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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

SYRIA ON SYRIA
Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Mouallem expressed outrage over Syria's suspension from the Arab League. The decision "should not have been issued because of the facts on the ground," Mouallem said. The minister did admit that there is a "crisis in Syria," but blamed it on a "conspiracy by several unnamed parties." Mouallem also reached for the same narrative the Syrian regime has used for more than four decades to explain away the controversy: "Syria is paying a price for its unwavering stances in support of the Arabs." The Arab League, now taking action after eight months of security forces killing Syrian civilians, has decided to send a 500-member delegation to Syria to prepare a report on the situation there to submit to Arab foreign ministers.

JORDAN ON SYRIA
Jordan's King Abdullah told the BBC that if he were Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, he would step down for the good of the country. Not only would he resign, he said, but he would "make sure that my successor has the ability to change the status quo that we are seeing."

MUBARAK LEGACY

Egypt's Supreme Administrative Court issued a ruling that reverses a government decision to ban any members of Hosni Mubarak's former ruling National Democratic Party from running in the upcoming parliamentary elections. The ruling goes against one of the key demands of the January 25th revolutionaries demanding that anyone who served under Mubarak's regime be banned for life from public service.

YEMEN CALL
Yemenis have not abandoned their quest to oust longtime President Ali Abdullah Saleh from power. Hundreds of thousands of Yemenis marched in Sanaa and Taiz demanding that the international community issue an arrest warrant for Saleh and his top aides for "crimes against humanity." The protests have not relented since February in the Arab world's poorest country, yet Saleh continues to hang on despite enormous local and international pressure for him to resign after 32 years in office. A Gulf sponsored initiative would protect Saleh and family members from prosectution, a provision that protesters are becoming more vocal in rejecting. Time could be running out for Saleh, as Yemenis clamor for his arrest, and possible execution.

November 14, 2011

photo credit: illustir

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Society

A Closer Look At "The French Roe" And The State Of Abortion Rights In France

In 1972, Marie-Claire Chevalier's trial paved the way for the legalization of abortion in France, much like Roe v. Wade did in the U.S. soon after. But as the Supreme Court overturned this landmark decision on the other side of the Atlantic, where do abortion rights now stand in France?

Lawyer Gisèle Halimi accompanies Marie-Claire Chevalier at the Bobigny trial in 1972.

Lila Paulou

PARIS — When Marie-Claire Chevalier died in January, French newspapers described her role in the struggle for abortion rights as an important part of what’s become the rather distant past. Yet since the recent overturning of Roe v. Wade in the United States, Chevalier’s story has returned to the present tense.

A high school student in 1971, Chevalier was raped by a classmate, and faced an unwanted pregnancy. With the help of her mother and three other women, the 16-year-old obtained an abortion, which was illegal in France. With all five women facing arrest, Marie-Claire’s mother Michèle decided to contact French-Tunisian lawyer Gisèle Halimi who had defended an Algerian activist raped and tortured by French soldiers in a high-profile case.

Marie-Claire bravely agreed to turn her trial into a platform for all women prosecuted for seeking an abortion. Major social figures testified on her behalf, from feminist activist Simone de Beauvoir to acclaimed poet Aimé Césaire. The prominent Catholic doctor Paul Milliez, said, “I do not see why us, Catholics, should impose our moral to all French people.”

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