[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 Revolution For Our Times: Rojava, Northern Syria, by Rahila Gupta
Rahila Gupta travelled to Rojava, the Kurdish enclave in Northern Syria, to witness a revolution experimenting with a form of stateless, direct democracy with women’s liberation, race and class equality at the heart of it. This is the first part of the diary she kept on her recent visit.
The Syrian Revolution Lives Again, by Ali Melhem
After nearly five years of civil war, the temporary cease-fire has brought a return of popular protests to Syria`s streets. But now that civil society is finally back, writes Ali Melhem, it is time for activists to rethink past mistakes and speak out against the Islamist groups that kidnapped the spirit of the uprising.
Nonviolent Strategies to Defeat Totalitarians Such as ISIS, by Maciej Bartkowski
The anti-ISIS coalition is preparing a major ground offensive against ISIS to recapture Mosul and, eventually, ISIS-declared capital Raqqa. However, any armed victories will come with enormous costs for the locals and are unlikely to bring mid- or long-term stability to the region. What will be won through arms is likely to be kept by further violence afterwards. But what other long-term strategies could be considered? What lessons do other historical struggles against totalitarians offer for fights with more contemporary violent radicals? Do past struggles provide insights into strategies other than military response? And if so, what is the likelihood for their application on the ground today and how?
Education as Resistance: Western Sahara’s Rising Generation, by Agaila Abba
As Western Sahara enters its fifth decade under occupation, Agaila Abba reports on the role of education as a major front of resistance in the Saharawi national struggle.
Three Million Moroccans Protest in Rabat Against Ban Ki-moon’s Stance, by Asharq Al-Awsat
On 13 March, three million protesters packed the streets of Rabat after political parties, unions and non-governmental groups called for a national demonstration. Earlier Ban Ki-moon made a statement where he used the term “occupation” to describe Morocco’s presence in the Western Sahara. Morocco’s government accused Ban Ki-moon of no longer being neutral in the Western Sahara conflict. Waving portraits of King Mohammed and Moroccan flags, protesters chanted “The Sahara is ours, the King is ours” as they packed the streets near the parliament building in a rally supported by the government.
UN’s Ban Furious with Morocco Over Western Sahara Protests, by France24
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told Morocco’s foreign minister on 14 March he was angered and disappointed by a demonstration in Rabat he said was a personal attack on him over remarks he made about the disputed territory of Western Sahara.
A Vision for Western Sahara and the Moroccan Protest Movement, by Mohammed Ben Jelloun
The author uses a normative approach, inspired by the political theory of John Rawls, to analyze the Western Sahara conflict. Since the international community cannot realistically guarantee political self-determination for the Sahrawi population, he argues they should be at least guaranteed maximal political democracy in whatever outcome of the current conflict. If autonomy is to prevail then it should be an autonomy within a fully and strictly democratic Morocco, and if confederation is to prevail then a confederation within a fully and strictly democratic Western Sahara.
Massive Protests in Sanaa Mark the Anniversary of Yemen’s Civil War, by Ali Al-Mujahed and Sudarsan Raghavan
Tens of thousands protested in the Yemeni capital Saturday 26 March on the anniversary of a U.S.-backed, Saudi-led coalition’s entrance into a civil war that has killed thousands and strengthened the Islamic State and al-Qaeda in this strategic Middle Eastern nation.
Palestine Marathon Sparks a Growing Push for Movement Over Politics, by Jacqueline Kantor
The fourth annual Palestine Marathon took place on 1st April, in Bethlehem. The race, which is put on by the non-profit global running community Right to Movement and dedicated to “telling a different story of Palestine,” represents a new mode of political statement. There is not enough Palestinian land to construct a continuous viable course without retreading territory, making this perhaps the only race in the world with a course that is a political statement in itself.
The Manipulation of Non-Violent Resistance. by Ramona Wadi
Politically, the Palestinian Authority (PA) has insisted repeatedly on non-violent resistance and, in turn, created separate entities which have weakened the Palestinian struggle. Armed resistance, despite its legitimacy in international law, has been aligned — hypocritically — with the lexicon of “terrorism” to which Israel is partial, thus rendering the PA complicit in altering historical Palestinian narratives. The separation of different forms of resistance has also weakened the struggle, as each aspect is discussed in isolation, whether it is political prisoners on hunger strike, extrajudicial killings of Palestinians involved in resistance or regular protests against Israel’s colonial expansion.
Palestinian Prime Minister: “We Are Committed to Non-Violent Resistance,” by Anne-Sophie Brändlin
During an interview at DW’s Conflict Zone with Tim Sebastian, Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah said his government has a commitment to "reach a settlement with Israel through peaceful means." Throughout the interview, Hamdallah stressed his government`s commitment to non-violent resistance.
