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

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

A R A B I C A ارابيكا


*This Al Jazeera report looks at the importance of signs and slogans in ongoing Arab revolutions. One placard from Benghazi, Libya shows a chess queen knocking the king, with the head of Gaddafi, off the chessboard. It's part of what looks like a warehouse where revolutions are built. At a table in an unidentified part of the newly free Libyan city sit a group of young men on computers. In a different area, signs are being designed and painted by hand. One reads, "The Libyan people reject foreign intervention."


*In Riyadh on Wednesday evening, a group of conservative members of the Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and Protection from Vice stormed the Riyadh Book Fair, roughing up the women present, taking away the microphone and yelling at women to dress more modestly. The young men who launched the assault were arrested and later released.


*It is scenes like this that finally drove Egyptian Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq, a Mubarak man, to step down. Egyptian blog 3arabawy posted footage of "The women of Tahrir," part of the crowd gathering daily to demand the resignation of Shafiq. One sign reads, "Victory comes with patience." Mass demonstrations to step up the pressure on Shafiq were scheduled for Friday.


*Jordanian columnist Mohammed Abu Romman argues that if citizens and the political opposition do not unite now to press for immediate reform, "we will lose the historical moment and go back to square one." The Jordanian government said this week that true reforms are coming, but will take months to implement. Ahmed Hmeid tweeted in response to the article, "let us agree the ball is now in the reformers' court. Will society succeed in building a broad front for reform?"


*A tweet response from Benghazi in reply to a question about the situation there: "Silence is better than an answer."

March 3, 2011

photo credit: illustir

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Migrant Lives

They Migrated From Chiapas When Opportunities Dried Up, Orchids Brought Them Home

An orchid rehabilitation project is turning a small Mexican community into a tourist magnet — and attracting far-flung locals back to their hometown.

They Migrated From Chiapas When Opportunities Dried Up, Orchids Brought Them Home

Marcos Aguilar Pérez takes care of orchids rescued from the rainforest in his backyard in Santa Rita Las Flores, Mapastepec, Chiapas, Mexico.

Adriana Alcázar González/GPJ Mexico
Adriana Alcázar González

MAPASTEPEC — Sweat cascades down Candelaria Salas Gómez’s forehead as she separates the bulbs of one of the orchids she and the other members of the Santa Rita Las Flores Community Ecotourism group have rescued from the rainforest. The group houses and protects over 1,000 orchids recovered from El Triunfo Biosphere Reserve, in the southeastern Mexican state of Chiapas, after powerful storms.

“When the storms and heavy rains end, we climb to the vicinity of the mountains and collect the orchids that have fallen from the trees. We bring them to Santa Rita, care for them, and build their strength to reintegrate them into the reserve later,” says Salas Gómez, 32, as she attaches an orchid to a clay base to help it recover.

Like magnets, the orchids of Santa Rita have exerted a pull on those who have migrated from the area due to lack of opportunity. After years away from home, Salas Gómez was one of those who returned, attracted by the community venture to rescue these flowers and exhibit them as a tourist attraction, which provides residents with an adequate income.

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