North-Africa West-Asia https://www.opendemocracy.net/taxonomy/term/14806/all cached version 19/08/2018 12:03:40 en الأكراد في تركيا: من تنظيم عسكري إلى حزب غير مسلّح.. ماذا تغير؟ https://www.opendemocracy.net/node/119334 <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p style="text-align: right;">ورغم تخلي حزب العُمال عن فكرة الكفاح المسلح، وانتقال الأكراد إلى العمل السياسي بشكلٍ أوسع عبر حزب يمثلهم إلى جانب أقلياتٍ أخرى في البرلمان التركي، إلا أن أنقرة ما تزال تحاربهم</p> </div> </div> </div> <p dir="rtl"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/563417/PA-21098160.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/563417/PA-21098160.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="294" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Paul Zinken/DPA/PA Images. UK, Australian and New Zealand rights only.</span></span></span></p><p dir="rtl">على الرغم من الانتخابات البرلمانية الأخيرة في تركيا، إلا أن شيئاً لم يتغير في واقع البلاد سياسياً بسبب فوز حزب العدالة والتنمية الحاكم بأكثرية المقاعد، حيث شكّلت نتائج الانتخابات ضربةً سياسة قاسية للأقليات المتواجدة في تركيا، والتي نجح بعضها في الدخول إلى البرلمان وتشكيل معارضة، كحزب <a href="http://www.aljazeera.net/encyclopedia/movementsandparties/2015/6/9/%D8%AD%D8%B2%D8%A8-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%B4%D8%B9%D9%88%D8%A8-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AF%D9%8A%D9%85%D9%82%D8%B1%D8%A7%D8%B7%D9%8A">الشعوب الديموقراطي</a> ذو الغالبية الكُردية، والذي يُعد بمثابة تنظيم سياسي غير مسلح يضم إلى جانب الأكراد، الأرمن والعلويين وغيرهم من أقليات البلاد.</p><p dir="rtl">&nbsp;وفي آخرِ تصعيد سياسي ضد الأقليات في تركيا وفي مقدمتهم الأكراد، تسعى أنقرة منذ أواخر شهر أيار/مايو الماضي إلى رفع الحصانة النيابية عن 138 نائباً معارضاً للحزب الحاكم، من بينهم 101 نائباً من حزب الشعوب الديموقراطي بتهمة أنهم الجناح السياسي لحزب العُمال الكُردستاني المحظور في البلاد، على الرغم من أن أولئك النواب ليسوا جميعهم من الأكراد، إلا أنه سيتم سحب الحصانة النيابية منهم أيضاً بالتهمة ذاتها.</p><p dir="rtl">ووافق البرلمان التركي على <a href="https://www.france24.com/ar/20160520-%D8%AA%D8%B1%D9%83%D9%8A%D8%A7-%D8%A8%D8%B1%D9%84%D9%85%D8%A7%D9%86-%D9%85%D8%B4%D8%B1%D9%88%D8%B9-%D9%82%D8%A7%D9%86%D9%88%D9%86-%D8%B1%D9%81%D8%B9-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AD%D8%B5%D8%A7%D9%86%D8%A9-%D9%86%D9%88%D8%A7%D8%A8-%D8%A3%D9%83%D8%B1%D8%A7%D8%AF-%D8%AA%D8%B5%D9%88%D9%8A%D8%AA">القانون</a> الّذي أحاله الرئيس التركي رجب طيب أردوغان إلى النواب للتصويت عليه سراً. وحاز على 376 صوتاً من أصل 550 نائباً، وبموجبه سيتم رفع الحصانة عن برلمانيين معارضين بتهمة الترويج لجماعات مسلحة محظورة في البلاد.</p><p class="mag-quote-center" dir="rtl">&nbsp;وعلى ما يبدو فإن تركيا تواصل حربها على الأكراد سياسياً بسعيها لسحب الحصانة من نوابٍ تابعين لحزب سياسي غير مسلح</p><p dir="rtl">ما يؤكد أن تركيا لا تحارب الأكراد المسلحين فقط، الأمر الذي لا يعد بالجديد. ففي السابق كان الجيش التُركي يشنّ غاراته على معقل المدنيين الأكراد جنوب شرقي البلاد بحجة وجود جماعات مسلحة من حزب العُمال الكُردستاني، الّذي لم تنجح <a href="http://www.bbc.com/arabic/middleeast/2013/01/130101_turkey_pkk.shtml">المفاوضات</a> الجديّة مع زعيمه عبدالله أوجلان عام 2013. وعلى ما يبدو فإن تركيا تواصل حربها على الأكراد سياسياً بسعيها لسحب الحصانة من نوابٍ تابعين لحزب سياسي غير مسلح تم انتخابهم من قبل قسم كبير من المواطنين الأتراك.</p><p dir="rtl">وتمنع تركيا الأكراد من استخدام لغتهم وتداولها في المدارس والجامعات، بالإضافة لحظرها الثقافة الكُردية في البلاد، وكان من أبرز ما قامت به السلطات التركية في هذا الصدد هو <a href="https://www.ahvalnews.com/node/5023">اعتقال</a> البرلمانية الكُردية ليلى زانا في عام 1991، وإبقائها في السجون التركية لسنواتٍ طويلة نتيجة حديثٍ قصير باللغة الكُردية تحت قبة البرلمان التركي. وكذلك تعرّض نائب البرلمان الحالي الكُردي أوصمان بايدمير<a href="https://www.zamanarabic.com/2017/12/14/%D9%81%D9%8A-%D9%82%D9%84%D8%A8%D9%8A%D9%91-%D9%87%D9%83%D8%B0%D8%A7-%D8%A3%D8%AC%D8%A7%D8%A8-%D8%A8%D8%B1%D9%84%D9%85%D8%A7%D9%86%D9%8A-%D8%AA%D8%B1%D9%83%D9%8A-%D8%B9%D9%84%D9%89-%D8%B3%D8%A4/"> لموقف مشابه </a>منذ فترة قصيرة خلال إحدى جلسات البرلمان، حين سأله رئيس البرلمان: "أين توجد كُردستان؟"، فأشار بيدهِ إلى قلبه، في إشارة واضحة أنها في القلب، وتمكّن بحركته تلك من الهروب من المحاسبة القضائية كي لا يدخل السجن بعد اعتقالات متكررة له، ذلك أن تركيا تحظر استخدام كلمة "كُردستان" التي تشير لموطن الأكراد التاريخي.</p><p dir="rtl">وتجدر الإشارة إلى أن الأكراد هم أكبر جماعة عرقية في تركيا وفقاً<a href="http://www.aljazeera.net/specialfiles/pages/7995c641-a8dc-417e-af4b-3edd2f2d111a"> لإحصائيات غير رسمية</a>، لكنهم رغم ذلك لا يتمتعون بحقوقهم، وينقسمون اجتماعياً لعدة مذاهب وطوائف، وهم مسلمون سنة وشيعة وعلويون ومسيحيون وأيزيديون. وبالرغم من التحديات الكبيرة التي يواجهونها في البلاد إلا أنهم تمكنوا منذ سنوات من الدخول إلى البرلمان التركي لأول مرة على هيئة حزب يجمع أقليات أخرى غير الأكراد في البلاد، عبر حزب الشعوب الديموقراطي الّذي يحتل المركز الثاني كأكبر حزب معارض بعد حزب الشعب الجمهوري.</p><p dir="rtl">وربّما كان من المحتمل ألا يشكّل الأتراك أنفسهم في تركيا أكبر جماعة عرقية تعيش ضمن حدود دولتها الحالية، فيما لو كان هناك احصائيات دقيقة لأعداد الجماعات والأقليات العرقية والدينية الأخرى التي تعيش في تركيا اليوم، أو أن تكون مساحة تركيا جغرافياً أصغر مما هي عليه الآن، &nbsp;فيما لو حصل الأكراد على دولة لهم عند اتفاقية سايكس-بيكو عام 1916. </p><p dir="rtl">&nbsp;ورغم تخلي حزب العُمال عن فكرة الكفاح المسلح، وانتقال الأكراد إلى العمل السياسي بشكلٍ أوسع عبر حزب يمثلهم إلى جانب أقلياتٍ أخرى في البرلمان التركي، إلا أن أنقرة ما تزال تحاربهم، إذ أنها ما زالت &nbsp;<a href="http://www.france24.com/ar/20180502-%D8%AF%D9%85%D9%8A%D8%B1%D8%AA%D8%A7%D8%B4-%D8%B2%D8%B9%D9%8A%D9%85-%D8%AD%D8%B2%D8%A8-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%B4%D8%B9%D9%88%D8%A8-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AF%D9%8A%D9%85%D9%88%D9%82%D8%B1%D8%A7%D8%B7%D9%8A-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%B3%D8%AC%D9%8A%D9%86-%D8%B3%D9%8A%D8%B1%D8%B4%D8%AD-%D9%86%D9%81%D8%B3%D9%87-%D9%84%D9%84%D8%B1%D8%A6%D8%A7%D8%B3%D8%A9">تعتقل</a> الزعيم السابق لحزب الشعوب الديموقراطي، صلاح الدين دميرتاش، منذ نحو عامين إلى جانب برلمانيين أكراد وعلويين وغيرهم من ممثلي بعض الأقليات رغم تمتعهم بالحصانة النيابية التي تحاول تركيا حالياً إسقاطها عنهم.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/Piroz-Perik/arabs-kurds-popular-culture"> عن صورة العرب في الموروث الشفاهي الكردي</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia-2">رد: قراءة في مقال صورة العرب في الموروث الشفاهي الكردي</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/behnam-amini/kurdish-struggles-and-challenge-of-foreign-support-case-of-syria">Kurdish struggles and the challenge of foreign support: the case of Syrian Kurds</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> Middle East Forum North-Africa West-Asia جوان سوز Sun, 19 Aug 2018 10:01:17 +0000 جوان سوز 119334 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Meet the Syrian regime’s trusted friend https://www.opendemocracy.net/north-africa-west-asia/samia-haddad/meet-syrian-regime-s-trusted-friend <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>The next phase in Syria’s brutal modern history will likely see more Khaled al-Ahmad type figures propagated by the regime, repackaged and sold in western media as ‘fixers’.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/562712/PA-37956513.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/562712/PA-37956513.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="466" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Photo published by Syrian presidency on August 8, 2018, announcing the Syrian 'First Lady' was fighting a breast cancer. Picture by Balkis Press/ABACA/ABACA/PA Images. All rights reserved. </span></span></span>In the past few weeks, much has changed in Syria. The people of Daraa, the cradle of the Syrian revolution, used to look up and see regime warplanes; now they see the regime’s red, white, and black flag fluttering triumphantly over their city for the first time in seven years. </p><p>The victory was swiftly followed by promises to take back Idlib by negotiations and diplomacy or any means necessary. Syrian representative to the UN, Bashar Jaafari declared, drunk on victory: “If Idlib returns via reconciliation, this is well and good. And if it does not, the Syrian army has the right to restore control over Idlib by force.” The regime is willing to bomb Idlib street by street in their quest to achieve another victory for Syria’s ‘sovereignty.’</p> <p>Feeling empowered, Assad now feels secure enough to deal with the issue of thousands of enforced disappearances that have taken place since 2011. The regime has recently issued an unprecedented number of ‘death notices’ - declarations that detainees in its prisons have died. Assad had kept the uncertain fate of these thousands of Syrians as a bargaining chip in the Astana and Geneva negotiations that were already tilted in his favour. Now, certain that any backlash to the sheer number of deaths in detention can be managed, he has revealed their grim fate.&nbsp; </p><p>Syrians, as they have done wearily for decades before, tried to decipher the message Assad was sending by releasing these death notices and the time he chose to do so. The message is in fact simple: the regime is back, scared of no one, and will rule on as if the revolution never happened.</p> <h3><strong>Public relations renaissance</strong></h3> <p>Meanwhile, a vigorous public relations campaign is underway. A recent <a href="https://www.instagram.com/p/BmOHqj_FLQk/?taken-by=syrianpresidency"><span>photo</span></a> of Assad holding his wife Asma’s hand in a military hospital after her diagnosis with breast cancer shows that the regime’s PR machine is stumbling no more, and is now roaring back into action. The PR campaign isn’t limited to the first couple but extends to their family as well. Images of Assad’s family visiting the villages of fallen regime soldiers went viral not too long ago.</p> <p>But as all this is happening front and centre of the public’s eye, there is something more dangerous afoot that is being given scant attention: the PR campaign to polish the image of regime figures that until now had kept to the shadows – waiting for the right time to unveil themselves. </p> <p>Khaled al-Ahmad is one such figure.</p> <p>A few days ago, a friend emailed me an article entitled “<a href="https://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2018/08/03/world/middleeast/ap-ml-syria-idlib-trap-.html"><span>Meet the Mystery Fixer Who Negotiated Syria out of Seven Years of War</span></a>”, I thought this is interesting until I started reading it. It was scary. The report is in essence a puff piece for a businessman named Khaled al-Ahmad, a man known less for his entrepreneurial acumen than for his ties to the regime. His most high-profile foray into the public sphere until now had come in 2012, when his name appeared in leaked emails belonging to Assad.</p> <p>The propaganda piece was written by a pro-Assad journalist who said it was part of a two-part series on the ‘reconciliation process’ in Syria. With crushing predictability, the article was published and republished again by various western media outlets, all of which dub themselves ‘alternative,’ and claim to be standing up against the ‘mainstream media’ narrative of the coverage of the Syrian war;all of which support Assad the anti-imperialist in his war against the decadent west and puritan Islamists.</p> <p>The article starts off by introducing al-Ahmad in modest terms, crediting him for having “a central role in bringing one of the worst conflicts since World War Two to an end.” He was also credited for the regime’s recent victories in East Ghouta and on the southern front. The focus of the article, however, was on crediting him on being the mastermind behind the government’s so-called ‘reconciliation strategy,’ if such a thing even exists.</p> <p>The word reconciliation was used many times in the article to show the prowess of al-Ahmad and the regime’s conflict resolution skills. The piece takes Hammeh in rural Damascus as a sole example of a successful reconciliation deal. The article also quotes local &nbsp;people who spoke about the sectarian uprising that started there and the negative role of the mosques in the revolution. A cliché narrative that services the purpose of the article, which can be summarised in two points: exalting reconciliations offered by the regime and crediting Al Ahmad for it.</p> <p>And while the word reconciliation outside Syria implies an agreement between two parties or more, the case in Syria remains different. The reconciliations they are talking about are not dignifying and certainly not optional. Rather, they are merely one out of an arsenal of coercive tools the regime uses in order to take back areas and communities that slipped out of its grasp.&nbsp; </p><p>The reconciliations that are happening in Syria under the eye of the international community are mainly achieved by creating siege environments on the targeted area accompanied almost all the times by aerial bombardment. These dystopian conditions encourage the local community within the besieged area to pressure their leaders to reach an agreement – any agreement – with the government to end their misery. The government, in turn, evacuates most of the local population, if not all of it, and then restores state control over what is left.</p> <h3> <strong>The man, the myth, the playmaker</strong></h3> <p>But why would this long-anonymous, 30-something-year-old businessman suddenly have an in-depth article published about him, detailing his role, revealing his relation to the American journalist Nir Rosen, and giving him enough credit that he be called the “fixer” who negotiated Syria out of its war?</p> <p>The answer is that the regime intentionally kept people like al-Ahmad away from the political sphere in order to keep them ‘clean,’ and in turn use them as liaisons with the west – just as the article showed as being the case. Al-Ahmad served the regime sincerely, but managed to keep his ties to it known by so few people that he was never placed on the sanctions list, unlike other regime-linked businessmen in Syria.</p> <p>Al-Ahmad was kept in the shadows until the right time came for him to step forward into the light – when Assad was placing the final touches on his painting by tying up one loose end after another; from seizing southern revolutionary cities like Daraa to finalizing the deaths of those killed in prison long ago.</p> <p>The next phase in Syria’s brutal modern history will likely see more al-Ahmad type figures propagated by the regime, repackaged and sold in western media as ‘fixers,’ despite having played a part in the breaking of their country. Al-Ahmad will not be last of his kind, and as for the man himself – only time will tell what his future role will be.</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/anton-mukhamedov/forgotten-history-of-revolutionary-raqqa-and-its-deep-wounds">The forgotten history of revolutionary Raqqa, and its deep wounds</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/budour-hassan/yarmouk-late-obituary-for-capital-of-palestinian-diaspora">Yarmouk: a late obituary for the capital of the Palestinian diaspora</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/omar-sabbour/why-would-assad-do-it-debunking-abstract-theories-surrounding-sy">“Why would Assad do it?” Debunking the abstract theories surrounding Syria’s chemical attacks</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/rayyan-dabbous/syrian-game-of-thrones-infotainment-and-new-york-times-spectac">A Syrian game of thrones: infotainment and New York Times’ spectacular coverage</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/richard-salame/reporting-syria-this-is-story-about-people">Reporting Syria: this is a story about people - an interview with Rania Abouzeid</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/mohammad-dibo/oral-culture-and-identity-in-syria-dossier">Oral culture and identity in Syria - Dossier</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Syria </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Conflict </div> <div class="field-item even"> Democracy and government </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> North-Africa West-Asia North-Africa West-Asia Syria Conflict Democracy and government war Samia Haddad Fri, 17 Aug 2018 08:25:47 +0000 Samia Haddad 119308 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Yair Netanyahu: a scandalous man https://www.opendemocracy.net/north-africa-west-asia/tariq-al-shammari/yair-netanyahu-scandalous-man <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Benjamin Netanyahu's eldest son has been at the center of many scandals from corruption to social media activity. </p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/562712/392031.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/562712/392031.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="322" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Yair Netanyahu. Picture taken from Facebook. </span></span></span>In recent years, <a href="https://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Who-is-Yair-Netanyahu-504746">the 27-year-old Yair Netanyahu</a>, the eldest son of Benjamin Netanyahu, has gotten heavily involved in political affairs. <a href="https://sputniknews.com/viral/201805221064698002-yair-netanyahu-scandals-history/">Most of Yair’s social media activities and statements</a> notoriously bring about problems and scandals for the Israeli Prime Minister's family. Some of these statements have become his source of international recognition, though Israelis know him for numerous scandals over the past five years. </p><p><a href="https://www.dailysabah.com/diplomacy/2018/05/16/israeli-pm-netanyahus-scandal-plagued-son-yair-crudely-insults-turkey-amid-spat">Media outlets</a> always cover Yair’s lavish lifestyle. <a href="https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/business/yair-netanyahu-s-new-job-giving-lectures-on-geopolitics-to-tourists-1.6050707">Haaretz reports</a> that “he is guarded at all times and has an official driver and uses an official car.” This is all financed from the state budget, but so far the Israeli government has refused to publish the amount of these expenses. </p> <p><a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2018/01/09/netanyahus-son-brags-about-prostitutes-20-billion-deal-for-friends-dad-in-strip-club-rant/?utm_term=.10aed320b53b">The release of a recording</a> in which the younger Netanyahu under the influence of alcohol reveals his father’s financial corruption regarding a $20 billion deal for future natural gas drilling raised the public outcry. “[The statement was full of] nasty things about women and other things that should not have been said. Don't represent the person I am, the values I was educated on and what I believe,” <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2018/01/09/netanyahus-son-brags-about-prostitutes-20-billion-deal-for-friends-dad-in-strip-club-rant/?utm_term=.6049475e59ab">reportedly said Yair</a>. Moreover, <a href="https://forward.com/schmooze/391689/4-things-yair-netanyahu-could-have-spent-116-on-that-arent-a-sex-worker/">Yair’s relationship with prostitutes</a> in nightclubs and having a non-Jewish girlfriend brought about much criticism in Israel.