[This is a bi-monthly roundup of news articles and other materials circulating on Resistance, Subversion and Social Mobilization 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
Freedom in the Middle East: There Are Still Reasons to Be Positive, by Rayan El-Amine
The author argues that despite the failure of the Arab uprisings, there has been a return of grass-roots protests in the Middle East, that signifies “the revival of bottom-up politics in the Arab world.” The social mobilizations in the northern Rif region of Morocco is one example of this return of protest politics.
How the World Missed a Week of Palestinian Civil Disobedience, by Edo Konrad
The Israeli government’s decision to install metal detectors at the entrance to the Al-Aqsa compound sparked outrage and protests, and eventually led to the deaths of four Palestinians and three Israeli settlers. However, the media’s coverage neglected the nonviolent aspect of the protests.
Al-Aqsa Protests Unite Jerusalemites, by Daoud Kuttab
The July protests in Jerusalem over the Israeli restrictions placed on the entry of Al-Aqsa mosque became “the nucleus of a new movement for Jerusalemites.” Several religious organizations, such as the Islamic Supreme Committee, were in the forefront and provided “moral and philosophical leadership.” However, the role of young people and local civil society organizations was crucial. “The five prayers a day became the focus of organized activities, media attention and public support.”
Jerusalem’s African Community Stands with Al-Aqsa, by Aziza Nofal
During the July protests in Jerusalem, members of the city’s African community offered protesters water and food. They also welcomed worshippers into their homes during the protests, as the community centre is located near Al-Aqsa. Although the African community in Jerusalem is relatively small in numbers, it is “a central part of the city’s social fabric, which is composed of many different groups that all acknowledge the sanctity of the city.”
The Palestinian Women’s Uprising that Electrified Jerusalem, by Elhanan Miller
Elhanan Miller argues that Palestinian women have played a central role to the resistance against Israel’s increased security measures in Al Aqsa Mosque.
Is Morocco Headed Toward Insurrection? by Hisham Aidi
Hisham Aidi provides a detailed account of protest history in the Rif region in Morocco, since the founding of the Rif Republic in 1923 by Abdelkrim Al Khattabi, until today’s Hirak movement.
In Morocco, Press Freedom Shrinks with Hirak Protests, by Ilhem Rachidi
Since the beginning of the Hirak protest movement in October 2016, eight journalists have been jailed. They were arrested while covering the news in the Rif region. Over the past years the repression of journalists has been escalating. According to the author, “after a rise in press freedom at the end of King Hassan II’s rule (in the late 1990s) and during the first years of Mohammed VI’s reign, the Makhzen (Morocco’s state and administration) has progressively silenced independent newspapers through financial sanctions, boycotts and pressure on journalists.”
Morocco: the Popular Movement in the Rif Suppressed, by Mayssae Ajzannay Ben Moussa
Since October 2016, the Al Hoceima region in North East Morocco has been the scene of ongoing popular protests. The peaceful movement calls for: freedom, dignity, and social justice. However, the Moroccan government has not yet met the demands of the people, but rather has been increasing its repression.
“March for Justice” Ends in Istanbul With a Pointed Challenge to Erdogan, by Carlotta Gall
On 9 July, the three-week March for Justice from Ankara to Istanbul ended. The march was organized by politicians from Turkey’s opposition party, the Republican People’s Party (also known as C.H.P.) to protest the government repression against its opponents, and calling for justice. There was an emphasis on the peaceful nature of the protest, which was the largest sign of opposition since the failed coup last July.
Battle Over the Nile, by Heba Afify
President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has initiated a “large-scale national campaign to retrieve illegally occupied state land.” One of the targets of this campaign has been Warraq Island, one of dozens of inhabited islands in the Nile. The residents of Warraq Island have been protesting the demolition of their houses on the island.
