LATUFF INSPIRES EGYPTIAN PROTESTERS

Demonstrations were held in Cairo yesterday demanding the ouster of President Mubarak and calling for reforms. This was inspired by recent events in Tunisia and by the works of our talented Associate, Carlos Latuff. Carlos’ works were featured on many of the placards carried in the event.

Photo- Mohamed Abed, AFP

Egyptian demonstrators hold up placards during a protest in central Cairo to demand the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak and calling for reforms on January 25, 2011. The protesters, carrying flags and chanting slogans against the government, rallied in a protest inspired by the uprising in Tunisia which led to the ouster of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

Photo- Monasosh

A video of the demonstration, courtesy of Al Jazeera, can be seen here….

TUNISIA TOON ~~~~ THERE GOES THE NEIGHBOURHOOD

Image by Bendib
click on image to enlarge

RESHAPING THE ARAB WORLD

I think the empire’s hold on the Arab World has begun to unravel and I think we see in Tunisia the first spark of a revolution that will reshape the Arab world for the better and spell the end of repression.


Tunisia and reshaping the Arab world

By Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD

 

Here in Palestine, we face a relentless assault not only on us and our lands but on truth, on decency, on nature, on dignity, and, dare I say, on God. Israeli authorities are working overtime to transform the Holy City of Jerusalem from a multi-ethnic and multi-religious city to a distorted vision of what Zionists think Judaism is about (supremacy, ethnic purity, tribalism etc). They will be debating in the next few days a project for an additional 1400 “housing units” near Gilo colony. The land targeted belongs to the village of Al-Walaja and the Town of Beit Jala. The Negev village of Al-Araqib was also just demolished for the 9th time*. More home and business demolitions were carried out in Jerusalem and the Jordan valley. Taking lands from Christians and Muslims, destroying over 2 million trees and countless homes and businesses are not just war crimes but crimes against humanity. We must continue to challenge these destructive policies and demand the international community bring those responsible to justice. Please write to media, politicians, and all others (the internet allows you to get hundred of emails very quickly for decision makers).**

I think the empire’s hold on the Arab World has begun to unravel and I think we see in Tunisia the first spark of a revolution that will reshape the Arab world for the better and spell the end of repression. In 1948, the insertion of Israel in the Middle of the Arab world was designed to dominate the area, keep the people disjointed, disunited and ruled by (Western-appointed) dictators. In 1953, the US and Britain engineered the coup that removed the democratically elected government of Mousaddeq and placed the brutal Shah in power in Iran. These moves worked for many years because people in the Arab world let them happen and offered limited resistance. Things have been changing. In retrospect, the year 1973 was pivotal as for the first time two Arab countries decided to fight to take back their stolen lands. Unfortunately, the US chose to save its monstrous creation from having to return all the stolen lands (and Sadat was willing to walk a separate line). Then came the nonviolent people’s revolution in Iran which got rid of the Shah in 1979. Since then Israel and its benefactor has attempted in vain to crush any Arab resistance by might. Fom their invasion and occupation of Lebanon to invasion and occupation of Iraq, these evil forces attempted to keep the lid on Arab democracy and keep their hegemony. Arab dictators were useful tools in implementing these destructive policies. But many of us have long argued that these shenanigans will and must come to an end.

As people around the world evolved beyond dictatorship and racism, we in the Arab world will too. After all, why should people in Latin America (some that used to be called banana republics) be able to say NO to the neo-liberal and neo-colonial systems while we in the Arab world could not? Why should Iran and Turkey be able to say NO to violations of International law and NO to hegemony while we in the rich Arab world stay silent? The directions may be coming from Tunisia. I have visited Tunisia twice and have many colleagues and friends that hail from Tunisia’s beautiful towns and villages. My single largest scientific collaborator is a Tunisian scientist living in Paris. I have commented on the similarity that Palestine and Tunisia has in geography, topography, climate, and village life. Tunisians used popular resistance methods I discussed in my recent book on Palestine to get rid of a corrupt leader who had hung on to power for over 23 years. But there are other Arab leaders who have been in power even longer. It is time for real change, a change not to replace one face with another but to begin to form truly democratic institutions throughout the Arab world. Our demands include democracy, transparency (including totally free and critical press), plurality, and justice. We have enough natural and human resources to build new vibrant societies. All we have to do is muster the will to free our minds. Those of us who have done so and shed their inhibitions should also begin to discuss and ORGANIZE for the day after (after Zionism and after imperialism). We have to begin to examine how we may repair the damage caused by the corrupt systems and build a better future.

