "revolutions 2.0." In order to understand the role of the Internet in the "Arab revolutions", the Indignados and Occupy movements or the democratic movements in Russia, Turkey, and Brazil, one needs to transcend glib binary oppositions between the “virtual” world of cyber-activism and the “real” world of mobilization on the streets and squares.
In Pictures: Palestine Marathon, by Silvia Boarini
More than three thousand runners from thirty-nine nations ran through the streets of Bethlehem and its surrounding villages in the second annual Palestine Marathon this weekend. Participants in the "Right to Movement" events completed ten kilometers, half-marathon, and full-marathon races on Friday. The loss of Palestinian land to Israeli settlements and settlement infrastructure in the occupied West Bank makes it impossible to find a continuous, forty-two kilometer stretch–the distance of a full marathon. For this reason, marathon runners ran a twenty-one kilometer course twice.
Resistance… The Road to Restoring The Rights of The Palestinian People, by Farouk Al-Kaddoumi
The Palestinian cause is going through a crucial time in history due to the successive events in the region and the results of the Arab Spring and, more importantly, due to Israel`s acts of organized terrorism against the Palestinian people and the massacres it has and continues to commit, against the Palestinian cities, villages, and refugee camps, in addition to the unjust siege imposed on our steadfast people in the Gaza Strip. However, despite the fact that the resistance has made prominent political achievements that have influenced Israeli society, it has also raised anxiety and fear amid Israelis.
Peace Talks’ Failure May Boost Palestinian Nonviolent Resistance, by Daoud Kuttab
As Palestinian and Israeli negotiators struggle to extend the peace talks beyond the 30 April deadline, the need for a shift in liberation strategy is quickly becoming a priority. Two distinct movements are emerging as a possible Palestinian plan B. Although military resistance groups still remain, neither movement—which are emerging both inside and outside Palestine—is based on violence as a viable way to reach independence, a reflection of a lack of faith in the armed struggle.
A Boycott Can Jolt Israelis from Their Somnolence on Palestine, by Harriet Sherwood
The Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement has had mixed success. The issue is gaining traction even among US academic bodies, previously thought impervious due to the oft-cited "unbreakable bond" between the United States and Israel. The boycott movement was boosted earlier this year by publicity surrounding Scarlett Johansson`s endorsement of SodaStream. Israel is angered by the boycott calls, and alarmed at the movement`s momentum.
How to Keep The Palestinian Cause Alive, by Alan Hart
Norman Finkelstein addressed a number of British universities in mid-March on "The End of Palestine? It’s time to sound an alarm.” Finkelstein argued "The PA fantasizes that it can liberate Palestine via international diplomacy, while BDS fantasizes that it can liberate Palestine via international sanctions. But the only ones who can liberate Palestine are the Palestinian people themselves, principally those living under occupation. Only mass nonviolent civil resistance can catapult Palestine back on the international stage.”
Seeing the Women in Revolutionary Syria, by Razan Ghazzawi
New spaces that came into existence in the first couple of years in the uprising, gradually started to reduce with the increase of regime brutality on its people which resulted in the increased militarization of the revolution. Women, both traditional activists and local women residing in “liberated” areas, are undermining such male spaces by their very existence. The very existence of these women and the work they are doing in these areas poses a direct challenge to the growing male hegemony that was developed during the war.
Egyptian Professor Encourages Youth to Use Non-Violent Activism in Bid to Save Brotherhood, by Michael Georgy
Wafaa Hefny is a forty-seven-year-old veiled academic trying to save the Muslim Brotherhood, the outlawed group that Egypt’s army-backed authorities brand a “terrorist group”, by ensuring it remains committed to peaceful change and rejects violence. “The harder the state presses us, the more committed we should be to peaceful activism. That is what gives us strength. Violence would be very dangerous for us... Resorting to violence would be disastrous because the movement would lose its moral high ground and provide an excuse to the government to crack down even harder,” Hefny said.
Student Killed, Two Reporters Injured by Gunfire at Cairo University Clashes, by Ahram Online
Mohamed Adel, a student in the faculty for Arabic language and Islamic thought, died and two reporters suffered gunshot wounds on Monday, 14 April during clashes at Cairo University that erupted between security forces and students loyal to ousted president Mohamed Morsi.
Families of Detainees Hold Silent Protest Downtown Cairo, by Mada Masr
Dozens of demonstrators gathered in downtown Cairo on 3 April for a silent protest remembering the hundreds of detainees arrested over the past few months, holding up their pictures and signs bearing their names.
Activist Sit-In Against Protest Law Outside Presidential Palace, by Ahram Online
Activists from April 6 Movement and a number of political groups have started an open ended sit-in in front of the presidential palace in reaction to the court verdict which upheld the three-year jail sentence and fines of prominent activists Ahmed Maher, Mohamed Adel, and Ahmed Douma.
The Roots and Grassroots of the Syrian Revolution, by Joseph Daher
Dominant narratives on the conflict in Syria simplify it as a struggle between dictatorship and Islamic extremists, with Syrians included only as passive victims. But from the outset, the main forms of organization have been popular committees at village, city, and regional levels. The popular committees were the true spearheads of the movement that mobilized people for protest. Then, the regions liberated from the regime-developed forms of self-gestation based on mass organization. Elected popular councils emerged to manage those liberated regions, proving that it was the regime that provoked anarchy.
