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Geopolitics

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

A R A B I C A ارابيكا

By Kristen Gillespie

CAPTURED COLONEL
Syrian Lieutenant Colonel Hussein Harmoush, possibly the most well-known officer to defect from the army because of a candid, strongly worded condemnation of the government's orders to kill unarmed protesters, was paraded on Syrian state television on Thursday night after being captured by authorities. With a cut between his eyebrows and unshaven, Harmoush was apparently forced to publicly confess. What aired was a series of Syrian government talking points:

* Harmoush said he fled the army out of fear for himself, and, using the language of a child, said that he was a failure as an officer: "I had to be punished twice during my career."

* "I am sure that the armed groups were the killers."

* "During my service in the Syrian Army, nobody has ordered me to fire at civilians, or any others, I didn't see or hear any commander in the army that had given orders to shoot at civilians."

* After fleeing the army, "I discovered that the majority of opposition figures have given promises, including financial and logistic aid, weapons and others, but none has been met."

* "The first people to contact me following my defection were Muslim Brotherhood members."

TURKISH TWIST?
Rumors were spreading across Twitter and in the Arabic media that Harmoush had fled to Turkey, and was handed back to Syria by the Turkish government. Turkey denies the charge, saying that anyone seeking refuge there will not be forced to return to Syria.

FACEBOOK FRIDAY
Despite the setback for opposition forces with Harmoush's capture, the Facebook group Syrian Revolution marches on, with the "Friday of Involvement Until the Regime Falls." The site is overloaded with clips of protests from all over the country. One clip was filmed in the village of Saqba. Three soldiers sit in front of a closed-up shop with the tin door rolled down. The person filming murmurs, "It's Friday, September 16th in Saqba – the Friday of Involvement Until the Regime Falls."

MOROCCAN MAIDS
A well-known Lebanese news channel, MBC, featured the article "Saudi women refuse Moroccan maids out of fear for their men" in the wake of a proposed measure to allow Moroccan women to be hired by Saudi families. Talal al-Bakri, a member of the royally appointed Shoura Council, a non-binding public advisory body, dismissed Saudi womens' fears that their husbands will abandon them for the Moroccan maids if the government approves the measure. The council has been flooded with demands from women to ban the initiative. "Other women said Moroccans are good at magic and sorcery and that this could enable them to lure their husbands," the newspaper A-Sharq reported, alluding to Saudi prejudices against Moroccan women as being promiscuous.


Sep 16, 2011

photo credit: illustir

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Green

As Air Quality Worsens, Kampala Citizens Find It Difficult to Breathe

Kampala’s air quality is much worse than globally accepted standards, but several interventions are being instituted to avert its effects.

As Air Quality Worsens, Kampala Citizens Find It Difficult to Breathe

Rush hour traffic in Kampala, Uganda on Sept. 9, 2022. Kampala’s air is nine times more polluted than the World Health Organization’s recommended limit.

Apophia Agiresaasi

KAMPALA, UGANDA — There’s something in Kampala’s air. Philomena Nabweru Rwabukuku’s body could tell even before she went to see a doctor. The retired teacher and her children used to get frequent asthma attacks, especially after they had been up and about in the city where there were many vehicles. It was worse when they lived in Naluvule, a densely populated Kampala suburb where traffic is dense.

“We were in and out of hospital most of the time. [The] attacks would occur like twice a week,” Nabweru says.

Her doctors blamed the air in Kampala, which is nine times more polluted than the World Health Organization’s recommended limit, according to a 2022 WHO report. By comparison, Bangladesh, the country with the world’s worst air pollution, is 13 times the recommended limit.

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