[This is a monthly 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 monthly roundup to DARS@jadaliyya.com.]
News & Commentary
Uprising Could Trigger ISIS Undoing, Says Study, by Mark Townsend
A large-scale uprising from people living under the totalitarian regime of Islamic State is the most likely trigger that will lead to the undoing of the self-declared caliphate, according to a report by the former head of counter-terrorism at MI6, which says that ISIS’s biggest challenge will be controlling dissent and coping with the difficulties of administration where it governs.
Egyptian Students to Sissi: It Is Not Over Yet, by Ahmad Al Nashar
There is no doubt that the revolutionary spirit in Egypt has been waning. The confused actions and statements of opposition leaders, the dwindling number of participators in weekly marches and the signs of internal struggles among opposition groups are indicative signs. Egyptian youth are the most important component of Egypt`s revolutionaries. This resurgence in protest comes at a time of waning revolutionary spirit in Egypt.
Egyptian Journalists Protest Media’s “Alignment With State,” by Lobna Monieb
A number of Egyptian journalists have launched a petition to safeguard a "free press that opposes terrorism as well as despotism.” The move comes in rejection to a statement by the chief editors of most of Egypt`s newspapers, in which they said they will not publish material that "shows support to terrorism, directly or indirectly," while also confirming their "refusal to doubts in state institutions and insults to the army, police and judiciary." The petition was proposed by Khaled El-Balshi, a member of the high board of the Journalists Syndicate and chief editor of Albedaiah newspaper.
Egypt: Press Freedom at a Crossroads, by Sherif Mansour
The current Egyptian government is trying to roll back time, reversing one of the gains of the revolution of 2011 by cracking down on the press and forcing independent and critical voices into silence, exile, and prison. The country was ranked third most dangerous in the Risk List of the Committee to Protect Journalists, yet the government tries to appease the international community by arguing that the country is on track for democracy, justifying restrictive measures under an “anti-terrorism” banner.
Social Networks in Syria: Between Mediation and Mobilisation, by Hamzeh Moustafa
We still misunderstand the roles Facebook and Twitter have played in how the uprisings across the Arab world began and continue to develop. While in many Arab countries, social media facilitated the organization of large protests in public spaces, Syria was an exception. The digital component of the uprising was limited, focusing on relaying events and explaining them. The influence of virtual communities increased over the course of the early uprising. The “Syrian Revolution” Facebook page was the largest virtual body. However, as the uprising’s militant side grew, the balance of power shifted again to favor actors of a rather different sort.
How Bahrain Spies on British Soil, by Adriana Edmeades
The Bahraini government has been using sophisticated malware–complete with technical support from its manufacturer–to remotely conduct surveillance operations on its political dissidents living in the United Kingdom. Gamma International, a multinational technology corporation with offices across the world, sold a form of malware called FinFisher to Bahrain. In providing technological support to the regime, Gamma was assisting the regime to more effectively monitor individuals including pro-democracy activists, human rights lawyers and other prominent opposition leaders, at home and abroad.
Bahrain’s Shiites Boycott Elections, by Stefanie Zobl
Voter turnout was low for legislative elections in Bahrain with the country’s Shiite population staging a boycott. In a country ruled by Sunnis, the majority Shiite populations feel oppressed by the Sunni government, and Bahrain has been divided for years. Demonstrators took to the streets in numerous cities across the country to show their frustration, and high voter turnout only occurred in cities with high Sunni populations.
Bahraini Blogger Outlines Struggle for Human Rights, by Zara Zhuang
Bahraini blogger and human rights activist Ali Abdulemam, founder of Bahrain Online, spoke about his experience resisting crackdowns from the conservative Bahraini regime at the "Tech in Conflict Zones" session on the first day of the web summit in Dublin. Abdulemam created the Bahrain Online platform in 1998 to provide the Bahraini people with pro-democracy news, but was arrested in 2005 under charges of insulting the king and broadcasting false news and then arrested again in 2010 and tortured.
Twenty-Five Years Since Berlin Wall Fell, Palestinians Smash West Bank Barrier, by Matthew Champion
As the western world marks twenty-five years since the Berlin Wall came down, a group of Palestinian youths have reminded people they still live behind a wall. Wielding sledgehammers, and somehow after having evaded Israeli security, the group made a hole in the Israeli West Bank barrier in the village of Bir Nabala, near Ramallah in the West Bank. In Arabic the barrier is called “the wall of apartheid,” and allusions to the Berlin Wall are common.
