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

For the third time in five days, Muammar Gaddafi spoke to Libyans, friend and foe.

A R A B I C A ارابيكا

By Kristen Gillespie


LATEST FROM LIBYA

*For the third time in five days, Muammar Gaddafi spoke to Libyans, friend and foe. This time, the Libyan leader made his shout-filled appeal in central Tripoli, directly to a mid-sized crowd of supporters, vowing to "open up the arsenals' on those who defied his rule.

*As much as his declarations, the fate of Gaddafi and his country will depend on the balance of force in the streets in what increasingly looks like the beginnings of an outright civil war. A witness in Tripoli told Reuters that five people were killed when security forces opened fire on protesters in the capital's suburb of Ganzor. Other reports indicate that Gaddafi loyalists opened fire on demonstrators pouring into Tripoli mosques on Friday, but the situation remains chaotic, with independent verification difficult at best.

*BBC Arabic posted a photographic retrospective of Muammar Gaddafi's 41 years in the public eye. Surveying the brutal scene unfolding across Libya, it is easy to forget that Gaddafi was once a dashing military hero who led the charge to depose a despised monarchy.

FRIDAY, FRIDAY

*Another region-wide "day of rage" protests, extending from countries where regimes have fallen (Tunisia, Egypt) or are cracking down on dissent (Libya, Yemen) or trying to reconcile with aspirations for democracy (Jordan, Iraq).

*This from Jordanian tweetster @samihtoukan: "Jordan is the only country where protesters are not being violently confronted by police. I applaud the government for this and we will represent peaceful change."

FACEBOOK FROM ABOVE

*One week after he and his government resigned, Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad launched a Facebook page to solicit opinions from citizens. President Mahmoud Abbas has charged Fayyad with forming a new government.

*Today he posted the question about the dreaded Interior Ministry, which oversees the police, security and intelligence services: "What are the most important points that need to be considered for the short-term?" Just five hours after the question was posted, 128 people "liked" it, and 139 people commented.

*A quick sampling of comments on the page: 1. Recover Gaza in any way possible.....2. There is a lack of interest in the families of martyrs. They should receive benefits in order to live a life of dignity...3. There is nothing more important than finding jobs for young people.

CRACK DOWN FROM ABOVE

*Syrian blogger Ahmad Abu-Khair was arrested six days ago without charge and then released without explanation. His blog ahmadblogs.net posts articles about "how to bypass blocked sites, information revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia, and the possibility of achieving that in other countries," said the Syrian Association for Human Rights, which publicized his release. Ahmad's most recent post was on January 26th with an entry called "7 fast steps to bypass the ban on facebook and Twitter!"

*Egyptian twitterers posted a video of a security official ordering law enforcement to be merciless with protesters. @Alshaheeed: "After the revolution a local head of security says, we are the masters of the people." Standing outside with a group of security personnel and soldiers, the security chief publicly ordered them to arrest and "cut the hand off" anyone who threatens public order.

Feb. 25, 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.

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