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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


TAHRIR – THE MARSHAL
With an estimated 35 Egyptians dead from the crackdown during recent days of protesting, the leader of the country's ruling military junta gave an address on state television, announcing that the ruling government cabinet's resignation has been accepted and that presidential elections will be held before next June. The ruling military leadership "only cares about the national interest and does not want to remain in power," Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi said.

TAHRIR – THE PEOPLE
Thousands have converged on Tahrir Square in Cairo to demand the military hand over power to civilian authorities and hold elections. "The people want the field marshal to fall," they chanted.

TAHRIR – THE MARKET
CNN Arabic reports that the Egyptian stock market shed $1.6 billion on Tuesday, with trading suspended by authorities after stocks plummeted more than five percent over the course of one hour. Experts attributed the drop to events in Tahrir Square.

TAHRIR – MARCHING ON
Egyptian Maged Amidou tweets from the scene, "the march began at Ain al Shams University and now we're on Talaat Harb Street. Our march is taking up the entire street."

TAHRIR – SITTING OUT
The Muslim Brotherhood, meanwhile, has declined to participate in the "National Salavation" rallies. The party says it does not want to go down a road of bloody confrontation and violence. It will continue efforts to "bury the strife sparked by the Interior Ministry, which has left lawlessness to prevail in many provinces."

…AND IN YEMEN
Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh continues to stall for time by not signing a Gulf initiative that would see him leaving power immediately and transferring control to the vice president. BBC Arabic quotes "knowledgeable sources' saying that Vice President Abd Rabo Hadi "was authorized to sign the initiative only during the absence of the president from Yemen."

The report is a direct contrast to a statement by Saleh in his first comments since returning from a medical check-up in Riyadh, during which he said Hadi could sign the agreement at any time. BBC Arabic quotes political sources as saying, "the negotiations have stalled because of the desire of the Yemeni president, who would transfer power to his deputy, to remain as president, even if in name only."


Nov. 22, 2011

photo credit: illustir

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Coronavirus

Chinese Students' "Absurd" Protest Against COVID Lockdowns: Public Crawling

While street demonstrations have spread in China to protest the strict Zero-COVID regulations, some Chinese university students have taken up public acts of crawling to show what extended harsh lockdowns are doing to their mental state.

​Screenshot of a video showing Chinese students crawling on a soccer pitch

Screenshot of a video showing Chinese students crawling

Shuyue Chen

Since last Friday, the world has watched a wave of street protests have taken place across China as frustration against extended lockdowns reached a boiling point. But even before protesters took to the streets, Chinese university students had begun a public demonstration that challenges and shames the state's zero-COVID rules in a different way: public displays of crawling, as a kind of absurdist expression of their repressed anger under three years of strict pandemic control.

Xin’s heart was beating fast as her knees reached the ground. It was her first time joining the strange scene at the university sports field, so she put on her hat and face mask to cover her identity.

Kneeling down, with her forearms supporting her body from the ground, Xin started crawling with three other girls as a group, within a larger demonstration of other small groups. As they crawled on, she felt the sense of fear and embarrassment start to disappear. It was replaced by a liberating sense of joy, which had been absent in her life as a university student in lockdown for so long.

Yes, crawling in public has become a popular activity among Chinese university students recently. There have been posters and videos of "volunteer crawling" across universities in China. At first, it was for the sake of "fun." Xin, like many who participated, thought it was a "cult-like ritual" in the beginning, but she changed her mind. "You don't care about anything when crawling, not thinking about the reason why, what the consequences are. You just enjoy it."

The reality out there for Chinese university students has been grim. For Xin, her university started daily COVID-19 testing in November, and deliveries, including food, are banned. Apart from the school gate, all exits have been padlock sealed.

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