Egyptian Activists Face Mounting Repression, While “Thieves” Walk Free, by Sarah Freeman-Woolpert
Arrests, detention, freezing of assets, and trials for charges related to participation in anti-government protests are some of the tactics used by President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi’s regime to suppress criticism and dissent. Yet, this repression can backfire: it can reduce the regime’s legitimacy and lay the ground for another wave of activism in Egypt.
Fear and Oblivion Before the Violent Rabea Dispersal, Celebration and Denial Afterward, by Donya Ezzat
The article consists of excerpts from the author’s interviews with various key actors in and around the violent dispersal of Rabea al-Adaweya sit-in in 2013. The views of activists taking part in the sit-in, members of the police force, European diplomats, and Egyptian politicians are presented.
The Legacy of the Algerian Civil War: Forced Disappearances and the Cost of Amnesty, by Sofian Philip Naceur
During the war of the 1990s, thousands of people were murdered or forcibly disappeared in Algeria. Until today, “Algerian authorities consistently neglect the demands of the families of the disappeared, refuse to acknowledge the magnitude of the crimes committed by the state, and instead praise their approach to end the conflict. Unsurprisingly, many of those families oppose the amnesty measures that relegate their quest for justice to the shadows, calling for rallies every year on September 29.” Yet, the government maintains an ambivalent approach toward the families of the disappeared. One the one hand, the protests are dispersed and activities are monitored; but on the other hand authorities refrain from closing down offices and pressing official charged after arrests.
Is There Any Point to Protesting?, by Nathan Heller
The author discusses the aim and effectiveness of protesting by looking back at the outcomes of various social movements, such as Occupy Wall Street, the “Arab uprisings” and the Black Lives Matter, and providing a review of four recently published books: Inventing the Future by Nick Srnicek and Alex Williams (2016, Verso), Assembly by Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri (2017, Oxford University Press), Direct Action: Protest and the Reinvention of American Radicalism, by L.A. Kauffman (2017, Verso), and Zeynep Tufeksci’s Twitter and Tear Gas: The Power and Fragility of Networked Protest (2017, Yale University Press).
The Palestinian Museum’s Inaugural Exhibition: Jerusalem Lives
On 26 August, the Palestinian Museum launched its inaugural exhibition with a highly political project focusing on the living aspects of the city and support its people. According to the curator Reem Fadda, the exhibition is meant to spark discussion of “cultural resistance” to the policies of Israel.
Rights Organizations Rally to Reveal Fate of Syria’s Disappeared, by Florence Massena
According to the Syrian Network for Human Rights, more than 75 thousand people have disappeared in Syria since 2011. Amnesty International started a campaign on 30 August, the International Day of the Disappeared, with the aim to push the authorities and armed groups to reveal the status of the disappeared to their families. The human rights group organized a weeklong exhibition at cultural space Station Beirut to remember Syria`s missing and disappeared. The exhibition, titled “Tens of Thousands,” shows poems written by detainees and portraits of prisoners by Syrian artist Azza Abou Rebieh.
Beyond Protest Art: A New Wave of Graffiti Is Coloring the Arab World, by Zvi Bar’el
In various cities around the Arab world, there have been art initiatives that aim to beautify neighborhoods, give a sense of belonging and overcome social and political divides. The article refers to examples in Beirut (e.g. the Ouzville project), Dubai (e.g. Dubai Walls), and Djerba. However, this type of graffiti seem to contradict protest graffiti that was prominent on the walls of the Middle East during the Arab uprisings.
Events & Conferences
Empire, Capital, and Translational Resistance Conference, 13–15 September 2017, University of Brighton, UK.
Peace and Justice Studies Association Annual Conference, 25-28 October 2017, University of Alabama, Birmingham, USA.
The Contentious Politics of Higher Education. Student Movements in Late Neoliberalism Conference, 15-16 November 2017, Institute of Humanities and Social Sciences, Scuola Normale Superiore (SNS), Florence, Italy.
Rethinking Pacifism for Revolution, Security, and Politics Conference, 22–24 November 2017, University of Otago, New Zealand.