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ARABICA - A Daily Shot Of What the Arab World is Saying/Hearing/Sharing
Kristen Gillespie


A R A B I C A
ارابيكا

THE CITY
BBC Arabic features an in-depth report from the central Syrian city of Hama, which had been the site last Friday of the largest demonstrations in the past four months of unrest. "Witnesses said about 30 buses full of armed police officers and soldiers entered the city on Monday morning." The officers were reportedly carrying lists with names of people they were to arrest. As they began to raid houses, "a group of young people took to the streets, set up roadblocks and threw stones at security forces." They responded by "firing indiscriminately and using tear gas." At least 16 people were wounded in the clashes.

THE DEFECTOR
Here, a man who says he is Sergeant Imad al-Setouf (he shows his official ID) issued a video statement explaining why he defected from Syrian military intelligence. Bashar al-Assad's thugs took part in killing, stealing, raping and torturing, al-Setouf says. "I was a witness from the beginning of the protests to what the security apparatus was doing," he says.

THE DAUGHTER
A Syrian girl in the northwest province of Idlib talks about how her father was shot dead by the army in the village of Jabal Zawiya. When asked by the man filming her what her message is to the government, she replies, while surrounded by other children, "the people want the regime to fall" and then bursts into tears.

EGYPT AFTER
Egypt's Attorney General Abdel-Meguid Mahmoud is challenging the decision of a criminal court in Suez to release seven police officers, including some of high rank, on bail after being charged with killing 17 protesters. The officers are accused of firing live rounds into crowds of protesters in Suez. Mahmoud is petitioning the court to keep the officers in custody. Following the court's ruling, angry family members of the victims attempted to storm the courtroom and clashed with guards. The trial will resume on Septemer 14th.

TUNISIA AFTER
Reuters Arabic reports on the 15-year sentence for deposed Tunisian President Zine el-Abedine Ben Ali for possessing weapons and drugs with intent to sell the drugs. Last month, a court trying Ben Ali and his wife, Leila Trabulsi, sentenced both of them to 35 years in jail for plundering public funds.

SAUDIA ARABIA STATUS QUO
The Saudi government approved a measure giving a raise to health professionals serving in the military, as well as a higher housing allowance. It is the latest of several decrees issued by King Abdullah to boost salaries and find jobs to help preserve stability in the country.


July 4, 2011

photo credit: illustir

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Searching For Marianna, A Pregnant Doctor From Mariupol Held Captive By The Russians

We’ve heard about the plight of the soldiers-turned-prisoners from Mariupol. Here are some traces of the disturbing fate of a young female doctor who’s been taken away.

A paper dove reads "Mariupol" at a shelter for displaced children in Uzhhorod, western Ukraine.

Paweł Smoleński

"Wait for me, because I will return…"

Marianna Mamonova wrote these words to her family, among the text messages and short phone calls that are the only remaining fragments used to piece together her recent past. We also have a photo of her, posted on Russian websites, where she looks into the lens, gaunt and exhausted, signed with a number like a concentration camp prisoner.

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Until the Russian-Ukrainian war, Mamonova’s biography was available to anyone who wanted to know. She was born in 1991, studied at the Ternopil Medical University, and later at the Kyiv Military Academy. After completing her studies, she was sent to work in the coastal city of Berdiansk. Her mother says that this is where her daughter's dream came true: She’d always wanted to be a military doctor, and worked in Berdiansk for three years, receiving the rank of officer in the Ukrainian army.

Beginning in 2014, she’d worked stints as a front-line doctor in the Donbas region, and when Russia invaded Ukraine in February she went to war again. This time in Mariupol.

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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

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