* http://english.pnn.ps/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=9407&Itemid=56

** for 50 actions you can do, visit http://www.palestinejn.org/resources/resources-for-activism-

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Tunisia’s Revolution Was Twitterized by Firas Al-Atraqchi

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/firas-alatraqchi/tunisias-revolution-was-t_b_809131.html

Eitan Bronstein’s insightful letter about why he set up Zochrot, an Israeli group that tries to bring attention to the ethnically cleansed Palestinian villages in the “Jewish state”

http://zochrot.org/index.php?id=866

Boycott wins accumulate: Now Vanessa Paradis has cancelled her concert in Israel

Merci Vanessa ! Et merci à toutes celles et tous ceux, dans tous les pays, qui se sont mobilisés pour lui faire entendre la voix de la justice et de la paix !

Video of action: http://www.europalestine.com/spip.php?article5793

more at http://www.europalestine.com/spip.php?article5792

Pebble People by Cindy Sheehan

“Our problems stem from our acceptance of this filthy, rotten system.” Dorothy Day

http://cindysheehanssoapbox.blogspot.com/2011/01/pebble-people-by-cindy-sheehan.html

Gabrielle Giffords, Tom Hurndall and Palestinian Children: Shot in the Head by Alison Weir http://counterpunch.org/weir01142011.html

Jerusalem situation

http://www.poica.org/editor/case_studies/view.php?recordID=457

 

 

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An Invitation to meet Dr. Qumsiyeh…..

 

 

Invitation and schedule of events

 

First a note of thank you to the many colleagues who made the speaking tour in Italy very productive (Roma, Bologna, Genova, Pistoia, Foligna, and Firenze).

1) Invite you to come to Palestine this summer beginning July 8, 2011. We believe at least 1000 Europeans as well as many others will come to show solidarity and to say enough is enough. More details will be forthcoming at http://www.PalestineJN.org

2) Let you know of a rough outline of my upcoming speaking tour to London, Paris, and the U.S. In this tour I will be speaking mostly about my new book “Popular Resistance in Palestine: A History of Hope and Empowerment”. In the book and in talks I explain why we are so optimistic about the furure in Palestine “the Holy Land”. Email me if you are along the route and can help either with logistics and with arranging other talks or promoting the event. I look forward to seeing you.

Southampton, UK: March 1, 18:00 University of Southampton

Paris, France: March 2 – EuroPalestine

Paris/London: March 3

London, UK: March 4 – 18:30 The City Circle

Denver: March 6 – 15:00 Sabeel Colorado

Denver: March 7 (in planning – University of Denver)

Boulder: March 8 (in planning)

St. Louis (potential): evening of March 9

St. Louis (potential)/Louisville: March 10

Louisville: March 11 (in planning)

South Bend: March 13 (in planning)

Grand Rapids: March 14 – Calvin College

Grand Rapids: March 15 – Senior Community

Travel by air: morning of March 16

Cleveland: afternoon of March 16 – Case Western Reserve Univ.

Cleveland: March 17 morning – Case Western/Wooster (potential)

Travel by air: evening of March 17

Philadelphia: March 18 (in planning)

New York City: March 19 – Left Forum

NYC/New Jersey: March 20 – Left Forum/Open

NYC/New Jersey: March 21 – Columbia Univ.

New Jersey: March 22 – Drew Univ.

Connecticut: March 23 – Gunn Library, Washington CT

Connecticut: March 24 – (in planning) Uconn, Yale, CCSU

Rhode Island: March 25 – (in planning) Brown University

Boston: March 26

Boston: March 27

Boston or Portland ME: March 28

New Hampshire: March 29 – New England College

Boston: March 30

SF Bay Area: April 1

SF Bay Area: April 2

SF Bay Area: April 3

Sacramento: April 4

Salt Lake City (potential): April 6

TUNISIA: THE TYRANT MUST GO …. NOW

It is really heartening for the vast majority of Arab-Muslim masses to see the people of Tunisia rise up against one of the most decadent and repressive regimes in the Arab world, a regime that thought, mistakenly of course, that satisfying its benefactors in Paris and Washington, even by tormenting and savaging the people, would prolong  its life span.

