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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


*Egypy's Al Ahram newspaper reported on the largest protests Morocco has witnessed to date, with thousands of people demonstrating in at least 10 cities around the country, including Fez, Marrakech and Casablanca. The demands of protesters are similar to those in Egypt, Yemen, Jordan and other Arab countries: an end to corruption, the resignation of the government and a new constitution. These steps will begin the process of "building a society of freedom, dignity and social justice," the paper reported.

*Facebook group "February 17th Intifada" posted this amateur home video of deposed Tunisian President Zine al-Abbeddin Bin Ali staying in a New York hotel suite with his wife and daughter. The group called the video "deposed President Ben Ali in a state of drunkenness." The video moves from the suite to a bar, where one of the president's associates is seen drinking what looks like alcohol.

*Syrian troops appear to have conquered the northern town of Jisr al-Shughour with a combination of tanks, helicopter gunships, intelligence agents and thousands of soldiers. Army units are now under orders to "fully pursue agents of terrorist organization who are armed and hiding in the surrounding mountains." The humanitarian crisis continues to grow, with hundreds of Syrians crossing the border into Turkey every day.

*The Syrian Revolution Facebook group reports that protests continued into Monday around the country. This mini-documentary of 15 minutes, in both English and Arabic, reviews the revolution in Syria from the beginning more than three months ago. "It all began 50 years ago," the documentary begins. Since then, Syrians have endured "one-family rule," the subtitles read as dramatic music plays in the background.

*Over the past week, the Syrian government has rolled out Reem Haddad, a Syrian government spokeswoman whose British accent is possibly intended to give her more credibility with the Western public. Her blanket denials of facts on the ground (to Sky News: "The Syrian army has NOT entered Jisr al-Shughour") have resulted in widespread panning and contempt by members of the facebook group and YouTube viewers of the clip. Comments include: "A first-class liar" and "despicable."

June 13, 2011

photo credit: illustir

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food / travel

Legalizing Moonshine, A Winning Political Stand In Poland

Moonshine, typically known as “bimber” in Poland, may soon be legalized by the incoming government. There is a mix of tradition, politics and economics that makes homemade booze a popular issue to campaign on.

Photo of an empty vodka bottle on the ground in Poland

Bottle of vodka laying on the ground in Poland

Leszek Kostrzewski

WARSAWIt's a question of freedom — and quality. Poland's incoming coalition government is busy negotiating a platform for the coming years. Though there is much that still divides the Left, the liberal-centrist Civic Koalition, and the centrist Third Way partners, there is one area where Poland’s new ruling coalition is nearly unanimous: moonshine.

The slogan for the legalization of moonshine (known in Poland as "bimber") was initially presented by Michał Kołodziejczak, the leader of Agrounia, a left-wing socialist political movement in Poland that has qualified to be part of the incoming Parliament.

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”Formerly so-called moonshine was an important element of our cultural landscape, associated with mystery, breaking norms, and freedom from the state," Kołodziejczak said. "It was a reason to be proud, just like the liqueurs that Poles were famous for in the past.”

The president of Agrounia considered the right to make moonshine as a symbol of "subjectivity" that farmers could enjoy, and admitted with regret that in recent years it had been taken away from citizens. “It's also about a certain kind of freedom, to do whatever you want on your farm," Kołodziejczak adds. "This is subjectivity for the farmer. Therefore, I am in favor of providing farmers with the freedom to consume this alcohol for their own use.”

A similar viewpoint was aired by another Parliament member. “We will stop pretending that Polish farmers do not produce moonshine for their own use, such as for weddings,” the representative said, pointing out the benefits of controlling the quality. “Just like they produce slivovitz, which Poland is famous for. It's high time they did it legally.”

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