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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


By Kristen Gillespie

The online engine of the Syrian revolution, the Syrian Revolution against Bashar al-Assad Facebook group, each week builds up to a Friday of protests under different banners, last week's being the "Friday of International Protection." The group bills the event, and somehow, protesters on the ground get the message, shouting slogans and holding up banners reflecting the latest cause.

The group (now with more than 280,000 members) is calling for Tuesday protests under the banner "Tuesday of Anger Against Russia – Stop supporting the killings." Protests are urged "in cities across Syria." Organizers note that "signs should be in Arabic and Russian." Comments include: "May Russia fall" and "the Persian enemy is a more savage and despicable killer than Israel."

This blood-red notice posted on the group's page reads: "Shabiha (thugs): Collect and circulate their names in all cities." The caption below asks Syrians to collect any information they can about these so-called civilian "thugs' perpetrating violence on behalf of the regime – their names, contact information, places of work, anything. "We investigate and don't release names without proof," the adminstrator writes.

Tourism in Egypt has dropped by more than 35 percent since the January 25th revolution, official figures reveal. In the second quarter of this year, 2.2 million tourists entered the country, compared with 3.5 million during the same period last year.

As revolutions and upheavals ripple throughout the Arab world, it may be comforting to some to note that coverage of the meetings of Arab leaders remains stuck in the same template used by both state media and privately owned newspapers for at least the past three decades. It is worth visiting this "news' story about a meeting between the Saudi king and the Qatari emir it reflects the bland diet of non-news force-fed to Arabs for years. Satellite television and revolutions have not altered the frozen-in-time template. Yet when protesting Arabs demand dignity, that means, among other things, no longer being insulted by reports such as these that deny the public any sort of information about what their leaders are doing:

"Qatar emir leaves Saudi Arabia after two-hour visit"

Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, Emir of Qatar, departed from Jeddah this evening after a short visit to Saudi Arabia where he met with Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz and discussed…events transpiring on the regional and international levels and the position of the two of them, in addition to the prospects of cooperation between the two countries and ways of enhancing them in various fields. The article then went on to list, name-by-name, all the officials in attendance.

Sep 12, 2011

photo credit: illustir

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