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Arabica Robusta

Why the Western Media are Getting Egypt Wrong - 0 views

  • As the day went by, the 30 June anti-Morsi demonstrations turned out to probably be the largest ever in Egyptian history, with Egyptians from all walks of life peacefully, yet audaciously, denouncing the Brotherhood’s rule.
  • The Egyptian people’s defiance of Brotherhood rule is a serious popular challenge to the most significant strategic reordering of the region perhaps since the Sykes-Picot Agreement of 1916.
  • As the Egyptian army stepped up its game midday on Monday, and checkmated Morsi by issuing a forty-eight-hour ultimatum to respond to the people’s demands, these same media circuits started a concerted effort to bring the “coup d’état” discourse, sometimes forcefully, to the forefront of the discussion about events in Egypt.
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  • It is both ironic and sad that while mediocre analysts, to say the least of their understanding of the changing Middle East, make frequent appearances in two-minute on-air interviews in newsrooms, the voices of other academics and experts with serious research backgrounds and true expertise of the region remain largely unheard.  Serious analysts are not in demand, not only because they have long overcome this Orientalist paradigm in analyzing the politics of change in the Middle East, but also because they don’t have the talent of crafting those superficial, short, studio-made answers to questions of news anchors.   
  • The United States, Britain and many other counterparts have heavily invested in the empowerment of a tamed Islamist rule—spearheaded, of course, by the Muslim Brotherhood—to take over the Middle East from post-colonial populist regimes living long past their expiry dates. American and British ambassadors to the region have been carefully weaving this vision and reporting back home that this is simply the best formula for the protection of their interests in the region.

    That such a formula would lend itself to the protraction of another cycle of vicious human rights abuses and continued economic injustices is, naturally, of little concern to them.

Arabica Robusta

Hassan Jumaa Awad: Working class hero facing jail for oil union organizing - April 6, 2... - 0 views

  • The Production Sharing Agreement – the PSA – is an unknown entity in the UK and arguably all over the world, but a household terms and a red hot potato in Iraq. The neutral and fluffy sounding contract that private oil companies crave to secure decades of control over public resources became emblazoned across banners and placards all over the country, in large part due to awareness raising by the IFOU, with the help of social justice and environmental campaigners from the global North, like Platform in London. Who would have thought that this secretive, codified, technocratic ‘thing’ that is the PSA was become a shouted-out, negated, we-know-your-game public enemy?
Arabica Robusta

IPS - Egypt's New Unions Face Uncertain Future | Inter Press Service - 0 views

  • The dictator’s downfall, however, gave union activists more room to operate. Workers have set up over 500 independent syndicates in recent months. The majority have affiliated with two autonomous labour bodies, the Egyptian Federation of Independent Trade Unions (EFITU) led by Abu Eita, and the Egyptian Democratic Labour Congress (EDLC) headed by former steel worker Kamal Abbas.
  • ETUF is proving to be a multi-headed hydra. The mammoth organisation was weakened by rulings that dissolved its executive board, put its leadership under investigation for corruption, and pulled the plug on 15 million dollars in annual government subsidies. Yet its core remains intact.
  • Many activists believe Egypt’s two main powers, the military and the Muslim Brotherhood, are trying to rebuild ETUF as a counterweight to newfound syndical liberties. They claim the generals – opposed to organised labour – have sought to contain worker movements by criminalising strikes and preserving Mubarak-era labour laws.
Arabica Robusta

Egypt's revolution won't end with the presidential election - Mail & Guardian Online - 0 views

  • The apartment blocks on my street in downtown Cairo have accommodated many cycles of Egypt’s political tumult in the past 18 months.

    A stone’s throw from Tahrir Square, they have been enveloped in teargas, pockmarked by Molotov cocktails, pressed into use as urban barricades by both revolutionaries and pro-Mubarak militias and provided the backdrop for some of the post-Mubarak military generals’ most violent assaults on the citizens they swore to protect.

