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

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


*Thugs stormed the Helwan metro station in an attempt to rob the cashier but were thwarted by citizens, Egyptian news site reported. The word "thug" has a particular meaning in Arabic. In Egypt, the word is "bultigiya." In Syrian, they are called "shabiha." Thugs in the Arab world are goons in the service of the authorities, in particular, the Interior Ministries around the region. Dressed in civilian clothes and virtually unaccountable for their actions, thugs are henchmen used to create plausible deniability. Arab authorities deny the thugs are attached to them as they wreak havoc at protests and elsewhere.

But in Egypt, the thugs went too far during the now infamous Feb. 2 "Battle of the Camel," perhaps a misnomer because there wasn't much of a battle when the camel-riding attackers targeted unarmed civilians in the streets, killing several. The topic of thugs, rarely if ever discussed publicly before, exploded in the Arab media and on social-networking sites. After days of protests around the country, Egyptian authorities arrested the thugs involved in the "battle" and put them on trial. And so when a band of thugs burst into the Helwan station, something entirely different happened: People took action to stop them. The thugs roughed up people in the station as others went for the cash register. Usually, they do their work unchallenged. While some fled as subway workers tried to catch them, others were stopped and taken off by the police. A security source admitted the group was part of the security services, but denied the account of the eyewitnesses.

*The business of Egypt's revolution is hardly over, as protests continue almost daily to demand the military leadership accelerate the pace of reforms and prosecute those accused of police brutality, including Mubarak-era officials. One of the most powerful figures under Mubarak, then-Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif, has been ordered into detention for 15 days while judicial officials investigate his business activities. Nazif allegedly sold public land for private gain, netting himself $10 million in profit on one deal alone for land in Luxor. With the cooperation of the then-governor, a businessman named Samir Farag, Nazif is accused of selling the land to an investor and pocketing most of the profits.

*The Syrian Revolution facebook group is asking for suggestions for Ramadan, the month of fasting that will begin on August 1st. Within one hour, 245 commenters submitted their thoughts. Proposals include public prayers outdoors followed by demonstrations and early-morning protests following the dawn prayers.

July 25, 2011

photo credit: illustir

Keep up with the world. Break out of the bubble.
Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!

A Mother In Spain Denied Child Custody Because She Lives In Rural Area

A court in Spain usurps custody of the one-year-old boy living with his mother in the "deep" part of the Galicia region, forced to instead live with his father in the southern city of Marbella, which the judge says is "cosmopolitan" with good schools and medical care. Women's rights groups have taken up the mother's case.

A child in Galician countryside

Laure Gautherin

A Spanish court has ordered the withdrawal of a mother's custody of her one-year-old boy because she is living in the countryside in northwestern Spain, where the judge says the child won't have "opportunities for the proper development of his personality."

The case, reported Monday in La Voz de Galicia, has sparked outrage from a women's rights association but has also set off reactions from politicians of different stripes across the province of Galicia, defending the values of rural life.

Judge María Belén Ureña Carazo, of the family court of Marbella, a city on the southern coast of 141,000 people, has ordered the toddler to stay with father who lives in the city rather than with his mother because she was living in "deep Galicia" where the child would lack opportunities to "grow up in a happy environment."

Front page of La Voz de Galicia - October 25, 2021

Front page of La Voz de Galicia - Monday 25 October, 2021

La Voz de Galicia

Better in a "cosmopolitan" city?

The judge said Marbella, where the father lives, was a "cosmopolitan city" with "a good hospital" as well as "all kinds of schools" and thus provided a better environment for the child to thrive.

The mother has submitted a formal complaint to the General Council of the Judiciary that the family court magistrate had acted with "absolute contempt," her lawyer told La Voz de Galicia.

The mother quickly accumulated support from local politicians and civic organizations. The Clara Campoamor association described the judge's arguments as offensive, intolerable and typical of "an ignorant person who has not traveled much."

The Xunta de Galicia, the regional government, has addressed the case, saying that any place in Galicia meets the conditions to educate a minor. The Socialist party politician Pablo Arangüena tweeted that "it would not hurt part of the judiciary to spend a summer in Galicia."

Keep up with the world. Break out of the bubble.
Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!