[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.]
Libyan footballers, Sicilian fishermen and their quest for freedom Middle East Eye (4 October 2020)
For the past five years, Libyan families of four Libyan footballers and asylum seekers have protested at the Port of Benghazi, demanding the release of their sons who are falsely accused of human trafficking and imprisoned in Italy. In addition to that, since September 2020, Sicilians and Tunisians have protested and demanded the release of their family members who are fishermen and imprisoned in Libya due to illegally fishing thirty-five miles north of Benghazi.
Hundreds take to Algiers streets despite ban on protests Al Jazeera English (5 October 2020)
Despite a ban on protests, four hundred to five hundred demonstrators marched in Algiers and other areas to mark the thirty-second anniversary of the October 1988 pro-democracy movement, and to continue the Hirak that started in February 2019. Protestors demanded the fall of the regime, called for a civil state, and called for the release of political prisoners who got arrested due to their involvement in the Hirak.
Chaïma: Algeria women protest over teen's rape and murder BBC (8 October 2020)
Protests occurred in Algeria after the rape and murder of Chaima, a nineteen-year-old girl. They called for action to stop violence against women. Heavy police were there despite the small size of these protests.
Protests after man crushed to death as Tunisia demolishes his ‘unlicensed shop’ Middle East Monitor (13 October 2020)
The Tunisian authorities increased inspections on unlicensed shops and demolished some shops in case of violations. In one case, the shop’s owner was killed under the rubble while his shop was being demolished. In response, people protested his murder, setting fire to tires and blocking major roads. Some tried to break into state buildings. Police responded with teargas and the army used military vehicles to protect state buildings.
Beirut protests mark a year since Lebanon's mass uprising Middle East Eye (17 October 2020)
Over a thousand people in Beirut, Lebanon, protested to commemorate the first anniversary of the 17 October uprising. They chanted against political officials, passed by the Central Bank, the Ministry of Interior, and even passed by the Beirut port that was destroyed on 4 August. At night, protests continued in the centre of Beirut and police responded with teargas.
Syrian-Armenians protest against Turkey over involvement in Karabakh Al-Masdar Al-Arabi (19 October 2020)
Dozens of people in the al-Hasakah Governorate protested against Turkey’s involvement and aggression in the Karabakh conflict. Protestors included Armenians, Arabs, Assyrians, and Kurds.
Tunisian journalists, activists protest against media bill The Middle East Online (20 October 2020)
About three hundred people protested outside Tunisia’s parliament against a proposed law that would remove a requirement for TV and radio stations to have official licences. Demonstrators said this proposed law can lead to foreign interference in Tunisia, and could also end the independence of the media.
Iranian Workers’ Protests for Inherent Rights Iran News Update (21 October 2020)
Many workers around Iran protested against the state and went on at least eight strikes in different areas, demanding that their employers pay them their dues.
Sahrawis Protest After Algerian Army Allegedly Sets 2 Gold Miners on Fire Morocco World News (21 October 2020)
Two Sahrawi gold miners were killed by Algerian army patrol who set fire to an excavation site that they were in. It is a site where gold mining is prohibited by the Algerian authorities; however, some Sahrawi living in the Tindouf camps go mining there to try to support themselves and their families. The risk can be getting arrested, fined, or even killed as it was the case in this incident. Many Sahrawis protested in response to this violent incident.
Murder of pregnant Palestinian sparks protest against domestic abuse Middle East Monitor (22 October 2020)
Wafa, a twenty-four-year-old mother and pregnant woman, was murdered and found in her house in the occupied West Bank. Human rights organizations protested in response. For instance, the Palestinian Network of NGOs demanded politicians and civil society to protect Palestinian women from domestic abuse.
Bahrain: Anti-normalisation protests despite security restrictions Middle East Monitor (24 October 2020)
After the normalization of the relationship between Bahrain and Israel, Bahrainis protested against these decisions. They held up banners and chanted anti-normalization slogans. In addition to that, the hashtag “Bahrainis against normalisations” trended on Twitter.
Small protests in Sudan against normalisation of ties with Israel Middle East Eye (24 October 2020)
Sudan announced normalisation of its ties with Israel, becoming the third Arab country to do so, after the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. In response, small protests erupted around Sudan against normalization.
Fourth day of protests in Sudan after demonstrator killed Middle East Monitor (26 October 2020)
During previous protests, Mohammed Abdul Majeed was killed by security forces, and fourteen others were wounded. In response, protests erupted in Khartoum. They closed al-Mansheiya Bridge that leads to the city centre, and demanded retribution for Mohammed and the dismissal of the officer who made the orders to shoot.
'They are still trying to silence us': One year on, Iraq's youth rise again The New Arab (27 October 2020)
Thousands of Iraqis protested to commemorate the anniversary of the 2019 uprising and continue their fight towards a country with better living and working conditions. They protested again due to lack of jobs and against the corruption in their political system.
In pictures: Demonstrators stage boycott, protests against France in Arab and Muslim countries Middle East Eye (27 October 2020)
In response to French president’s comments on Islam, many people in the Middle East, North Africa, and Asia, protested against France. In addition to that, many people in these regions called for a boycott of French products.