A Leaderless Palestinian Revolt Proves More Difficult to Curb, by Isabel Kershner and Jodi Rudoren
There is a new type of armed struggle emerging in Palestine, a leaderless uprising of sporadic outbursts against the Israeli occupation and policies. With no peace process to speak of and a political leadership that lacks the public’s confidence, Palestinians described the emergence of a smoldering, improvised intifada unlike the organized suicide bombings of a decade ago or the stone-throwing protests of the late 1980s. Without clear evidence of coordination by Fatah or Hamas, the rival political factions that dominate the West Bank and Gaza Strip, Israel has no straightforward way to curb the attacks or hold the authorities accountable.
Hundreds of Palestinians, Israelis Protest Collective Punishment in East Jerusalem, by Moriel Rothman- Zechter
In the midst of the heightened tension gripping much of Jerusalem over the past few weeks, over eight hundred people marched peacefully through the village of Issawiya on 12 November, calling for an end to collective punishment of East Jerusalem residents and protesting the occupation. The majority of marchers were Palestinians from the neighborhood, along with a sizable contingent of outside activists, both Palestinian and Israeli, coming from the nearby Hebrew University campus and elsewhere to show solidarity with the people of the Issawiya.
An Israeli-Arab Spring? 1.6 Million Palestinian-Israelis Are Marginalized, Angry and Defiant, by Emile Nakhleh
In response to endemic budgetary, economic, political, and social discrimination, the Arab community within Israel is becoming assertive, more pro-Palestinian, and more confrontational. Calls for equality, justice, and an end to systemic discrimination by “Israeli Arab” civil society activists are now more vocal and confrontational. Should a third intifada or uprising erupt, it could easily spread to Arab towns and cities inside Israel. The Israeli military, police, and security services would find it difficult to contain a civil rights intifada across Israel because Arabs live all over the state, from Galilee in the north to the Negev in the south.
Costly Pro-Israel PR Campaign Fails to Stop UC Los Angeles Divestment, by Nora Barrows-Friedman
The University of California at Los Angeles became the sixth of nine undergraduate campuses in the UC system within the last two years to pass a resolution calling for divestment from firms that profit from the Israeli occupation. The resolution was passed despite expensive efforts by anti-Palestinian groups to thwart such a victory.
British-Iranian Woman Freed After Iran Volleyball Jailing, by Channel4
Ghoncheh Ghavami, an Iranian-British woman who was jailed for trying to attend a men`s volleyball game in Iran, has been released on bail. She had been detained since 20 June when she tried to attend a men`s volleyball match between Iran and Italy in Tehran. Iran banned women from volleyball games in 2012, extending a long-standing ban on football matches.
The Revolution Will Not Be Institutionalized, by Jeffrey Jurgens
Hannah Arendt concludes her book, On Revolution, with a lament for the revolutionary tradition`s “lost treasure”: the public freedom of citizens to participate directly in the activity of government. The people who had given shape to the revolutions in America, France, Germany, Russia, and Hungary had sought not only to tear down existing autocratic orders but also to establish altogether new modes of political existence. In other words, they were concerned not merely with liberating themselves but with founding institutions that would secure for future generations the freedom to act in the political realm. Unfortunately, Arendt says, the republics which often followed revolutionary upheaval failed to enshrine those forms of direct engagement that had animated their very creation.
Palestinians Add “Second-Class Citizen” Passport Stamp to Facebook Profiles, by Al Jazeera
An Israeli-Palestinian graphic designer, Sana Jamalia, has come up with a creative protest against a new bill that calls for Israel to limit "national rights" to Jewish citizens. She replaced her Facebook profile picture with an image stamped with the words "second-class citizen" in Hebrew.
29 November – UK Stop Arming Israel Day of Action
The #StopArmingIsrael campaign organized a day of action on Saturday 29 November, the UN day of solidarity with the Palestinian people, to pressure the United Kingdom government and British companies to end all relations with Israel arms companies and to end all forms of military cooperation with Israel.
Palestinians Artists Launch Art Festival to Protest Israel’s Barrier, by Reuters
Palestinian artists showcased their work at West Bank’s Qalandia International Festival as part of a creative reaction to the Israeli wall.
Conferences & Events
T.E. Lawrence and the Third Arab Uprising, 17 December 2014, Council for British Research in the Levant, London, UK.
Beyond the Arab Uprisings: Rediscovering the MENA region, Annual Conference of the Italian Society for Middle Eastern Studies, 16-17 January 2015, Ca’ Foscari University, Venice, Italy.
From Contention to Social Change: Rethinking the Consequences of Social Movements and Cycles of Protests, ESA Research Network on Social Movements , 19-20 February 2015, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain
Call for Contributions: Translation and the Many Languages of Resistance, 6-8 March 2015, Cairo, Egypt.
ICCG2015: Precarious Radicalism on Shifting Grounds: Towards a Politics of Possibility, 26-30 July 2015, Ramallah, Palestine (Deadline for submissions: 1 December 2014).