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

A R A B I C A ارابيكا


EGYPT: PAST & FUTURE

*This survey polled more than 22,000 Egyptians to discover public attitudes about the upcoming March 19th referendum on constitutional amendments, whichwould loosen the grip of the longtime ruling National Democratic Party over the entire political process (from presidential down to municipal elections). Question 4 asks, "Will you vote yes or no" to the proposed constitutional amendments? A total of 35 percent say yes, 50 percent say no, 13 percent have not decided. Question 5 asks whether the referendum process will be fair and free of vote rigging. Forty-two percent say no, 33 percent say yes and 23 percent aren't sure.

*A political cartoon posted by Egyptian opposition leader Wael Ghonim called "The Three Knights' shows the former head of Hosni Mubarak's ruling party, Safwat Sharif, Zakaria Azmi, the former head of Mubarak's staff who was reported by Egyptian papers as recently being caught shredding documents in the Cairo presidential palace, and Mubarak confidante Ahmed Shafiq, who stepped down as prime minister following relentless protests. Ghonim calls for all three to be put on trial for "corrupting political life in Egypt and destroying the dignity of the people."

VIRAL COURAGE

* A young member of a Syrian tribe in the remote eastern desert town Deir a-Zor posted a video on YouTube calling on the public to take to the streets in order to gain the right to free speech and the right to live a dignified, peaceful life "without the interference of the state-security services." Faisal Fahad Andlus says he understands the risk of making a public statement. "I know what kind of effect posting this video will have on my future, my life, my family's life, on my friends and everyone I know," he says. "The citizen is not allowed to speak… but the country has fallen into corruption, the country has fallen into chaos… and many other things that we already know."

COMFORTING THE COMFORTABLE

*London-based, Saudi-owned A-Sharq Al-Awsat daily newspaper, generally one of the most respected sources for Middle Eastern news, begins a story on the Saudi advisory council (Majlis a-Shoura) with this: "Following its session on Sunday, the Saudi Majlis a-Shoura, headed by the sheikh and doctor Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Ibrahim al-Sheikh, the head of the council, congratulated the Saudi leadership on behalf of the Saudi people for ‘protecting and preserving national security."" Continuing in formal Arabic, the article goes on to quote various senior members of the al-Saud family congratulating themselves and the public for being fortunate enough to live in a society in which "there is no separation between the leadership and citizens," in the words of Prince Sultan bin Salman, the powerful governor of Riyadh province. The Saudi leadership clearly is looking to send a message to the public, the spiraling financial markets and the world that, despite percolating pockets of pro-democracy dissent, the country does not face the same threats to stability as has occurred elsewhere in the Arab world.

March 14, 2011


photo credit: illustir


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Economy

What's Driving The New Migrant Exodus From Cuba

Since Cuba reopened its borders last December after COVID closures, the number of people leaving the island has gone up significantly. Migration has been a constant in Cuban life since the 1950s. But this article in Cuba's independent news outlet El Toque shows just how important migration is to understand the ordeals of everyday life on the island.

March for the 69th anniversary of the beginning of the Cuban Revolution.

Loraine Morales Pino

HAVANA — Some 157,339 Cubans crossed the border into the United States between Oct. 1, 2021 and June 30, 2022, according to the U.S. Border Patrol — a figure significantly higher than the one recorded during the 1980 Mariel exodus, when a record 125,000 Cubans arrived in the U.S. over a period of seven months.

Migrating has once again become the only way out of the ordeal that life on the island represents.

Cubans of all ages who make the journey set off towards a promise. They prefer the unknown to the grim certainty that the Cuban regime offers them.

Migration from Cuba has been a constant since the 1950s.

In 1956, the largest number of departures was recorded in the colonial and republican periods, with the arrival of 14,953 Cubans in the United States, the historical destination of migratory flows. Since the January 1959 revolution, that indicator has been exceeded 30 times.

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