[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 & Comments
A Second Nobel for the Arab Spring, by Larbi Sadiki
The Nobel committee awarded the National Dialogue Quartet the 2015 prize for its "decisive contribution to the building of a pluralistic democracy in Tunisia." The Nobel accolade provides a much-needed fillip to the Arab Spring. This is the second time that the Arab Spring has been "endorsed" by Sweden’s Nobel Foundation. In 2011 Yemeni journalist Tawakkol Karman was the joint winner of the peace prize for her "struggle for women`s rights".
What Is Tunisia’s Nobel Prize Rewarding? by Hela Yousfi and Choukri Hmed
By reassuring the political and economic elite and backing the privatisation operation led by sponsors and donors, this Nobel peace prize could well be one for “social peace at all costs.” The quartet’s member organizations undoubtedly helped preserve the new constitution and avert civil war, but are socially and politically distant from the principles of the “Jasmin revolution.” Minor economic and political changes to the Ben Ali regime are inadequate, and Tunisia, the pioneer of the “Arab Spring,” is still in part seen as “the exception”—as it was during the Ben Ali dictatorship—in a region devastated by foreign interventions and civil wars.
Tunisian Civil Society – Life Behind the Nobel Prize, by Lina Ben Mhenni
The award comes as a message of hope and confidence to Tunisians. But despite the Quartet`s achievements, we cannot forget two important points. First, the role of the civil society should not be limited to the period of the National Dialogue. Second, the winning of the Peace Nobel Prize should not overshadow the reality of things and the challenges that Tunisia and its civil society still has to face.
The Next Intifada: A Struggle Against the Bantustans, by Jamal Juma
The root causes for this rebellion are the same as ever: the Israeli regime of occupation, apartheid and colonialism makes Palestinians’ lives unbearable. However, there are fundamental differences between now and then, and the actions of Israel’s new settler militia will determine when, not if, a full scale Intifada will explode. The most visible difference between the reality on the ground in the first and second Intifadas is the prominent role of Israeli settlers in the attacks on Palestinians. The settler population has become a well-armed, well-organized and ideologically driven militia.
There Will Be No Peace until Israel’s Occupation of Palestine Ends, by Marwan Barghouti
The real problem is that Israel has chosen occupation over peace, and used negotiations as a smokescreen to advance its colonial project. There can be no negotiations without a clear Israeli commitment to fully withdraw from the Palestinian territory it occupied in 1967, including East Jerusalem; a complete end to all colonial policies; a recognition of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people including their right to self-determination and return; and the release of all Palestinian prisoners.
Is a Third Palestinian Intifada on the Way – Or Has It Already Begun? by Peter Beaumont
Past intifadas—the second in particular—saw the co-option of Palestinian security forces into the violence and widespread endorsement by the rival political factions, something yet to occur this time. But, by the same token, the second differed in many ways from the first, meaning past intifadas are not reliable indicators of what the next might look like.
A New Generation of Resistance, by Yassmine Saleh
The current wave of youth protest is not an anomaly in the Palestinian struggle against the Israeli occupation and colonization. Palestinian society is a young society. Today’s youth-led revolt is unique in that the young people who are participating are students in universities and schools. It is too early to determine their exact class background, but many of them are from refugee camps in the Palestinian cities.
Palestinian Women: Vanguard of Resistance Against Israeli Occupation, by Mariam Mecky
Powerful images of Palestinian women masking their faces with the traditional keffiyeh and marching in the streets, schoolgirls throwing stones at occupation forces, and female citizens arguing and tussling with Israeli forces have been going viral. "With the Israeli atrocities and human rights violations against us, we as Palestinian women have no other choice but to resist and refuse the colonisation, occupation and humiliation, and participate in all resistance activities, whether violent or non-violent, side by side with men on the front lines," a Palestinian woman, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Ahram Online.
