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


A R A B I C A
ارابيكا

By Kristen Gillespie


KILLERS IN SYRIA
The situation in Syria appears to be worsening further as intellectuals and doctors are being assassinated. Opposition activists blame the government for the deaths they say are an attempt to stoke sectarian tensions while the government continues to blame unnamed "armed terrorist groups funded by an external conspiracy." Among those who have been assassinated in the past two weeks are a thoracic surgeon, a nuclear engineer and the deputy dean of the architecture school at Homs University. In the latest incident, a professor from Aleppo University, Mohammed al-Amr, was gunned down while in his car. With him was the 21-year-old son of the Grand Mufti of Syria, the highest Sunni religious authority in the country.

DEFENDERS IN EGYPT
Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, the head of the military council currently ruling Egypt, is defending testimony he gave to the court in the trial of ex-President Hosni Mubarak. The former president is on trial for the deaths of more than 850 protesters during the January 25th revolution. Tantawi testified that no one ordered the army to fire on protesters, and that no Egyptian soldier fired on protesters. Tantawi said the military's role now is to keep the country on track so that parliamentary elections can take place in November as scheduled, followed by presidential elections next year. "No one will stop us from completing our mission and moving forward," Tantawi said Monday. "We are a united people." He defended martial law currently in place "not because we want it, but because security conditions in Egypt require it."

DOCTORS IN BAHRAIN
Nada Dhayf is a Bahraini doctor sentenced last week to 15 years in prison for treating injured protesters during a wave of unrest earlier this year. The government tried her and 20 other medical professionals in a closed security court for "plotting to overthrow the regime." Dr. Dhayf is speaking out publicly, saying her torturers used electric shocks on her ears and face, adding the explosive claim that a member of the ruling Al Khalifa family "personally supervised my torture."

PUMPKINS IN JORDAN
A video of a session of parliament is making the rounds in Jordan because lawmakers are paying closer attention to a bag of pumpkin seeds being passed around than the matters at hand. A man speaking at the session is widely ignored as smoking lawmakers focus their attention on a man walking around with a bag of seeds, or bizr, in Arabic. Hands are held out and men line up for their helping of bizr, while the larger debate is for the most part ignored. Most commenters mock the parliamentarians as an embarrassment. One commenter writes, "where is the Pepsi and dessert?" Another writes, "It reminds me of high school."


October 3, 2011

photo credit: illustir

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Society

Mahsa Amini, Martyr Of An Iranian Regime Designed To Abuse Women

The 22-year-old is believed to have been beaten to death at a Tehran police station last week after "morality police" had reprimanded her clothing. The case has sparked the nation's outrage. But as ordinary Iranians testify, such beatings, torture and a home brand of misogyny are hallmarks of the 40-year Islamic Republic of Iran.

Mahsa Amini

Firouzeh Nordstrom

-Analysis-

TEHRAN — The death in Iran of a 22-year-old Mahsa Amini — after she was arrested by the so-called "morality police" — has unleashed another wave of protests, as thousands of Iranians vent their fury against an intrusive and violent regime. Indeed, as tragically exceptional as the circumstances appear, the reaction reflects the daily reality of abuse by authorities, especially directed toward women.

Amini, a Kurdish-Iranian girl visiting Tehran with relatives, was detained by the regime's morality patrols on Sept. 13, apparently for not respecting the Islamic dress code that includes proper use of the hijab headscarf. Amini was declared dead two or three days after being taken into custody. Officials say she fainted and died, and blamed a preexisting heart condition. But neither her family nor anyone else in Iran believe that, as can be seen in the mounting protests that have now left at least three dead.

For Amini's was hardly the first arbitrary arrest, or the first suspected death in custody under Iran's Islamic regime.

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