Officials in Turkey “Lift Twitter Ban,” by James Reynolds
The Turkish authorities have lifted a ban on Twitter following Wednesday`s constitutional court ruling. The court had told the country`s telecommunication authorities the two-week-old ban must be lifted, as it was a breach of freedom of expression. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan had vowed to "wipe out Twitter" after users spread allegations of corruption. Users across the country found many ways of circumventing the prohibition, which was widely criticized and ridiculed.
The Birth of the Barakat Movement in Algeria: Every Generation Needs Hope, by Amira Bouraoui and Karima Bennoune
Amira Bouraoui co-founded the Barakat (Enough!) movement, and spoke about its goal to establish democracy. "The government did not expect that there would be such a vigilant civil society. They thought we were dead, but we were only in convalescence," says Bouraoui. “We are not an insurrectional movement. Given the terrorism we suffered in the 90s, and the damage caused by the “Arab Spring”–which either brought the army or extremist movements to power in different countries, reform is better…We want to take concerted action that will probably assume the form of a new constitution.”
Algeria Presidential Campaign Boycotted by Several Opposition Parties, by Euronews
Algeria’s presidential race is in full swing in the middle of a political crisis. Opposition parties and activists are staging protests against the re-election of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika and his FLN Party. If he is voted in to office on 17 April it would be his fourth term in power. Algeria’s largest legal Islamist party, the Movement of Society for Peace and the liberal Rally for Culture and Democracy party have said they will boycott the election.
Libyans Protest Insecurity, Slow Transition, by Ali Al-Gattani and Fathia Al-Majbri
Libyans staged a day of "civil disobedience" on 6 April to denounce the deteriorating security situation. Protestors demanded the suspension of the General National Congress and the holding of parliamentary and presidential elections. In Benghazi, a general strike temporarily halted flights at the city`s international airport. Schools and banks also shut down as part of the civil disobedience call.
Mass Strike Paralyzes Libyan City of Benghazi, by Al Jazeera
A mass strike brought the Libyan port city of Benghazi to a stand-still Sunday, as workers protested growing insecurity and demanded the resignation of parliament. Many Libyans blame infighting among parliamentarians for the disorder that has been growing since Muammar Gaddafi was toppled in a NATO-backed uprising in 2011.
Morocco’s Unions Protest Austerity Plans, by Al Jazeera English
Thousands of workers, teachers and civil servants marched on Sunday 6 April through downtown Casablanca to protest austerity plans put in place by the Moroccan government to control runaway spending. During the march, police mounted on motorcycles swooped down and arrested several activists that used the rally as an occasion to denounce the all-powerful monarchy. Criticism of the elected government in the North African kingdom is tolerated, but not of the hereditary monarchy itself, which the activists claimed was corrupt.
Stories From Bahrain’s Crackdown: Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja, Former President & Co-Founder, Bahrain Centre for Human Rights, by Diana Sayed
In the early days of the protests in 2011, Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja led peaceful demonstrations and criticized the regime for its crackdown, demanding that charges of torture and corruption be brought against members of the Bahraini royal family. On 9 April 2011, about fifteen masked men broke into Al-Khawaja’s daughter’s house, attacked him until he lost consciousness, dragged him down the stairs, and detained him along with two of his sons-in-law. Al-Khawaja resolutely advocates for peaceful resistance despite the Bahraini government’s continued crackdown over the last three years, including its jailing of political dissidents.
The campaign “Click Rights” was initiated by the Dutch international development organization Hivos. It aims to bring more awareness of digital rights to citizens, so they in turn can pressure governments and the private sector to uphold them.
Syria’s Graffiti Revolution, by Adrian Hartrick
Shera’ (Arabic for "The Street") is a group of young activists in the northern Syrian town of Kafr Nabl who are using graffiti as a way to reclaim a revolution they feel has gone horribly array. For the past few months, activists of Shera’ have been spray-painting slogans on the walls of Kafr Nabl. The slogans are taken from the Quran and are intended to convey a tolerant, humanist Islam that runs counter to the doctrine of ISIS and the violent practices of the Assad government.
The Syrian Filmmakers Aiming to Change Your View of The War, by Daisy Carrington
In Syria, not all rebels carry guns, some carry cameras. Charif Kiwan heads up Abounaddara, a collective of Syrian filmmakers who are hoping to affect change in how the Syrian conflict is portrayed, both by President Bashar al-Assad and the media at large. Abounaddara`s members—all volunteer, all anonymous—create short films, generally two to five minutes long, in which they give a voice to ordinary citizens.
Conferences & Events
Muslim Women’s Activism, 26 June 2014, University of Derby, UK.
Call for Papers: "Bread, Freedom and Social Justice:" Organized Workers and Mass Mobilizations in the Arab World, Europe and Latin America, 10-11 July 2014, University of Cambridge, UK.
Call for Papers: The Role of Diasporas, Migrants, and Exiles in the Arab Revolutions and Political Transitions, WAFAW Conference, 15-17 October 2014, Tunis, Tunisia. (Deadline: 15 May 2014)
Beyond the Arab Uprisings: Rediscovering the MENA region, Call for Panel Proposals, Annual Conference of the Italian Society for Middle Eastern Studies, 16-17 January 2015, Ca’ Foscari University, Venice, Italy. (Deadline: 30 April 2014)