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 PROGRESS

*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 DESCENT

*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.

SYRIAN SPARK

*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


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Weird

Erotic Waffle Shop In Spain Under Fire For Genitalia Nativity Scene

The racy pastry scene in the holiday shop window in the city of Seville is no joking matter in the traditional Catholic country. Now "Josephallus" and family might land this local wafflemaker in court.

La Vergueria's very own nativity scene

La Vergueria Sevilla via Instagram

La Vergueria is a small shop located in the heart of old Seville and its specialty is waffles — erotic waffles, to be more precise. Their desserts are shaped either into vaginas (vergofre) or penises (chochofre) and covered in the topping of your choice. Their unusual menu, which gained them some national notoriety and steady LGBTQ+ support, also includes other kind or sexually-referenced sweets, such as boob-shaped lollipops or fruit-flavored ice pop penises for summer.

On normal days, La Vergueria's window is decorated with an assortment of random stuffed genitalia, but as Christmas approached this year, the owner went for a very un-traditional nativity scene with his X-rated products. So now in the store window, passersby see a "Josephallus" and "Vagina Mary" looking over the little holy one.

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