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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


A NEW ARMY
*Syrian Colonel Riyadh al-Aasad announced in a video posted on YouTube the formation of the "Free Syrian Army." Sitting with a uniform brandished with two stars on each epaulet, al-Aasad read a statement while surrounded by six uniformed soldiers. "The army's job is to protect the people," he said, calling the deaths of civilians "crimes." The goal of the Free Syrian Army, al-Aasad said, "is to bring down this regime."

A commenter wrote, "may God protect you, heroes and freedom fighters of the Syrian army."

BREAKING THE SILENCE
*The Syrian Revolution Facebook group posted fresh clips from the Friday protests, billed as the Friday of "Your Silence is Killing Us," an attempt to convince more Syrians to turn out to demonstrate. In the port city of Latakia, thousands gathered and put a twist on the cry heard all throughout the Arab Spring "the people want the regime to fall." During the Latakia protest, the unseen speaker threw out the following to the crowd: "the people want the president's execution." The chant starts out slowly, and at 20 seconds in, the entire crowd gets to their feet, clapping and chanting at full force. Comments below the clip: "Hama is with you to the death," "God bless the people of Latakia," "may God grant victory to you heroes."

*Here, an enormous protest in Hama, with people, faces not filmed, in the crowd holding up signs with the date "July 29th – your silence is killing us." More from Hama here. The crowd stretches as far as the eye can see, in every possible direction.

UNITY AND DIVISIONS
*Al Jazeera reports that hundreds of thousands of Egyptians gathered in Cairo's Tahrir Square in what was being called a unity rally. The Islamists, who had stepped back from the protests still rocking Cairo and other cities, joined in what a Muslim Brotherhood official called a show of "unity of all political forces." But the "Friday of Unity" quickly began looking like what some called a "Friday of Division" as hardline Islamists held up signs reading "Islamic law above the constitution" and "there is no God but God." Preacher Hazem Shoman told the crowd that continuing the sit-in is a jihad for the sake of Allah. Several protesters told journalists covering the demonstration they felt the Islamists were creating divisions among Egyptians, and in Suez, the liberal Wafd party pulled out of the rally there because of "Islamist tactics," the official MENA agency reported.

July 29, 2011

photo credit: illustir

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Economy

In Uganda, Having A "Rolex" Is About Not Going Hungry

Experts fear the higher food prices resulting from the conflict in Ukraine could jeopardize the health of many Ugandans. Take a look at this ritzy-named simple dish.

Zziwa Fred, a street vendor who runs two fast-food businesses in central Uganda, rolls a freshly prepared chapati known as a Rolex.

Nakisanze Segawa

WAKISO — Godfrey Kizito takes a break from his busy shoe repair shop every day so he can enjoy his favorite snack, a vegetable and egg omelet rolled in a freshly prepared chapati known as a Rolex. But for the past few weeks, this daily ritual has given him neither the satisfaction nor the sustenance he is used to consuming. Kizito says this much-needed staple has shrunk in size.

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Most streets and markets in Uganda have at least one vendor firing up a hot plate ready to cook the Rolex, short for rolled eggs — which usually comes with tomatoes, cabbage and onion and is priced anywhere from 1,000 to 2,000 Ugandan shillings (28 to 57 cents). Street vendor Farouk Kiyaga says many of his customers share Kizito’s disappointment over the dwindling size of Uganda’s most popular street food, but Kiyaga is struggling with the rising cost of wheat and cooking oil.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has halted exports out of the two countries, which account for about 26% of wheat exports globally and about 80% of the world’s exports of sunflower oil, pushing prices to an all-time high, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization, a United Nations agency. Not only oil and wheat are affected. Prices of the most consumed foods worldwide, such as meat, grains and dairy products, hit their highest levels ever in March, making a nutritious meal even harder to buy for those who already struggle to feed themselves and their families. The U.N. organization warns the conflict could lead to as many as 13.1 million more people going hungry between 2022 and 2026.

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