Syrian President Bashar al-Assad finally addressed the nation in a televised speech. As with recent pronouncements from Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi, Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh and Bahrain's King Hamad Al Khalifa, Assad's performance contained all the classic elements of the time-tested Arab strongman's harangue
A R A B I C A ارابيكا
By Kristen Gillespie
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad finally addressed the nation in a televised speech. As with recent pronouncements from Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi, Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh and Bahrain's King Hamad Al Khalifa, Assad's performance contained all the classic elements of the time-tested Arab strongman's harangue:
*Blaming unnamed, external enemies who are conspiring to destroy your country. Assad: "Syria is the target of a major, external plot, the timing of which has been accelerated."
*Trumpeting the dignity of a great people. Assad: "I belong to the Syrian people, and whoever belongs to the Syrian people will always keep his head held high."
*Pledging reforms that all know he has no intention of implementing. Assad: "There are no hurdles to reforms, but there are delays."
*Blaming unarmed civilians holding peaceful protests for their own deaths. Assad: It is "conspirators' who are behind the protests that have ended in the deaths of scores, if not hundreds, of citizens.
*The government is busy "studying" the demands of protesters. Assad: "The emergency law and political parties law have been under study for a year…We want to speed it up, but not be too hasty."
But though the script from on high is still the same, the context – post-Tunis, post-Cairo – has changed. The twittersphere was panning the speech in realtime:
*@shamnews: "If people stay quiet after a farce like this, they will have no peace until Judgment Day…this is a mockery of the Syrian people and its martyrs."
*@MohamadMS adds, "I am still in shock even though I have learned not to expect much from an Arab leader… but this is the worst speech I have ever heard."
Yadh Ben Ashour, a member of Tunisia's Committee to Implement the Revolution's Objectives, says the country "will never accept" international observers monitoring upcoming elections on July 24. "No respectable country accepts international observers… the electoral process is completely transparent," Ben Ashour said.
March 30, 2011
photo credit: illustir
A court in Spain usurps custody of the one-year-old boy living with his mother in the "deep" part of the Galicia region, forced to instead live with his father in the southern city of Marbella, which the judge says is "cosmopolitan" with good schools and medical care. Women's rights groups have taken up the mother's case.
A Spanish court has ordered the withdrawal of a mother's custody of her one-year-old boy because she is living in the countryside in northwestern Spain, where the judge says the child won't have "opportunities for the proper development of his personality."
The case, reported Monday in La Voz de Galicia, has sparked outrage from a women's rights association but has also set off reactions from politicians of different stripes across the province of Galicia, defending the values of rural life.
Judge María Belén Ureña Carazo, of the family court of Marbella, a city on the southern coast of 141,000 people, has ordered the toddler to stay with father who lives in the city rather than with his mother because she was living in "deep Galicia" where the child would lack opportunities to "grow up in a happy environment."
Front page of La Voz de Galicia - October 25, 2021
Front page of La Voz de Galicia - Monday 25 October, 2021
Better in a "cosmopolitan" city?
The judge said Marbella, where the father lives, was a "cosmopolitan city" with "a good hospital" as well as "all kinds of schools" and thus provided a better environment for the child to thrive.
The mother has submitted a formal complaint to the General Council of the Judiciary that the family court magistrate had acted with "absolute contempt," her lawyer told La Voz de Galicia.
The mother quickly accumulated support from local politicians and civic organizations. The Clara Campoamor association described the judge's arguments as offensive, intolerable and typical of "an ignorant person who has not traveled much."
The Xunta de Galicia, the regional government, has addressed the case, saying that any place in Galicia meets the conditions to educate a minor. The Socialist party politician Pablo Arangüena tweeted that "it would not hurt part of the judiciary to spend a summer in Galicia."
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