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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


*With more than 70,000 members, the facebook group "We are all the hero-martyr Hamza Ali al-Khatib," named for the 13-year-old boy who participated in a protest on April 29th outside Daraa. His tortured, mutilated body was returned to his family by Syrian intelligence last week. The family videotaped the condition of their son's body, which speaks for itself. Very graphic footage of al-Khatib's body is here. Al-Khatib's father, Ali, disappeared more than a week ago and has not been heard from since.

*The Syrian Revolution Facebook group, now counting 195,000 members, is calling for protests in an event billed as "the Friday of the Children of Freedom," with a picture of Hamza al-Khatib on the profile picture.

*Here is a montage of security forces beating and shooting civilians voiced over by a speech Bashar al-Assad gave to the parliament about reform. @3ayeef tweets, "a video for all those who love Bashar."

*@SyriaParliament tweets, "The dialogue that will take place in Syria between the regime and the people is actually between the criminal and the victim, the thief and the one who is robbed, the torturer and the tortured."

*A car bomb blew up outside the Tabisti Hotel in Benghazi on Wednesday night, occupied mainly by foreign journalists and international aid workers. No casualties have yet been reported, according to CNN Arabic. The correspondent for the rebel newspaper "al-Barniq" reported that "remnants of Gaddafi's revolutionary committees" are likely behind the bombing.

*Jordanian journalist Alaa al-Fazaa was arrested after posting documents on news website khabarjo.net claiming that government officials facilitated the departure of millionaire businessman Khalid Shahin from Jordan. Shahin was a longtime business adviser and alleged business partner of King Abdullah who was convicted earlier this year in a corruption case involving the national oil refinery. He was sentenced to three years in prison. But Shahin was spotted dining at a London restaurant in April, setting off an outcry on blogs and other social media, with speculation rampant that Shahin had cut a deal not to embarrass the king in exchange for exile. Al-Fazaa's documents, if valid, those allegations. He remains in custody after bail was denied.

June 2, 2011

photo credit: illustir

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Migrant Lives

They Migrated From Chiapas When Opportunities Dried Up, Orchids Brought Them Home

An orchid rehabilitation project is turning a small Mexican community into a tourist magnet — and attracting far-flung locals back to their hometown.

They Migrated From Chiapas When Opportunities Dried Up, Orchids Brought Them Home

Marcos Aguilar Pérez takes care of orchids rescued from the rainforest in his backyard in Santa Rita Las Flores, Mapastepec, Chiapas, Mexico.

Adriana Alcázar González/GPJ Mexico
Adriana Alcázar González

MAPASTEPEC — Sweat cascades down Candelaria Salas Gómez’s forehead as she separates the bulbs of one of the orchids she and the other members of the Santa Rita Las Flores Community Ecotourism group have rescued from the rainforest. The group houses and protects over 1,000 orchids recovered from El Triunfo Biosphere Reserve, in the southeastern Mexican state of Chiapas, after powerful storms.

“When the storms and heavy rains end, we climb to the vicinity of the mountains and collect the orchids that have fallen from the trees. We bring them to Santa Rita, care for them, and build their strength to reintegrate them into the reserve later,” says Salas Gómez, 32, as she attaches an orchid to a clay base to help it recover.

Like magnets, the orchids of Santa Rita have exerted a pull on those who have migrated from the area due to lack of opportunity. After years away from home, Salas Gómez was one of those who returned, attracted by the community venture to rescue these flowers and exhibit them as a tourist attraction, which provides residents with an adequate income.

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