</p> <p>Yair, who studied international relations at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, also posted an insulting anti-Turkey Instagram post (<a href="https://nypost.com/2018/05/17/netanyahus-son-deletes-instagram-after-f-k-turkey-post/">a "F--k Turkey" meme</a>) which has been a source of controversy on social media over the past few months. “Bibi’s son waded into the growing crisis between the two countries in the wake of Israel’s response to the violent Palestinian protests at the Gaza border,” reports <em><a href="https://nypost.com/2018/05/17/netanyahus-son-deletes-instagram-after-f-k-turkey-post/">New York Post</a></em>.</p> <p>Ya'air has also been linked to his father's financial corruption cases and has been interrogated by the Israeli police. Just a few months ago, <a href="https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/police-suspect-yair-netanyahu-obstructed-justice-in-telecom-case-1.5949692">Haaretz revealed that</a> “Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as well as his wife Sara and son Yair were questioned by police on Monday in connection to the Bezeq bribery case.” The police suspected that Yair Netanyahu “conferred regulatory benefits on the telecom giant Bezeq in exchange for favorable coverage of the Netanyahu family on the popular Walla news website.”</p> <p>Recently, Haim Saban, an Israeli-American billionaire and media mogul <a href="https://variety.com/2017/biz/spotlight/haim-saban-deep-love-israel-philanthropy-1202013654/">who has a deep love for Israel</a> revealed that <a href="http://www.rpfront.com/world/the-childish-behavior-of-israeli-friends-is-shameful-haim-saban-says">Yair demanded a bribe to issue legal licenses</a> for the establishment of Saban Venture in Israel. Haim Saban is a strong and major supporter of Israel for many years and FIDF National Board Member. On many occasions, <a href="http://variety.com/2017/biz/vpage/friends-israel-defense-forces-gala-raises-record-breaking-53-8-million-1202606799/">Haim Saban collects donations to support Israel</a> but he expressed his shame for what Yair has done to him and his team. “I am very pleased to be able to take a step towards the progress of the Jewish people and see them going further and pushing the boundaries of what is possible," <a href="http://www.rpfront.com/world/the-childish-behavior-of-israeli-friends-is-shameful-haim-saban-says">he said in a recent interview</a>, “… of course, there are some hardships in this way, and sometimes it happens that I am ashamed to tell them to anybody. For example, while getting legal permissions to open the office of Saban Venture at Tel Aviv-Yafo, thanks to the friendship with the Prime Minister's son Yair, my colleagues met him to get the required licenses. Perhaps it is hard to believe that for helping Israel we had no solution but to give bribe to Yair to obtain the permission for licenses.” </p> <p><a href="https://www.sabanventures.com/about-us/">Barak Pridor</a>, the managing partner at Saban Ventures, <a href="http://www.rpfront.com/world/the-childish-behavior-of-israeli-friends-is-shameful-haim-saban-says">confirmed Haim Saban's statements and said that</a> “unfortunately, as Mr. Saban said, Yair demanded $40,000 bribe in return for issuing legal licenses. Since we did not have a better way to obtain permits, I informed Mr. Saban about this, and because of his great interest in Israel, he agreed to pay the money.” </p> <p>Just a few days ago, <a href="https://www.timesofisrael.com/yair-netanyahu-blasts-bolshevik-leftists-over-criticism-of-nation-state-law/">Yair put it that</a> “right wing is the 'real liberal camp' and slams leftists for labeling the Israeli right 'Nazis' and 'fascists',” which once more provoked controversy. Until now, the Netanyahu family has not responded officially to Yair’s recent controversies and scandals but predictably a spokesperson may say that his personal statements and activities are not representative of the Prime Minister and his family.</p> <p>Perhaps some believe that Benjamin Netanyahu has served the Israeli people during his term as prime minister and his endeavor resulted in the progress and advancement of Israel in many areas. <a href="https://sputniknews.com/viral/201805221064698002-yair-netanyahu-scandals-history/">Many members of the Prime Minister’s inner circle</a> attempted to defend him, but it should be considered that today Bibi and his family members particularly his wife, Sara, and his son, Yair, are greedily eyeing the available resources of power to fulfill their desires and they cannot neglect their personal, financial and political interests. </p> <p>This opportunism and abuse of power has caused them to be involved in a number of financial and political corruption cases with new dimensions being revealed every day. This volume of corruption is unique in the history of Israel. Meanwhile Netanyahu justifies this abuse of power for personal interest as if receiving gifts from billionaires is his right, something that should clearly disqualify him from remaining in power. In the next Knesset election, the Israelis have to clearly express their views with their votes and decide whether to continue or stop the corruption in their country.</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/davide-pernice/israel-s-wars-decisions-for-few">Israel’s wars: decisions for the few</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/daniel-avelar-bianca-ferrari/israel-and-palestine-story-of-modern-colonialism">Israel and Palestine: a story of modern colonialism</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/david-morrison/israel-complains-about-violation-of-its-sovereignty-while-bein">Israel complains about violation of its sovereignty while being a serial violator</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Israel </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> North-Africa West-Asia North-Africa West-Asia Israel corruption Tariq al-Shammari Thu, 16 Aug 2018 08:21:50 +0000 Tariq al-Shammari 119292 at https://www.opendemocracy.net رد: قراءة في مقال صورة العرب في الموروث الشفاهي الكردي https://www.opendemocracy.net/north-africa-west-asia-2 <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p class="direction-rtl"> رد وتوضيح من وجهة نظر شخصية عن صورة العرب في الموروث الشفاهي الكردي.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class="direction-rtl"><strong><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/562712/ وعرب copy_1.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/562712/ وعرب copy_1.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="259" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'></span></span>ينشر هذا المقال ضمن ملف يتناول الثقافة الشفوية في سورية، بالتعاون والشراكة مع موقع <a href="http://syriauntold.com/ar/">حكاية ما انحكت</a>، في محاولة لفهم جذور الطائفية والقومية وغيرها في سوري</strong></span></p><p><span class="direction-rtl"> </span></p><p class="direction-rtl">لفت انتباهي عنوان هام ومثير لمادة منشورة عبر موقع، حكاية ما انحكت، السوري، بعنوان "عن صورة العرب في الموروث الشفاهي الكردي"، للأستاذ بيروز بريك، والحق يقال أنني، وبعد قراءة المتن لأكثر من مرة، لم أوفّق للوقوف على هذه الصورة في الموروث الشفاهي الكردي بقدر ما كانت عملية إجراء حوكمة لصورة مسبقة في ذهن الكاتب حاول الاستدلال عليها بالابتعاد عن جوهر الموضوع، باتجاه سياق التأريخ لحالة اجتماعية وفق معلومات حملت مغالطات جسيمة، أرى أنّه من الضرورة تصحيحها والوقوف عندها. لستُ بصدد عرض قراءات متعجّلة الآن أو أحكام مسبقة لصورة الكرد في الموروث الشفاهي العربي أو العكس، لكني سأكتفي فقط بتسليط الضوء على المغالطات التاريخية التي احتلت الجزء الأكبر من مادة الأستاذ بيروز. </p><p class="western" dir="rtl"> <strong>اختلاف ثقافي أم تطابق؟</strong></p> <p class="western" dir="rtl"> (1): ادعاء الكاتب بأنه: "على المستوى الثقافي هناك اختلاف بين العرب والكرد لجهة أنماط المعيشة والحياة الاجتماعية في الجزيرة"، هو غير مطابق للتاريخ الاجتماعي لهذه البقعة الجغرافية من سورية، فالحياة الحضرية في الجزيرة حديثة جداً، وأهل المنطقة من عرب وأكراد يتشابهون في أنماطهم المعيشية وحياتهم الاجتماعية، وزيادة على ذلك لهم ذات العادات والتقاليد، وحتى القيم الاجتماعية لديهم واحدة، ربما نجد هامشا بسيطا من الاختلاف في الإطار الفلكلوري من حيث موسيقى الأعراس أو اللغة، لكن تبقى هذه جزئيات ضمن ثقافة المنظومة القيمية التي تسود المجتمع الجزراوي. حتى ادّعاء "تحديد النسل عند الأكراد وزيادته عند العرب" هو أمر غير واقعي، فهذه المسألة يمكن تمييزها بين الريف والمدينة، نتيجة ثقافات بيئية اجتماعية لا علاقة لها بالبعد العرقي، وينسحب ذلك على كل سورية أيضاً.</p> <p class="western" dir="rtl"> (2): يقول الكاتب: " كان ميل الكرد أسرع في الانتقال من حالة البداوة إلى العيش في حواضر (قرى ومدن) بينما تأخر العرب نسبيا في ذلك، وهذا جعل من الكرد متطورين في الزراعة وتربية الدواجن والأبقار بينما بقيت تربية قطعان الغنم أكثر التصاقا بالعرب. وحتى الآن نرى قرى الكرد أكثر اخضراراً وتشجيراً من قرى العرب".</p> <p class="western" dir="rtl"> نجد هنا مغالطة في سياقها التاريخي، ففي منطقة الجزيرة السورية حصراً، وحتى بداية القرن العشرين كانت جميع قبائل الجزيرة العربية والكردية تنقسم بين نمطين اجتماعيين فقط لا ثالث لهما (قبائل رحّل "بدويّة"، قبائل أنصاف رحّل "شاويّة")، فكانت شمّر وعنزة من نمط القبائل الرحّل التي لها نُجْعات (النُجْعة: طَلَب العُشْب ومَسَاقط المَطر) طويلة وتعتمد على الإبل (الجمال)، ومنها جاءت تسميتها " قبائل آبلة"، فيما كانت باقي العشائر العربية والكردية من أنماط أنصاف الرحّل التي تعتمد على الأغنام (الشاة)، ومن هنا جاءت تسميتها "شاويَّة". فعندما يقول الكاتب بأنّ الكرد باتوا متطورين في الزراعة وتربية الدواجن والأبقار بينما بقيت قطعان الغنم أكثر التصاقاً بالعرب فهو يستعرض حقيقة مجتزأة في هذا التصنيف العجيب، وسيفهم القارئ بأنّ الأكراد يمارسون الزراعة والعرب يمارسون الرعي والترحال، وهذا غير صحيح، والواقع أنّ تربية الدواجن والأبقار والأغنام والزراعة موجودة لدى العرب والأكراد على حد سواء. ومع الاستقرار الزراعي، اختفى حتى نمط القبائل الرحل وأنصاف الرحل عند العرب والأكراد على حد سواء، وباتت جميع القبائل الكردية والعربية مستقرة في الأرياف في ذات الفترة الزمنية. والمواسم الزراعية الأساسية في الجزيرة هي القمح والشعير والقطن، ويزرعها العرب والأكراد على حد سواء. بل وتشير الوثائق التاريخية إلى ممارسة العشائر العربية للزراعة في الجزيرة قبل وجود الأكراد في هذه البقعة التي باتت تسمّى الجزيرة السورية، ينقل ذلك الآثاري البريطاني، أوستن هنري لايارد، في كتابه "مكتشفات أطلال نينوى وبابل" (دار الكتب الوطنية، أبو ظبي 2014، ص381) عن قبيلة الجبور مثلاً وزراعتها القمح على ضفاف الخابور حين زراها في النصف الأول من القرن التاسع عشر سنة 1848م. وكذلك في عهد التنظيمات العثمانية، تمّ توزيع خاقانات عثمانية لكل من عشائر الجبور والشرابيين والبقارة والمعامرة في الجزيرة لزراعة واستصلاح الأراضي. وبالنسبة لتربية الأغنام، فقد كانت ولا تزال موجودة عند العرب في الأرياف وكذلك عند الأكراد، بل نجد أنّ للكرد تاريخاً عريقاً في تجاوز العرب في تربية الأغنام حتى باتت عشائرهم مصدراً للأغنام التي تغطي الموصل ودير الزور وحلب والأناضول أيضاً. أما مسألة الاستدلال بالخضرة والتشجير، فالواقع أنّ جميع القرى الكردية تقع في الشريط الحدودي في منطقة ما يسمّى خط العشرة أـو منطقة الاستقرار الأولى (مناطق الاستقرار هو تصنيف جغرافي للمناطق السورية بحسب معدلات هطول الأمطار، وتعتبر منطقة الاستقرار الأولى المناطق الأعلى في معدلات هطور الأمطار، وتقع جميع القرى الكردية في محافظة الحسكة ضمن هذه المنطقة، وهي شريط محاذي للحدود التركية)، وهي المناطق الأعلى في معدلات هطول الأمطار، وتوفر المياه، والخدمات والآبار أيضاً، وبالتالي نجد بأنّ قرى هذه المنطقة، العربية والكردية، تمتاز بالخضرة والتشجير المنزلي بدرجة أكثر من تلك التي لا تتوفر فيها مياه حتى للشرب في جنوب خط اّلعشرة، ومعظمها هناك قرى عربية.</p> <p class="western" dir="rtl"> <strong>مقارنة انتقائية</strong></p> <p class="western" dir="rtl"> (3): يقول الكاتب أيضا، "إن المجتمع الكردي، مجتمع زراعة وإقطاعات بينما كان المجتمع العربي مجتمع مضارب وخيام و صيد وتربية إبل وغنم، ... وفي الوقت الذي كانت نخبة المجتمعات الثقافية هي الملالي ورجال الدين كانت هذه النخبة معدومة لدى عرب المنطقة، وكانوا يلجأون للشيوخ والملالي الكرد في قضايا الدين والتحكيم الشرعي".</p> <p class="western" dir="rtl"> التعقيب: تكمن المغالطة هنا مجدداً بمقارنة انتقائية لمجتمعين في فترتين مختلفتين، فلا يجوز أن نقارن وضع العرب قبل مئة عام بوضع الأكراد بعد الاستقرار الزراعي حالياً، فالمقارنة تكون في ذات الفترة الزمنية، فعشائر الكوجر والملية والكيكية والآليان والخلجان والشيتية وغيرها كانت عشائر رعوية من أنماط الرحّل وأنصاف الرحل، لها مصائف ومشاتي، وبقيت على هذا الوضع حتى الأربعينات من القرن الماضي كما يصفها الكاتب والباحث والرحالة وصفي زكريا (خبير استشاري زراعي شركسي سوري، تخرج مهندساً زراعياً من أسطنبول سنة 1912م) في كتابه "عشائر الشام" (دار الفكر المعاصر، بيروت، ط2 سنة1983، ط1 سنة 1947، ج2، ص659-670). وكذلك كانت العشائر العربية في جنوبي منطقة طور عابدين. أما الاستقرار في المدن الناشئة حديثاً في الجزيرة السورية، فحتى الخمسينات من القرن الماضي كان مقتصراً بالدرجة الأولى على العوائل السريانية والأرمنية واليهودية، وبدرجة أقل على العرب والأكراد. لكن بالمقابل، كانت حواضر الجزيرة قبل رسم الحدود السورية الحديثة هي ماردين والموصل ودير الزور، وهي عربية! وبالتالي فالموضوع يخضع هنا لاعتبارات أغفلها الكاتب واقتطعها من سياقها التاريخي والجغرافي الطبيعي.</p> <p class="western" dir="rtl"> اما مسألة الملالي ورجال الدين من الأكراد، فلا يخفى على أحد بأنّ الطريقة النقشبندية التي طغت على جميع الطرائق الصوفية الأخرى كان موطنها الأساسي المناطق الكردية في تركيا. ومع وصول دفعات كبيرة من المهاجرين الكرد من أبناء القرى الكردية في تركيا (اللاعشائريين بمعظمهم)، وصل عدد من هؤلاء الملالي، ولا شك أنهم شكلوا المرجعية الدينية لأهالي المنطقة التي كانت طيلة قرون تعتمد على مشايخ (سادة) آخرين لا يمتلكون العلم الشرعي، ويتخذون مكانتهم من خلال الكرامات التي يدعونها. طبعاً هذه الحالة لم تكن مقتصرة على الجزيرة، فمعظم علماء دمشق وتركيا أيضاً كانوا من الأكراد.</p> <p class="western" dir="rtl"> <br /> <br /> </p> <p class="western" dir="rtl"> <strong>الأمثال الشعبية وتفسيرها</strong></p> <p class="western" dir="rtl"> (4): يقول الكاتب: "لا تقل للعربي مرحبا فسيجلس على عباءتك"، هو مثل دارج بين كرد الجزيرة، يأتي في سياق توصيف حشرية شخص ما، أو تعدّيه على الخصوصيات مستغلا كرم الشخص المقابل أو اهتمامه".</p> <p class="western" dir="rtl"> التعقيب: المثل هذا بالفعل موجود، ويمكن تناوله أيضاً في سياق آخر، يتناول أنثربولوجيا المجتمع الكردي ذاته في القرية التي تخضع لسلطة "الآغا". وهنا يبرز فرق بين العرب والأكراد في التعامل مع الضيف، فعابر السبيل الذي يمر في القرى العربية يمر بأقرب منزل يجده، فيتم إكرامه بأقصى ما يستطيع، فالتقصير بذلك يجعله سبة بين عشيرته، في حين أنّ عابر السبيل الذي كان يمر بالقرى الكردية، فقد كان صاحب الدار غالباً يعتذر عن استقباله ويرسله لبيت "الآغا" أو "المختار". وهذا الأخير الذي يفرض ضرائب على أفراد عشيرته، يمتلك مضافة تقدّم فيها القهوة العربية المرّة، جرياً على تقاليد العرب، ويقدم فيها الطعام للضيف المستطرق وعابر السبيل.</p> <p class="western" dir="rtl"> (5): يقول الكاتب: "يستعمل الكرد تعبير "عربي بازار"، أي صفقة عربية في وصف الصفقات السريعة وغير المحددة بمقاييس، والتي يصفها أهل مناطق سورية أخرى بـ "المشايلة".... ، ويدخل هذا المثل أيضا في خدمة تعزيز صورة البدوي (الشاوي) الذي يفتقر للدقة في معاملاته، ويميل للحالة السليقية البسيطة في البيع والشراء".</p> <p class="western" dir="rtl"> التعقيب: الواقع أنّ استخدام هذه العبارة هي ضمن التصنيف الإيجابي، والصورة التي عرضها الكاتب من خلال شرحه للمثل هي مجافية لحقيقة استخدام المثل، فصاحب الرزق كما يعلم الجميع من مصلحته أن يتم شراء ما تبقى من بضاعته " كوترا" أو دفعة واحدة، والعربي اعتاد عند النزول للأسواق، وخاصة إذا كان قادماً من الريف، على شراء البضائع والخضار والزيت وغيرها من المواد بالجملة، خاصة وأنه يأخذ بعين الاعتبار ضيوفه وليس عائلته فقط. وبالتالي يقوم الكرد باستخدام تعبير "عربي بازار" للتعبير عن حالة الشراء بالجملة، ولا أعتقد أن للموضوع علاقة بمسألة الفوضى أو عدم الدقة في سياق عرض صورة العربي بعيون الأكراد. </p> <p class="western" dir="rtl"> (6): يقول الكاتب: "ومن الطريف أن هنالك نوع من الاستحمام لدى الكرد يسمّى "استحمام عربي"، وهو عبارة عن غسل الرأس للعنق فقط دون غسل باقي الجسد، ويأتي أيضا في سياق التدليل على عدم اهتمام البدو أو الشوايا بالنظافة، واكتفائهم باغتسال سريع بموجب ظروف حياتهم التي كانت محكومة بالتنقل وعدم الثبات في أرض معينة، قبل أن يستقروا في قرى ومدن مع أواسط القرن المنصرم. (عرب المنطقة هم من البدو الذين سكنوا الأرياف مؤخرا ووصول الكرد للتعليم كان أكثر حتى ثمانينيات القرن الماضي، حيث تركزت الشهادات العلمية في يد الكرد وأبناء الطوائف المسيحية، وما يزال أغلب الأطباء والمهندسين من الكرد، مع أنّ تحسنا كبيرا طرأ على نيل العرب للشهادات وإقبالهم على الجامعات مؤخرا)".</p> <p class="western" dir="rtl"> التعقيب: اتهام العرب بعدم النظافة هو أمر محدث لا ينتمي للموروث الكردي لسبب بسيط يتعلق بالنمط المشترك للعيش والبيئة بين العرب والأكراد الذين تقاسموا حياة التنقل والرعي، وكذلك حياة الاستقرار بالقرى مؤخراً منذ الثلاثينات. والأقرب برأيي هو أن أي شيء زاد عن حده أو نقص وخرج عن المعهود، بات يتخذ صفة النسبة للعرب الذين شلكوا مثالاً للمقارنة عند الكردي لقرون طويلة في كل شيء، فالحصان الأصيل الجيد يقال عنه عربي، والقهوة عربية، والزي عربي، ومجاراة الكرم عربية، فتجد مثلاً بأنّ آغا عشيرة الدوركيين من آل عباس (الآغا الملقب بالمصطفج هو الآغا محمد عباس رئيس عشيرة الدوركيين. المصدر: حفيده برزان عز الدين المصطفج، الصفحة الشخصية على موقع التواصل الاجتماعي، تاريخ النشر 14 شباط 2017)، قام جرياً على عادة العرب بصنع وليمة كبيرة حاول من خلالها إثبات قدرته على إطعام جميع ضيوفه من العشائر التي قام بدعوتها بالجملة، فأطلق عليه العرب اسم "المصطفج" فافتخروا بذلك وبات لقبهم الذي يفخرون به حتى يومنا هذا. ونجد أيضاً بأن الكاسكا من عشائر الشيتية، أطلق عليهم العرب لقب "العدلات" فافتخروا باللقب وبات ملاصقاً لهم إلى يومنا هذا. وكذلك ينطبق على باقي العشائر الكردية التي جارت العرب في "نخواتها" والنخوة هي صيحة الحرب، فبات زعماء عشيرة المليّة يلقبون بـ "أخوة نورة"، بينما لقب زعماء الخلجان بـ"أخوة زرقة"...الخ. وكلها ألقاب عربية لهم حملوها وافتخروا بها، وبالتالي يدخل هذا المثل (عربي بازار)، (حمام عربي) في إطار المسألة الخارجة عن سياقها الطبيعي. </p> <p class="western" dir="rtl"> أما سبق الأكراد في مسألة التعليم فهي مسألة صحيحة، والأمر كان له علاقة مباشرة بمسألة المد الشيوعي الذي وجد له موطئ قدم بين أكراد الجزيرة منذ نهاية الثلاثينات، الأمر الذي استفاد منه الأكراد لاحقاً، وتخرج عدد مهم من الأطباء والمهندسين من المبتعثين الشيوعيين إلى الاتحاد السوفيتي. وهذا ساهم في زيادة الوعي بأهمية التعليم بين الأكراد، خاصة مع انتعاش المد القومي بعد حركة البرزاني، في الوقت الذي لم تبرز خلاله هذه الأهمية عند العرب إلا بعد الثمانينات وصولاً إلى الوقت الراهن الذي نجد فيه بأنّ عدد المحامين والحقوقيين العرب في الحسكة بات يزيد على 65% من مجموع المحامين، وبات الأطباء العرب يغطون جميع التخصصات الطبية في المحافظة ناهيك عن التخصصات العلمية والتربوية الأخرى.</p> <p class="western" dir="rtl"> <strong>حول الموسيقى</strong></p> <p class="western" dir="rtl"> (7): يقول الكاتب أيضا: "يتغنّى الكرد دوما بموسيقاهم وتراثهم في العزف على آلات موسيقية بعينها مثل الطنبور وأنواع الدبكات الكردية المتعدّدة، وكثيرا ما يضيفون الدبكة العربية لأعراسهم، أو يتشاركون رقصها مع العرب في أعراسهم ولا يخفون تهكمهم في أنّ أعراس العرب تقتصر على نوع دبكة وحيد، ويخترعون لتلك الدبكة اسما ساخرا "الدحدح" (معنى كلمة دحدح بالعربية القصير كبير البطن، والتسمية هنا تسخر من دبكة العرب) بل أن هنالك مثلا كرديا قديما يضع استعمال العرب لآلة الطنبور في موضع الغرابة المطلقة. "ما للعرب والطنبور!!". </p> <p class="western" dir="rtl"> التعقيب: الآلة الموسيقية الوحيدة التي كانت متداولة في الجزيرة السورية الحالية كانت "الربابة" الملائمة للعشائر البدوية العربية والكردية على حد سواء، أما الطبل والزرناية (آلة موسيقية شبيهة بالمزمار وترافق الطبل) فقد كانت بادئ الأمر مقتصرة على عشائر النور مثل البولاتية، أما البزق كآلة موسيقية فقد كان مشهوراً في ماردين كتراث فلكلوري عربي، وكذلك في ريف ماردين عند قبيلة المحلمية العرب في مناطق طور عابدين، وكذلك بين الأكراد المجاورين لهم والمتأثرين بهم، والذي بات مؤخراً من أشهر آلاتهم الموسيقية، والعود (الطنبور) للعرب باع طويل فيه منذ الحقبة العباسية ولسنا بصدد استعراضه، لكن الموسيقى والأغاني كانت من سمات الحياة المدنية، والمدن والبلدات لم تنشأ في الجزيرة السورية الحالية منذ العهد التتري إلى غاية مجيء الفرنسيين، بل كانت مقتصرة على بعض الحواضر ومعظمها في تركيا والعراق الحالي.