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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



*As Ramadan begins, the Syrian government's campaign to stamp out protests is intensifying, with more than 140 civilians reported dead in the past 48 hours. Meanwhile, the scale of protests is also intensifying as the military shifts its focus back to the central Syrian city of Hama. Here, a widow cries over her husband's body. The person who posted the clip writes, "Do not grieve, my sister. He has gone to a place where his head is held most high." Several comments under the clip extend blessings and prayers for the widow, with one writing, "May God send you and your family to the greatest paradise." Many gruesome post-mortem videos are posted on the Syrian Revolution Facebook site.

*Here, a cartoon of a member of Syrian security forces on a beach protecting a sand castle as an enormous wave is about to sweep them away.

*The Egyptian Muslim-Christian organization called "Family Home" denounced the American appointment of a special envoy to the Middle East to specialize in protecting the rights of religious minorities. Egyptian news site Al Youm Al Sabaa quoted a Family House statement as saying that "Egyptian Christians and Muslims have respectfully lived side by side for 15 centuries. They are united and share each others' lives and support similar goals for the nation." The statement was signed by Mahmoud Zaqzouq, a former minister for Islamic affairs, and a secretary to the Coptic Pope Shenouda III.

*Al Hayat reports on Egyptian security forces storming of Tahrir Square in Cairo, where they forcefully broke up a three-week-old sit-in demanding political reform and the prosecution of corrupt police officers. "Hundreds of soldiers entered the square, dismantled the tents and drove out protesters," the paper reported. "Military police used batons to disperse the demonstrators." Security personnel also fired into the air and beat protesters "with sticks when they refused to leave the square." Some protesters also hurled stones at police. On its facebook site, the Egyptian military stated that "military police have arrested a number of thugs in Tahrir Square." The move comes ahead of the trial in Cairo of ex-President Hosni Mubarak, accused along with senior officials of ordering the shooting deaths of more than 850 protesters during the January 25th revolution.

August 3, 2011

photo credit: illustir

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food / travel

Legalizing Moonshine, A Winning Political Stand In Poland

Moonshine, typically known as “bimber” in Poland, may soon be legalized by the incoming government. There is a mix of tradition, politics and economics that makes homemade booze a popular issue to campaign on.

Photo of an empty vodka bottle on the ground in Poland

Bottle of vodka laying on the ground in Poland

Leszek Kostrzewski

WARSAWIt's a question of freedom — and quality. Poland's incoming coalition government is busy negotiating a platform for the coming years. Though there is much that still divides the Left, the liberal-centrist Civic Koalition, and the centrist Third Way partners, there is one area where Poland’s new ruling coalition is nearly unanimous: moonshine.

The slogan for the legalization of moonshine (known in Poland as "bimber") was initially presented by Michał Kołodziejczak, the leader of Agrounia, a left-wing socialist political movement in Poland that has qualified to be part of the incoming Parliament.

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”Formerly so-called moonshine was an important element of our cultural landscape, associated with mystery, breaking norms, and freedom from the state," Kołodziejczak said. "It was a reason to be proud, just like the liqueurs that Poles were famous for in the past.”

The president of Agrounia considered the right to make moonshine as a symbol of "subjectivity" that farmers could enjoy, and admitted with regret that in recent years it had been taken away from citizens. “It's also about a certain kind of freedom, to do whatever you want on your farm," Kołodziejczak adds. "This is subjectivity for the farmer. Therefore, I am in favor of providing farmers with the freedom to consume this alcohol for their own use.”

A similar viewpoint was aired by another Parliament member. “We will stop pretending that Polish farmers do not produce moonshine for their own use, such as for weddings,” the representative said, pointing out the benefits of controlling the quality. “Just like they produce slivovitz, which Poland is famous for. It's high time they did it legally.”

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