A R A B I C A ارابيكا
*The respected opposition news website YemenPortal, run by a Yemeni dissident based in Sweden, is monitoring blow-by-blow the rapidly breaking news of mass defections from the regime of President Ali Abdullah Saleh.
*Meanwhile, the official Saba news agency features an announcement by the military, which states: "The armed and security forces announce its loyalty to the pledge it took in front of God and the homeland and the political leadership headed by President Ali Abdullah Saleh."
*Yemeni singer Aladry holds a nighttime, outdoor performance before a group of young male protesters that begins with the universal cry from protesters heard around the Arab world, "The people want the regime to fall." Across the region, spoken Arabic varies greatly – a Palestinian, for example, will find it almost impossible to understand an Algerian speaking their local dialect. But classical, written Arabic unites all Arabic speakers, and as Aladry engages the crowd in the rough Yemeni dialect, thousands of protesters respond in literary Arabic, repeating "the people want the regime to fall," uniting them with protesters around the region. Here, Aladry performs an upbeat song rallying Yemenis to fight for freedom.
*A tweet from @abanidrees: "Today is Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh's birthday, March 21, 1942, making him 69 years old. A suitable day for him to end his rule."
*@mar3e adds: "Yemen is free, Yemen is great, Yemen is united in removing Ali Abdullah Saleh. Glory to the martyrs of Yemen."
*With news dribbling out of Libya in the aftermath of the first rounds of Allied air attacks, the London-based Al Quds newspaper featured the assault in Cairo on UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, who was blocked by demonstrators loyal to Muammar Gaddafi from entering Al-Tahrir Square. Ban was in the Egyptian capital to meet with leaders of the Arab League, who have condemned the US-led attacks on Gaddafi's forces.
* The online headquarters for Syria's revolution is the Facebook group "Syrian revolution 2011 against Bashar al-Assad." The unnamed administrator posted an audio recording purporting to be by "the official spokesman for Syria's tribes." The speaker denounced Assad's regime as "corrupt and debauched," among other harsh terms. Simply hearing such accusation against Assad and his cronies is revolutionary in itself. The enemy of the regime, the speaker says, "is the nation and its citizens." He calls on Syrians not to back away, and to keep the protests going until the regime falls.
*Basma Abdullah posted an article on 7iber.com called "Let's talk about sexual reform." She describes throwing away her gym membership to start jogging on the streets of Amman. "Last Friday provoked an outrage…that prompted me to write this article to discuss a subject closely tied to the process of reforming society: the abuse of women and sexually perverse behavior in the streets." Boys as young as 12 harassed Abdullah as she jogged through Amman's streets. The answer, she writes, lies in sex education, and legal consequences for men who sexually harass women. "If we want reform, we must start with ourselves," Abdullah writes.
March 21, 2011
photo credit: illustir