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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


TO DRIVE OR NOT TO DRIVE
*A Saudi woman named Manal al-Sharif was arrested for violating the public order after she was caught driving in the eastern part of the country.

*Budoor tweets, "King Abdullah signals that women will soon be allowed to drive!" linking to an interview with the Saudi monarch in which he professed his respect for women, and, regarding the driving issue, said that "patience is a virtue." The interview, however took place more than two years ago, and there is no sign that women will be permitted to drive anytime soon.

FOR A SYRIAN PHARMACIST
*Saad Wefae is a pharmacist from the northern Syrian city of Aleppo who was arrested last month after requesting a permit from the authorities to hold a protest. A new Facebook group is demanding his freedom. Commenters ask the administrator to add more information about Wefae, though little is known and no details have been made since his arrest. One person wrote, "A man asks for a permit for a peaceful demonstration and is arrested – why?"

FOR SYRIAN NAVIGATORS
*@RevolutionSyria tweeted a link to a video saluting the brave Syrians who are risking not only their lives to film, photograph and document state-sponsored violence, but to post it online in a country where the Internet is heavily monitored in the best of times.

*The video features a voiceover by an activist who tells viewers: "People now have to play a bigger role." Facebook and Twitter are bringing the reality on the ground to the outside world. "Syrians with access to Facebook and Twitter – you have a responsibility. There are people paying with their blood. Take an hour every day and spread the word." The activist, speaking over a montage of tweets and Facebook pages, reminds Syrians that "if we fail, we will be held to account for those who have been killed."

NO ISRAELIS WELCOME
*In Egypt, the Sheikh (leader) of Al Azhar University confirmed he would not meet with any Israeli, a big topic in the Egyptian media as it remains unclear how relations will proceed between the two countries. Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb also condemned Israeli interference in Egyptian affairs.

May 23, 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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