[This is a 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 & Commentaries
Amazigh Awakening: Libya’s Largest Minority Wants Recognition, by Jamie Prentis
The Amazigh, or Berbers, Libya's largest minority group, experienced harsh treatment under Moammar Gadhafi's regime. Gadhafi's so-called cultural revolution in 1973 criminalized Amazigh traditions, prohibited the use of their native tongue, Tamazight, and declared the Amazigh to be Arabs despite their being indigenous to the land. Until today Amazighs’ demand for equality and recognition remain unfulfilled. Amazigh officials are currently threatening to boycott parliamentary elections and a referendum on the new constitution later this year if their rights and culture are not recognized.
858: Archiving As a Tool of Resistance, by Mada Masr
This interview is with the Mosireen collective, whose members collected 858 hours of footage in the center of the Tahrir sit-in during the 2011 revolution. Questions of authorship, curation, audience, reanimation, and dissemination arose in discussing how the archive can represent the revolution and narratives of resistance within it. Documentation and archival practices here, are a subversive act in itself because of Egypt's political context.
Meet the Tunisian Drag Queen Defying the Odds, by Chouaib Elhajjaji
On the frontline of the LGBTQIA movement in Tunisia, Khoukha, a trans non-binary drag queen is revolutionizing and leading the fight for equal rights. In this interview, Khoukha tells her story and discusses the struggle to change LGBT perceptions in Tunisia.
Tunisia’s Next Revolution, by Ines Mahmoud
Mahmoud describes new formations of workers rights activists organising in a tradition of a resistance that has only strengthened since the Tunisian revolution, against dramatic neoliberal austerity measures implemented by the government. These movements share the transparent and horizontal decision making structures of leftist youth movements, and occur across the energy, agricultural, education, health care, welfare and housing sectors.
Protests Across Bahrain on 7th Anniversary of Uprising, by AFP
Dozens of Shiite protesters took to the streets of Bahrain on February 14 to mark the seventh anniversary of an Arab Spring-inspired uprising, witnesses said, reporting clashes between demonstrators and police. Protesters, including many women, chanted anti-regime slogans and paid tribute to the "victims of repression" languishing in the Gulf state's jails, the witnesses added.
Violence Against Women at Sudan’s Universities Has Been Tolerated For Far Too Long, by Hala Al-Karib
By focusing on the case of Al-Ahfad University – a private women’s university – Hala Al-Karib writes on violence against women and sexual harassment in Sudanese Universities. She also criticizes international organizations for focusing mainly on female genital mutilation and ignoring other important issues Sudanese women face, such as violence.
One Woman Tackles Two of Gaza’s Toughest Challenges, by Karama Fadel
Majd al-Mashharawi, a twenty-four year old recent graduate in civil engineering, is tackling two of Gaza Strip's most pressing challenges: patriarchy and electricity shortage. After researching solar options in use in Africa and India, where electricity blackouts are also common, she ended up with the SunBox solution: a small solar energy collection kit. Before this, she was the one who “figured out how to turn ash and rubble – of which Gaza has a lot – into a material she calls “Green Cake” that can replace cement.”
Gaza: Facebook Is “Complicit” with Israel, by Al Jazeera
Dozens of Palestinian journalists have staged a demonstration outside the UN office in Gaza City to protest Facebook's practice of blocking Palestinian Facebook accounts. Demonstrators held banners saying "Facebook is complicit in [Israel's] crimes" and "Facebook favours the [Israeli] occupation." Palestinians journalists and activists have created their own social media watch group, called Sada Social. Sada Social was launched in September 2017 by three Palestinian journalists, with the aim of documenting "violations against Palestinian content" on social networks such as Facebook and YouTube, and to liaise with their executives to restore some of the pages and accounts that have been shut down.
Palestinians Determined to Reopen West Bank Mushroom Farm, by Tessa Fox
Palestine's first mushroom farm, Amoro, proves that “agriculture plays an important role in resistance to the Israeli occupation,” in that generating local produce allows for the choice to buy Palestinian products over Israeli products. The enterprise has faced various bureaucratic and financial difficulties from Israeli importers such as arbitrary delivery delays for spores or compost, but are working on solutions that allow them to self-manage import/export processes.
Jerusalem’s Holy Sepulchre Church Reopens After Protest, by France24
One of the holiest sites in Christianity was shut down for three days in protest at new Israeli laws enforcing tax on church property. The tax plan has been temporarily suspended. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office said a professional team, including representatives from the Jerusalem municipality as well as government ministries, was being established to negotiate with church officials to "formulate a solution." The closure seemed to be the longest since at least 1990.
Jordanians Protest Price Hikes But in Surprisingly Small Numbers, by Osama Al Sharif
Sharif attributes the small numbers at recent protests against the Jordanian government's sales tax increase on essential goods and the lifting of bread subsidies to a lack of political will to fight corruption, when there are no political reformers in the government at present. He suggests that there is a high correlation between worsening economic conditions and the rise in crime and social violence.
Neoliberalism and Iran’s Protest Movement, by Amin Bozorgian
Amin Bozorgian argues that the recent protests in Iran are a result of neoliberal policies.
