[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
Jerusalemites Recite Call to Prayer from Their Rooftops, by Middle East Monitor
In response to the Israeli government’s plan to prohibit the call to prayer in the city, Jerusalemites climbed onto the roofs of their houses and recited the call to prayer all together. Churches in Nazareth showed solidarity by broadcasting the call to the night prayer in response to attempts to prohibit the call of prayer being broadcasted from Al-Aqsa Mosque. In defiance to the actions of the Israeli Knesset, Arab Israeli Knesset members Ahmed El-Tibi and Teleb Abu Arar performed the call to prayer, independent of each other, in the Israeli parliament (Knesset).
Palestinian-Sahrawi Solidarity Trumped by Morocco-Hamas Power Politics, Campaigners Allege, by Habibulah Mohamed Lamin
Relations between armed and nonviolent resistance groups in Palestine and Western Sahara go back to the mid-1970s. But a new Palestinian solidarity committee with the Sahrawi people has been recently banned in Gaza. Hamas, the ruling party of Gaza, and the ruling Moroccan Justice and Development party, have themselves developed relations throughout the past ten years. This, analysts say, has made it almost impossible for progressive voices to mobilize support in Palestine for an independence movement in Western Sahara, which Morocco invaded in 1975.
The Palestinian Committee for Solidarity with the Sahrawi people is now an online platform, where Sahrawi and Palestinian activists share ideas on how to confront the sieges against them. Now the framework of this initiative is based on a Facebook page as a space to attract sympathisers, who are not reachable outside the virtual world under the present circumstances.
Israeli Parliament Moves to Ban B.D.S. Supporters from Entering Israel, by Ma’an News Agency
A bill preventing supporters of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement from entering Israel was authorized on November 7 for its first reading in the Israeli parliament. The move came after several months of Israeli efforts to crack down on the B.D.S. Movement. Israeli Minister of Interior Aryeh Deri and Minister of Public Security Gilad Erdan announced in August 2016 that they were forming a joint task force to “expel and ban the entry of B.D.S. activists” into Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory.
B.D.S. Impact Round Up for 2016, by Palestinian B.D.S. National Committee
In this annual roundup, the Palestinian B.D.S. National Committee sums up some of the most significant indicators of direct and indirect B.D.S. impact in various fields.
B.D.S. Is Not the Only Tactic Against Israeli Occupation, But It Is Working, by Ben White
Ben White comments on the recently released annual roundup of the Palestinian B.D.S. National Committee. White argues that the B.D.S. is only one of the tactics used against the Israeli occupation. While it is a very useful and effective tactic, it should be complemented by others, such as the revitalization of the Palestinian national movement, etc.
Protests in Western Sahara Against Solar and Wind Plant Construction, by Middle East Monitor
Protests erupted on November 7 in Western Sahara over the construction of renewable energy plants without the permission of the Sahrawi people. The protests, which took place in the capital Laayoune, coincided with the United Nation’s COP22 conference on climate change yesterday in Marrakech. Siemens and Enel are building solar and wind plants in the region. “Siemens should not back Morocco’s occupation of Western Sahara through energy infrastructure,” the Western Sahara Resource Watch (WRSW) said on social media.
A Look at the Other Morocco: From Protests Against Austerity to Occupation of Western Sahara, by Democracy Now
Amy Goodman interviews Miriyam Aouragh, a Dutch-Moroccan anthropologist and democracy activist based in Britain, on the significance of the climate talks held in Marrakech, press freedom in Morocco, and the situation in Western Sahara, amongst other things.
Lessons for Morocco After Protests, by Samia Errazzouki
Samia Errazouki provides a comprehensive analysis of the recent protests that were triggered by the death of Mouhcine Fikri, a fish vendor, in Morocco.
To Silence Dissidents, Gulf States Are Revoking Their Citizenship, by The Economist
The Gulf states are increasingly stripping dissidents, and their families, of citizenship, leaving them stateless. The consequences can be severe. Summoned to hand over their ID cards and driving licences, individuals lose not just the perks that come with citizenship of an oil-rich state, such as cushy jobs, but the ability to own a house, a car, a phone or a bank account. Those abroad are barred from returning. Those inside the country cannot leave. The stateless cannot register the birth of a child or legally get married. They may find a sponsor and apply for residents’ permits as foreigners, but if refused they are liable to be arrested for overstaying.
Down One Article, the Protest Law Survives, by Mostafa Mohie
The Supreme Constitutional Court struck down Article 10 of Egypt’s protest law in a decision on December 3, calling the clause unconstitutional and effectively transferring authority over the authorization of demonstrations from the Interior Ministry to the court alone. However, the ruling leaves other clauses of the law intact, quelling expectations that less restrictive legislation may have come to pass. Here is a rundown of the ruling’s legal details and the protest law articles that were challenged before the court.
