[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
Turkey: of Coups and Popular Resistance, by Spyros Sofos
Although we do not have hard evidence of who went out in the streets to defy the coup in Turkey one should be cautious when trying to make sense of the popular mobilizations that took place both during the coup and after its defeat. It is clear that the people out in the streets comprised different actors. The author discusses Erdogan’s appeal to the people, and compares it to the situation in Yugoslavia under Milošević’s rule.
Engineering An Uprising: What the Democracy Rallies in Turkey Tell Us, by Beatrice White
Since the initial mobilization and the thwarting of the coup, the Turkish government has done all it can to sustain the momentum behind what it describes as a kind of popular uprising. This has been accompanied by the emergence of a narrative which portrays the protestors, a large majority of whom are AKP (Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party) sympathizers, not only as heroic figures (and those who killed in coup violence as martyrs), but also as representative of the feelings of an entire nation.
Iraqis Defy Warnings to Protest Against Baghdad Government, by Agence France Press
Thousands of Iraqis rallied in the heart of Baghdad on 15 July, defying warnings from authorities to stay home, to demand an end to sectarianism and corruption in government. Populist Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, who had called for the demonstration, made a brief appearance at the rally in Tahrir Square, which was packed with flag-waving protesters. Speakers led the protesters in chanting slogans including: "Yes to reform," "no to sectarianism" and "no to corruption." Sadr has organized repeated protests calling for reforms, during which demonstrators have breached Baghdad`s Green Zone, a fortified area that is home to key government institutions and foreign embassies.
Syrian Activists Call for Protests After Coalition Strikes Kill at Least Fifty-Six Civilians, by Middle East Eye
Syrian activists have called for widespread protests after dozens of civilians were reportedly killed in US-led coalition air strikes in what one monitor has called the "worst week" for civilians in the two years since the coalition entered the war. Children were among at least fifty-six civilians killed on 19 July in raids by coalition warplanes. The people were fleeing the village of al-Tukhar near the key Islamic State (IS) stronghold of Manbij, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Facebook pages managed by Syrian activists urged people around the world to take to the streets to protest the deaths under the banner "Manbij is being exterminated."
Egypt: Security Forces Disperse Protest Against “Enforced Disappearances,” by Aswat Masriya
Security forces dispersed a protest on 25 July organized by more than a dozen women demanding to know the whereabouts of their children who were allegedly "forcibly disappeared." The women were protesting in front of the headquarters of the National Council for Human Rights (NCHR) in Giza.
Amnesty International Holds Flash Mob in Protest Against Egypt Disappearances, by Nourhan Fahmy
Amnesty International staged a flash mob demonstration in Rome on 13 July, the same day of the release of its report on "hundreds" of enforced disappearances in Egypt. A group of people stood at the Pantheon in Rome; male demonstrators topless and females wearing black tops and holding banners with tied hands. Based on interviews with former detainees, families of detainees, lawyers and others, Amnesty’s report indicated that enforced disappearances had spiked since the appointment of Interior Minister Magdy Abdel Ghaffar, with an average of three or four people reported disappeared every day.
Egypt: Arab Foundation Records 199 Protests in the Second Quarter of this Year, by Arab Trade Union Confederation
Arab foundation for civil society and human rights support issued a report showing the numbers and reasons behind all protests took place in Egypt during the three months of April and May, and June 2016. Executive Director of the Foundation, Sharif Helaly, said that the three months have seen one hundred ninety nine protests between vigils and sit-ins and strikes and marches. April saw the highest number of protests (eighty-six), followed by the month of June (seventy-five protests), while May had the least number of protests (thirty-eight).
Egypt–The Resistance, by Nael Shama
Where the sense of defeat is overwhelming, the spirit of resistance is appealing. One generation after another, Arab peoples have come to be deeply frustrated by various realities that seem unchangeable: autocrats that preside over republics and monarchies of fear, Israel’s military superiority in the region and its subjugation of Palestinians, the growing scientific and technological gap between the Arab world and the advanced world. In such a milieu, resistance is a psychological remedy, a cathartic experience. Whether seen as a means to an end or an end in itself, resistance makes defeated people feel human and alive and capable.
A Protest Under the Title “USA Obstructs Peaceful Solutions in Yemen,” by Haifa Sharaf
The inhabitants of Hajja Province organized a protest condemning the US, as they believe it is preventing a peaceful solution in Yemen.