</p> <p class="western" dir="rtl"> أما الدبكة أو الأهازيج العربية، فهي غير مقتصرة على النمط الوحيد كما تفضل الكاتب، و"الدحة" وليس الدحدح هي نمط للأهازيج البدوية التي يتمايل فيها الأشخاص مصفقين بأياديهم ومردّدين أهازيج شعرية يتخلّلها وقفات تتضمن ترديد عبارة "داحيه". كما أنّ أنماط الشعر والغناء الفراتي عند عرب الجزيرة متنوع بشكل كبير، يتضمن (العتابا، السويحلي، الموليا، النايل ..الخ). كما أنّ أعراس العرب تتضمن عادات وتقاليد أخرى كانت منتشرة ومشهورة مثل سباق الخيل، وضع نياشين وإطلاق النار عليها، إقامة الولائم من لحوم الضآن على خبز الصاج ولا تزال حاضرة.</p> <p class="western" dir="rtl"> (9): يقول الكاتب: "كان أبناء عشائر كردية بذاتها يتباهون بلبس الكلابية والعقال وكانوا يصفون الأشخاص ذوي المهابة والأناقة بأنهم يشبهون شيوخ العرب".</p> <p class="western" dir="rtl"> التعقيب: الواقع أنّ العرب كانوا مثالاً يحتذى به في الموروث التاريخي الكردي، وكان القياس على ذلك تشريف لا انتقاص، وقد كان الادعاء السائد بين زعماء الأكراد كما يشير <span><a href="https://ar.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D8%B4%D8%B1%D9%81_%D8%AE%D8%A7%D9%86_%D8%B4%D9%85%D8%B3_%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AF%D9%8A%D9%86_%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%A8%D8%AF%D9%84%D9%8A%D8%B3%D9%8A">البدليسي</a></span> في كتابه "<span><a href="https://ar.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D8%B4%D8%B1%D9%81_%D9%86%D8%A7%D9%85%D8%A9">شرف نامه</a></span>" في القرن السادس عشر ميلادي، يقوم على ادّعاء النسب العربي، لذلك نجد أنهم كانوا حتى بدايات القرن العشرين يحرصون على تزويج بناتهم من العرب، بل وفي كثير من الأحيان يمتنعون أن يزوجوا بناتهم لأفراد عشائرهم كما ينقل لنا مارك سايكس (انظر: مارك سايكس، القبائل الكردية في الأمبراطورية العثمانية، ترجمة: أ.د. خليل علي مراد، مراجعة: أ.د. عبد الفتاح البوتاني، دار الزمان، ص 78-79) عن زعماء الكيكية مثلاً! . وبالنسبة للباس العربي، فقد كان لباس جميع العشائر الكردية على الإطلاق. ومنذ نهاية الأربعينات بدأ اللباس الأوروبي (البنطال والقميص) بالظهور بين الأكراد والعرب على حد سواء، ومع زيادة مظاهر الحياة المدنية طغى اللباس الحديث على جميع العرب والأكراد في المدن وبشكل خاص بين الشباب، فيما لا يزال كبار السن الأكراد وزعماء العشائر الكردية يرتدون اللباس العربي التقليدي والعقال حتى يومنا هذا. </p> <p class="western" dir="rtl"> (10): يقول الكاتب أيضا: "الشكل الأبرز للتراث الشفاهي الكردي هي الأغاني الملحمية".</p> <p class="western" dir="rtl"> التعقيب: هذه مغالطة كبيرة جداً لا يجدر أن تصدر من شخص مهتم بجانب الموروث الشعبي، فالأغاني المحلمية هي أغاني عربية خالصة وجزء من الثقافة الماردينية التي تشترك بها مع الموصل أيضاً. في هذا الإطار، نجد أغاني مثل "<span><a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QUIAMHR33y8">يا دلهو</a></span>، <span><a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bosRX2Qn18Q">صبية جزراوية</a></span>، <span><a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6gKYHJ5y5lY">صبيحة</a></span>، <span><a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PZrZU-V6wpg">خالة زكو</a></span>، <span><a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nNqRIBEohMs">هل بنت تجنن</a></span>، <span><a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pKe3th-ON2k">مدللتي</a></span>، <span><a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bosRX2Qn18Q">قومي طلبيلي</a></span> ... الخ) وكلها أغاني عربية. فكيف يمكن القول بأنّ الشكل الأبرز للتراث الشفاهي الكردي هي الأغاني المحلمية؟</p> <p class="western" dir="rtl"> المعذرة على هذه الإطالة، لكن المغالطات التي لم تخلوا منها فقرة في عرض الكاتب كان لا بد من توضحيها من وجهة نظري الشخصية، والتي أجد فيها إغناء للشق التاريخي والاجتماعي لهذا الموضوع المهم.</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/Piroz-Perik/arabs-kurds-popular-culture"> عن صورة العرب في الموروث الشفاهي الكردي</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/dellair-youssef/son-of-aisha-sectarianism-syria">هل أنا ابن عائشة العربيّة؟</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/mohammad-dibo/sectarianism-syria-popular-culture">الثقافة الشفوية والهوية في سورية - ملف</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/omar-kaddour/yazid-syria-sectarianism">عندما لا يكون يزيد شريراً أو خيّراً</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/ahmad-khalil/syria-sectarianism">صورة الآخر في الثقافة الشفوية السورية </a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/mohammad-abu-hajar/our-sectarianism-regime"> طائفيتنا التي لم ينتجها النظام</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/Abdullah-Amin-Al-Hallaq/Syria-sectarianism-ismailiya">أنا من السلَمية... لكني لست ممن في هذا المقال</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Syria </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> North-Africa West-Asia North-Africa West-Asia Syria Through Syrian eyes Arabic language مهند الكاطع Mon, 13 Aug 2018 10:50:57 +0000 مهند الكاطع 119243 at https://www.opendemocracy.net حركة الاحتجاجات في العراق تكشف فشل حكومات ما بعد الغزو الأميركي https://www.opendemocracy.net/north-africa-west-asia/zahra-ali-safaa-khalaf/iraq-s-protest-movement-reveals-failure-of-post-2003-arabic <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p class="direction-rtl">بينما تدخل الاحتجاجات العارمة في العراق اسبوعها الرابع, تظهر ضرورة فهم مطالب المحتجين الاساسية اضافة الى الديناميكية الاقتصادية والسياسية التي يكشفون عنها. <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/north-africa-west-asia/zahra-ali-safaa-khalaf/iraq-s-protest-movement-reveals-failure-of-post-2003-r"><strong>English</strong></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class="direction-rtl"><strong class="direction-rtl"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/562712/PA-37769039_0.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/562712/PA-37769039_0.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="307" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Ameer Al Mohammedaw/DPA/PA Images. All rights reserved. </span></span></span>ترجمة </strong><strong class="direction-rtl">نبيل المفرجي</strong></span></p> <p class="western" dir="rtl">كما كان الحال عامي 2011 و 2015، <span><a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2018/07/21/protests-are-mounting-in-iraq-why/?utm_term=.da5490ad0ef4">بدأت الاحتجاجات في محافظة البصرة الغنية بالنفط</a></span>. المحافظة التي تعاني من شح مياه الشرب، انقطاعات مستمرة للتيار الكهربائي و معدل بطالة عالي اضافة الى التلوث والمشاكل الصحية التي ادت لانتشار امراض عديدة كالسرطان.</p> <p class="western" dir="rtl"> بينما ترتفع الحرارة حتى 50 درجة مئوية خلال فصل الصيف في العراق، تنتشر موجة احتجاجات عارمة في المناطق الجنوبية من البلاد، مظهرة تصميمها على الابتعاد عن اي جماعة سياسية او حزبية متكونة في غالبيتها من الشباب، شعاراتها تتعدى المطالبة بتوفير الخدمات الاساسية كالماء والكهرباء. من شعارات كـ "ماكو وطن!" و "كلا كلا للاحزاب!" يبدو جليا سعي المحتجين الى تغيير راديكالي في المشهد السياسي العراقي.</p> <p class="western" dir="rtl"> <strong>نحو حكومة عسكرية؟</strong></p> <p class="western" dir="rtl"> لعل اهم ما يميز الاحتجاجات في العراق هو سياسة القمع التي تتبعها القوات الحكومية والحضور الدائم لعناصر من ميليشيات تعود لاعضاء من النخبة السياسية الحاكمة. كان مقتل المواطن البصري حيدر المالكي صاحب الـ 27 عاما، الاب لثلاث اطفال في صيف 2010، ومنتظر الحلفي صاحب الـ 17 ربيعا، من بلدة في شمال المدينة، سببا في غليان الشارع البصري وخروج مظاهرات عارمة. كلا الضحيتين كانا من العاطلين عن العمل، يطالبون بتوفير الكهرباء والخدمات الرئيسية من خلال مظاهرات سلمية. </p> <p class="western" dir="rtl"> في الثامن من حزيران/يونيو الماضي، تجمع مجموعة من الشباب العاطلين عن العمل حول مكاتب شركات نفط اجنبية في شمال البصرة، مطالبين بحقهم في الحصول على فرص عمل. سرعان ما اندفعت القوات الامنية لقمع المحتجين بالقوة، الامر الذي اودى بحياة سعد المنصوري صاحب الـ 26 عاما، الاب لثلاث اطفال. ادت الحادثة الى غليان الشارع البصري مرة اخرى وتبعتها موجة احتجاجات عارمة انتشرت الى باقي المحافظات الجنوبية. بعد مرور اسبوعين فقط على بدأ الاحتجاجات، اعلن <span><a href="http://rights-iq.org/%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%A8%D9%8A%D8%A7%D9%86%D8%A7%D8%AA/3434-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AD%D9%83%D9%88%D9%85%D8%A9-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%B9%D8%B1%D8%A7%D9%82%D9%8A%D8%A9-%D9%84%D8%A7-%D8%AA%D8%B3%D8%AA%D8%B7%D9%8A%D8%B9-%D9%85%D8%AD%D8%A7%D8%B3%D8%A8%D8%A9-%D9%82%D8%AA%D9%84%D8%A9-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%85%D8%AA%D8%B8%D8%A7%D9%87%D8%B1%D9%8A%D9%86.html">المرصد العراقي لحقوق الانسان</a></span> عن مقتل اكثر من 12 متظاهرا وجرح 600 آخرين على يد قوات الامن العراقية، وتم اعتقال 600 متظاهرا اطلق سراح العديد منهم بعد تعنيفهم وتلقيهم العديد من التهديدات.</p> <p class="western" dir="rtl"> واستنكرت منظمات حقوقية عديدة ومنها <span><a href="https://www.hrw.org/news/2018/07/24/iraq-security-forces-fire-protesters">هيومان رايتس ووتش</a></span> القمع "القاسي" و"الدموي" الذي يمارس على المحتجين، حيث استخدمت <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/11/world/middleeast/iraq-iran-election-enemies.html"><span>الدبابات والعجلات المدرعة في عمليات القمع،</span></a><a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/11/world/middleeast/iraq-iran-election-enemies.html"><span> </span><span>كذلك شاركت قوات مكافحة الارهاب المدربة اميركيا،</span></a> والتي شاركت في عمليات تحرير الموصل في قمع المحتجين. علاوة على ذلك، تم قطع خدمة الانترنت في عموم المحافظات المنتفضة، الامر الذي ادى الى خسائر تقدر بـ 40 مليون دولار في اليوم الواحد.</p> <p class="western" dir="rtl"> رئيس الوزراء العراقي حيدر العبادي تعهد على محاسبة الجناة، بينما وصفت وزارة الداخلية المظاهرات بـ "التخريب الممنهج". ومن خلال قنواتها التلفزيونية وتصريحات صحفية، قامت النخبة السياسية العراقية بوصف المحتجين بالمخربين الذين يتبعون اجندات اجنبية تارة، وبعثيين تارة اخرى، من غير دليل قاطع على صحة تلك الاتهامات. </p> <p class="western" dir="rtl"> النظام الحاكم بالعراق مبني على اساس العسكرة، وهو منتج للعنف السياسي والاجتماعي في البلد. الميليشيات والجماعات المسلحة العديدة مرتبطة بصورة مباشرة بالعديد من السياسيين الطائفيين الفاسدين الذين تسلموا الحكم بعد 2003. تمت اضافة الطابع المؤسساتي للعديد منها بعد المشاركة في القتال ضد تنظيم الدولة الاسلامية، جماعات مثل كتائب بدر التي يقودها هادي العامري والتي تتلقى دعما ايرانيا, عصائب اهل الحق بقيادة قيس الخزعلي، كتائب عاشوراء التابعة لعمار الحكيم، حزب الله و ميليشيا مقتدى الصدر، جميعها تم تطبيعها بعد المشاركة في الانتخابات النيابية في مايو الماضي.</p> <p class="western" dir="rtl"> العديد من قادة الميليشيات والجماعات المسلحة هم نوابا في مجلس النواب العراقي، <a href="https://en.qantara.de/content/murder-and-kidnapping-in-iraq-an-inexorable-tide"><span>رغم تهديد</span></a><a href="https://en.qantara.de/content/murder-and-kidnapping-in-iraq-an-inexorable-tide"><span>، </span><span>خطف واعتقال العديد من الناشطين المدنيين وضلوعهم في اعمال عنف في الموصل ومناطق اخرى من العراق</span></a>. بعض هذه الميليشيات كان لها دور ايضا في الحرب في سوريا الى جانب النظام السوري الحاكم.</p> <p class="western" dir="rtl"> في حين تتواجد اكثر من 100 ميليشيا في العراق حاليا، بدل تقوية الطبيعة المدنية للدولة ومنع عسكرة المجتمع، قامت الحكومة العراقية بتوفير رواتب لـ 122000 عنصر امني في ميزانية 2018، بينما اوقفت بالمقابل التعيينات في الوزارات والدوائر الحكومية بحجة النقص في الموارد.</p> <p class="western" dir="rtl"> <strong>بماذا تتميز الاحتجاجات الحالية؟</strong></p> <p class="western" dir="rtl"> تختلف الاحتجاجات الحالية عن سابقاتها بكونها مقادة من مواطنين لا ينتمون لاي منظمة مدنية او جماعة سياسية. كما لم تنتشر لتصل المحافظات السنية، التي دمرت نتيجة لصراعات مسلحة عديدة منذ عام 2003 وصولا الى تحرير مدينة الموصل قبل عام من الآن. ملايين من سكان تلك المحافظات مازالوا يعيشون ظروفا قاسية في مخيمات اللجوء، تحت وطأة الخوف المستمر من ان يتم وصمهم كأرهابيين او اتهامهم بالانتماء لتنظيم الدولة الاسلامية. لم تصل الاحتجاجات المحافظات الشمالية كذلك، رغم الازمة الاقتصادية التي يشهدها اقليم كردستان العراق.</p> <p class="western" dir="rtl"> <strong>الانتخابات</strong><strong>: </strong><strong>واجهة تخفي خلفها نظام فاشل</strong></p> <p class="western" dir="rtl"> منذ 2003، وصل تقسيم النظام السياسي في العراق الى مراحل جديدة: انقسامات طائفية، خصخصة في صالح قادة النخبة السياسية والجماعات التي ينتمون اليها، تركيز عائدات النفط نحو جيوب النخبة الفاسدة، كل هذا على حساب المجتمع العراقي و المواطن البسيط.</p> <p class="western" dir="rtl"> نسبة المشاركة في الانتخابت النيايبة تبدو اقل مما اعلن رسميا، 44,5% نتيجة حركة المقاطعة التي قادها العديد من الشباب الذين شاركوا في احتجاجات 2015. رغم ذلك، كشفت النتائج الاداء السيء للاسماء التقليدية في المشهد السياسي منذ 2003، بما في ذلك شخصيات تعتبر علمانية او غير منحازة طائفيا.</p> <p class="western" dir="rtl"> عدة عوامل يمكنها ان تفسر التضخم العام للسكان والانحدار للنخبة السياسية. وصل الدين الداخلي والخارجي الى 45 مليار دولار مع احتياطي عملة تحت 50 مليار دولار وتضخم شهري قدره 2%. وصل معدل الفقر الى 30%، ومعدل البطالة يقدر ب 59% من القوة العملة (31% من الوظائف المؤقتة و 43% من الوظائف طويلة الامد) خصوصا بين النساء والفئة الشابة. هذا بينما ينتج العراق 4.4 برميل نفط يوميا بسعر 40 دولار للبرميل الواحد في النصف الاول من 2018.</p> <p class="western" dir="rtl"> تنتج البصرة وحدها 3 ملايين برميل نفط يوميا، وسكانها البالغ عددهم 3 ملايين يشكون من تدهور الخدمات، ملوحة المياه، العديد من الامراض الخطيرة، التلوث الناجم عن آبار النفط وانتشار جميع انواع المخدرات في المحافظة. في محاولة لاحتواء الغضب الشعبي في المحافظة، قام مجلس محافظة البصرة بالتصويت على الحصول على حكم ذاتي، كما يحتج المجلس عن منع توفير حصة تقدر ب5 دولارات عن برميل النفط الواحد تخصص لتوفير الخدمات وتطوير البنية التحتية للمحافظة.</p> <p class="western" dir="rtl"> <strong>تواطئ الاميركيين والمجتمع الدولي</strong></p> <p class="western" dir="rtl"> وبينما تتلقى الاحتجاجات <span><a href="http://iraqitransnationalcollective.org/en/2018/07/28/we-stand-in-solidarity-with-the-resilient-people-of-iraq/">الدعم من المجتمعات العراقية في بلدان المهجر</a></span>، تقف الادارة الاميركية مكتوفة الايدي تجاه مايجري، رغم انها مولت القوات المسلحة العراقية التي تستخدم الرصاص الحي في قمعها للمحتجين، الا ان سفارتها في العراق اعلنت دعمها لرئيس الوزراء العراقي لـ"حفاظه على سلامة المحتجين".</p> <p class="western" dir="rtl"> ان تقسيم النظام السياسي العراقي وفق الانتمائات الاثنية، والدينية والمذهبية، الذي وضعته الولايات المتحدة الاميركية في 2003 اثار موجة من العنف سرعان ما اجتاحت البلد. العسكرة المفرطة للجماعات المسلحة في العراق خلال السنوات القليلة الماضية، مبررة بالحرب ضد تنظيم الدولة الاسلامية، هيمنت على المشهد السياسي وحتى انها وصلت الى مراحل دراماتيكية. هذا في ظل استمرار الدعم العسكري من الولايات المتحدة الاميركية والمجتمع الدولي، بدل حث الحكومة العراقية على استخدام واردات النفط لتوفير الخدمات الاساسية للشعب وتطوير البنية التحتية للبلد.</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/zahra-ali-safaa-khalaf/iraq-s-protest-movement-reveals-failure-of-post-2003-r">Iraq’s protest movement reveals the failure of the post-2003 regime</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Iraq </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> North-Africa West-Asia North-Africa West-Asia Iraq Arabic language صفاء خلف زهراء علي Mon, 13 Aug 2018 10:12:21 +0000 زهراء علي and صفاء خلف 119240 at https://www.opendemocracy.net لن أبكي ضياع حقيبتي بعد اليوم https://www.opendemocracy.net/node/119198 <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p dir="rtl">أنت هنا على عين المكان، قد تكون مهندساً زراعياً أو عازفاً أو أستاذاً للغة العربية، كل هذا ليس مهماً، المهم أن تنقل حقيقة كل ما يحدث إلى العالم</p> </div> </div> </div> <p dir="rtl"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/563417/PA-24198459.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/563417/PA-24198459.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="304" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Swen Pförtner/DPA/PA Images. All rights reserved.</span></span></span></p><p dir="rtl">قادمة من تونس إلى إسطنبول، وفي مطار أتاتورك لم أجد حقيبتي، لم أعرف حينها كيف أتمالك أعصابي ولا أكبح توتري الذي ملأ أرجاء المطار.. فقدت تركيزي.. واسودت الدنيا أمام عينيّ.</p><p dir="rtl">كيف ذلك؟ حقيبتي التي حرصت على انتقاء كل ما فيها من ملابس بعناية فائقة، حملت فيها أجمل ما لديّ للمشاركة في دورة تدريبية في الصحافة مع قناتين تلفزيونيتين لمدة عشرة أيام.</p><p dir="rtl">تصوير وحضور أمام الكاميرا، واجتماعات مهمة تحتاج كل ما أملك من ملابس. وفجأة أصبحت أمام كل ذلك وفي مدينة غير مدينتي وفي بلد لا يحمل لغتي لا أجد شيء أرتديه، ولو جورباً واحداً. ولحسن الحظ أو لسوئه، يتصادف وصولي إلى إسطنبول ليلة ميلادي. لم تفارق عيناي تلك الساعة الحائطية الموضوعة قبالة سجاد الحقائب المتحرّك، أتابع دوران عقاربها ثانية بثانية، إلى أن انتصف الليل.</p><p dir="rtl">&nbsp;إنّه السادس عشر من يوليو/تموز 2018، دخلت عامي الرابع والعشرين تائهة في المطار، بلا حقيبة، لا أحمل شيئاً غير جواز سفري، سُلّمت كل الحقائب إلى أصحابها، غادر المسافرون جميعاً وعادت الطائرة إلى تونس وسقطت جميع أمنيات ميلادي، وصارت كلها أمنية واحدة: أن أجد حقيبتي.</p><p dir="rtl">خرجت من المطار بعد منتصف الليل بنصف ساعة، بخطى متثاقلة أبحث عمّن يحمل إسمي بين المستقبلين، زاد توتري من نقص تركيزي. ارتديت نظارتي أمعن النظر في وجوه كل الواقفين من حولي، إلى أن لمحت شاباً أنهكه تأخيري، بالكاد يحمل اللافتة التي كتب عليها اسمي بحروف لاتينية.</p><p dir="rtl">&nbsp;يا للمسكين، ظل ينتظرني لأكثر من ثلاث ساعات، قد أكون حرمته من وجبة عشاء مع زوجته، أو من حضن دافئ ينتظره، أو من كأس نبيذ مع الرفاق، المهم أنّي حرمته من شيء ما، فقط في سبيل شخص لا يعرفه ولا يعني له شيئاً.</p><p class="mag-quote-right" dir="rtl">وصلت إلى الفندق، أرسلت إيميلاً إلى الفريق الذي سأتدرب معه: "وصلت أنا ولم تصل الحقيبة" ثمّ نمت.</p><p dir="rtl">حيّاني وقادني إلى حيث يركن السيارة وسألني إن كنت أحمل حقائب معي. اغرورقت عيناي بالدموع وأعلمته أن حقيبتي لم تُشحن وأنها بقيت في مطار تونس قرطاج. ظلّ طوال الطريق يهدئ من توتري ويخبرني أن ذلك ليس إلا أمراً بسيطاً، وأن في هذه الدنيا مشاكل ومصائب وابتلاءات أكثر بكثير من ضياع حقيبتي.</p><p dir="rtl">بقيت صامتة أمام كل ما يقول كمن يسمع ولا يستمع. أردت حينها فقط أن أجيبه بكل ما يحمل هذا العالم من أنانية، أنّ كل المصائب التي تتحدث عنها لا تهمّني الآن، وأنّ حقيبتي هي أولوية، ولو انفجر العالم ولم يبق منه شيئاً، سأظل أطالب بحقيبتي ولو في خرابه الأخير.</p><p dir="rtl">وصلت إلى الفندق، أرسلت إيميلاً إلى الفريق الذي سأتدرب معه: "وصلت أنا ولم تصل الحقيبة" ثمّ نمت.</p><p dir="rtl"><strong>ومن هنا تبدأ القصة</strong></p><p dir="rtl">لم تكن ليلتي جيدة، كان النوم فيها متقطعاً، صحوت باكراً، بدأت يوماً جديداً بملابس الأمس. قابلت زملائي الصحفيين المتدربين معي، واساني جميعهم في فقدان حقيبتي وقبلت أنا عزاءها.</p><p dir="rtl">كنا ستة عشر متدرباً، جلّهم سوريون، إلا أنا ومغربياً واحداً وأردنياً، الكل قادم من مناطق الحرب فارٌ من أزيز الرصاص، لم تكن الهجرة خيارهم كما الصحافة أيضاً.</p><p dir="rtl">تحدث كل منهم عن شهور طويلة قضاها في المعتقلات، هذا سجين النظام، وذلك سجين جبهة النصرة، وآخر يتحدث عن أساليب التعذيب في سجون تنظيم الدولة.</p><p dir="rtl">حدثّوني عن "بيت الكلاب" الذي يضع فيه السجّانون معتقليهم لمدة عشرة أيام أو أكثر، وعما يعرف بالتابوت حيث يغلقون على المعتقل ويشدّون على كل أعضاء جسده بشيء حديدي كأحد أسوأ أساليب التعذيب وأعسرها، وعن غرف لا تتّسع لأربعة أنفار في حين يمكث بها العشرات فوق بعضهم البعض.</p><p dir="rtl">لا أكل ولا ماء ولا نوم. لا شيء في زنزانات الموت إلا الموت.</p><p dir="rtl">&nbsp;يتحدّثون عن الحرب حيناً وعن الصحافة حيناً آخر.