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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

AUTO REVOLUTION
*The fallout from the arrest of a Saudi woman, Manal al-Sharif, continues. Last week, al-Sharif posted a video of her driving in east Saudi Arabia on YouTube. She was arrested and remains in custody for violating the public order. The Facebook reaction was swift. The "I will drive my car" group has set June 17th as the day that women in Saudi Arabia will get into their cars and drive. The administrator notes his/her views as "very conservative," and maintains that a woman should be "wearing a full head/face covering with the eyes showing while driving or else face punishment" and that women should be allowed to drive "in cities only," among other conditions.

*Khalid Hajri writes, "We are all with Manal, and for women driving freely in Saudi Arabia."

*Esmahan Ghourabi adds, "This is your right and we are with you in Arab countries."

*The "We are all Manal al-Sharif" group has more than 16,000 members, hundreds of whom have already pledged to drive on Friday, June 17th at 9:00am.

AUTO COUNTER-REVOLUTION
*The "Campaign against ‘I will drive my car" group" was recently founded to counter the pro-driving movement. It includes a poster of Manal al-Sharif with her face crossed out. The administrator urges Saudi men to do "all they can to stop women from driving." That includes using the thick wire bound in cotton that is wrapped twice around the head to hold a male's checkered headdress in place. The administrator initially posted a picture of a man beating a woman using the igal headdress, but that has since been removed.

*This YouTube video features a young Saudi man in a mask mocking women as barely capable of functioning, much less driving. If allowed to drive, the unnamed speaker says, they would confuse the gender roles, threatening the masculine supremacy of society.

PRESIDENTIAL PROSECUTION
Despite rumors in the Egyptian media that former President Hosni Mubarak could receive a pardon, he was referred to the Attorney General today for prosecution in the deaths of protesters during the January 25th revolution. An estimated 846 people were killed during the uprising. Mubarak, his two sons Alaa and Gamal and others face criminal charges of conspiring to kill civilians. Moheet newspaper reported that "the Attorney General issued a decree forming a committee of medical experts to re-examine Mubarak's health and assess the possibility of his transfer to a prison hospital."

May 24, 2011

photo credit: illustir

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Society

Mahsa Amini, Martyr Of An Iranian Regime Designed To Abuse Women

The 22-year-old is believed to have been beaten to death at a Tehran police station last week after "morality police" had reprimanded her clothing. The case has sparked the nation's outrage. But as ordinary Iranians testify, such beatings, torture and a home brand of misogyny are hallmarks of the 40-year Islamic Republic of Iran.

Mahsa Amini

Firouzeh Nordstrom

-Analysis-

TEHRAN — The death in Iran of a 22-year-old Mahsa Amini — after she was arrested by the so-called "morality police" — has unleashed another wave of protests, as thousands of Iranians vent their fury against an intrusive and violent regime. Indeed, as tragically exceptional as the circumstances appear, the reaction reflects the daily reality of abuse by authorities, especially directed toward women

Amini, a Kurdish-Iranian girl visiting Tehran with relatives, was detained by the regime's morality patrols on Sept. 13, apparently for not respecting the Islamic dress code that includes proper use of the hijab headscarf. Amini was declared dead two or three days after being taken into custody. Officials say she fainted and died, and blamed a preexisting heart condition. But neither her family nor anyone else in Iran believe that, as can be seen in the mounting protests that have now left at least three dead.

For Amini's was hardly the first arbitrary arrest, or the first suspected death in custody under Iran's Islamic regime.

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