Lebanon: Beirut Protesters Decry Racism Towards Syrians, by Zena Tahhan
Protesters took to the streets of Beirut to march against racism toward Syrian refugees, which they say has been growing in recent weeks. At least two hundred people gathered on 18 July in an anti-discrimination protest in the Lebanese capital under the banner "all against racism." Chanting slogans such as: "The refugee was killed the first time when he ran away from the war, do not kill him again with your racism" and "Politicians who incite hatred must be held accountable," they marched from the ministry of foreign affairs to the interior ministry.
Tunisia: Protesters Reject Amnesty Bill, by Elvis Boh
Hundreds of Tunisians have protested against an amnesty draft law proposed by Tunisian president Beji Caid Essebsi. The bill dubbed “bill of reconciliation” proposes that those prosecuted for corruption charges could be freed while they in turn pay a financial penalty and reimburse unduly earned sums. Tunisians find the bill a bitter pill to swallow as they claim it favors former close aides of Ben Ali’s regime.
Who Protects Tunisian Corruption Whistleblowers? by Ahmed Nadhif
I Watch—a Tunisian nonprofit organization and independent watchdog aimed to fight financial and administrative corruption and promote transparency, founded by a youth group in March 2011 after the fall of Ben Ali`s regime—opened on 14 July a center for the support and guidance of victims of corruption.
Men in Iran Are Wearing Hijabs in Solidarity with their Wives Who Are Forced to Cover Their Hair, by Heather Saul
Over the last week, a number of men have appeared in photos wearing a hijab with their wife or female relative next to them who have their hair uncovered. The images come in response to a call by Masih Alinejad, an Iranian activist and journalist living in New York, who is urging men to support her campaign against enforced hijab. Wearing a headscarf is strictly enforced by so-called “morality police” in Iran and has been since the Islamic Revolution in 1979. Women who do not wear a hijab or are deemed to be wearing “bad hijab” by having some of their hair showing, face punishments ranging from fines to imprisonment. But women are leading protests against enforced hijab across the country and some have resorted to shaving their hair in order to appear in public without wearing a veil.
As Black Lives Matter Activists Join Bilin demo, Israeli Forces Detail Two Protesters, by Ma’an News Agency
Israeli forces on Friday arrested two activists as they dispersed the weekly protest in the village of Bilin in the Ramallah district of the occupied West Bank. Israeli forces detained two protesters and took them to an unknown destination. Residents of the village were joined in solidarity by international and Israeli activists, including several activists from the Black Lives Matter movement.
A Guide to Online Security for Activists, by Jillian C. York
The last year has seen an uptick in digital threats faced by individuals and organizations around the world, and those working on the question of Palestine are no exception. Over the past few months, there have been attacks on boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement websites, threatening emails to activists and new information emerging on Israel’s surveillance capabilities. The author provides here advices on how activists can protect their work, activities and groups.
Palestinian Prisoners Strike As Protests Grow Against ICRC Family Visit Cutbacks, by Samidoun
Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails engaged in a one-day mass hunger strike on, 28 July in protest of the International Committee of the Red Cross’ (ICRC) cuts to prisoners’ family visits, from twice monthly to once monthly, a cutback that began in July 2016. Palestinian prisoners and their families have engaged in a series of protests against the ICRC visit cutbacks, which mirror Israeli policies that seek to deny family visits and bar prisoners’ family members from seeing them. Palestinians from the West Bank, excluding Jerusalem, must apply for special permits, a process facilitated by the ICRC, in order to visit their family members.
A Creative Palestinian Answer to Israeli Checkpoints, by Michael Schaeffer Omer-Man
The Israeli army has placed barricades at the entrances to Palestinian villages and towns in recent weeks. One truck-mounted crane operator decided to help out stranded motorists by lifting cars over the Israeli military barrier blocking the entrance to a southern West Bank town in the Hebron area.
Protesters, Police Clash at Israeli Arab Village Set to be Razed for Jewish Town, by Almog Ben Zikri
Three Israeli policemen and a civilian were injured in protests that erupted on 31 July as bulldozers moved onto the site of an unrecognized Arab village Israel plans to tear down. Protesters tried to disrupt the work of Israeli bulldozers and earth removal equipment which began digging a boundary close to the site of Umm al-Hiran homes destined for removal.
The Power of Historical Fiction: Two Revolutions Revisited, by Sherif Abdel Samad
Historical fiction offers a different approach to history than other forms of studies, books, and documentaries. The author gives examples of historical fiction on revolutions in France and Egypt.