</p><p dir="rtl">&nbsp;"أنت هنا على عين المكان، قد تكون مهندساً زراعياً أو عازفاً أو أستاذاً للغة العربية، كل هذا ليس مهماً، المهم أن تنقل حقيقة كل ما يحدث إلى العالم".</p><p dir="rtl">رأيت في أعينهم قوة وتشبثاً بالحياة وهم يتحدّثون عن صدف أدخلتهم هذا العالم، قد تكون صدفاً سيئة إلا أنها جعلت منهم في نهاية المطاف صحفيين.</p><p dir="rtl">قاطعنا عن كل هذا فنجان القهوة السورية الذي دخل به أبو عمر إلى القاعة. اشرأبت الأعناق نحوه، الكل مدّ يده إلى فنجان وُضع قبالته، ساد الصمت، هدأ الجميع وعدنا مجدداً إلى الدرس.</p><p dir="rtl">لقد هزم فنجان القهوة السورية أحاديث السجون.</p><p class="mag-quote-center" dir="rtl">لقد هزم فنجان القهوة السورية أحاديث السجون.</p><p dir="rtl"><strong>&nbsp;ليلة استقبال الحقيبة</strong></p><p dir="rtl">أنهيتُ يومي الأوّل من التدريب، عدت إلى الفندق، أخذت حمّاماً ساخناً وارتديت ملابساً اشتريتها من متجر قريب، الليلة تأتي حقيبتي على متن الخطوط الجويّة التونسية، عند الساعة التاسعة والنصف ليلاً.</p><p dir="rtl">رنّ الهاتف، وإذا به السائق يخبرني أنّه أمام الفندق.</p><p dir="rtl">كان معنا في الطريق إلى المطار زميلاً سورياً، قابلته صباحاً في القناة لكننا لم نتحدّث، عرفّني عن نفسه، فقلت "أميرة مراسلة من تونس، واليوم عيد ميلادي وقد أضعت حقيبتي".</p><p dir="rtl">ضحك كثيراً قائلاً: "سيكون يوم ميلادك مختلفاً هذه السنة".</p><p dir="rtl">أبى حينها أن يتركني بمفردي في المطار، كان يتحدّث اللغة التركية بطلاقة، تركته يسأل عن موعد وصول الطائرة، أعلمونا أنها ستتأخر ساعتين. فرصة لتناول عشاء سوريّ إذن. تحدثّنا أثناء العشاء عن وضعه الجيّد جداً في إسطنبول، عن استقراره المادي، عن سيّارته الفارهة، عن الأتراك الذين يحبون المساعدة، وعن أوراقه التي في طورها نحو التجنيس.</p><p dir="rtl">كل ذلك، لم يمنعه من أن ينهى كلامه: "بسّ بلدي أحلى".</p><p dir="rtl">حدثني عن ياسمين الشام الذّي لا يموت ولو تركته سنتين بلا ماء، وعن أغصانه التي تطول وتمتد على الجدران عالياً، وأنّه لا شيء يجعله يفكر حقاً في العودة إلى سوريا سوى أمّه التي حالت الحرب بينها وبينه سبع سنوات طوال وذلك الياسمين.</p><p dir="rtl">انتهى يوم ميلادي، واستلمت الحقيبة، ومرت الأيام العشر مع سوريين من كل رقعة جغرافية، من مختلف المناطق والطوائف، هنا وعلى أراضٍ تركية التقوا وتقاسموا الآلام والأحلام، الغربة التي جمعتهم ذاتها التّي فرّقت بينهم وبين أحبة تركوهم أو دفنوهم وهاجروا، يقولون إنّهم عائدون يوماً، ولو لم يبق في سوريا غير حفنة تراب وذلك الياسمين.</p><p dir="rtl">عذراً أيها السوريون .. تهون كل الأحزان أمام أحزانكم.</p><p dir="rtl">ولن أبكي ضياع حقيبتي بعد اليوم.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Civil society </div> <div class="field-item even"> Conflict </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> Middle East Forum North-Africa West-Asia Civil society Conflict أميرة مهذب Fri, 10 Aug 2018 08:46:10 +0000 أميرة مهذب 119198 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Iraq’s protest movement reveals the failure of the post-2003 regime https://www.opendemocracy.net/north-africa-west-asia/zahra-ali-safaa-khalaf/iraq-s-protest-movement-reveals-failure-of-post-2003-r <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>While Iraq is experiencing its fourth week of mass protests, it is essential to understand not only their direct causes but also the economic and political dynamics they reveal. <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/north-africa-west-asia/zahra-ali-safaa-khalaf/iraq-s-protest-movement-reveals-failure-of-post-2003-arabic"><strong>العربية</strong></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/562712/PA-37769039.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/562712/PA-37769039.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="307" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>People protest against unemployment and grievances in public administration in Iraq. Picture by Ameer Al Mohammedaw/DPA/PA Images. All rights reserved. </span></span></span>As was the case in 2015 and 2011, <span><a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2018/07/21/protests-are-mounting-in-iraq-why/?utm_term=.d18ad1cb229c">this movement of protest </a><a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2018/07/21/protests-are-mounting-in-iraq-why/?utm_term=.d18ad1cb229c">started in</a> the oil-rich province of Basra</span>. This province suffers from a shortage of drinking water and electricity, high unemployment in addition to pollution, sanitary and health crisis that cause a proliferation of cancers. </p><p class="western"> As the summer heat is reaching 125°F/50°C, the spontaneous movement of protest spreading in the Shi‘a south is showing its determination to stay away from formal political groups and any centralized organization. Composed predominantly of young men, its slogans are clear and go beyond the call for functioning state services. From sentences such as “there is no homeland!” to the slogan “No, no, no to parties&nbsp;!”, protestors call for radical political change.</p> <h3 class="western"> <strong>Towards a military regime? </strong> </h3> <p class="western"> An essential feature of the protest movement is its violent repression by the Iraqi security forces and its attendant armed groups and militias led by members of the Iraqi political elite. 27 year old father of 3 children, Hayder al-Maliki was killed in June 2010 in Basra city center. Muntather al-Hilfi, 17 years old was killed in a township, north of Basra. Both were unemployed and peacefully demonstrating for electricity and state services when they were killed by Iraqi security forces. Their deaths pushed the local population to take to the streets and led to the spread of massive protests across the country. </p> <p class="western"> On July 8th, a group of young unemployed men gathered around the offices of foreign oil companies in the north of Basra to obtain their right to be employed. The Iraqi security forces violently repressed the demonstration killing Saad Al-Mansuri, a 26 year old father of 3. This mobilized the local population to take to the streets again and the demonstrations soon spread to other major cities in the south. In the first two weeks of protests according the <span><a href="http://rights-iq.org/%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%A8%D9%8A%D8%A7%D9%86%D8%A7%D8%AA/3434-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AD%D9%83%D9%88%D9%85%D8%A9-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%B9%D8%B1%D8%A7%D9%82%D9%8A%D8%A9-%D9%84%D8%A7-%D8%AA%D8%B3%D8%AA%D8%B7%D9%8A%D8%B9-%D9%85%D8%AD%D8%A7%D8%B3%D8%A8%D8%A9-%D9%82%D8%AA%D9%84%D8%A9-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%85%D8%AA%D8%B8%D8%A7%D9%87%D8%B1%D9%8A%D9%86.html">Iraqi Observatory of Human Rights</a></span> more than a dozen protesters have been killed at the hands of the security forces and various armed groups, more than 600 wounded and 600 have been arrested, many released after being brutalized and threatened.</p> <p class="western"> The harsh and bloody repression of peaceful demonstrations has been denounced by organizations such as <span><a href="https://www.hrw.org/news/2018/07/24/iraq-security-forces-fire-protesters">Human Rights Watch</a></span>. Tanks and armored vehicles have been used in the repression, so have<span><a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/11/world/middleeast/iraq-iran-election-enemies.html">American trained anti-terrorism forces that were involved in Mosul, a</a><a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/11/world/middleeast/iraq-iran-election-enemies.html">s well as</a> national police</span>. For more than 10 days, the government cut the internet and telecommunication causing a loss of more than 40 million dollars a day.</p> <p class="western"> Prime minister Haider al-Abadi promised to judge the perpetrators while the Interior Ministry described the protests as “serial sabotage”. Through their media channels and statements, the Iraqi political elite is depicting the protesters as “saboteurs” led by “foreign agents” or Baath affiliates without any proof for these accusations. </p> <p class="western"> The Iraqi regime is structured by militarization and is a producer of political and social violence. The various armed groups and militias are deeply connected to the sectarian and corrupt political elite that came to power in 2003. Some of them have been institutionalized after their involvement in the war against the Islamist State in Mosul. Groups such as Hadi al-Ameri’s Iran-backed al-Badr brigades, Qais al-Khazali’s Rightous League, Ammar al-Hakim’s Ashura Brigades, Kataeb Hezbollah or Moqtada al-Sadr’s militia, were further normalised through their participation in the general parliamentary elections in May. Leaders of paramilitary forces and militias are now members of the parliament despite being responsible for <span><a href="https://en.qantara.de/content/murder-and-kidnapping-in-iraq-an-inexorable-tide">the threatening, kidnapping and killing of civil society activists and many human rights violations in Mosul and elsewhere in Iraq</a></span>. Some of these groups have also fought alongside the regime in Syria taking part in the ongoing war in the neighboring country. </p> <p class="western"> While there is now around one hundred different militias, instead of strengthening the civilian nature of the state and preventing the society’s militarization, the Iraqi government has allocated a stipend to 122 000 armed individuals in its 2018 budget while announcing a halt on government employment citing shortage of resources. </p> <h3 class="western"> <strong>What’s new in these protests?</strong></h3> <p class="western"> This time, protests in the Shi‘a south have not been echoed in the Sunni provinces, many of which have been destroyed in the course of the numerous battles that took place since 2003 until the more recent war against the Islamic State in Mosul. Millions of inhabitants, living in camps or in terrible conditions, fear the stigmatization of being associated with “terrorism” or seen as members of the Islamic State. The protest movement did not reach Iraqi Kurdistan either, despite the economic crisis in which it is plunged. </p> <p class="western"> What distinguished this wave of protest from the one in 2015 is that it is led by ordinary citizens and not by any organized civil society or political group. This lack of a centralized organization made its repression easier for the security forces. In 2015 the protest movement composed of organized civil society groups, part of the Iraqi left and Moqtada al-Sadr’s supporters broke into Baghdad’s Green Zone – the cordoned off and fortified zone of the capital where state institutions are located - and entered the office of the head of the government and the Iraqi parliament , the authorities did not use force against them.</p> <h3 class="western"> <strong>Elections: a façade hiding a failed regime</strong></h3> <p class="western"> Since 2003, the fragmentation of the political system has reached new heights: sectarian divisions , privatization for the benefit of political leaders and their base, concentration of oil resources in the hands of a corrupt elite, all at the expense of the Iraqi population and ordinary citizens.</p> <p class="western"> The participation rate in the elections appears to be even lower than the officially announced 44,5% given the strength of the boycott movement stemming from many of the youth who participated in the 2015 protest movement. Even if taken seriously, the results reveal the bad performance of traditional figures of the Iraqi political life since 2003, including figures who are considered “secular” or non-sectarian. </p> <p class="western"> Numerous factors can explain the general exacerbation of the population and the decline of the political elite. The amount of internal and external debt has reached 45 billion dollars and the hindsight of currency reserves is below 50 billion dollars with a 2% monthly inflation. The poverty rate reached 30%, unemployment is estimated at 59% of the labor force (31% of precarious employment and 43% of long-time unemployment) especially among women and youth. This is while Iraq produces 4,4 million barrels of oil daily for a price of 40 billion dollars in the first half of 2018.</p> <p class="western"> Basra alone produces 3 million barrels of oil a day, and its 3 million inhabitants are facing a harsh deterioration of state services, a worrying salination of the water, terrifying diseases related to oil pollution and the spread of all sorts of dangerous drugs and narcotics. As an act of protest and in an attempt to contain popular anger, the Basra provincial council recently voted its autonomy from the central government. The council is also protesting against the blocking of the legal quota of $5 per barrel of oil that should be provided to the province to enable it to build its infrastructures and services.</p> <h3 class="western"> <strong>American and international complicity<br /></strong></h3><p class="western"> While the movement of protest is receiving support from <span><a href="http://iraqitransnationalcollective.org/en/2018/07/28/we-stand-in-solidarity-with-the-resilient-people-of-iraq/">Iraqi communities outside the country</a></span>, the US administration is passive despite having funded and trained the Iraqi forces that are using live ammunition against demonstrators. Its embassy in Iraq expressed its support to the Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi for its “protection of the demonstrators”. </p> <p class="western"> The fragmentation of the Iraqi political system along communal belonging -ethnic, sectarian, religious lines- institutionalized by the US administration in 2003 provoked a state of generalized violence in the country. In the past few years, the hypermilitarization of the military groups dominating the Iraqi political life, justified in the context of the struggle against the Islamist State, has reached a dramatic level. The US administration and the international community are arming the Iraqi state instead of pressuring it to use its oil resources to enhance its basic services and infrastructures.</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/zeidon-alkinani/outcomes-of-iraq-s-2018-elections">The outcomes of Iraq’s 2018 elections </a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/shatha-al-juburi/how-2003-us-led-invasion-changed-iraq-forever">How the 2003 US-led invasion changed Iraq forever</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/darius-kamali/iraq-and-syria-of-memory-and-maps">Iraq and Syria: of memory and maps</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/mieczys-aw-p-boduszy-ski-christopher-k-lamont/challenges-of-building-shared-i">The challenges of building a shared Iraqi identity</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Iraq </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Civil society </div> <div class="field-item even"> Democracy and government </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> North-Africa West-Asia North-Africa West-Asia Iraq Civil society Democracy and government sectarianism protest Safaa Khalaf Zahra Ali Wed, 08 Aug 2018 09:11:31 +0000 Zahra Ali and Safaa Khalaf 119180 at https://www.opendemocracy.net The image of Arabs in Kurdish oral heritage https://www.opendemocracy.net/north-africa-west-asia/piroz-perik/image-of-arabs-in-kurdish-oral-heritage <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Jazira’s Kurds have a rich oral heritage targeting their Arab neighbours. <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/north-africa-west-asia/Piroz-Perik/arabs-kurds-popular-culture"><strong>العربية</strong></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <p class="western" lang="en-GB"> <strong><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/562712/ وعرب copy_0.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/562712/ وعرب copy_0.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="259" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>This illustration by Comics4Syria for SyriaUntold is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (Comics4Syria/SyriaUntold)</span></span></span>Translated by Pascale Menassa </strong></p><p><strong> </strong></p><p class="western" lang="en-GB"><strong> <em>This article forms part of a special series focused on&nbsp;Oral Culture and Identity in Syria. It is the outcome of an ongoing partnership between&nbsp;</em><a href="http://www.syriauntold.com/"><em>SyriaUntold</em></a><em>&nbsp;and&nbsp;</em><a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/north-africa-west-asia">openDemocracy’s North Africa West Asia&nbsp;</a><em>in a bid to untangle the roots of sectarian, ethnic and other divides in Syria.</em></strong></p> <p class="western" lang="en-GB"> Blurb: Some Kurdish stories about Arabs and other Arab stories about Kurds are harsh and hateful. Often, the content of this oral culture passed from one generation to the next is not a completely faithful reflection of reality.</p> <p class="western" lang="en-GB"> (Qamishli) Kurds and Arabs in the Jazira region have had good neighbourly ties for most of history. It may come as a surprise that tribal alliances mixing Arabic and Kurds were formed and fought against similarly composed composition depending on interests and local power struggles. But living in close proximity and under similar circumstances did not prevent the formation of stereotypes. On the contrary, there is a rich oral dictionary of terms, tales and proverbs ingraining stereotypical notions that has lasted for generations. </p> <p class="western" lang="en-GB"> In Syria’s Jazeera region, Arabs and Kurds differ culturally, in terms of how they made a living and social traditions. Kurds made a quicker shift from nomad to urban life, while Arabs took longer to make that shift. Kurds became more developed in agriculture and raising cows and poultry, while Arabs herded cattle. Even now, Kurdish villages tend to be greener than that of Arabs While Kurds had a cultural elite of clerics and mullahs, Arabs did not, and they would resort to Kurdish clerics and mullahs in religious and legal matters. The new generation of Kurds tends to limit births to a certain number per person, while Arabs have more children. All these differences between Arabs and Kurds resulted in different ways of living and thinking, manifesting themselves in the oral heritage of both communities. </p> <h3 class="western" lang="en-GB"> <strong>The Arabs in Kurdish insults and proverbs</strong></h3> <p class="western" lang="en-GB"> Jazira’s Kurds have a rich oral heritage targeting their Arab neighbours. For starters, they refer to the Arabs as <em>Shawaya </em>[semi-sedentary tribes], which is usually considered a degrading term as it implies naivety and simplicity. <em>Shawayas</em> are Bedouins who recently settled down and became civilized, unlike the Arabs who have lived for centuries in major commercial cities like Damascus and Aleppo. Some Bedouin Arabs take pride in this label, although city dwellers use it to mock them, just like Upper Egypt citizens are joked about in Egypt. This oral heritage falls under the name-calling or insults, the use of mostly negative terms that seek to instil superiority and highlight the ignorance of “uncivilized” others.