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


*Syrian President Bashar al-Assad gave a closely-watched speech to supporters at Damascus University, carried live on state television, blaming the past three months of violence on an external conspiracy and "saboteurs." Assad promised to form a committee to oversee reforms, and pledged that reforms will be enacted at an unspecified date later in the year. He also blamed the chaos and violence in Syria.

*Angry demonstrations continued throughout Syria after the speech with some people holding signs reading "No to dialogue with killers."

*Al Jazeera led with the headline, "Demonstrations protest Assad's speech." Activists told wire agencies they were hearing that Syrians were angry at being called "terrorists' and "extremists' by Assad and stressed that they are only demanding "freedom and dignity." In response to the speech, the Facebook group "Syrian Revolution against Bashar al-Assad" called on Syrians to turn out and show their anger at the regime.

*Here is a screen grab from the speech, with the crawl reading: "President Assad: ‘Our prosperity is the future. We will take control of events and guide them, and not allow them to take control of us.""

*A Tweeter sarcastically called @SyriaParliament says, "What is most funny about Arab tyrants is they rule for decades, and when you ask for reforms, they say ‘give us time.""

*Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood tweets, "Brotherhood Leader: Sharia law is higher than the citizenry. Democracy cannot decide what is halal (Islamically correct) or haram (a sin)."

*Jordanian singer Wael Liddawi has a new video posted online by Play FM in Amman. It's called "What's Wrong With Us?" The song begins, "One day, I had an idea to do something. I'd like to help change my country." But people are too busy, too disinterested, too selfish for change, he sings. "We're looking out for ourselves – there is no interest in helping out the country." The video cuts to different people frowning and making an Arabic gesture for "no" when approached by Liddawi. "Let's encourage people around us and create a positive change in our country," the refrain goes.

June 20, 2011

photo credit: illustir

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A Mother In Spain Denied Child Custody Because She Lives In Rural Area

A court in Spain usurps custody of the one-year-old boy living with his mother in the "deep" part of the Galicia region, forced to instead live with his father in the southern city of Marbella, which the judge says is "cosmopolitan" with good schools and medical care. Women's rights groups have taken up the mother's case.

A child in Galician countryside

Laure Gautherin

A Spanish court has ordered the withdrawal of a mother's custody of her one-year-old boy because she is living in the countryside in northwestern Spain, where the judge says the child won't have "opportunities for the proper development of his personality."

The case, reported Monday in La Voz de Galicia, has sparked outrage from a women's rights association but has also set off reactions from politicians of different stripes across the province of Galicia, defending the values of rural life.

Judge María Belén Ureña Carazo, of the family court of Marbella, a city on the southern coast of 141,000 people, has ordered the toddler to stay with father who lives in the city rather than with his mother because she was living in "deep Galicia" where the child would lack opportunities to "grow up in a happy environment."

Front page of La Voz de Galicia - October 25, 2021

Front page of La Voz de Galicia - Monday 25 October, 2021

La Voz de Galicia

Better in a "cosmopolitan" city?

The judge said Marbella, where the father lives, was a "cosmopolitan city" with "a good hospital" as well as "all kinds of schools" and thus provided a better environment for the child to thrive.

The mother has submitted a formal complaint to the General Council of the Judiciary that the family court magistrate had acted with "absolute contempt," her lawyer told La Voz de Galicia.

The mother quickly accumulated support from local politicians and civic organizations. The Clara Campoamor association described the judge's arguments as offensive, intolerable and typical of "an ignorant person who has not traveled much."

The Xunta de Galicia, the regional government, has addressed the case, saying that any place in Galicia meets the conditions to educate a minor. The Socialist party politician Pablo Arangüena tweeted that "it would not hurt part of the judiciary to spend a summer in Galicia."

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