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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

FAIR ELECTIONS
A coalition of Bahraini opposition groups issued what it called the "Manama Document" on Wednesday demanding the ruling Al Khalifa family implement reforms to allow for elected government and fair elections. The coalition of five associations (political parties are banned) includes Islamists and secular movements. The primary demand is for "an elected government that represents the will of the people, not an appointed government… and gives the Lower House the power to hold its members accountable."

FAIR WAGE
The Lebanese cabinet agreed in a meeting to increase the minimum wage by 40 percent to 470 dollars in order to avoid a general strike scheduled to go into effect on Wednesday. The strike would have included teachers, bank workers, transport workers and others. "We have agreed to suspend the strike, but not to cancel it," said Ghassan Ghosn, the president of the General Workers' Union. The union had demanded the minimum wage be increased to 829 dollars per month.

REAL CHANGE
A new study by the Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies in Doha shows that the protest movement in Morocco is primarily driven by middle-class youth who are calling for "real, profound change." They say they have heretofore been denied avenues to express their demands, and though ranging in political orientation from leftist to Islamist, also revealed a tolerance to different ways of political thinking. The movement for democratic reform in Morocco marks its official launch as February 20th.

FANTASY NUMBERS
The Syrian Revolution Facebook group posted a Google Map screen shot showing the square in Damascus where supporters of President Bashar al-Assad gathered on Wednesday. Syrian state television trumpeted the rally as a "million-strong march" during which regime supporters denounced the newly formed Syrian National Council and the "conspiracy" to target Syria. The group administrator uses the map and photographs to estimate that if there were "four people in each square meter, we come up with a maximum of 80,000 people." Commenter Muhammad Ahmed noted underneath: "It's strange that pro-regime demonstrations don't take place on a Friday" (implying that state employees get a day off to attend the rally)…strange that pro-regime demonstrations happen at exactly the same time in two provinces or two areas or more… strange that the pro-regime demonstrations are not fired up by the so-called ""armed terrorist groups.""

October 13, 2011

photo credit: illustir

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Searching For Marianna, A Pregnant Doctor From Mariupol Held Captive By The Russians

We’ve heard about the plight of the soldiers-turned-prisoners from Mariupol. Here are some traces of the disturbing fate of a young female doctor who’s been taken away.

A paper dove reads "Mariupol" at a shelter for displaced children in Uzhhorod, western Ukraine.

Paweł Smoleński

"Wait for me, because I will return…"

Marianna Mamonova wrote these words to her family, among the text messages and short phone calls that are the only remaining fragments used to piece together her recent past. We also have a photo of her, posted on Russian websites, where she looks into the lens, gaunt and exhausted, signed with a number like a concentration camp prisoner.

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Until the Russian-Ukrainian war, Mamonova’s biography was available to anyone who wanted to know. She was born in 1991, studied at the Ternopil Medical University, and later at the Kyiv Military Academy. After completing her studies, she was sent to work in the coastal city of Berdiansk. Her mother says that this is where her daughter's dream came true: She’d always wanted to be a military doctor, and worked in Berdiansk for three years, receiving the rank of officer in the Ukrainian army.

Beginning in 2014, she’d worked stints as a front-line doctor in the Donbas region, and when Russia invaded Ukraine in February she went to war again. This time in Mariupol.

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