</p> <p class="western" lang="en-GB"> Some Kurdish stories about Arabs and other Arab stories about Kurds are harsh and hateful. Often, the content of this oral culture passed from one generation to the next is not a completely faithful reflection of reality. Some stories, especially proverbs, may have entered the popular heritage dictionary under specific circumstances, or due to a particular incident. They reflect a specific experience and have nothing to do with the resulting stereotype that becomes permanently adopted by the other community. Just as frequently, the opposite may be true, the stereotype is built with negative and discriminatory intent, relegating a group to a position of inferiority and stigmatizing its modus vivendi. Shocking nicknames are deployed to mock a group’s way of thinking, the problem-solving techniques they apply to life, and even appearance.</p> <p class="western" lang="en-GB"> The most common insults and expressions draw on the legacy of deep-rooted tribal tensions in the region known as east of the Euphrates. When a Kurdish child cries or feels pain due to sickness or injury, his mother tries to appease him and adds to the regular cuddling expressions a strange one that says, “May fire break out in the tents of Arabs.” Here, the mother is blaming the Arab community for her child’s tears and retaliates by cursing them verbally. The adage reflects a Kurdish irritability towards Arab tents in the region that has endured over generations. That sentiment dates back to that era when the child’s ancestors came into conflict with the Bedouins over land, water and pastures. </p> <p class="western" lang="en-GB"> Most of the time, the expressions are just said randomly and might have lost their real implication. But they show how clearly negative stereotypes about Bedouin Arabs or <em>Shawaya </em>have endured in the mind of the Kurds. The negative image remains carved in people’s minds and is repeated in the spoken language – in this case Kurmanji, a Kurdish dialect mostly spoken in Syria and Turkey. [Syria’s Kurds also generally speak Arabic, except for the elderly who did not get the chance to mix with Arabs or study in schools following Arabic curricula imposed by successive Arab governments.] This oral heritage is drenched in the desire to offend and undermine the other. </p> <p class="western" lang="en-GB"> “Don’t say hello to an Arab, they will sit on your Abaya [traditional attire consisting of a loose-fitting overgarment],” is another proverb commonly used by Jazira’s Kurds to typecast Arabs. The expression basically means “Beware of Arabs as they don’t know their limits.” It alludes to Arabs being nosey people, who meddle in the affairs of others and exploit their generosity. The saying is not used exclusively to describe Arabs. It can also be used by a Kurd to describe a fellow Kurd who is a gossip.&nbsp; </p><p class="western" lang="en-GB"> Kurds also use the expression “Arab Bazaar” to mean a hasty Arab deal that does not have clearly defined standards. Syrians also call this type of bargaining “kotra,” like when a client asks a grocer to sell him what is left in the tomato crate at a lowered price without weighing the product or calculating. This example reinforces the image of the Bedouin as someone who does not have a sense of accuracy in his transactions and resorts to simple innate sale and purchase operations. Ironically, Kurds will have what they call an “Arab Bath” which means washing the head and neck only without showering the whole body. This expression insinuates that Bedouins or <em>Shawaya </em>– who did not settle in villages and towns until the mid-20th century – do not take prioritize hygiene and just wash quickly, given their nomadic lifestyle. </p> <p class="western" lang="en-GB"> To refer to a “gluttonous” or “avid” person, Kurds use another saying that goes, “Like an Arab who spotted soft cheese”. The expression also points to the poverty of Bedouin cuisine and the <em>Shawaya’</em>s appetite for unusual foods. Manifest in this proverb is the superiority complex of Kurds, who feel they have led a civilized existence, relative to Arabs who followed a nomadic and simplistic life.</p> <p class="western" lang="en-GB"> Past generations of Kurds called children who were born with dark skin “Arab” or “Arabo” while Arabs called their white-skinned children “Kurdi”. Giving newborn Kurds Arab names became restricted as of the early 1970s in Syria, and even Arab religious names were no longer common. Kurds at that time were reaffirming their national distinction and rejected any intellectual affiliation with the Arab culture. But Kurdish tribes would still call their children Arab names that scream Bedouin, exchanged visits and meals with their Arab neighbors, and in many instances marriages between Kurds and Arabs occurred. </p> <h3 class="western" lang="en-GB"> <strong>Arabs in Kurdish music and dance </strong> </h3> <p class="western" lang="en-GB"> Kurds have always taken great pride in their musical heritage, their skill playing traditional musical instruments such as the <em>tunbur </em>[long-necked string instrument similar to the mandolin] and performing different types of Kurdish<em> dabke</em> [festive folk dance combining circle dancing with line dancing]. They often incorporate Arab <em>dabke</em> in their wedding celebrations, and share this dance with Arab guests, all the while mocking Arab weddings for having one kind of <em>dabke.</em> They sarcastically call this <em>dabke</em> “Dahdah”. Dahdah is an Arabic word that means a short and chubby person, and the aim here is to mock Arabs’ dance moves. An old Kurdish saying expresses shock towards Arabs playing the <em>tunbur</em>: “What do Arabs have to do with the t<em>unbur</em>?” </p> <p class="western" lang="en-GB"> Despite the above, oral Kurdish heritage also includes the occasional praise for Arabs who live with Kurds in the same environment. As the saying goes, “O good Arab, you are better than a brother and father.”</p> <p class="western" lang="en-GB"> Kurdish tribesmen also prided themselves on wearing the <em>jellabiya </em>[traditional long garment] and the <em>agal </em>[black cord worn on the head by Arab men] and would describe eminent and elegant figures as resembling Arab or Shammar sheikhs [tribal leaders; the Shammar are an influential Arab tribe expanding to Iraq, Jordan and Syria. It has a strong history of cooperation with Kurds.]</p> <p class="western" lang="en-GB"> The epic songs, melodic poetry and old Kurdish <em>mawawil </em>[traditional genre of vocal music] constitute the most remarkable form of oral Kurdish heritage. They all include flirtatious references to tall Arab girls sporting black-lined eyes. The Kurdish folklore singer Shakro, who is based in Turkey, has the most beautiful and varied voice. His songs pay tribute to the beauty and attractiveness of the “Araba” [Arab female]. Arab tents made of goat fur are mentioned multiple times in those songs that have accompanied Kurds on their journeys. Similarly, Arab cities and people are mentioned in this type of oral heritage.</p> <p class="western" lang="en-GB"> The Arab poet Hatim al-Tai of the Jahiliyya era [Arabia before the advent of Islam] and other famous Arab figures are an important part of Kurdish tales. The writings of Kurdish poet Ahmadi Khani [1650-1707], in what seems like the first clear invitation to Kurdish nationalism, compares the generosity of Kurdish princes to that of Tai. </p> <p class="western" lang="en-GB"> The oral heritage of adjacent communities requires an accurate mechanism of documentation and data collection. No author can summarize decades and centuries of stories in a single paper or article. Arabs in the region have all had something negative and positive to say about Kurds. The documentation of these oral traditions must be accurate and daring. The past must be written down, even the oral part of it, by encouraging documentation. In particular, we should resort to voice recording for old people, who are the keepers of this this rich legacy. They are the ones most familiar with proverbs and tales that reflect the perspective of different communities towards each other across generations.</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/dellair-youssef/am-i-son-of-arab-aisha-jokes-in-mixed-household">Am I the son of the Arab Aisha? Jokes in a mixed household</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/mohammad-dibo/oral-culture-and-identity-in-syria-dossier">Oral culture and identity in Syria - Dossier</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/omar-kaddour/when-name-yazid-is-neither-good-nor-bad">When the name Yazid is neither good nor bad</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/ahmed-khalil/other-and-oral-sectarian-culture-in-syria">The “other” and oral sectarian culture in Syria</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/mohammad-dibo/from-this-onion-is-sunni-to-nice-sunnis-like-us">From “this onion is Sunni” to “nice Sunnis like us”</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/mohammad-abu-hajar/our-sectarianism-not-just-regime-s-creation">Our Sectarianism – not just the regime’s creation</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/abdullah-amin-al-hallaq/i-am-from-salamiya-but-none-of-this-applies-to-me">I am from Salamiya but none of this applies to me</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Syria </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Civil society </div> <div class="field-item even"> Conflict </div> <div class="field-item odd"> Culture </div> <div class="field-item even"> Democracy and government </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> North-Africa West-Asia North-Africa West-Asia Syria Civil society Conflict Culture Democracy and government Piroz Perik Fri, 03 Aug 2018 04:43:21 +0000 Piroz Perik 119113 at https://www.opendemocracy.net عن صورة العرب في الموروث الشفاهي الكردي https://www.opendemocracy.net/north-africa-west-asia/Piroz-Perik/arabs-kurds-popular-culture <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p class="western" dir="rtl" lang="en-GB"> التجاور الجغرافي ووحدة الحال بين العرب والكرد لم تحل دون تشكّل صور نمطية وقاموس لفظي وقصص وأمثال ومحكيات تنحو في مدلولاتها المباشرة والمضمرة نحو تكريس صور نمطية عن الآخر. <strong><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/north-africa-west-asia/piroz-perik/image-of-arabs-in-kurdish-oral-heritage">English</a> </strong></p> </div> </div> </div> <p class="western" dir="rtl" lang="en-GB"><strong class="direction-rtl"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/562712/ وعرب copy.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/562712/ وعرب copy.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="259" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'></span></span>ينشر هذا المقال ضمن ملف يتناول الثقافة الشفوية في سورية، بالتعاون والشراكة مع موقع <a href="http://syriauntold.com/ar/">حكاية ما انحكت</a>، في محاولة لفهم جذور الطائفية والقومية وغيرها في سورية</strong> </p><p class="western" dir="rtl" lang="en-GB">اتسمت العلاقة بين الكرد والعرب في منطقة الجزيرة بحسن الجوار والتآلف في أغلب الأحيان، وقد نجد من الغريب، أنّ هنالك أحلاف قبلية نشأت في فترات تاريخية سابقة بين قبائل كردية وعربية، تناحرت مع أحلاف أخرى تضم عربا وكردا آخرين بحسب مقتضيات المصلحة والنفوذ. غير أنّ هذا التجاور الجغرافي ووحدة الحال لم تحل دون تشكّل صور نمطية وقاموس لفظي وقصص وأمثال ومحكيات تنحو في مدلولاتها المباشرة والمضمرة نحو تكريس صور نمطية عن الآخر، فهنالك محكيات للكرد حيال العرب وأخرى للعرب تجاه الكرد، وهي في عمومها سلبية وقاسية، ففي غالب الأحيان لا يغدو محتوى الموروث الشفاهي المصاغ منطبقا على واقع الحال بشكل كلي، فقد تكون بعض المحكيات ولا سيما الأمثال قد دخلتا لقاموس الموروث الشعبي الخاص بشعب أو طائفة ضمن ظرف خاص، أو نتيجة حادثة معينة لا علاقة لها بنظرة سلبية شاملة، أو بتنميط متعمد ودائم التأثير، كما أن العكس يصح في أوقات كثيرة ويكون المقصد سلبيا، وهو إظهار التفوق أو التميّز أو التقليل من شأن الآخر، بالاعتماد على وصم أنماط عيشه، أو طرائق تفكيره، أو هيئته، أو معالجاته لمسائل الحياة بنعوت صادمة ومباشرة، تدل على الشخص دون مواربة.</p> <p class="western" dir="rtl" lang="en-GB"> جغرافياً، وفي السياق السوري، يشير مصطلح الجزيرة السورية إلى مناطق محافظة الحسكة و الجزء الشرقي من محافظة الرقة وجزء صغير من محافظة دير الزور.</p> <p class="western" dir="rtl" lang="en-GB"> في منطقة الجزيرة في سوريا، في المستوى الثقافي، هناك اختلاف بين العرب والكرد لجهة أنماط المعيشة والحياة الاجتماعية، إذ يميل الجيل الجديد من الكرد إلى تحديد النسل والاكتفاء بعدد محدود من الأطفال إلا أن العرب ما زالوا يكثرون من إنجاب الأطفال، وهناك تشابه من جهة أخرى.</p> <p class="western" dir="rtl" lang="en-GB"> وفيما يخص الديناميات، فقد كان ميل الكرد أسرع في الانتقال من حالة البداوة إلى العيش في حواضر (قرى ومدن) بينما تأخر العرب نسبيا في ذلك، وهذا جعل من الكرد متطورين في الزراعة وتربية الدواجن والأبقار بينما بقيت تربية قطعان الغنم أكثر التصاقا بالعرب. وحتى الآن نرى قرى الكرد أكثر اخضرارا وتشجيرا من قرى العرب . أيضا، إن المجتمع الكردي، مجتمع زراعة وإقطاعات بينما كان المجتمع العربي مجتمع مضارب وخيام و صيد وتربية إبل وغنم، وما تزال رواسب الثقافة المختلفة تنعكس على طرائق التفكير وأنماط الحياة والمعيشة. وفي الوقت الذي كانت نخبة المجتمعات الثقافية هي الملالي ورجال الدين كان هذه النخبة معدومة لدى عرب المنطقة، وكانوا يلجأون للشيوخ والملالي الكرد في قضايا الدين والتحكيم الشرعي. </p> <p class="western" dir="rtl" lang="en-GB">&nbsp;</p> <p class="western" dir="rtl" lang="en-GB"> يوجد موروث شفاهي متداول وغني بين كرد منطقة الجزيرة على وجه الخصوص، يشكل العرب مادته وقوامه. وهنا يقصد بالعرب عرب المنطقة الذين يطلق عليهم وصف الشوايا (هم البدو الذين تحضّروا مؤخرا على عكس العرب الذين عايشوا الحياة المدنية في الحواضر المعروفة كدمشق وحلب. ومنهم من يفتخر بشاويته بينما يجعلهم أهالي المدن مادة للنكات كما الصعايدة في مصر. الكلمة لا تنطوي على معنى الرجعية بقدر ما تفيد البساطة والسذاجة والعيش الفطري غير المتكلف ويشوب ذلك قدر من الجهل بمعالجة بعض الأمور)، ويدخل هذا الموروث في باب تعيين دلالات أو استدعاء مواقف بذاتها، وأغلبها تصب في المنحى السلبي الساعي إلى ترسيخ فكرة التفوق والتدليل على جهل الآخر، وافتقاده لمقومات التحضر، وكثيرا ما تستند المحكيات على إرث التناحر والصراع القبلي أو العشائري القديم في المنطقة، التي باتت تسمّى مؤخرا (شرق الفرات)، فحين يبكي طفل كردي أو يتألم من مرض أو إصابة على سبيل المثال تحاول أمه ثنيه عن البكاء، وتضيف إلى عبارات التحبّب المعهودة عبارة رديفة هي: "فلتشب النار في خيام العرب". تتصنع الأم هنا متسبّبا مفترضا لبكاء طفلها، وتنتقم منه لفظيا بالدعاء عليه، وتظهر للعلن الحساسية المنقولة عبر الأجيال من "خيام العرب"، والتي تعود لتلك الحقبة التي كان فيها أجداد ذلك الطفل يخوضون صراعات على المراعي ومناطق النفوذ ضد البدو الذين صارعوهم على الأرض والكلأ والماء، علما أنّ الكرد عملوا في الزارعة والرعي، وبعضهم زاول التجارة ودخلوا الجامعات وعملوا في المهن المختلفة.</p> <p class="western" dir="rtl" lang="en-GB"> في الغالب تمرّ العبارات مروراً سريعاً وربما تكون قد أفرغت من مضامينها الفعلية غير أنّها تنطوي على تنميط واضح لصورة العربي البدوي أو ( الشاوي) وهو عالق في ذهن الكردي والوجه السلبي يبقى أكثر ثباتا وديمومة في محكيات الشعوب وتراثها الشفوي المغرق في تسفيه الآخر والاستعلاء عليه، علماً أنّ الكرد في عمومهم يتحدثون العربية، عدا بعض كبار السن الذين لم يتسنَ لهم مخالطة العرب أو الدراسة في المدارس ذات المنهاج العربي المفروض من قبل الحكومات العروبية المتعاقبة. واللهجة الكردية المحكية في سوريا وتركيا هي اللهجة الكرمانجية ويحكيها بعض كرد العراق وايران، بينما غالبية كرد إيران يحكون الكرمانجية الجنوبية أو ما تسمى بالسورانية.</p> <p class="western" dir="rtl" lang="en-GB"> "لا تقل للعربي مرحبا فسيجلس على عباءتك"، هو مثل دارج بين كرد الجزيرة، يأتي في سياق توصيف حشرية شخص ما، أو تعديه على الخصوصيات مستغلا كرم الشخص المقابل أو اهتمامه، ولا يأتي هذا المثل في وصف العرب وحدهم بل قد يستعمله كردي ما في الحديث عن كردي آخر.</p> <p class="western" dir="rtl" lang="en-GB"> يستعمل الكرد تعبير "عربي بازار"، أي صفقة عربية في وصف الصفقات السريعة وغير المحددة بمقاييس، والتي يصفها أهل مناطق سورية أخرى بـ "المشايلة"، أو "الكوترا" (كلمة غربية)، كأن يعرض زبون ما على بائع الخضار أن يبيعه ما تبقى في سحارة البندورة بسعر مخفّض دون وزن أو حساب، و يدخل هذا المثل أيضا في خدمة تعزيز صورة البدوي (الشاوي) الذي يفتقر للدقة في معاملاته، ويميل للحالة السليقية البسيطة في البيع والشراء. </p> <p class="western" dir="rtl" lang="en-GB"> ومن الطريف أن هنالك نوع من الاستحمام لدى الكرد يسمّى "استحمام عربي"، وهو عبارة عن غسل الرأس للعنق فقط دون غسل باقي الجسد، ويأتي أيضا في سياق التدليل على عدم اهتمام البدو أو الشوايا بالنظافة، واكتفائهم باغتسال سريع بموجب ظروف حياتهم التي كانت محكومة بالتنقل وعدم الثبات في أرض معينة، قبل أن يستقروا في قرى ومدن مع أواسط القرن المنصرم. (عرب المنطقة هم من البدو الذين سكنوا الأرياف مؤخرا ووصول الكرد للتعليم كان أكثر حتى ثمانينيات القرن الماضي، حيث تركزت الشهادات العلمية في يد الكرد وأبناء الطوائف المسيحية، وما يزال أغلب الأطباء و المهندسين من الكرد مع أن تحسنا كبيرا طرأ على نيل العرب للشهادات وإقبالهم على الجامعات مؤخرا).</p> <p class="western" dir="rtl" lang="en-GB"> يستخدم الكرد مثلآ آخر في معرض حديثهم عن شخص "فجعان" أو "نهم" فيقولون "مثل عربي وقع نظره على جبنة طرية"، في إشارة واضحة إلى فقر المطبخ البدوي، ونهم العربي الشاوي للأكل الغريب عن بيئته. وفي هذا المثل أيضا نزعة استعلائية تحاول التدليل على تحضّر الكردي مقابل بداوة العربي وبساطته.</p> <p class="western" dir="rtl" lang="en-GB"> يشار إلى أنّ الأجيال السابقة من الكرد كانت لديهم عادة إطلاق تسمية "عرب" أو "عربو" على المواليد السمر البشرة، كما كان دارجاً لدى العرب تسمية أطفالهم البيض البشرة بأسماء كـ "كردي" و"كردية". وانحسرت عادة تسمية المواليد الكرد بأسماء عربية منذ بداية السبعينيات، وسرى هذا الهجر الحاد حتى على الأسماء ذات الخلفية الدينية في محاولة من الكرد لإظهار تمايزهم القومي، ونبذ التبعية الفكرية للثقافة العربية، بعد أنّ كانت بعض العشائر الكردية تسمّي أولادها بأسماء عربية موغلة في البداوة وتحرص على تبادل الزيارات والولائم وفي كثير من الأحيان تحدث مصاهرات وزيجات. </p> <p class="western" dir="rtl" lang="en-GB"> يتغنّى الكرد دوما بموسيقاهم وتراثهم في العزف على آلات موسيقية بعينها مثل الطنبور وأنواع الدبكات الكردية المتعدّدة وكثيرا ما يضيفون الدبكة العربية لأعراسهم، أو يتشاركون رقصها مع العرب في أعراسهم ولا يخفون تهكمهم في أنّ أعراس العرب تقتصر على نوع دبكة وحيد، ويخترعون لتلك الدبكة اسما ساخرا "الدحدح" (معنى كلمة دحدح بالعربية القصير كبير البطن، والتسمية هنا تسخر من دبكة العرب) بل أن هنالك مثلا كرديا قديما يضع استعمال العرب لآلة الطنبور في موضع الغرابة المطلقة. "ما للعرب والطنبور!!".</p> <p class="western" dir="rtl" lang="en-GB"> وعلى عكس ما سبق من أمثلة لا يخلو الموروث الشفاهي الكردي من مضامين إيجابية إزاء العرب الذين يعيشون معهم في بيئة واحدة، إذ يقول المثل الكردي "أيها العربي النافع، أنت أفضل من الأب والأخ".</p> <p class="western" dir="rtl" lang="en-GB"> كان أبناء عشائر كردية بذاتها يتباهون بلبس الكلابية والعقال وكانوا يصفون الأشخاص ذوي المهابة والأناقة بأنهم يشبهون شيوخ العرب أو شيوخ شمر (قبيلة عربية كبيرة وذات نفوذ ولها امتداداتها في العراق والأردن والسعودية أيضا، وعلاقاتها كانت مميزة مع الكرد).</p> <p class="western" dir="rtl" lang="en-GB"> الشكل الأبرز للتراث الشفاهي الكردي هي الأغاني الملحمية والشفاهيات المغناة والمواويل الكردية القديمة، وفيها يتردّد التغزل بالفتيات العربيات من ذوات القامات الممشوقة والعيون الكحيلة وليس أجمل من صوت المغني الكردي شاكرو (من أشهر مغني الفلوكلور الكردي المحكي، له أداء انفعالي ذو طبقات صوتية متعددة. هو من كرد تركيا، وأصوله من منطقة سرحدا غير أنه استقر في ديار بكر لفترة طويلة) وهو يصدح في واحدة من أشهر الأغاني الفلوكلورية واصفا محاسن (عربه) وجمالها. كما يرد ذكر الخيام العربية المصنوعة من شعر الماعز كثيرا في تلك الأغاني والمواويل التي رافقت الكرد في حلهم وترحالهم، ويرد ذكر مدن العرب وحواضرهم في هذا الشكل من التراث الشفاهي.