How Israel Is Turning Anti-Occupation Activists Into Dissidents, by Michael Schaeffer Omer-Man
The intended effect of the new NGO Law is to send a dangerous and stifling message to the Israeli public. The message it sends is that the values espoused and advanced by certain organizations — like B’Tselem, Breaking the Silence, and others —do not exist organically in Israel; lawmakers are saying that the values of human rights and opposing the occupation are being imposed on Israel from the outside-in, and only for the malicious purposes of harming the Jewish state, its citizens and its global image. Combined with a range of other pieces of legislation, policies and actions by government officials and extra-parliamentary groups, the cumulative effect of the NGO Law is to portray those working to end the occupation, fighting for equality and liberal democratic values as dissidents subverting the State of Israel itself.
Jewish, Palestinian Activists Try to Build a Cinema in Hebron, by Dahlia Scheindlin
The “Center for Jewish Non-Violence” (CJNV) was invited by Youth Against Settlements, a Hebron-based Palestinian organization to help establish a movie theater in Palestinian Hebron, because the city doesn’t have one. The CJNV group has been in the Palestinian territories for a week of activities, helped planned with another activist group, All That’s Left, doing other direct actions along with Palestinian partners in the South Hebron Hills villages of Umm el-Kheir and Susya.
The Female Conscientious Objector Who Just Made Israeli History, by Noam Sheizaf
Following her sixth trial, Tair Kaminer has become the longest-serving female conscientious objector in Israel’s history. If you can convince the military that you are a pacifist—a challenging task, but not entirely impossible—you might be released as well. But Kaminer is neither religious nor a pacifist, and she is not ready to lie. She doesn’t oppose the military as a rule. Rather, she chose to refuse because of the IDF’s role in the occupation and in the systematic depravation of Palestinian civil and human rights.
Circus Performers Stage Vigil for Imprisoned Palestinian Clown in Tel Aviv, by Activestills
Circus performers from the West Bank city of Nablus and jugglers from Israeli staged a protest performance in central Tel Aviv calling on Israeli authorities to release Mohammed Abu Sakha, a Palestinian clown who has been imprisoned by Israel for seven months, much of which in administrative detention—a draconian tool Israel uses to hold Palestinians without charge or trial. The performance, which Amnesty International helped organize, was held at Tel Aviv’s weekly artists market on Nahalat Binyamin Street. The central component of the performance was small cage containing a clown. Around him, the jugglers juggled and circus performers put on acrobatic maneuvers.
A Form of Contemporary Resistance, by Eszter Szakács
The author interviews Beirut-based writers and curators Kristine Khouri and Rasha Salti, in the framework of their documentary and archival exhibition Cartography of Artist Solidarity – Narratives and Ghosts from the International Art Exhibition for Palestine, 1978. The project starts from unraveling the story and the context of the large-scale International Art Exhibition for Palestine, 1978 that took place at the Beirut Arab University, at a time of civil war in Lebanon. It was organized by the Plastic Arts Section, under the Office of Unified Information, of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), which, overall, also undertook cultural events as a means for communicating and shaping discourse around the Palestinian cause.
Fabrics of Resistance, by Elizabeth A. McInerny
During the First Intifada, when Israeli soldiers confiscated the flags of Palestinian women protesting in the streets, the women responded by embroidering the Palestinian flag and silhouettes of the country in endless repetition along the chests, sleeves, and back hems of their thobes (traditional Palestinian dresses). Samples of these politically charged “Intifada Dresses” were on display in Beirut, as part of an ambitious survey featuring more than sixty embroidered items, as well as photographs, paintings, and graphic arts representing Palestinian textiles throughout history. Curator Rachel Dedman believes that these garments are “making women’s bodies powerful sites of political resistance and explicit nationalism.”
Events & Conferences
Making Peace Exhibition, 26 May – 21 September 2016, Avenue Habib Bourghuiba, Tunis, Tunisia
Dissent and Censorship in a Changing Turkey Lecture, Frontline Club, 13 September 2016, London, UK.
A Century of Youth Engaging Politics in the Arab World Conference, 16-19 May 2017, University of Manitoba, Manitoba, Canada (Call for Papers Deadline: 23 September 2016).
Left-Wing Trends in the Arab World (1948-1979): Bringing Transnational Back in Conference, 12 December 2016, Orient-Istitut Beirut, Beirut, Lebanon.
Create Syria Exhibition, 21 September – 2 October 2016, Talking Peace Festival, House of Vans, London, UK.