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Geopolitics

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


A R A B I C A
ارابيكا


DUMA
The Syria Revolution Facebook group continues to post clips from protests around the country. The dates are impossible to verify, but here, the person filming a small nighttime march in the Damascus suburb of Duma makes a point of shouting the date as July 25th over the chanting crowd.

HOMS
In the central Syrian city of Homs, a major battleground last week, residents are emerging from the rubble. As the military closed in, activists told reporters outside Syria that soldiers opened fire indiscriminately in the streets. This video clip follows a trail of what looks like automatic-gun fire bored into the tin doors shops roll down when they close. The trail of bullet holes continues uninterrupted, into building walls, the front door of an apartment building and dozens of yards beyond. The military has since sent in reinforcements to subdue and encircle the city.

ZABADANI, HAMA, IDLIB
Other reports quote Syrian activists as saying that the army began firing on other branches of the security forces in Zabadani, a protest hotspot that has drawn the military. "Gunfire was heard for hours," Al Arabiya reported. Demonstrations are reportedly continuing in Hama, Damascus suburbs, Idlib and other cities. The Syrian official media, meanwhile, blames "some satellite channels for a conspiracy of disinformation."

BEN ALI ENTOURAGE
The BBC Arabic reports that the trial of 23 close associates of former Tunisian President Ben Ali and his wife, Leila Trebelsi, has begun in "an atmosphere of extraordinary security." Some of the defendants were arrested trying to flee Tunisia in January "carrying large amounts of foreign currency." Among those on trial is Imad Trebelsi, a nephew of Leila, who has been in custody at a military base. He pleaded guilty and said he earned his wealth through "legal activities." Imad Trebelsi was arrested at the Tunis airport in January carrying 36 watches, 5kg of jewelry, 17,500 euros and more than $2,000. This is "the first trial of its kind for senior figures close to Ben Ali," said Tunisian journalist Kamal Younes.


July 26, 2011

photo credit: illustir

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Ideas

Joshimath, The Sinking Indian City Has Also Become A Hotbed Of Government Censorship

The Indian authorities' decision to hide factual reports on the land subsidence in Joshimath only furthers a sense of paranoia.

Photo of people standing next to a cracked road in Joshimath, India

Cracked road in Joshimath

@IndianCongressO via Twitter
Rohan Banerjee*

MUMBAI — Midway through the movie Don’t Look Up (2021), the outspoken PhD candidate Kate Dibiasky (Jennifer Lawrence) is bundled into a car, a bag over her head. The White House, we are told, wants her “off the grid”. She is taken to a warehouse – the sort of place where CIA and FBI agents seem to spend an inordinate amount of time in Hollywood movies – and charged with violating national security secrets.

The Hobson’s choice offered to her is to either face prosecution or suspend “all public media appearances and incendiary language relating to Comet Dibiasky”, an interstellar object on a collision course with earth. Exasperated, she acquiesces to the gag order.

Don’t Look Upis a satirical take on the collective apathy towards climate change; only, the slow burn of fossil fuel is replaced by the more imminent threat of a comet crashing into our planet. As a couple of scientists try to warn humanity about its potential extinction, they discover a media, an administration, and indeed, a society that is not just unwilling to face the truth but would even deny it.

This premise and the caricatured characters border on the farcical, with plot devices designed to produce absurd scenarios that would be inconceivable in the real world we inhabit. After all, would any government dealing with a natural disaster, issue an edict prohibiting researchers and scientists from talking about the event? Surely not. Right?

On January 11, the National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC), one of the centers of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), issued a preliminary report on the land subsidence issue occurring in Joshimath, the mountainside city in the Himalayas.

The word ‘subsidence’ entered the public lexicon at the turn of the year as disturbing images of cracked roads and tilted buildings began to emanate from Joshimath.

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