</p> <p class="western" dir="rtl" lang="en-GB"> تحتل شخصية <a href="https://ar.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D8%AD%D8%A7%D8%AA%D9%85_%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%B7%D8%A7%D8%A6%D9%8A">حاتم الطائي</a> العربية (شاعر عربي جاهلي وأمير قبيلة&nbsp;<a href="https://ar.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D8%B7%D9%8A%D8%A1" target="طيء">طيء</a>، توفي 605 م، اشتهر بكرمه واشعاره و جوده)، وشخصيات أخرى شهيرة مكانة مهمة في المرويات الكردية، حتى أن أشهر قصائد الكرد التي ألفها <a href="https://ar.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D8%A3%D8%AD%D9%85%D8%AF%D9%8A_%D8%AE%D8%A7%D9%86%D9%8A">أحمدي خاني</a>، وهي أولى الدعوات الواضحة للقومية الكردية، يوازي فيها الشاعر الكردي الأبرز، كرم الأمراء الكرد بكرم حاتم الطائي.</p> <p class="western" dir="rtl" lang="en-GB"> يتطلب التراث الشفوي للشعوب المتجاورة منهجية دقيقة في التوثيق والجمع، ولن يكون بمقدر أي كاتب أن يجمل مرويات عقود وقرون في مقالة أو ورقة، فمن المؤكد أنّ لدى عرب المنطقة أيضا ما يروونه بشأن الكرد سلبا وإيجابا، ومن الضروري أن تظهر الصورة دوماً دقيقة وجريئة، وأن يستدرك ما فات دون توثيق بتشجيع أكبر على التوثيق والتسجيل الصوتي للمعمرين الذين يعدون منجماً حقيقياً للمرويات والقصص والأمثال المتضمنة نظرة أجيال من الناس حيال بعضهم البعض.</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/dellair-youssef/son-of-aisha-sectarianism-syria">هل أنا ابن عائشة العربيّة؟</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/mohammad-dibo/sectarianism-syria-popular-culture">الثقافة الشفوية والهوية في سورية - ملف</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/omar-kaddour/yazid-syria-sectarianism">عندما لا يكون يزيد شريراً أو خيّراً</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/ahmad-khalil/syria-sectarianism">صورة الآخر في الثقافة الشفوية السورية </a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/mohammad-abu-hajar/our-sectarianism-regime"> طائفيتنا التي لم ينتجها النظام</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/Abdullah-Amin-Al-Hallaq/Syria-sectarianism-ismailiya">أنا من السلَمية... لكني لست ممن في هذا المقال</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/mohammed-dibo/syria-sectarianism-sunni-onion">&quot;من &quot;هذه البصلة سنية&quot; إلى &quot;السنة طيبين متلنا</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Syria </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Civil society </div> <div class="field-item even"> Conflict </div> <div class="field-item odd"> Culture </div> <div class="field-item even"> Democracy and government </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> North-Africa West-Asia North-Africa West-Asia Syria Civil society Conflict Culture Democracy and government Arabic language بيروز بريك Fri, 03 Aug 2018 04:32:42 +0000 بيروز بريك 119112 at https://www.opendemocracy.net أحلام الهجرة بتوقيت المغرب https://www.opendemocracy.net/ahmed-essalhi <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>وبين هذا وذاك، يتراوح ملف الهجرة أوروبياً، بين مؤيدٍ لأنسنته بمطالبة لتسوية وضع المهاجرين، وبين دعوات واضحة لوقف وطرد هؤلاء المهاجرين واللاجئين</p> </div> </div> </div> <p dir="rtl"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/563417/PA-31467314.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title="أحلام الهجرة بتوقيت المغرب"><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/563417/PA-31467314.jpg" alt="" title="أحلام الهجرة بتوقيت المغرب" width="460" height="306" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Ivan Romano/Zuma Press/PA Images. All rights reserved.</span></span></span>أصغر من مطار وأكبر من سوق، هكذا يبدو محيط محطة سيارات الأجرة بالرباط، حركة دائمة للمشاة بلا توقف؛ بين متنقلين ومتجولين وموظفين في شوارعها، وحدهم العائدون لمنازلهم يتوقفون انتظاراً لسيارة أجرة تقلهم لوجهاتهم لإحدى أحياء الرباط أو سلا المجاورة وغيرها. وفي مشهد دائم على جنباتها، عشرات الباعة المتجولون جالسين ومتوقفين يعرضون بضاعتهم كل يوم على عتبات محيط هذه المحطة وعلى امتداد الشارع المقابل لها، أغلبهم من المهاجرين الأفارقه.</p><p dir="rtl">تبدأ عادة رحلة هؤلاء من إحدى بلدان غرب إفريقيا لإحدى دول شمال إفريقيا. وللوصول لأوروبا تلزمهم محطة انتظار لإستكمال عشرات الكيلومترات البحرية المتبقية الفاصلة بين سواحل المغرب العربي وأوروبا.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p dir="rtl">أمادو، المهاجر المالي الثلاثينيّ الذي قبل بالتوقف قليلاً في المحطة التي يعمل بها ليُقاسمني بعضاً من رحلة هجرته، يقول أن هجرته تأخرت بسبب تشديد خفر السواحل للحراسة، فضلاً عن احتمالية &nbsp;غرق المراكب، ما دفعه للتوقف عن استكمالها، والانتقال للعاصمة الرباط للاستقرار. ويبدو أن حكايته تُلخص مسار كثيرين اندمجوا بإحدى المدن المغربية وانطلقوا لبناء حياة جديدة بعيداً عن الحلم الأوروبي.&nbsp; &nbsp;</p><p dir="rtl">في المساء، يصحبني أمادو معه لمنزله على مشارف مدينة الرباط، تستقبله عائلته الصغيرة. ابنته التي في الثامنة من عمرها تجري لمعانقة أباها. أدخل البيت، نُستقبل بحرارة من قبل زوجته المغربية التي ترحّب بي بكل ود، ولتقول لي قبل طرح الكثير من الأسئلة أن الحب الذي بينها وبين أمادو لا يعترف بالأجناس والألوان ويتخطى كل الحواجز.</p><p dir="rtl">وسط منزله الذي تتقاطع فيه الأزياء والطعام الإفريقي مع التفاصيل المغربية لترسم صورة من الانسجام والحب البسيط، يبني أمادو أحلامه من جديد بعيداً عن الحلم الأوروبي.</p><p dir="rtl">يبدو في حديثه أنه ما كان ليصدق أن المغرب ستكون محطته النهائية، فقد كان يرسُم أُفق مستقبله بباريس ليلتحق بإحدى أبناء عمومته هناك، ورفاقه الذين سبقوه. يحدثني أمادو عن أسباب التفكير بالهجرة بالقول أن الفرار من جحيم بلاده الذي تُمزقه أسلحة الكلاشينكوف هو السبب الأوحد.</p><p class="mag-quote-right" dir="rtl">الحلم الأوروبي مغرٍ للكثيرين، من ذا الذي يصدق أن تعوضه إحدى بلدان الاستقبال المتوسطية الإفريقية</p><p dir="rtl">ويتحدث أمادو عن رفاقاً ابتلعتهم أمواج المتوسط، الأمر الذي يتكرر كل يوم للمهاجرين الحالمين بالفردوس الأوروبي. يؤكد <a href="https://www.iom.int/news/mediterranean-migrant-arrivals-reach-51782-2018-deaths-reach-1490">تقرير</a> منظمة الهجرة الدولية أن عدد المهاجرين واللاجئين الذين وصلوا للقارة الأوروبية عن طريق البحر، مطلع هذه السنة إلى غاية 18 يوليو/تموز، يزيد عن 51 ألف و782 شخص، %36 عن طريق الجهة الغربية للأبيض المتوسط. وفي المقابل، تتناقل الأخبار عن آلاف الغرقى غير المحظوظين، قُدّر عددهم هذه السنة بحوالي 1500 غريق، وفق نفس التقرير، يتحولون لمجرد خبر هامشي في نشرات الأخبار. وفي أحسن الأحوال، يتم إنقاذهم لتتقاذفهم قوانين الهجرة الجائرة، فما تعجز الأمواج عن فعله، تتكفل القوانين بذلك. </p><p dir="rtl">ويتجدّد اليوم النقاش الأوروبي-الأوروبي على أعلى مستوى حول استقبال المهاجرين السريين، بعد رفض إيطالي لاستقبال <a href="http://www.bbc.com/arabic/world-44437769">سفينة أكواريوس</a> التي تقل أكثر من 600 مهاجر أنقذتهم السفينة التابعة لمنظمة أس أو أس ميديتراني "SOS Mediterranee" من الغرق، ما اضطر السفينة للإبحار في المياه الدولية أياماً إلى حين استقبالها بإسبانيا. وخلّفت الحادثة <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/jun/13/italy-france-trade-insults-migration-row-boils-over">تلاسناً دبلوماسياً</a> بين إيطاليا وفرنسا، وتجدداً للنقاش حول سياسة أوروبية موحدة حول الهجرة. وتتواصل الاجتماعات والمشاورات حولها ببروكسيل، التي أفضت بعد مُشاورات موسعة لإقتراح إنشاء مراكز للاستقبال خارج أوروبا في بلدان شمال إفريقيا تحت مسمى "<a href="http://www.infomigrants.net/ar/post/10155/%D9%85%D9%86%D8%B5%D8%A7%D8%AA-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%A5%D9%86%D8%B2%D8%A7%D9%84-%D9%87%D9%84-%D8%B3%D8%AA%D9%88%D9%82%D9%81-%D8%AA%D8%AF%D9%81%D9%82-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%85%D9%87%D8%A7%D8%AC%D8%B1%D9%8A%D9%86-%D8%B9%D9%84%D9%89-%D8%A3%D9%88%D8%B1%D9%88%D8%A8%D8%A7">منصات الإنزال</a>"، الأمر الذي رفضته غالبية الدول المعنية. </p><p dir="rtl">وبين هذا وذاك، يتراوح ملف الهجرة أوروبياً، بين مؤيدٍ لأنسنته بمطالبة لتسوية وضع المهاجرين، وبين دعوات واضحة لوقف وطرد هؤلاء المهاجرين واللاجئين، تُؤكده دعوات غير رسمية متشددة يمثلها اليمين الأوروبي لعدم استقبالهم وترحيل هؤلاء تلطيفاً لسردية "اغرقوهم". أما على المستوى الرسمي، فيظل واقع الهجرة المتوسطيّة مؤرقاً لزعمائها، وتتسرب للصحافة خلافات اجتماعات الغرف المغلقة، بسبب السياسات المتباينة لمقاربة هذا الملف، وتكشف هذه الاجتماعات الانقسام الحاد بين دوله في سياسة الهجرة التي يحكُمها منطق التناقضات؛ فبين إصرار على منطق التضييق الأمني وبين الحاجة الاقتصادية لسواعد هؤلاء المهاجرين.</p><p dir="rtl">الحلم الأوروبي مغرٍ للكثيرين، من ذا الذي يصدق أن تعوضه إحدى بلدان الاستقبال المتوسطية الإفريقية؟ ومتى كانت مدينة الرباط مرضية لهم أمام باريس ومدريد؟ أسئلة وجهناها لأمادو، الذي قال أنه في ختام رحلته عبر الصحراء وصل لمدينة طنجة، وكانت خياراته محدودة؛ إما الانضمام لمقتحمي مدينتي سبتة ومليلة في ذلك الوقت، أو انتظار فرصة للإبحار من طنجة أو إحدى المدن المجاورة لها صوب الشواطئ الإسبانية.</p><p dir="rtl">كانت الكيلومترات الأخيرة البحرية الحاسمة تُغري بالانتقال لكن بلا ضمانات للنجاح، وعلى هذه المحطات تتقاطع المصائر في رحلة العبور الطويلة من الجنوب للشمال، وفي انتظار اللحظة الحاسمة (جو صاف وتراجع مستوى تشديد الحراسة ...)، تتحرك القوارب البلاستيكية أو الخشبية المكدسة بعشرات الحالمين بلا أمان في رحلات مفاجئة وغير معلن عنها للشمال. وحين كان أمادو يفاوض أحد وسطاء شبكات التهجير لاستكمال رحلة الأميال الأخيرة، أقنعته وجوه غيّبها البحر بالعدول عن مجازفة الإبحار، وفضّل الاستقرار وتسوية وضعيته بالمغرب.</p><p class="mag-quote-center" dir="rtl">أن يتحول بديل "الفردوس الأوروبي" إلى بلد إفريقي متوسطي، ليس من رغبة أحد من المهاجرين</p><p dir="rtl">أن يتحول بديل "الفردوس الأوروبي" إلى بلد إفريقي متوسطي، ليس من رغبة أحد من المهاجرين، وبالنسبة لأمثال أمادو، كانت بلدان ضفاف المتوسط الإفريقية مجرد وقفة أخيرة في إنتظار قوارب التهجير من شواطئها للمحطة النهائية. كثيرة هي الأحداث التي تركها أمادو ورائه، ببلده وبالطريق الطويلة لطنجة ليبقى في المغرب، وبشجاعة يردد "المغرب مستقبلي ومستقبل عائلتي"، وحلمي سيُرسم هنا. </p><p>قد تكون الدوافع شخصية للاستقرار النهائي للمهاجرين أمثال أمادو بالمغرب، غير أن عوامل موضوعية تساهم في هذا الاختيار؛ منها الاهتمام المغربي بالبعد الإفريقي ومحاولته لخلق تعايش وتوفير مستلزمات البقاء للمهاجرين، ما دفع البعض لتجريب "الحلم المغربي". جديرٌ ذكره أيضاً، أن المغرب قام بمبادرة رسمية لتسوية أوضاع المهاجرين، تفعيلاً <a href="http://www.marocainsdumonde.gov.ma/ar/%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%88%D8%B2%D8%A7%D8%B1%D8%A9/%D8%B4%D8%A4%D9%88%D9%86-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%87%D8%AC%D8%B1%D8%A9/%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%A7%D8%B3%D8%AA%D8%B1%D8%A7%D8%AA%D9%8A%D8%AC%D9%8A%D8%A9-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%88%D8%B7%D9%86%D9%8A%D8%A9-%D9%84%D9%84%D9%87%D8%AC%D8%B1%D8%A9-%D9%88%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%84%D8%AC%D9%88%D8%A1">للإستراتيجية</a> الوطنية للهجرة واللجوء لإدماجهم وتسوية وضعيتهم، وتدبير أفضل لتدفقات الهجرة، مكّنت الآلاف من تسوية وضعهم القانونية والاندماج والانخراط بحياة جديدة.</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/beyondslavery/laura-menin/racialisation-of-marginality-sub-saharan-migrants-stuck-in-morocco">The racialisation of marginality: sub-Saharan migrants stuck in Morocco</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/christoph-h-schwarz/moroccos-social-protests-across-time-and-space">Morocco&#039;s social protests across time and space</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> Middle East Forum North-Africa West-Asia أحمد صلحي Mon, 30 Jul 2018 16:19:26 +0000 أحمد صلحي 119064 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Critical voices in critical times: Peter Mayo on Gramsci, Egypt and critical pedagogy https://www.opendemocracy.net/north-africa-west-asia/linda-herrera-nadim-mirshak/critical-voices-in-critical-times-peter-mayo-on-g <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>How can the work and thought of Antonio Gramsci help us make sense of the Arab Uprisings and their aftermath? Is there a place for critical pedagogy in times of counter-revolution? </p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/562712/Screen Shot 2018-07-19 at 11.59.40 PM copy.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/562712/Screen Shot 2018-07-19 at 11.59.40 PM copy.png" alt="" title="" width="460" height="252" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style=""/></a> <span class='image_meta'></span></span>This interview is part of the series “Critical Voices in Critical Times” coordinated and edited by Linda Herrera. In this interview Peter Mayo, professor at the University of Malta and renowned scholar on Gramsci and Freire, engages with Egyptian sociologist from the University of Manchester, Nadim Mirshak, in a compelling conversation about civil society, hegemony and the “Modern Prince.” They explore the challenges of doing critical work under authoritarian contexts and the need to develop a globalisation from below as an alternative to neoliberal globalisation. </p><p><strong>Interview By Nadim Mirshak</strong><sup><strong></strong></sup><strong> </strong><strong>&nbsp;</strong></p><p>Watch the video of the interview <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A8Vdhud1hww">here</a></p> <iframe width="460" height="260" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/A8Vdhud1hww" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen></iframe> <p class="western" lang="en-GB">&nbsp;<strong>Video by Linda Herrera</strong></p><p class="western" lang="en-GB"><strong><br /></strong></p> <p class="western" lang="en-GB"> <strong>Nadim Mirshak:</strong> In this current period of post-uprising Egypt, civil society seems to be one of the few spaces left where hegemony is challenged in ways that are different from protests, sit-ins or violent demonstrations. In your book,<em> <a class="western" href="https://www.zedbooks.net/shop/book/gramsci-freire-and-adult-education/">Gramsci, Freire and Adult Education: Possibilities for Transformative Action</a></em><a class="western" href="https://www.zedbooks.net/shop/book/gramsci-freire-and-adult-education/"><em> (1999)</em></a><em> </em>you argue that civil society should not be romanticised. Can you explain what you mean?</p> <p class="western" lang="en-GB"> <strong>Peter Mayo:</strong> Central to Gramsci’s notion of hegemony is that civil society is not always oppositional. Gramsci was looking at what the Germans call ‘<em>bürgerliche gesellschaft’</em>, bourgeois civil society. What he means is that if a transformation would take place within civil society and within the interstices of hegemony itself, or if a great revolution or intellectual and moral reform took place, maybe it would not remain a bourgeois civil society anymore. But it would still remain civil society nonetheless.</p> <p class="western" lang="en-GB"> Nowhere in Gramsci’s writings does he use the term “counter-hegemony,” precisely because he wants to avoid this notion of binary, of being “counter” or “hegemonic.” The two are instead intertwined, dialectically if you like. One cannot be counter-hegemonic without participating within the hegemonic system. At the same time, the hegemonic system is never one hundred percent hegemonic because it is never complete. </p> <p class="western" lang="en-GB"> <strong>NM:</strong> Why was Gramsci influential for you, and particularly his ideas on education? </p> <p class="western" lang="en-GB"> <strong>PM:</strong> I heard a lot about Gramsci in the 1970s here in Malta because of our close cultural and geographical association with Italy. Gramsci was always there, he was always mentioned. I remember I was invited to the Communist Party’s General Conference, although I was not a member of the party. The General Secretary of the Communist Party opened with a statement by saying, “Truth is revolutionary, as Antonio Gramsci once said.” First of all, what he said is “To say the truth is revolutionary,” which is not the same as saying, “Truth is revolutionary.” I had been hearing these kinds of buzzwords from Gramsci, but buzzwords they were. [1] </p> <p class="western" lang="en-GB"> Now there was something in particular about Gramsci which attracted me. I ‘found myself’ in this. I ‘found Malta’ in the famous interrupted document Gramsci was writing at the time he was arrested in 1926: <a class="western" href="https://cpb-us-e1.wpmucdn.com/blogs.uoregon.edu/dist/f/6855/files/2014/03/gramsci-southern-question1926-2jf8c5x.pdf"><em>Some Aspects of the Southern Question</em></a>. Many write about education and the Unitarian School, others write about the organic intellectual, but very few people write about the Southern Question and education. It helped me better understand the current political, cultural and educational dynamics in the Mediterranean. I began to analyse how the cultural climate was shaped on this archipelago of islands, the role of intellectuals including subaltern intellectuals, the Catholic Church and its larger networks (Catholic Action, etc.) and agents of merchant capital in this context. [2] </p> <p class="western" lang="en-GB"> Moreover, Gramsci’s notes on Italian history made me understand the situation in which my own country, an island as well, found itself. There were parallels with the missed revolution, the Neapolitan-French revolution [the Parthenopean Republic] which was considered to be a ‘passive revolution’ by Gramsci as it was not rooted in popular consciousness. So, the Southern Question was originally at the back of my mind when I was attracted towards Gramsci. I found this affinity with the Mediterranean. I am sure that you coming from Egypt will also find this kind of affinity with Gramsci’s ‘Southern Question.’</p> <h3><strong>Was it an Arab “Spring”?</strong></h3> <p class="western" lang="en-GB"> <strong>NM: </strong>In your book <em><a class="western" href="https://www.routledge.com/Hegemony-and-Education-Under-Neoliberalism-Insights-from-Gramsci/Mayo/p/book/9780415812276">Hegemony and Education under Neoliberalism</a> (2016)</em>, you mention that you wanted to avoid using the fashionable term “Arab Spring”. Can you explain?