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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


FULL CIRCLE
The head of the Ennahda party in Tunisia, Rachid Ghannouchi, is calling for calm in the town of Sidi Bouzid, the site of violent protests since the Islamist party's victory was announced on Thursday, Almoslem.net reported. Supporters of the People's Party began rioting following the announcement that Ennahda had won 90 seats in parliament, comprising 41 percent of lawmakers. Sidi Bouzid is the town where the protest movement began in Tunisia after a vegetable vendor immolated himself last December after being denied a permit to sell produce. The government has imposed a curfew on Sidi Bouzid, while security forces fired into the air to disperse the crowds. Protesters tried to attack the municipal headquarters, and set fire to the mayor's office.

DÉJÀ VU
Egyptian lawyer Mohammed Abdul Aziz has filed a legal complaint over the death of Issam Atta, 23, who was tortured and beaten to death while at Tora prison. Atta was sentenced to two years in prison in February, and he was reportedly tortured with electric cables in his mouth and "places sensitive to his body" for attempting to smuggle a mobile phone into the prison, A-Dostour newspaper reported. After the beatings, he was transferred to a nearby hospital, where he died an hour later. His family was not notified of Atta's condition, and were not able to see him before he died. Atta's funeral was held on Friday

STANDOFF
Thousands of Yemenis have unflaggingly held protests since February demanding the ouster of President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who has been in power for 32 years. For months, Saleh has said he would resign but has failed to do so, despite an initiative proposed by neighboring Gulf countries that would avoid prosecution of Saleh and his family. As time passes, security forces continue to shoot and kill protesters, and the chants from the crowds are becoming increasingly impatient. On Friday, tens of thousands of Yemenis gathered in Sanaa's "Change Square" to demand Saleh be tried. "Free people of the world: Saleh must be tried," they chanted, along with "Defenders of the regime: repent and join your brothers in Change Square." A Yemeni woman was killed by a sniper on Friday while crossing the street with her husband near the square.

CROWN PRINCE
Al Jazeera announces the ascension of Saudi Interior Minister Prince Nayef al-Saud to crown prince. Prince Nayef is known in the west for blaming "the Zionists' for the attacks of September 11, 2001, saying "it is impossible that Bin Laden or Al Qaeda did it alone."

October 29, 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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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

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