  • There are a million empirical holes that could be picked in this chronicle – the only results we have so far (from Egyptians voting abroad) put Moussa and Shafiq in fourth and fifth places respectively while the lazy insistence of characterising Aboul Fotouh as an unreconstructed Islamist (and hence automatically anti-Tahrir) bears little relation to the substance of his support on the ground.
  • Two misapprehensions underpin much of the discussion about the revolution.
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  • The first is that the metric of revolutionary success lies solely in the formal arena of institutional politics and the development of democratic mechanisms within it. The second is that Tahrir, along with the ludicrously titled “Facebook youth” who populated the square in January and February last year, is the only alternative space in which pressure on the formal arena is thrashed out.
  • And it’s that energy, that those who benefit from the status quo, from western governments to multinational corporations, really fear. Little wonder that there has been a rush by the world’s most powerful entities – from Hilary Clinton and David Cameron to Morgan Chase and General Electric – to simultaneously venerate Tahrir (as long as the demands voiced within it don’t overstep the mark), echo the generals’ calls for “stability” (shutting down broader discourses of dissent in the process) and form links with the largely neoliberal Muslim Brotherhood (whose policies, despite anguished op-eds in Washington think-tank journals, pose little threat to American interests, and indeed offer up many opportunities).
  • What they’re less keen to acknowledge – because it carries the revolution out of its sheltered borders – are the other trenches that are increasingly being etched at the margins of Egyptian society, dividing those who have reaped pharaonic-esque riches as a result of 20-odd years of “structural adjustment” from those left behind in zones of neoliberal exclusion.
  • Forget Shafiq’s advertising hoardings – the revolution is everywhere and it is potent.
  • As the sociologist Asef Bayat has argued, actions that appear to be individualistic strategies for survival and not explicitly political attempts to bring down elites can, in the right circumstances, become unstoppable and interlinked channels of mass rejection, a struggle for real agency in an era of globalised corporate cosmopolitanism that strives to deny it to so many.
Arabica Robusta

Pambazuka - African world view on revolutionary ruptures and pace of change in 2012 - 0 views

  • There is a lot to be learnt from the last capitalist depression during the 1930s when some economists and political leaders believed, that militarism and investment in military capital could resolve the crisis. Indeed, some economists today credit the militarism of the German society with ending the crisis without mention of the huge price paid by humans in the Second World War.
  • Anti-imperialist and progressive forces on the ground in Kenya and even those involved in the political game will have to be strategic in their planning, just as our forces have been strategic in Nigeria. There is a reason why we interred Tajudeen Abdul Raheem in Funtua, in the North of Nigeria. Tajudeen had worked tirelessly against the manipulation of religious differences and we should be publicising the book of the writings of Tajudeen in this revolutionary moment. We must keep his ideas alive as one part of our arsenal.
Arabica Robusta

Pambazuka - Glimpses of the Tunisian revolution: The victory of dignity over fear - 0 views

  • We expressed our admiration and solidarity and we offered our support and the promise to carry their stories, their struggles and their aspirations with us and share them in whatever ways we could as our commitment to contribute to imagine and construct a better world, more just and equal, each of us in the places where we live and work.
  • We also explained that we wished to explore the viability of a regional and continental Social Forum in Tunisia to celebrate the revolution and support the transition.
  • Enthusiastic citizens discussed and negotiated their differences, exchanged their experiences, disagreed vehemently, even shouted their frustration and disappointments contributing to give form to their visions and inspiring in each other actions and daily practices towards the establishment of a new society.
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  • In a large hall, over hundred people gathered to welcome us. In the intense atmosphere made hazy by the smoke of cigarettes inhaled with anxiety and pain, mothers, sisters, fathers, brothers and friends told us their tragedies, their losses, their suffering, their fight, their hope. In a more intimate setting on the third floor of the big building, we met later with others who lost their beloved and cried for justice, who were tortured and demanded their rights.
  • we asked each other with incredulity how we could tell the genuine from the demagogic and the demagogic from the outright false among the rhetoric that seemed to express the same discourses of liberation and the same aspiration to justice and development for all?
  • Facebook was in everyone’s mouth, Al Jazeera’s journalists were praised for their courage and dedication (though, some told us, ‘in the long run we can’t forget they are islamists’).
  • But while nobody denied the supportive role of new social media, the general understanding was that though they helped they were certainly not the determining factors pace the international media (perhaps too eager to stress how western technology democratizes the world).
  • the Italian Prime Minister and his delegation met their Tunisian counterparts in Tunis to discuss an agreement on the migrant crisis which involved shutting down Italy and Europe and send back the thousands deluded migrants who thought hospitality was one of the values of a continent that likes to preach to the world cosmopolitan ideals. If those migrants knew that in Italy a debate rages on the extent to which the boats that carry them, in which they risk their lives and die by the dozens, can be shot at to prevent their landing on national shores!
  • This revolution may have already changed the stereotypes of the submissive, agency deprived, Arab. But as the transition processes develop they may contribute to the elaboration of new democratic practices whose resonance exceeds the national boundaries and make the Tunisian youth rise to the secular Pantheon of historical revolutionaries.
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