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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
Kristen Gillespie

A R A B I C A ارابيكا


The Facebook page of the "Syrian Revolution 2011" currently features a menacing message promising surprises for the Syrian regime. The message reads: 

"On this day, Tuesday, April 5, 2011, and after putting our faith in God, we shall surprise the oppressive and terrorist police state in Syria with a number of gifts to be delivered by the free people of Syria to Bashar al-Assad in response to his humorous speech, which seems to have only amused the corrupted idiots lined up on the benches of the so-called People's Assembly. Today they will know that the people of Syria are not cowards and that martyrdom for the sake of a free nation is a dream and a goal for all protesters. We shall build the future for our children ... reclaim the rights of our fathers ... Revolution until victory."


A work of Arabic calligraphy done in the colors of the Syrian flag reads: "A traitorin red is he who beats his own people." In the upper left corner, the small writing reads, "The Syrian people know their path."


*Some in the Arab media have been questioning Qatar's seemingly contradictory motives by propping up Libya's rebels, while participating in a Gulf-mediated peace process between Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh and the opposition that would likely keep Saleh in power. The Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamid al-Thani, told Al Jazeera that it is the weakness of the Arab League that explains why the West is intervening in Qatar. The emir said he hopes changes will occur at the League so it can play its proper role.


*A group of Saudi women protests in front of the Ministry of Civil Service to demand better benefits and pay.

*Meanwhile, three female Saudi bloggers launch Saudi-leaks.org to monitor what happens after enormous spending projects are announced with much fanfare in the media. One of the top stories notes that the official media is calling the new Ministry of Education headquarters "complete." Saudi-leaks reports that after an expense of $133 million, only four floors and the basement are done, a far cry from what the completed building was supposed to look like in the picture (also posted).

April 5, 2011

photo credit: illustir

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food / travel

Pasta v. Fascists: How Italy's Staple Dish Became A Symbol Of Resistance

Pasta may not be considered controversial today, but it played an important role during Italy's fascist years, particularly in one family's celebration of community and liberation.

Photo of the Cervi family.

Photo of the Cervi family, whose seven children were shot by the Fascists on December 28, 1943, at the Reggio Emilia shooting range.

@comunisti_alla_ribalta via Instagram
Jacopo Fontaneto

ROME — Eighty years ago — on July 25, 1943 — the vote of no confidence by the Grand Council of Fascism, leading to Benito Mussolini's arrest, set off widespread celebrations. In Campegine, a small village in the Emilian province, the Cervi family celebrated in their own way: they brought 380 kilograms of pasta in milk cans to the town square and offered it to all the inhabitants of the village.

The pasta was strictly plain: macaroni dressed with butter and cheese, seen as more of a "festive dish" in that period of deprivation. As soon as the Cervi brothers learned about the arrest of Mussolini, they procured flour, borrowed butter and cheese from the dairy, and prepared kilos and kilos of pasta. They then loaded it onto a cart to distribute it to their fellow villagers. Pastasciutta (dry pasta) specifically regards dishes with noodles that are plated "dry", not in broth. That would disqualify soup, risotto, ravioli...

Even though pastasciutta is the most stereotypical type of pasta today, it had a complicated relationship with the government during Italy's fascist years.

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