</p><p class="western" lang="en-GB"> <strong>PM:</strong> ‘Spring’ for me goes back to the Bratislava Spring. It was a spring in aspiration – the blooming of new flowers - a spring in vision, but in actual fact it ended tragically when the Russian tanks came in. I do not think Spring was right for 2011. Not only was it too early to suggest parallels with other movements, but it was too early to see where this was going. Was this a regeneration? It may have been a regeneration in the sense that Egyptian people who never thought it was possible, were out in the streets. A spring? Maybe a spring in the vision. You never know what the future holds. You know, spring is resurrection, reminiscent of that much exoticized aspect of Egypt –the ancient fertility deity rituals, especially the sprouting corn-god, Osiris. </p> <p class="western" lang="en-GB"> In 2011 Linda Herrera and I wrote a piece when we were intrigued by what was happening as youth accessed the internet, an instrument of hegemony, to get people out on the streets. [3] One of the things we said was not to get ahead of ourselves. This was a spontaneous uprising, but then there was the Gramscian question: </p> <p class="western" lang="en-GB"> <em>Was there any conscious direction? </em> </p> <p class="western" lang="en-GB"> And then the searching question: <em>if there was, where was it coming from? </em> </p> <p class="western" lang="en-GB"> It all goes back to the historical situation which repeats itself first as tragedy and rarely simply in farce, if I can be allowed to play around with Marx’s famous statement. You can have all the goodwill in the world when you go out on a spontaneous pouring of outrage about lack of jobs, lack of dignity, corruption, etc., and yet, if we do not have a revolutionary understanding behind this, and, more importantly, a revolutionary strategy (without guarantees), somebody else will. That somebody else can be organising below the radar. And the uprising can take a different trajectory which is at the furthest remove from what many people had in mind – people involved in the streets and squares. So basically, there was an important issue to be tackled at the outset: direction. </p><p class="mag-quote-right" lang="en-GB">The whole history of the world has been full of these false dawns</p> <p class="western" lang="en-GB"> <em>Where was the direction coming from? </em> </p> <p class="western" lang="en-GB"> In the case of Egypt, what was the role of the Military and the Muslim Brotherhood? Gramsci’s discussion around the relationship between ‘<em>spontaneit</em><em>à</em>’ and ‘<em>direzione consapevole</em>’ is quite pertinent in these situations. I would say now with the advantage of hindsight, it was a false dawn. The whole history of the world has been full of these false dawns. When we look at when Marx wrote, he was looking at situations which really gave him hope, I mean, I cannot think of anything better than the Paris <a class="western" href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paris_Commune">Commune</a>. He and Engels derived great inspiration from the Commune and that only lasted around forty days or so.</p> <h3 class="western" lang="en-GB"> <strong>Egypt and </strong><strong>c</strong><strong>ritical </strong><strong>p</strong><strong>edagogy</strong></h3> <p class="western" lang="en-GB"> <strong>NM:</strong> As an Egyptian I thought that Gramsci can help make lots of sense of what is happening in Egypt. There’s a growing body of work focusing on Gramsci in relation to Egypt. There’s a book by Brecht De Smet, <a class="western" href="https://www.plutobooks.com/9780745335575/gramsci-on-tahrir/"><em>Gramsci on Tahrir</em></a> (2016) and Roberto Roccu’s <a class="western" href="https://www.palgrave.com/gb/book/9781137395917"><em>The Political Economy of the Egyptian Revolution</em></a> (2013) about the “failed hegemony” of Mubarak’s regime. His argument was that one of the reasons why Mubarak’s regime fell was because his neoliberal business cronies failed to gather enough consent for their project. Then there’s the older work of Peter Gran who deals with the Southern Question in relation to Upper Egypt in <a class="western" href="https://www.amazon.co.uk/Beyond-Eurocentrism-Modern-World-History/dp/0815626924"><em>Beyond Eurocentrism</em></a> (1996).</p> <p class="western" lang="en-GB"> <strong>PM:</strong> People were seeing that there was no building of hegemony by the Mubarak oligarchy. But then you have brutal force being exerted. What we have is a situation characterised by tangible evidence of a legitimation crisis. This in turn leads to recourse to the repressive apparatus of the state. Of course, there is always an attempt at ideological conditioning in these situations as distinctions between repression and consent are heuristic, though, in this situation, the process would be very much skewed towards repression as a result of the legitimation crisis. And I cannot of think of many more repressive forces than the Egyptian police or the Egyptian army. </p> <p class="western" lang="en-GB"> <strong>NM:</strong> Yes, that is definitely an issue because as an Egyptian scholar, I have lots of colleagues who are now in exile or have been arrested for taking critical stances. It is becoming more difficult to find ways to challenge the current situation. One of the things I did in my research, was to explore alternative ways to resist the Egyptian state. I focused on education. Organisations know that once you got overtly political or oppositional, there is a high chance of the Egyptian police and the state security services shutting you down. So, they started to superficially depoliticise their rhetoric. They took a more liberal tone by saying things like, “We are providing an education about democracy.” </p> <p class="western" lang="en-GB"> For instance, one NGO would get kids aged from eight till fourteen or fifteen to build a cardboard city. The kids had to make decisions about how to run it, set up the economy, the system of voting, and system of accountability. When something goes wrong, who is to blame and so on. Through such games, the kids learned about economics, politics, democracy and human rights. The state cannot come and say, “What are you doing here? Why are you teaching kids about politics?” That’s what I was interested in: finding alternative means of bypassing the state’s restrictions. </p> <p class="western" lang="en-GB"> <strong>PM:</strong> Linda [Herrera] pointed out that there is also the ethical question of exposing activities that are under the radar through our research. They are under the radar for a reason. On the one hand, we want to recognise and share the important work people are doing, and on the other, allow people and groups time, space and privacy to stay below the surface until they are ready to go more public.</p> <p class="western" lang="en-GB"> <strong>NM:</strong> Of course, being academics who are trying to look at the world from a critical perspective, being able to read the word and the world, is something I also grappled with back home in Egypt doing my fieldwork. When I started talking about political education and raising consciousness, some people would say, “But we do not necessarily want [a raised consciousness]. All I want is to have a job, have money, be healthy, make sure my kids go to good schools. I do not want to be involved in politics, I just want to be left alone.” Other people said, “To be honest, I have never really thought about it. I do not want to look at the world from a different angle. I do not want to ruffle feathers or cause unnecessary problems. I just want to be left alone. So, for me, political education is not important.” This is something I still am thinking about. </p> <p class="western" lang="en-GB"> <strong>PM:</strong> Your point is very Freirean. I need to refer to Freire’s <a class="western" href="https://www.penguin.co.uk/books/22583/pedagogy-of-the-oppressed/"><em>Pedagogy of the Oppressed</em></a>. Freire wrote one of the most important books regarding the issue you raised. For him, political education was more a question of how to read the world. </p> <p class="western" lang="en-GB"> <strong>NM:</strong> Have you experienced something similar in Malta?</p> <p class="western" lang="en-GB"> <strong>PM:</strong> It’s a different context. I’m not saying that there is no repression in Malta, but it is a different context than Egypt. Remember, we are talking about Paulo Freire here who wrote from a context of military dictatorships in Latin America but whose work has wider resonance. Obviously, you will have people who will tell you, and I do not blame them: “Listen, leave me alone, I want to live a tranquil life both for me and my children.” Of course, this is always going to occur, because people understand the military can be ruthless. However, indifference is encountered in many places. It was Gramsci who said ‘<em>Odio gli indifferenti</em>” (I hate the indifferent). There is always a danger when doing critical pedagogy; it is never a safe space. What is the price you are prepared to pay to do this? There is a price to be paid.</p> <p class="western" lang="en-GB"> Whatever you are doing, how does that enable you to read the situation you are in? You also need to be realistic and negotiate the agendas involved in the learning setting, as people have their own agendas which need to be understood and respected. You can be as political as much as you want, but I can imagine someone saying: you can have all the emancipatory ideas that you like, but I want to learn mathematics… I want to learn coding because they are important. Now, how to do this? Michael Young talks about ‘powerful knowledge’. Critical pedagogues ignore it at their peril and much to the detriment of the learners concerned. </p> <p class="western" lang="en-GB"> This issue of powerful knowledge is important for former colonial countries that you and I grew up in. Here in Malta, you need to know English even though we have a national language, very much a national-popular language, in Gramsci’s terms. We learn English in a technical way, but we do not learn that we are second-class citizens if we do not know the language [within a global hierarchy of English knowledge production]. English is powerful knowledge over here and elsewhere. Every context has its powerful knowledge. If you lived in the Middle Ages in Europe, Theology would have been powerful knowledge, Latin would have been powerful knowledge. But if we lived in Europe post-18<sup>th</sup> century, Science would have been powerful knowledge and you cannot do away with that.</p> <p class="western" lang="en-GB"> The struggle lies in how one learns this powerful knowledge. How did English come into the livelihoods of our people and communities? How was its historical condition linked to British colonialism [and later the ascendency of the US]? Today, what kind of social stratification does it create? I am talking about how you teach English critically, from a Freirean perspective if you will. Teaching English also requires teaching its political role, and that is where Freire comes in. You are reading the world. You are reading how imperialism has risen and how it conditions our lives, and how one appropriates critically elements brought about by colonialism – a very complex multifaceted phenomenon – that enable us to survive and act politically on a large scale. </p> <p class="western" lang="en-GB"> <strong>NM:</strong> It is the same in Egypt. If you don’t speak English in Egypt [you will be at a real disadvantage]. However, people from my generation who went to international schools and learned English are making efforts to always write in Arabic, especially on social media. We need to write in Arabic in order to reach as many people as possible.</p><p class="mag-quote-center" lang="en-GB">Everything comes together: emotion, imagination, whatever connects with people’s framework of relevance and zones of being.</p> <p class="western" lang="en-GB"> <strong>PM:</strong> Our situation in Malta is more complex because Arabic is a large language, an important political language, and a language of a major world religion. It is an achievement for a foreigner to learn Arabic. In Malta, for instance, if we have a class at a university and there are one or two foreigners present, we speak English and the discussion could be very cerebral. Once those two people leave the room and the discussion switches to Maltese, you can feel how rich the discussion becomes. It is no longer simply cerebral, but it is also emotional. Everything comes together: emotion, imagination, whatever connects with people’s framework of relevance and zones of being.</p> <h3><strong>Education and counter-Hegemony</strong></h3> <p class="western" lang="en-GB"> <strong>NM:</strong> You have argued in a positive way that education can help develop counter hegemonic ideas that go against the dominant ideology. But being counter-hegemonic is not in itself a virtue. These ideas carry undesirable effects at times. What are your views on this point?</p> <p class="western" lang="en-GB"> <strong>PM:</strong> I am very tentative here, always groping and tentative. Transforming hegemony, or what I call the renegotiation of relations of hegemony – recall that counter-hegemony is a term Gramsci never used - is pedagogical. It is pedagogical in the sense that there is a consensus element involved here. I am learning to be open towards changing my position.</p> <p class="western" lang="en-GB"> First of all, a fundamental ABC of the Sociology of Education and the first thing I learned, was not to give education powers that it does not have. Education is not going to bring change on its own, but it can contribute to change. However, if you really want to change things, and a group has political power to change things and wants to transform society, it needs education because you will have to bring most people consensually on board. Hegemony is educational. Ideally the change must be rooted in popular consciousness and not be imposed from above in what would, once again, be a passive revolution.</p> <p class="western" lang="en-GB"> Gramsci’s contributions to education can be found not just in his writings on the Common School, in his journalistic or cultural writings or those concerning the factory councils. His contribution is all pervasive. Education is central to the workings of hegemony. Every relationship of hegemony is an educational relationship, so we are talking about education within its broader contexts. The educator is not just the teacher, adult educator or university professor. The educator is anybody who can influence other people’s opinions. As with any kind of politics, there are no guarantees. It is ‘bread on the waters’ to adopt the title of John Fisher’s book on trade union education in what was then the T&amp;G. You do not know which fish are going to pick it up. That is what education is. </p> <p class="western" lang="en-GB"> We come from former colonies, we know this. How much have our countries invested in education without any take off? Can you explain why? Why is it that people from Malta or Egypt have been sent abroad, and end up serving the country that colonised them in the first place? The receiving country offers the right infrastructure for people to be able to operate. You then come back to your country and do not find those structures. Of course, there are other factors that contribute to this, a change in political climate in the colony or former colony with a new regime/ruling group at the helm which freezes you out. Too much investment in education from a technical perspective without investment in other sectors in the economy is basically another form of education for export because basically you will have overqualified people. There will be a push and pull factor. Either people are going to leave, or they will become frustrated. The same applies to political action for change; education in one place must ally itself with what is happening in other spaces, parties, movements forms of mobilisation etc. There are so many factors that can prevent education from contributing to social change. It cannot bring about social change <em>on its own</em>.</p> <h3><strong>Critical </strong><strong>m</strong><strong>edia </strong><strong>l</strong><strong>iteracy &amp; </strong><strong>r</strong><strong>eading the </strong><strong>w</strong><strong>orld </strong></h3> <p class="western" lang="en-GB"> <strong>NM: </strong>One of the very interesting ideas you talked about in your book was Critical Media Literacy. You write, “critical media literacy becomes an important feature of critical engagement within either the interstices of state involvement or social movements” [4]. Is having media literacy a form of this powerful knowledge that we need to have at the moment?</p> <p class="western" lang="en-GB"> <strong>PM:</strong> ‘Critical’ here is how to understand the media and how to read the world, or the construction of the world through the media. It is this very construction of ‘reality’ by the media that constitutes the basis for much common sense these days.</p> <p class="western" lang="en-GB"> <strong>NM:</strong> Earlier you were talking about how in 2011 people used Facebook and Twitter as a way to gain critical ideas, communicate and develop networks. However, it is becoming increasingly difficult because the regime has learnt its lesson. Authoritarianism learns and has adapted to that threat. Can we think of ways to develop critical media literacy under the current repressive contexts in Egypt, Turkey or Tunisia for example? </p> <p class="western" lang="en-GB"> <strong>PM:</strong> Well, you got me there because I do not know those contexts well enough. You are probably more capable of answering than I am. We have got to look at tactical elements now. So, that depends on the knowledge of the context itself. How should we do that? Below the radar, as you were saying, because of surveillance. But I will never underestimate the intelligence apparatus, certainly not in Turkey or Egypt, ever so vigilant to ferret out those operating clandestinely.</p> <h3><strong>The ‘</strong><strong>t</strong><strong>ravelling’ Gramsci</strong></h3> <p class="western" lang="en-GB"> <strong>NM:</strong> My concern is how Gramsci is used and abused at times. I agree that we need to consider the contexts, but when thinking about Gramsci in the Arab World and the Middle East, he has been used so many times that in the process he has been misinterpreted. </p> <p class="western" lang="en-GB"> <strong>PM:</strong> I have to say Gramsci wrote copiously on the contributions of Arab, Muslim and other cultures to the development of aspects of what we call ‘Western Civilisation’. As the scholar <a class="western" href="http://www.muslimheritage.com/authors/abdesselam-cheddadi">Abdesselam Cheddadi</a> has noted, Gramsci holds a good deal of relevance for the Arab world. I should point out, however, that Derek Boothman’s writing on this topic suggests a slippage in Gramsci, often conflating Muslim with Arab. This is amazing for a man of his intellect. This slippage notwithstanding, there is a lot in Gramsci concerning the Arab world. [5]</p> <p class="western" lang="en-GB"> <strong>NM:</strong> I remember reading Edward Said’s <em><a class="western" href="http://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog.php?isbn=9780674961876">The World, The Text and the Critic</a> </em>(1984) and he was talking about the Travelling Theory. How theories travel, how they change. Yet when they do change and become adapted to other contexts, they do not necessarily lose their power or their analytical rigour. This is something that fascinated me in terms of using Gramsci to make sense of Egypt. I avoided using him as a framework that can be perfectly applied to Egypt as others have, it just does not work. </p> <p class="western" lang="en-GB"> <strong>PM:</strong> It is interesting that you mention Said who considered himself to be Gramscian like Stuart Hall. Said wrote about a transformation that takes place when texts are read from the perspective of a specific society, say an English text studied by Palestinian students at Bir Zeit. The same applies to theories. You know, we were talking about the Modern Prince and the Party in Gramsci, and yet Said fell short on saying that it has to be the party at the heart of the struggle in Palestine, etc. He probably feared that his role as an intellectual would be compromised through adherence to a party or, more appropriately, any party in the Palestinian context. I recall his stating something to this effect in the Reith Lectures on representations of the Intellectual. What was very interesting about Said was that he was fascinated by the Southern Question in Gramsci. I am just thinking aloud here, but I find the point about Said and Party a classic example of how contexts work to <em>condition</em> our analysis and positions. I never use the word “determines” but “conditions.”