The Palestinian Uprising Should Provoke a Rethinking of Resistance Factions, by Ramona Wadi
Palestinian collective resistance in the occupied West Bank has been characterised by various levels of defiance. Apart from taking a stance against settler-colonial terror, Israeli state brutality and the Palestinian Authority’s cherished security-coordination with the occupier, the current uprising is also shaping Palestinian unity, away from the impositions dictated by the diplomatic context of how resistance and unity should be defined and implemented.
Israel Passes “Minimum Sentence” for Stone-Throwers, by Patrick Strickland
Israel has passed an amendment to the country`s civil law establishing a minimum prison sentence of three years for people who throw rocks at Israeli troops, civilians or vehicles. The legislation includes a number of provisions, among them one that permits the government to strip those convicted of stone throwing of their state benefits. In effect, the move will further entrench Israeli civil law in occupied East Jerusalem, according to rights groups.
Thousands Call for Peace Talks at Tel Aviv Rally, by Ilan Lior
Some three thousand people demonstrated in Tel Aviv on 24 October against the Israeli government`s policies, calling for a political solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Hundreds March in Beirut Over Garbage Crisis, by The Daily Star
About five hundred people marched from Beirut`s National Museum to protest the government`s handling of the on-going garbage crisis Thursday 29 October.
Self-Immolation Spreads in Middle East, by Ash Gallagher
Since 2010, when Tunisian street vendor Mohamed Bouazizi set himself on fire in front of the Tunisian government offices, a regional movement against economic disparity has risen to prominence. But self-immolation is a relatively new form of protest in the region. In the year following Bouazizi’s death, self-immolation cases multiplied, including at least five in Morocco, men in Jordan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia and an elderly woman in Bahrain, all facing economic disparity, debt or unemployment.
Anti-Colonialism, Grassroots Nationalism and their Impacts on International Relations in Egypt, by Youssef Kodsy
Tahrir Square in 2011 demonstrated to the world that Egypt’s struggle against imperialism is still on-going. While no foreign troops are directly present in Egypt, Egyptians have realised that the economic model of neoliberalism is essentially neo-colonialism which exploits them politically and economically in manners similar to Britain in the 19th and 20th centuries.
Year in Prison for Protester Who Tore Up Photo of Bahrain King, by Robert Mackey
An appeals court in Bahrain upheld the conviction of a prominent opposition activist on 21 October, sentencing her to one year in prison for insulting the nation’s king by tearing up a photograph of him last year in front of a judge while on trial for the very same act.
Thousands Protest Utility Prices in Morocco’s Tangier, by Aziz El Yaakoubi
Thousands took to the streets in Morocco`s northern city of Tangier late on 31 October to protest over high prices for water and electricity, in the nation`s largest protest since pro-democracy marches in 2011 demanding political reforms.
“It’s Men’s Turn”
The Iranian activist Masih Alinejad has launched a campaign to get Iranian men to take up the fight for equal rights for women, in solidarity with their wives.
“Arabian Street Artists” Bomb Homeland: Why We Hacked an Award-Winning Series
An Egyptian artist, Heba Y. Amin, and two other artists, Caram Kapp and Stone, took credit for the graffiti showed in a recent episode of the series Homeland. The three, who call themselves Arabian Street Artists, say in their statement that it was a subtle protest of false and misleading stereotypes in the series, which has been heavily criticized for its portrayals of Muslims.
How Protesters Used Arabic to Subvert Western Influence – Long Before the “Homeland” Graffiti, by Kevin M. Jones
The recent hacking of the popular Showtime series “Homeland” by a team of Arab graffiti artists hired to draw pro-Assad graffiti on a set depicting a Syrian refugee camp has elicited laughter and applause. The Arabic language has long served as the most potent weapon available to dissident Arab artists in their struggle against European colonialism and American imperialism. These artists echo the earlier demonstrations of defiant resistance from Arab poets.
Events & Conferences
The Arab Revolutions: Five Years On, 21–23 January 2016, Doha Institute for Graduate Studies, Doha, Qatar.