When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

Already a subscriber? Log in .

You've reached your limit of one free article.

Get unlimited access to Worldcrunch

You can cancel anytime .


Exclusive International news coverage

Ad-free experience NEW

Weekly digital Magazine NEW

9 daily & weekly Newsletters

Access to Worldcrunch archives

Free trial

30-days free access, then $2.90
per month.

Annual Access BEST VALUE

$19.90 per year, save $14.90 compared to monthly billing.save $14.90.

Subscribe to Worldcrunch

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

A R A B I C A ارابيكا

By Kristen Gillespie


*Egypt announced it will dissolve the loathed state-security intelligence services, long accused of torture and other grave human-rights abuses. It is hard to overstate the role these intelligence services have played – and continue to play -- in Arab countries, helping to maintain the regimes' lock on power by instilling fear and paranoia across society. The news was greeted by the Twittersphere with both outright joy and cautious optimism. Blogger Wael Ghonim expressed the latter in a tweet by noting that what rises from the intelligence's ashes must be accountable in the eyes of the law.


*Bahrain declared martial law on Tuesday as soldiers arrived from the UAE and Saudi Arabia to help subdue protests that are spreading across the country. This amatuer video shows the surreal scene of gunfights in the middle of a major avenue in front of Manama's Carrefour retail store. Gunfire pops throughout as a group of young men rush to pick up the wounded youth from a grassy patch in the middle of the road. The camera moves wildly as they yell out for an ambulance, which does not immediately arrive. The palm-lined avenues of prosperous Bahrain have become a war zone.


*A protest in the covered souq of Damascus, Souq Hamidiya, took place on Syria's "day of anger," which organizers hope will spark nationwide demonstrations. Here someone close to the camera calls this the "first protest against the Syrian regime" as protesters put a twist on the usual pro-government slogan usually shouted at officially orchestrated protests (against Israel or other external enemies.) Instead of "God, Syria, Bashar, that's it," demonstrators took out the name of President Bashar al-Assad and shouted "God, Syria, freedom, that's it." Police dispersed the protest and arrested an untold number of people.

*Those commenting below the clips offered their support: "God be with you, freedom is beautiful…from a free Egyptian," and "May God grant you victory… we are praying for you… from your Egyptian brothers."

*Activist Suhair al-Atassi told Al Jazeera that "for the first time there are slogans calling for freedom…these are citizens who want freedom." Another protest is scheduled for Wednesday in front of the Interior Ministry to demand the release of political prisoners.

March 15, 2011

photo credit: illustir

You've reached your limit of free articles.

To read the full story, start your free trial today.

Get unlimited access. Cancel anytime.

Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.

Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries.

food / travel

Legalizing Moonshine, A Winning Political Stand In Poland

Moonshine, typically known as “bimber” in Poland, may soon be legalized by the incoming government. There is a mix of tradition, politics and economics that makes homemade booze a popular issue to campaign on.

Photo of an empty vodka bottle on the ground in Poland

Bottle of vodka laying on the ground in Poland

Leszek Kostrzewski

WARSAWIt's a question of freedom — and quality. Poland's incoming coalition government is busy negotiating a platform for the coming years. Though there is much that still divides the Left, the liberal-centrist Civic Koalition, and the centrist Third Way partners, there is one area where Poland’s new ruling coalition is nearly unanimous: moonshine.

The slogan for the legalization of moonshine (known in Poland as "bimber") was initially presented by Michał Kołodziejczak, the leader of Agrounia, a left-wing socialist political movement in Poland that has qualified to be part of the incoming Parliament.

✉️ You can receive our Bon Vivant selection of fresh reads on international culture, food & travel directly in your inbox. Subscribe here.

”Formerly so-called moonshine was an important element of our cultural landscape, associated with mystery, breaking norms, and freedom from the state," Kołodziejczak said. "It was a reason to be proud, just like the liqueurs that Poles were famous for in the past.”

The president of Agrounia considered the right to make moonshine as a symbol of "subjectivity" that farmers could enjoy, and admitted with regret that in recent years it had been taken away from citizens. “It's also about a certain kind of freedom, to do whatever you want on your farm," Kołodziejczak adds. "This is subjectivity for the farmer. Therefore, I am in favor of providing farmers with the freedom to consume this alcohol for their own use.”

A similar viewpoint was aired by another Parliament member. “We will stop pretending that Polish farmers do not produce moonshine for their own use, such as for weddings,” the representative said, pointing out the benefits of controlling the quality. “Just like they produce slivovitz, which Poland is famous for. It's high time they did it legally.”

Keep reading...Show less

The latest