Jailed Saudi activist Loujain Al-Hathloul on hunger strike, sister says The New Arab (28 October 2020)
Loujain al-Hathloul, a Saudi women’s rights activist, who was arrested in 2018, has started a hunger strike to protest prison conditions and restrictions on her ability to see and communicate with her family members.
4 Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike in Israel jails Middle East Monitor (29 October 2020)
Maher al-Akhras has been on hunger strike since 27 July to protest being illegally held in Israeli prisons. His health is deteriorating but his demands have still not been met. He was joined by three other Palestinian prisoners in his hunger strike. They are Mohammed al-Zagheer, Mahmoud al-Saadi, and Basil al-Rimawi.
Opinion and Commentary
Justice denied: Iraq's anti-government protest movement one year on Middle East Eye (1 October 2020)
The Iraqi movement that started in 2019 may have not led to many changes politically but it has led to changes in mentalities and a larger involvement in anti-establishment political activities. The protests have faced difficulties such as the extremely violent response of the state and its security forces, in addition to the kidnappings and the disappearances of many well-known figures who were active in the movement. Despite that, the movement hopes to keep going, especially that its demands of radical political change have still not been met.
Sudan's revolution and the broken promise of women's rights The New Arab (7 October 2020)
The revolution in Sudan (2019) may have promised a lot of change for women but a lot still has to be done. The transitional government made legal amendments. However, these laws are still ambiguous, leaving it to the state to decide who the victims and the perpetrators are in case of sexual harassment and assault. It could be argued that the law has only been rephrased, not changed.
Egypt: Crackdown intensifies as protests spread to rural poor Deutsche Welle (7 October 2020)
Protests in Egypt started on the 20 September and went on for several days, and many were arrested as a result. Reasons for these demonstrations vary, including police violence, poverty, harsh economic conditions, increased prices of bread and metro tickets, and government campaigns to demolish thousands of houses. Generally, government policies are increasing the transfer of wealth towards itself and upper classes and away from working and middle classes, while international organizations such as the IMF give the government military aid without any protections offered to civilians. That said, these protests can be viewed positively as these acts of resistance persist despite all the state violence that they are faced with.
Fighting for Palestine Al Jazeera English (10 October 2020)
Despite all the difficulties that they face, Palestinians continue to resist colonialism and fight for liberation as they have been doing for more than one hundred years. Their resistance comes in different forms, armed, unarmed, cultural production and narration, and many others. It may seem like a lost cause today, especially after the normalization deals with a few Arab countries; however, it is not a lost cause as Palestinians will continue to fight for what is theirs.
Arrests, torture and executions: Iran’s autumn of discontent Arab News (11 October 2020)
The Iranian state continues to punish political activists in order to prevent any future attempts of change. Iranians face the risk of arrests, detention, torture, and even death sentences. All of these harsh measures could intensify even more considering the country’s economic crisis, as the state uses repression as a means of control. That said, Iranians will continue to fight for freedom and justice despite all the difficulties that they may face.
Bassel al-Araj: An icon for a lost generation The Electronic Intifada (12 October 2020)
Bassel al-Araj was a revolutionary activist who was killed in a stand-off with Israeli forces in 2017, when he was only thirty-one years old. He was an avid learner and student of revolution, while also teaching other Palestinians about their histories of resistance. He had an influence on those around him to realize that resistance is possible. To young people, he is an icon and a representation of the “entire Palestinian story.”
Setbacks and subtle victories: One year of Lebanon protests The New Arab (15 October 2020)
Lebanon’s 17 October (2019) uprising has faced some difficulties, such as the economic crisis and the global pandemic that decreased the number of protests. The said, the uprising led to some changes such as the government resigning only two weeks after the start of the protests as well as the change in mentalities. In addition to that, the uprising encouraged independent media work and had an impact on political decisions, as well. Still, the road is long and there is a lot that needs to change, but that is okay, because change needs time.
Arts and Culture
Detained Sudanese artists released after global uproar The New Arab (8 October 2020)
Eleven Sudanese artists were detained by the authorities over a theatre workshop. They all have been released after an international outrage over their arrest.
New book tells stories of suffering and resistance from Iran’s female prisons Global Voices (15 October 2020)
White Torture is a book by Narges Mohammadi, Iranian human rights activist and journalist. It features interviews by thirteen former women political prisoners, including the author, about their experiences in Iranian prisons.
Lebanon's revolution: How art turned into a political weapon The New Arab (16 October 2020)
As in any revolution, art played a role in resisting state violence in the Lebanese movement of 2019, whether in the form of banners, murals, or even social media posts. Different revolutionary artists in Lebanon reflect on what they hope their art does, whether it is to give people hope, encourage them to reflect, help them express their thoughts, etc.
Palestinian directors say no to UAE-Israel “colonial cinema” deal The Electronic Intifada (21 October 2020)
The Abu Dhabi Film Commission signed an agreement with a film school and a film fund founded by Israel’s cultural ministry. In response, around one hundred Palestinian film industry workers signed a statement rejecting the agreement and calling a boycott of Emirati film institutions that normalize relations with Israel.
The Prisoner and the Pen The Gulf Centre for Human Rights (28 October 2020)
The Prisoner and the Pen is an online event, featuring the writings of prisoners and other writers in the MENA region. The writings were published in a document and the event recorded on YouTube and they are both available online.