Egypt Protest Law May Be Unconstitutional, But It Is Still in Force, by Leena ElDeeb
Initial reports suggested a change was coming - Egypt`s top court had struck down a crucial article of the country`s controversial anti-protest law, ruling it "unconstitutional" to make citizens seek permission from the interior ministry to stage demonstrations. The supreme constitutional court said that Egypt`s constitution guaranteed freedom of association and the right to peaceful protest. But within hours of the decision being made public on Saturday, reality began to bite: the court had upheld other areas being contested by rights lawyers, including one that criminalizes any gathering that could threaten "public order." As a result the protest law, brought in after Abdel Fatah al-Sisi deposed the Muslim Brotherhood president Mohamed Morsi in 2013, would remain very much in force.
How the Margins Became the Center: On Protest, Politics, and April 6, by Walid Shawky
In this piece, Walid Shawky provides an assessment of the April 6 Youth Movement, a movement he still belongs to.
Why Palestinian Camp Is Protesting Lebanese “Wall of Shame,” by Lizzie Porter
The Lebanese army has started building a wall around the Palestinian refugee camp of Ain al-Hilweh. Thousands of the camp residents have protested, calling it the "wall of shame" and the “separation wall,” phrases that echo descriptions of the barrier that Israel built around the West Bank in 2000.
Civil Disobedience in Sudan: How Far Will It Go?, by Khaled Ahmed
Activists in Sudan called for three days of civil disobedience on social media sites, setting November 27 as the first day. Two days after it was announced, the call went viral on social media and was widely discussed on the streets. But why did the Sudanese call for civil disobedience instead of demonstrations? The answer lies in Sudan’s memory of struggle. Civil disobedience is a weapon Sudanese oppositional forces have successfully used before. But there is also the recent memory of what happened when demonstrations were staged in September 2013 to counter Bashir, and around one hundred people were killed by security forces. In this context, and given the lack of organizational capacity among a weakened civil society, civil disobedience seemed to oppositional forces the best option to avoid heavy loss of life.
A New Arab Spring Is Looming, Warns UN Report, by Middle East Eye
The Arab Development Report that was released on November 29, warns that the Middle East could face a new “Arab Spring” as young people struggling to find jobs and a place in society turn to "more direct, more violent" means to have their voices heard. According to the report, protests movements in the Middle East are cyclical and often boil over every five years: North Africa’s unrest spiked in 2001, 2006 and 2011, each time more turbulent than the last.
Rebel, Rebel: The Protest Songs of Yemen’s War, by Nasser Al Sakkaf
When conflict breaks out in any country, there is also a cultural war, a drumbeat to accompany the fighting on the ground. Yemen is no exception, and much of this soft war has taken the form of revolutionary songs. Bilal al-Aghbari is a singer for the Yemeni Popular Resistance, which has been fighting Houthi rebels and their pro-Saleh allies around Taiz. "I participated in the revolution of 2011,” he said, “and now I am participating in the cultural war by producing inspiring songs for the fighters.” “Artistic resistance is half of the fight, and each person has to make the most of their strengths to resist invaders,” said Aghbari. Their purpose, he believes, is to encourage fighters, console the families of martyrs and encourage civilians to be patient.
South Sudan Artists Protest Civil War With Peace and Art, by Justin Lynch
For many in South Sudan, the arts have become a rare haven of peace in a young country that has known little but civil war. A group of artists, called Ana Taban (“I am tired” in Arabic) are campaigning for peace, with pop-up street performances and murals across the capital, Juba. Transcending tribe and politics, the artists use their work to try to unify South Sudan, the world’s newest nation, which won independence from Sudan in 2011.
Israeli Artist Displays Golden Statue of Netanyahu in Protest, by The Associated Press
Tel Aviv residents woke up on December 6 to an unusual site — a golden statue of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu displayed prominently in front of City Hall in an act of protest. Itay Zalait, the artist behind the protest, said his goal was to test freedom of expression with a reference to the biblical golden calf, and dig at what he calls some Israelis` idolatry of Netanyahu. Tel Aviv City Hall said it respected its residents` freedom of expression but ordered that the statue be removed by 1 p.m. because it was placed without a permit. Just before the deadline, a bystander knocked the statue to ground. Some had been calling for Netanyahu to be "toppled."
Events & Conferences
Gender and Generation in the Aftermath of the Uprisings. Political Visions, Desires, Movements in the Middle East and North Africa Today, Conference, 9-10 December 2016, School of Oriental and African Studies, London, United Kingdom.
Left-Wing Trends in the Arab World (1948-1979): Bringing Transnational Back in Conference, 12 December 2016, Orient-Istitut Beirut, Beirut, Lebanon.
Fighting Walls: Street Art in Egypt and Iran + a Rebel Scene, 1 October 2016 – 18 December 2016, New Art Exchange, Nottingham, United Kingdom.
A Century of Youth Engaging Politics in the Arab World Conference, 16 – 19 May 2017, University of Manitoba, Manitoba, Canada.