Iranian Women Must Remain United to Advance Rights, by Leila Alikarami
“A new form of protest in Iran against mandatory veiling has received much attention in the press and social media in recent weeks. The bold waving of veils on sticks by women who have no apparent affiliation with any movement has not only provoked questions among politicians and even forced some to react, but has also pushed women activists to clarify their position on this issue. Not all activists, and especially those who have a long history of struggle in advancing women's rights, have welcomed the public protests.”
“Girls of Revolution Street” Appear in Many Other Cities, by Radio Farda
A viral video clip of a woman who removed her head scarf and began waving it in the air in Tehran last December, known as the “Girl of Revolution Street,” has inspired several other protests in Mashhad, Esfahan and Shiraz. More recent hijab protests have also been filmed and shared on social media, with varying legal consequences and online responses to the women involved.
قامتمجموعةمنالنساءالسورياتفيمصربتأسيسمبادرةلتدريبالنساءاللاجئاتفيالدفاععنالنفسمنأجلالحمايةمنالسرقةوالتحرش،وهيأكبرالمخاطرالتيتواجهاالنساءاللاجئاتفيمصر. وتقولرئيسةالمنظمةإنتعليمالمرأةكيفتكونقويةفيبيئتهاالجديدةهومفتاحانتقالها. تقدمالمبادرةدوراتفيفنونالدفاععنالنفسوكذلكفيالقانونالمصري. كماانضمتنساءأخرياتإلىدوراتالمبادرة،بمافيذلكاللاجئاتاليمنياتوالسودانياتوالنساءالمصرياتأيضا.
حظرتحماسإطلاقبثمباشرلقناةتلفزيونيةنسائيةفيغزة. وقالتالسلطاتإنقناة "طيف" لاتملكالتصاريحاللازمة،لكنالممثلينعنالقناةقالواإنهتمالوفاءبجميعالشروطالقانونية. وكثيرامااتُهمتحماسبالتمييزضدالمرأة،ويهدف "طيف" إلى " تسليطالضوء" علىدورالمرأةفيالمجتمعوالسياسةالفلسطينية.
فلسطينيونيهاجمونالسفيرالقطريفيغزة... و«حماس» تعتذر
فيمؤتمرصحافيعقدهفيغزةمعالسفيرالقطريلإعلانالمساعداتللفلسطينيين،واجهالعمالمنشركاتالتنظيفالعاملةفيالمستشفىالسفيرعنرواتبهمبعدخمسةأشهرمنعدمتلقيها. بعدأنردالسفيربأنهذالاعلاقةلهبالمساعداتالقطريةفيغزة،هاجمالعمالالسفيربأحذيتهم. قددعامسؤولووزارةالصحةفيغزةالسفيرإلىمحاولةلإيجادحللأزمةتراكمالنفاياتالتييعانيمنهاالمستشفى،ولكنبدلامنذلكأثارردالسفيرالغضب.
قامعمالالقطاعالعامباعتصاماتفيعددمنالمدنفيلبنانسعياوراءالمطالبالاقتصاديةوالسياسية. احتجالعمالعلىمجموعةمتنوعةمنالقضايامثلالعفوعنالمحتجزينوعدمدفعالرواتبوكرامةالعمال. اشتباكاتوقعتفيبيروتبينقواتالأمنوالمياومينالعاملونفيمؤسسة «كهرباءلبنان.»
Art & Culture
Turkey’s Graffiti Artists: Businessmen by Day, Rebels at Night, by Nazlan Ertan
If the high point of the graffiti and street art was the Arab Spring for artists in the Middle East, for Turkish graffitists that moment came with the 2013 Gezi Park events, the largest wave of protests in recent Turkish history, where hundreds of thousands took to the streets to oppose the demolition of a park in Istanbul. Despite the police brutality, tear gas and water cannons, the demonstrators found creative ways to protest for months, including with scribbled slogans and stenciled images.
Exhibition Pays Tribute to Prolific Lebanese Cartoonist, by Florence Massena
Pierre Sadek, Lebanon’s pioneering satirist, acquired indisputable fame over fifty three years of working for Lebanese newspapers and television. Sadek, armed with a sharp eye and an even sharper pen, used his caricatures to reflect his political analyses until his death in 2013. “Picturing History,” an exhibition at the Sursock Museum in Beirut created in partnership with the Pierre Sadek Foundation, displays 720 of his drawings.
Events & Conferences
Contested Identities and Conflicting Alliances in the Arab World, 28 April 2018, Graduate Conference, University of Cambridge, UK. (Call for Papers Deadline: 26 February 2018)
Social Movements and Protest: Race, Ethnicity, and Radicalism, 4-5 May 2018, San Diego State University, San Diego, US.
The Reception of Images: Realities and Fictions in North/South Relations, 8-9 May 2018, University of Oran 2 Mohamed Ben Ahmed, Oran, Algeria
Orientalism, Neo-Orientalism and Post-Orientalism in African, Middle East, Latin American, Asian/Chinese Studies, 17-18 May 2018, Center for Global Studies, Shanghai University, China. (Call for Papers Deadline: 29 February 2018)
Re-Imagining Cultural Histories of the Middle East and North Africa, 28 June 2018, University of Westminster, UK.
Political Violence in Syria: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives, 14-15 September 2018, Ultrecht University, Netherlands. (Call for Papers Deadline: 15 April 2018)