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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

VIDEO LETTER

*Social media gives Arab citizens a way to communicate with their leadership directly, bypassing the heavily censored traditional media, and shattering taboos in the process with what has become stunning frequency. In Jordan, a "Letter to Jordan's King Abdullah from a young man" was posted last week on YouTube, racking up 43,000 views in less than four days. "Your people are tired," the unnamed man tells his king. "Do not listen to the people around you…(who) tell you Jordanians love you. Jordanians love you, but they are fed up." While not giving his name, the speaker says this: "Let me tell you who I am – I'm not political, not a member of a political party. I'm not a politician. I'm a citizen with a laptop and a message."

VIDEO MONTAGE

*In a video clip called "And who said we don't want the regime to fall?" a montage of amateur clips from Syria plays under a new "resistance" song. Protesters are filmed tearing down enormous banners with the images of President Bashar al-Assad, and his late father and former president, Hafez al-Assad. In another sequence, a protester sets fire to a towering billboard of Bashar. The flames envelop the billboard in seconds. "Down, idol," comments a viewer below the clip.

FACEBOOK MESSAGE

*The Facebook group largely responsible for organizing the uprising in Syria and broadcasting images and messages of it to the outside world posted a stark message to Assad. Set in a black background with white and red Arabic writing, the author writes in informal Arabic: "Seems like this time things aren't working out for you so well, are they, Bashar?" Below that is written, "Swear to God – there is fear in your eyes." The tone, the slang, the more than 115 "likes' within one hour, and another idol goes up in metaphorical flames.

WAR NEWS

*The oil-rich city of Brega appears to have fallen back into into rebel hands. "We are now more organized," fighter Salam Idris, 42, told BBC Arabic.

LABOR NEWS

*The Egyptian website "Revolutionary Socialism" reports on a series of strikes of oil and dock workers around the country, notably those working at the Suez Canal, to demand higher wages. Workers are "flouting the law criminalizing protests," the site reported.

April 4, 2011

photo credit: illustir

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Searching For Marianna, A Pregnant Doctor From Mariupol Held Captive By The Russians

We’ve heard about the plight of the soldiers-turned-prisoners from Mariupol. Here are some traces of the disturbing fate of a young female doctor who’s been taken away.

A paper dove reads "Mariupol" at a shelter for displaced children in Uzhhorod, western Ukraine.

Paweł Smoleński

"Wait for me, because I will return…"

Marianna Mamonova wrote these words to her family, among the text messages and short phone calls that are the only remaining fragments used to piece together her recent past. We also have a photo of her, posted on Russian websites, where she looks into the lens, gaunt and exhausted, signed with a number like a concentration camp prisoner.

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Until the Russian-Ukrainian war, Mamonova’s biography was available to anyone who wanted to know. She was born in 1991, studied at the Ternopil Medical University, and later at the Kyiv Military Academy. After completing her studies, she was sent to work in the coastal city of Berdiansk. Her mother says that this is where her daughter's dream came true: She’d always wanted to be a military doctor, and worked in Berdiansk for three years, receiving the rank of officer in the Ukrainian army.

Beginning in 2014, she’d worked stints as a front-line doctor in the Donbas region, and when Russia invaded Ukraine in February she went to war again. This time in Mariupol.

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