Posts Tagged ‘Arab Spring’

The news of mass demonstrations in al-Anbar, Nineveh and other regions of Iraq has been a headline since more than a week. It all started after PM al-Maliki ordered to arrest bodyguards of the Sunni finance minister; a step considered to be another offence against Sunnis by the Shiite dominated government of Baghdad. Since then thousands of people are rallying under slogans of Iraqi Spring calling to bring down the regime of Nouri al-Maliki.

Old Iraqi flag in al-Anbar demonstrations. (Reuters)

In sharp contrast to Arab Spring events which did not carry any religious color, the political movement in Anbar is pure Sunni. (more…)


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cover-smallGraffiti explodes in periods of political and social changes and becomes itself a form of public power to resist authoritarian power. An artist, or group of artists, chooses a crowded street to convey the message in words or picture or both, that most of the times contain bitter sarcasm. The power of graffiti as a mean of free expression is increasingly alarming for many governments and ruling Systems. Repressive measures are taken to “shut-up” the voice of the streets; the best example of such reactions is that of UK with the Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003 and UK MPs signing a charter saying “Graffiti is not art, it’s crime.”
In an attempt to trace the relationship between political awareness and the public mood reflected on city walls, Hani Naim dives into graffiti and the stories behind each wall painting in his book “Graffiti of Uprisings”. (more…)

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As Egypt struggles its way through the worst political crisis after revolution a retrospective view to the principles of Muslim Brotherhood and events that took place since the fall of Mubarak can explain a lot of what is taking place there now.

President Morsi with the flags of Muslim Brotherhood and Egypt behind

President Morsi with the flags of Muslim Brotherhood and Egypt behind

Last year after presidential elections we met some  liberal Egyptian activists who took part in 2011 revolution and we were shocked to know they voted for Morsi, preferring a representative of a religious party to a liberal statesman.  (more…)

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In search for a decent “qaf” for this blog I found out that the Phoenician letter “qaph” is written exactly as the capital Latin Q. Several other Latin and Greek letters are believed to originate from the Phoenician alphabet. Letters like M, S, K still carry this resemblance.

Gold plates with Phoenician writing

If such small similarity between alphabets is sometimes clear, the differences are much clearer.

Other than being written from right to left, Semitic alphabets have no vowels. Vowel sounds are not usually depicted in a script even when a vowel changes the whole meaning of a word. Semitic nations considered vowels not worth of being written. Even though Hebrew and Arabic contain minor signs (not letters) to express vowels visually (nikkud and harakat), you may notice that these signs are usually ignored. In some words the constants written are not more than half of the real sound of the word. You have to know by heart how a word sounds or guess which vowel to supply for a given constant in it. Such writing systems are called “abjad” systems.

Russians say: east is a peculiar case. East cannot be understood. It should be accepted as it is. This may apply perfectly to Middle East where the expressed part of life is not more than half of what people experience. Political problems are half expressed. Solutions are half solutions and the easiest way to resolve a conflict is simply to hide its consequences, just like a vowel, while it actually does not seize to exist there wouldn’t be any-verbal reference to it.

A Tunisian girl raped by police last September is now facing jail for ‘INDECENT BEHAVIOR”. Tunisian justice seems trying to suppress any voice disturbing the newly-set order of things in this pioneering arab-spring state. The easiest way to do it is to hide vowels, to stop victims from appealing to courts rather than directly addressing the problem.

A Tunisian protester holds a placard reading ‘Congratulations Madame Hillary for this thief and rapist government’ on September 28, 2012, in Tunis, during a meeting of support to a woman who was raped by two policemen. (Photo: AFP/Getty Images)

In Lebanon any discussion regarding the 15 long years of civil war is still a taboo. It is not that Lebanese people have already jettisoned sectarian animosity. It is only that no one wants to talk about it.

Examples of the “abjad system” applied in Middle East everyday life are plenty.  Duality between what is said and what is seen, what things are and what they are officially called has become a part of the functioning system. Will Arab Spring change this pattern? The Tunisian example is not promising.

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