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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


ONE DEATH
*As the English-language media reports the latest death toll out of the central Syrian city of Hama with figures varying from 11 to 22 dead, the Arabic media and social networks are focusing on the death of one man in Hama named Ibrahim Qashoush.

Qashoush, a local singer, was on his way to work on July 3rd when he was kidnapped by government thugs. His tortured, beaten body turned up a few days later in Hama's Aasi River. This graphic video shows Qashoush's body after it was pulled from the river. His throat was slit. Here, Qashoush led a group of at least 100,000 protesters singing the song "Go, Bashar – leave." As the camera pans the scope of the crowd, they sing: "Bashar, you're scum – the blood of martyrs is not cheap." A long Syrian flag stretches the length of the crowd. "Your cousins are thieves," the crowd repeats after Qashoush throws out the lyrics. "You're condemned to die if you come to Hama," Qashoush sings.

*A Facebook group has already sprung up called "We are all the martyr Ibrahim Qashoush." With more than 3,300 members, the home page banner features a picture of Qashoush after his death, with the words "The hearts of millions weep for you."

*Here is a BBC Arabic report about Qashoush's death at the hands of the "shabiha," or paid government thugs in civilian clothing. At 1:30, the report shows a pan shot of an enormous crowd gathered around the clock tower in central Hama. At 1:40, shots are heard and the street erupts into pandemonium as people flee for cover.

*This BBC report opens with children running from their village near Homs, carrying plastic bags with their belongings and even a mattress balanced on a bicycle's handlebars. "Most of these residents fled across the border to Lebanon," the reporter says. At 0:55, soldiers are kicking and standing on male prisoners, forced to lie on the ground with their hands tied.

ONE WAR
*Two decades after the 1980-1988 war in which more than 1 million people died, Iran and Iraq decided to "forget the pain of the past" and restore relations. At a joint press conference in Baghdad, Mohammed Reza Rahimi, a close aide to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad, said Iran was also ready to "provide security" for Iraq.


July 7, 2011

photo credit: illustir

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