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ARABICA: A Quick Shot Of What's Brewing In The Arab World

A R A B I C A ارابيكا

By Kristen Gillespie

BAHRAIN, BELOW THE SURFACE
Though largely ignored by the English-language media, Bahrainis continue to press for revolution. Soldiers were brought in earlier this year from Saudi Arabia, the UAE and other countries in an effort to keep the Sunni Al Khalifa family from overthrow. With an estimated 80 percent Shiite population, surrounding Sunni regimes consider the preservation of Al Khalifa rule a vital national interest. But Bahrainis are not giving up. Egyptian news channel ONTV aired a video clip making the rounds among Bahrainis preparing for a series of strikes and sit-ins on December 31st. Organizers are urging citizens to carry "portraits of martyrs and detainees' as "fiery revolutionary songs' are played.

VIRGINITY TEST #FAIL
An Egyptian court on Tuesday ordered an end to forced virginity tests on female protesters who are arrested, CNN Arabic reported. The court ruled that the armed forces are no longer allowed to conduct the tests, ostensibly "to protect individuals from claiming a possible rape by other detainees by resorting to acts violating the constitution." The tests "violated the women's privacy" and are "humiliating… with the intention of a deliberate insult," the court said in its ruling. An estimated 100 activists outside the courtroom cheered the verdict, as did the two activists, Samira Ibrahim and Maha Mohammed, who filed the lawsuit demanding an end to the forced tests.

*Here, a very conservative Islamist (Salafist) standing outside the courthouse holds a small banner reading: "I want rights for my sister."

*Egyptian Hazem Ghonim tweeted, "If not for a courageous girl named Samira Ibrahim, the issue of virginity tests would have been dismissed by pro-government agents as a rumor to discredit the Egyptian army."

ANCIENT KINGS, MODERN VILLAGERS
Here, an album of beautiful black-and-white photographs by Randamali6 of the village of Luxor, home to the Valley of the Kings. The images show male and female villagers at home, and working the fields.

PRICE OF TIME
Jordan's best-known cartoonist, Imad Hajaj, published a cartoon of what look like two vending machines. The one of the left has a sign reading "Time for sale," as an Arab dictator dressed in military garb (and the words "Arab leaders' written on his back) empties his pockets, sweating and stuffing coins into the machine. The vending machine next to him is empty, with a sign reading "genuine reform."

COST OF LUCK
Jordanian entrepreneur Samih Touqan says in a tweet, "It seems the task of Prime Minister Ain al-Khawasneh's government is not an easy one given the forces seeking to pull it in the opposite direction. I think the government needs support and encouragement and wish it luck."


Dec. 28, 2011

photo credit: illustir

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Ukraine Is Turning Into A "New Israel" — Where Everyone Is A Soldier

From businessmen to farmers, Ukrainian society has been militarizing for the past six months to defend its sovereignty. In the future it may find itself like Israel, permanently armed to protect its sovereignty.

Ukrainian civilians learn how to shoot and other military skills at a shooting range in Lviv on July 30, 2022.

Guillaume Ptak

KYIV — The war in Ukraine has reached a turning point. Vladimir Putin's army has suffered its worst setback since the beginning of the invasion. The Russian army has experienced a counter-offensive that many experts consider masterful, so it must retreat and cede vast territories to its opponent.

The lightning victory that the head of the Kremlin had dreamed of never took place. The losses are considerable — Ukrainian troops on the battlefield now outnumber the Russians.

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On April 5, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky predicted that at the end of the conflict, Ukraine would become a "big Israel". In an interview with Ukrainian media, he said then, "In all the institutions, supermarkets, cinemas, there will be people with weapons."

The problem of national security will be the country's most important one in the next decade. An "absolutely liberal, and European" society would therefore no longer be on the agenda, according to the Ukrainian president.

Having long since swapped his suit and tie for a jacket or a khaki T-shirt during his public appearances, Zelensky has undeniably become one of the symbols of this growing militarization of Ukrainian society. However, the president claimed that Ukraine would not become an "authoritarian" regime: "An authoritarian state would lose to Russia. Ukrainians know what they are fighting for."

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