The tyrant must go …. Now

By Khalid Amayreh
Occupied Jerusalem

I was really planning to write an article entitled “the lying woman from Washington ” in which I wanted to expose the utter hypocrisy of Hillary Clinton’s recent call for political  reforms in the Arab world. After all, the United States has always been the main impeder of democracy  in the Arab region as it has constantly and consistently embraced criminal and tyrannical regimes from Casablanca to Bahrain .

However, the dramatic events in Tunisia seem to be taking a certain unexpected turn which no serious observer can treat with indifference.

In Tunisia things seem to  be sufficiently clear. The people of this north African country are simply rising up against a thuggish, rotten and despicable dictator who has come to consider Tunisia , its people and resources a kind of farm for himself and his family.

To maintain this state of affair, he built a vast net of secret police  apparatus, including  death squads whose main job is to witch-hunt, abduct, brutalize  and even liquidate all those who dared show a gesture of dissatisfaction with the hateful regime.

A classical dictator of Nicaragua’s Anastasio  Sammoza’s  or Iran’s Shah’s type, Zein el Abidine ben Ali has effectively transformed Tunisia into a huge prison maintained by terror and secret police.  In doing so, he encouraged all sorts of corruption, including embezzlement of public resources, nepotism, bribery, graft, cronyism and abuse of power. The entire country reached  the verge of dilapidation.

The regime also deployed tens of thousands of informers and secret agents in every corner and cranny of the country, sowing mistrust, suspicion and fear.

As to the West, which keeps babbling about democracy and human rights, it   watched Tunisia descend into the abyss in terms of human dignity, human rights and civil liberties.

Human dignity was being raped every day, every hour and every minute by a thoroughly nefarious regime that valued the legitimacy which came from French and American acceptance more than that which came  from its own  people’s acceptance.

Human rights organizations and political dissidents have long complained about the rampancy of torture in police lockups and interrogation centers. The US and France, which the regime always sought their satisfaction, didn’t mind repression, even torture as long as the regime invoked the Islamist threat mantra.

The president and his thuggish cohorts, aides, and   hangers-on would simply silenced  European and American diplomats by confronting them with the following question: Would you want to see another Khomeini or a Muslim Brotherhood rule here? And, of course, the mostly Islamophobic diplomats would reply in the negative. And then the conversation is effectively over.

In fact, the terrorist regime in Tunisia has exploited to the fullest western animosity toward Islamic revival movements, especially after 9/11. Some of the draconian measures taken by the regime against its own people included serious curbs on religious freedom, e.g. Obtaining a police permit for frequenting a mosque for prayers, subjecting basic civil rights to police endorsement, and barring people not deemed as absolute supporters of the regime from holding public office.

Eventually, the situation reached the implosion point, especially with unemployment and poverty reaching unprecedented high levels.

In a desperate effort to contain the popular uprising, the tyrant, ben Ali, has promised that he won’t seek another term in office and that he would allow civil liberties and political reforms.

However, the tyrant  obviously can’t be trusted and  that in any case the Tunisian people know too well that his words are worthless.

Hence, the only way out of the current crisis lies is the immediate ousting of Ben Ali and preferably putting him on trial for abuse of power and breach of trust.

The ongoing uprising in Tunisia should serve as a late wake-up call for Arab tyrannies which continue to oppress and enslave the masses like nowhere in the world.

It also shows that the silence and patience of the Arab masses can’t be taken for granted because there shall come a time when enough is enough, and the powder keg can not be kept from going off any longer.

It is really heartening for the vast majority of Arab-Muslim masses to see the people of Tunisia rise up against one of the most decadent and repressive regimes in the Arab world, a regime that thought, mistakenly of course, that satisfying its benefactors in Paris and Washington, even by tormenting and savaging the people, would prolong  its life span.

The sun of freedom is rising  from Tunis this time. After all, it was the famous Tunisian poet, Abu al Kassem al Shabbi, who said:

“Itha ash-Shaabu yawman Aradal Hayat    Fala budda ay yastajeebal Qadar”

Or- If one day the people really sought life, destiny will certainly consent.