Banning Boycotts: Is History Repeating Itself? by William Eichler
The UK government`s recent attempts to legislate against Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions are reminiscent of Thatcher during South African Apartheid. William Eichler compares the laws introduced by the Conservatives in the United Kingdom in 1988 and in 2016 prohibiting boycotts and defending controversial “friends” on the international stage: apartheid South Africa in 1988 and Israel today.
“We Will Burn You Like We Burned The Dawabshehs” – Life As A Video Activist in Hebron, by Imad Abu Shamsiyya
Imad Abu Shamsiyya, an activist and one of the founders of the grassroots organization Human Rights Defenders, explains the importance of the video camera and filming in documenting injustices and informing people around the world about them.
Thousands of Teachers Protest Stalemate, Accuse Union of “Thwarting” Talks, by Ma’an News Agency
More than three thousand Palestinian public school teachers rallied outside the Palestinian Prime Minister`s office on Monday 7 March, demanding new representation in negotiations between teachers and the Palestinian Authority, as teachers entered their fourth week of strike.
Strike by West Bank Teachers Gain Momentum, Challenging Government, by Diaa Hadid and Rami Nazzal
Public schools across the West Bank have been shuttered since 7 February, in an unprecedented teacher strike against the ossifying Palestinian government. A dispute that began with the teachers’ demand for a pay raise has spiraled into the largest demonstrations in the West Bank in years, and a broad challenge to the Palestinian Authority, which is facing a severe budget shortfall and has responded with threats of arrests and mass firings. The strike was organized through social media under a hashtag that translates to #dignity_for_teachers, and is a protest against the educators’ official union as well as the government.
G4S Leaving Israel Shows That the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Campaign Is Winning, by Sara Apps
G4S has announced that it will be selling its subsidiary, G4S Israel, “in the next twelve to twenty-four months.” The news has been greeted with jubilation from campaigners who have led a sustained boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign against the organisation over the last four years.
Hunger-Striking as a Form of Non-Violent Resistance, by Yasmina Allouche
Middle East Monitor’s second Palestine Remix video takes a look at hunger striking as a form of protest by Palestinian prisoners against the injustice of their sentencing and the conditions they are forced to endure.
Hypocrisy and Resistance: Interactions with the Political in Tunisia, by Emily Cunniffe
Labeling Tunisia the last hope for democracy in the Middle East—and throwing money at it to ostensibly finance this hope—may do more harm than good. By choosing a reductionist rhetorical binary—democratic versus non-democratic—over a more realistic engagement with the country’s complex domestic situation, politicians and Western mainstream media are silencing political dissent and civil society action in Tunisia that exist outside of the realm of the dominant political discourse, and reproduce colonialist narratives of binaries.
In New Album, Rafeef Ziadah Teaches Life and Resistance, by Ben White
Palestinian poet and activist Rafeef Ziadah recently launched her new album, “We Teach Life.”. The poetry’s themes of exile, diaspora identify, and dispossession, resonate with an authenticity that give the listener, or viewer, goose bumps. Ziadah also voices the frustrations she has felt in her activism, and her experiences of Orientalism, privilege, and the marginalisation of Palestinian voices. But it is also about a more profound rejection of the very idea that art and culture can be separate from, or “above,” the political.
Meet the Palestinian Rapper Using Sounds of Occupation to Fight Israel, by Charles B. Anthony
Muqata’a, which translates to boycott in English, is a Palestinian rapper, who often records the sound of the city around him, the checkpoints and protests, incorporating them into his work. In this interview, Muqata’a discusses his work, the current state of the Palestinian leadership and the B.D.S. movement.
Hala Alyan: Poetry as Emotion, Memory and Resistance, by Middle East Revisited
In this interview, the award-winning Palestinian-American poet Hala Alyan reflects on her work, on the concept of exile, on being a refugee, and on the responsibility to bear witness using whatever tools one has at their disposal, whether that’s poetry or something else.
Events & Conferences
Aisha Oude Writing As An Action Of Liberation & Resistance, 11 April 2016, Sh. Ebrahim bin Mohammed Center for Culture & Research, Bahrain.
Nasser’s Republic: The Making of a Modern Egypt, 17-18 April 2016, Filmfest DC, Landmark Theatres E Street Cinema, Washington DC, USA.
Creative Resistance: Art and Women in Syria Today by Abir Boukhari, 27 April 2016, Canadian Museum for Human Rights, Winnipeg, Canada
Rethinking Social Movements in the Digital Age: Activism, Dissent and Rebellion in the Post-Arab Spring, 29 July 2016, Orient-Institut Beirut, Lebanon (Call for Papers Deadline: 8 May 2016).