</p><h3>T<strong>he Modern Prince(s) and alliances</strong></h3> <p class="western" lang="en-GB"> <strong>NM:</strong> You said something very interesting about conscious direction, which leads to a question that relates to Gramsci’s Modern Prince. Do you think the idea of a strong Communist Party is still applicable now?</p> <p class="western" lang="en-GB"> <strong>PM:</strong> That depends on the context. In Gramsci’s Italian view, it was the Communist Party. In certain contexts, the pivotal agency can rest with a social movement which captures the rest of the country’s imagination, connecting with the aspirations for greater social justice of various groups and harmonising these desires, interests and struggles. Historically, the biggest movement I can think of in the US was the Civil Rights movement. But, in Brazil or Italy with their party system, which Gramsci and later Freire wrote about, the party was seen by both figures as the means of giving political viability to these various struggles, although in both cases they were relatively new parties at the time. </p><p class="mag-quote-left" lang="en-GB">The main agency could be a movement or network of movements</p> <p class="western" lang="en-GB"> In another place the main agency could be a movement or network of movements. I want to steer clear of trying to prescribe a rigid form this agency can take; that would be too prescriptive. Gramsci was influenced by Machiavelli’s The <a class="western" href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Prince"><em>Prince</em></a>, a prince who would unify the country. Gramsci was in favour of a national-popular unity, not <a class="western" href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Italian_unification">Piedmontese domination</a> over the rest of Italy which was brutal. </p> <p class="western" lang="en-GB"> If it is a party it must be one which converges with networks, networks of agencies struggling for greater social and ecological justice. In Freire’s words, the party should do so without trying to take them over – this is key. Networks can converge in terms of forming alliances, but these can be ephemeral, because we have several cases of alliances that disintegrated once a major contradiction comes to the fore. What Gramsci spoke of was something more deeply rooted than an alliance – an historical bloc. Alliances can <em>possibly </em>lead to an historical bloc. The latter can take a long time to happen because it has to be firmly entrenched, probably over a number of years. If you belong to a movement that is part of a network, you feel that it is almost natural to act in sync with the other movements in the network having a strong affinity with yours. There is a common interest in doing this. For Gramsci, the main bloc in Italy is that involving the Northern industrial bourgeoisie and the landowning class in the South. In Freire’s Brazil, it is the landowning class in the Nord-Este and the bourgeois class in the South East. </p> <p class="western" lang="en-GB"> What I find interesting here, and I have had problems with people who try to downplay this, is the <a class="western" href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/francine-mestrum/reinventing-world-social-forum-how-powerful-idea-can-be">World Social Forum</a> where you have different interests coming together. The focus of their conversations is on global capitalism with its neoliberal ideology. Global capitalism is a structuring force that exacerbates different forms of oppression. The oppressed become represented by different social-justice oriented movements with differentiated exploitation becoming their point of focus. This is what the World Social Forum has been trying to do. However, there are no guarantees in these things. I am not going to start being doctrinaire and say capitalism will end if you do x, y, and z. </p> <p class="western" lang="en-GB"> <strong>NM:</strong> Exactly, which is something Gramsci himself avoided.</p> <p class="western" lang="en-GB"> <strong>PM:</strong> I believe in Socialism, but <em>without guarantees</em> to quote <a class="western" href="http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/019685998601000203">Stuart Hall</a>. You never know what will transpire, especially in the long term.</p> <h3 class="western" lang="en-GB"> <strong>Globalisation from </strong><strong>b</strong><strong>elow</strong></h3> <p class="western" lang="en-GB"> <strong>NM:</strong> You emphasise in many of your writings that we need to develop a globalisation from below as an alternative to neoliberal globalisation. How could we foster stronger links between movements in the Global North and the Global South?</p> <p class="western" lang="en-GB"> <strong>PM:</strong> I believe that there are many initiatives in this regard. I have faith in these movements. I still think that the idea of the state diminishing in importance is a big myth, a neoliberal myth. Just look at the current issues surrounding migration. It is an <em>international</em> issue which is however accorded <em>national</em> solutions – at the level of nation-states. However, social movements have taught us the importance of internationalisation and that collaboration has to extend beyond borders, regional, national, continental, etc. </p> <p class="western" lang="en-GB"> We have to recognise that what happens here in Europe has ramifications elsewhere outside Europe. If Europe subsidises its farmers, like the United States does, to the tune of billions, how are farmers in Africa and other places going to provide food on the table for their children? To be international one has to be global. How could a policy that aims to provide social cohesion or social justice here, within this region, impact livelihoods outside? </p> <p class="western" lang="en-GB"> This is crucial for the Global South, because there is Social Europe ‘from above’, in the form of say a Social Charter, but then there is possibly, and hopefully, a social world ‘from below’ which basically involves networking at the grassroots. People may be availing themselves of funds from the EU and there is a lot of ‘NGOisation’ going on in many areas such as Migration, Lifelong Learning etc. Some NGOs are of course <em>genuinely</em> involved, but others are there to benefit from the gravy train. So, let’s not tar everyone with the same brush. It is the more genuinely involved NGOs and social-justice oriented movements who are important players in the process of working towards a social world that fosters a stronger solidarity between movements in the Global North and Global South.</p> <p class="western" lang="en-GB"> <strong>NM:</strong> It is important to wrap up on a positive note. There is hope that we can change things and there are ways in which we can collaborate and build this social world from below. When I think about Egypt, at the moment it is very repressive and the window of opportunity we had from 2011 to 2013 is not going to happen again in sometime. Yet, and like you said earlier, hegemony is never complete, it is never all-encompassing all the time. It is always contested, always challenged. There is hope. I still think, “pessimism of the intellect, optimism of the will.” I know this was not Gramsci’s own term, he took it from the French novelist <a class="western" href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Romain_Rolland">Romain Roland</a>.</p> <p class="western" lang="en-GB"> <strong>PM:</strong> Yes, and it was written below the masthead for the <a class="western" href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L%27Ordine_Nuovo"><em>L’</em><em>Ordine Nuovo</em></a> periodical (1919). Hope springs eternal, I keep telling myself.</p> <p class="western" lang="en-GB">&nbsp;</p><p class="western" lang="en-GB">[1] "To tell the truth is revolutionary" though attributed to Gramsci, is actually&nbsp;by Ferdinand Lassalle. It was reproduced in the first issue of<em> L'Ordine Nuovo.</em>&nbsp;</p><p class="western" lang="en-GB">[2] Carmel Borg and Mayo explore some of these themes in a chapter in their book <a class="western" href="https://www.routledge.com/Learning-and-Social-Difference/Mayo-Borg/p/book/9781594512445"><em>Learning and Social Difference. Challenges for Public Education and Critical Pedagogy</em></a>, originally produced in 2006 by Paradigm and now by Routledge.</p><p class="western" lang="en-GB">[3] See Herrera, L. &amp; Mayo, P. (2012). <a class="western" href="https://www.euppublishing.com/doi/abs/10.3366/hls.2012.0030">The Arab spring, digital youth, and the challenges of education and work</a>. In <em>Holy Land Studies</em>,<em> </em>11(1), 71-78, also <a class="western" href="https://www.counterpunch.org/2011/03/04/digital-youth-arab-revolution-and-the-challenge-of-work/">Counterpunch</a> op ed version.</p> <p> [4] Mayo, Peter. (2016). <em>Hegemony and Education Under Neoliberalism: Insights from Gramsci</em>. Abingdon: Routledge, 35.</p> <p> <span class="sdendnotesym">[5] </span>Boothman, D. (2012). <a class="western" href="http://booksandjournals.brillonline.com/content/journals/10.1163/1569206x-12341268">Islam in Gramsci’s Journalism and Prison Notebooks: The Shifting Patterns of Hegemony</a>. In <em>Historical Materialism</em>, 20(4), 115-140.</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/linda-herrera/critical-voices-in-critical-times-fanon-africa-decolonisation-g">Critical voices in critical times: Fanon, race &amp; politics - an interview with Mireille Fanon-Mendès France (part 1 of 2)</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/linda-herrera/critical-voices-in-critical-times-partition-of-india-lessons-le">Critical voices in critical times: the partition of India – lessons learned, an interview with Rajmohan Gandhi</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/linda-herrera-heba-khalil/critical-voices-in-critical-times-revolution-withou">Critical voices in critical times: revolution without revolutionaries, an interview with Asef Bayat</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/linda-herrera/critical-voices-in-critical-times-fanon-race-politics-interview">Critical voices in critical times: Fanon, race &amp; politics - an interview with Mireille Fanon-Mendès France (part 2 of 2) </a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/linda-herrera-dina-el-sharnouby/alain-badiou-on-egyptian-revolution-questions">Alain Badiou on the Egyptian revolution: questions of the movement and its vision [video]</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Egypt </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Civil society </div> <div class="field-item even"> Democracy and government </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> North-Africa West-Asia North-Africa West-Asia Egypt Civil society Democracy and government Nadim Mirshak Linda Herrera Tue, 24 Jul 2018 07:55:17 +0000 Linda Herrera and Nadim Mirshak 118952 at https://www.opendemocracy.net The politics of education in East Jerusalem https://www.opendemocracy.net/north-africa-west-asia/politics-of-education-in-east-jerusalem-0 <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>After Trump’s decision to move the US embassy to Jerusalem, Israel has gained its ally’s backing to go even further in its control over the Palestinian part of Jerusalem.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p dir="ltr"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/564976/PA-25814545_460.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/564976/PA-25814545_460.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="324" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Salem Ahmad/ABACA/PA Images. All rights reserved</span></span></span></p><p dir="ltr">Roughly around their sixteenth birthday, the youth of Jerusalem are eager to obtain their Israeli identification card. They would wait in an inhumane line outside the Israeli Ministry of Interior in East Jerusalem for hours, and when they reach the officer, they will submit an extensive set of documents to prove that their centre of life is Jerusalem. Eventually, and if they were fortunate enough, and have fulfilled a particular set of requirements, they would receive an Israeli ID stating they were “permanent residents” in the place they call home. The word “permanent” is used loosely here because Israel considers Palestinian Jerusalemites as “foreign immigrants” who reside in Jerusalem not as per their right of birth, but more so as a favour granted to them by the state.</p><p class="mag-quote-center" dir="ltr">Israel considers Palestinian Jerusalemites as “foreign immigrants”</p><p dir="ltr">Within the pile of papers, these teenagers have to present their school transcripts of the past three years. If they have attended schools outside of Jerusalem, they risk their residency being revoked. According to Israeli rights group B’Tselem, Israel has revoked the <a href="https://www.btselem.org/Jerusalem">status</a> of 14,500 Palestinians since 1967.</p><p dir="ltr">Most of the Jerusalemite youngsters, who speak Arabic and identify themselves as Palestinians in contradiction to the identification card they hold, would be enrolled at Arabic schools in East Jerusalem. The total number of students in Arab education in East Jerusalem, as per data acquired from <a href="https://www.acri.org.il/he/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/EJ-education-290317.pdf">the Jerusalem Education Authority</a> (JEA) is 110,496. Whereas the number of Arab children in Jerusalem (ages 3-18) is 127,198, which means that 16,702 Palestinian children, who constitute 13% of East Jerusalemite children of compulsory education age are <a href="http://www.ir-amim.org.il/en/node/2141">Vanished Children</a>. They are not registered in a known educational institution and are therefore unmonitored by authorities in the education system. </p><p dir="ltr"><strong>Schools under occupation</strong></p><p dir="ltr">Four types of schools offer education to Palestinian Jerusalemites. The first is <a href="https://www.civiccoalition-jerusalem.org/uploads/9/3/6/8/93682182/briefing_note_regarding_de-palestinization_of_education_in_occupied_east_jerusalem.pdf">Waqf Schools</a> that adopted the Palestinian curriculum in the academic year of 2000/2001 and operate under the Islamic Endowment Department. These schools had become affiliated with the Palestinian Ministry of Education in 1994; therefore the ministry oversees the provision of school supplies and covers the payroll of its employees.</p><p dir="ltr">The second type is private schools that are owned by an individual or a group of individuals, or operate under the supervision of charitable societies and churches. These schools rely on tuition fees or church donations to cover their expenses. However, 90% of private schools receive financial assistance from the Israeli Jerusalem municipality, hence adopt the Israeli curriculum.</p><p>The third type of schools is run by UNRWA that <a href="http://www.consilium.europa.eu/uedocs/cms_data/docs/pressdata/en/misc/70923.pdf">adopted</a> the Palestinian curriculum in 2000/2001 and is responsible for paying salaries and providing school supplies. However, due to the US government <a href="https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/01/cuts-unrwa-funding-180116193513823.html">decision</a>&nbsp;to cut funding to UNRWA, the education for 25,000 children is put in jeopardy.</p><p>The fourth type is schools supervised jointly by the Israeli Ministry of Education and the Jerusalem Municipality, where the former supervises the technical and logistical processes of the schools and covers expenses of elementary schools, and the latter covers expenses on secondary schools, appoints teachers and administrators and covers their payroll. It goes without saying that the Israeli curriculum is fully adopted at these schools.</p><p><strong>Subversion heritage through the curriculum</strong></p><p>After Trump’s decision to move the American embassy to Jerusalem, Israel has gained its ally’s backing to go even further in its control over the Palestinian part of Jerusalem. On what Israel calls Jerusalem day, i.e., the holiday that, according to Israelis, commemorates the reunification of Jerusalem and the establishment of Israeli control over the Old City in the aftermath of the June 1967 Six-day-war, and what Palestinians consider to be the Occupation of Jerusalem. The Israeli government made a number of decisions as part of a $560 million <a href="http://www.israelhayom.com/2018/06/01/israel-to-invest-560-million-in-neglected-palestinian-areas-in-jerusalem/">five-year plan</a> for the development of East Jerusalem. The objective of this plan is to mend the gap between East and West Jerusalem in the areas of education, employment, infrastructure and planning through investments. As reported by Israeli media, <a href="https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-cabinet-oks-billions-to-ramp-up-israeli-sovereignty-in-e-j-lem-1.6078168">the lion’s share</a> of the budget is allocated towards encouraging the transition of Palestinian schools in East Jerusalem to the Israeli curriculum.</p><p class="mag-quote-center">Trump’s decision has subliminally rectified the Israeli control over East Jerusalem</p><p dir="ltr">Trump’s decision has subliminally rectified the Israeli control over East Jerusalem. This control is apparent through the recent financial injections into the education sector in East Jerusalem, because as Israel sees it: knowledge is power, and if the new generation has a deluded image of their heritage, they would not be as threatening as the previous generations who had started the <a href="https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20171209-remembering-the-first-intifada-2/">first</a> and <a href="https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20170928-remembering-the-second-intifada/">second</a> intifada.</p><p>The Israeli government, through its Ministry of Education and the Jerusalem Municipality, has adopted a strategic and well-thought plan to tamper with the education of Palestinians in Jerusalem through its conditional funding of schools. Arabic schools suffer from various challenges that, in many cases, push them to accept Israeli funding in return for adopting the Israeli curriculum.</p><p dir="ltr">The Israeli curriculum was <a href="https://www.researchgate.net/publication/311450675_PRESENT_ABSENTEES_THE_ARAB_SCHOOL_CURRICULUM_IN_ISRAEL_AS_A_TOOL_FOR_DE-EDUCATING_INDIGENOUS_PALESTINIANS">first introduced</a> into the Palestinian education sector back in 2001, which has slowly but strategically been adapted and poised to allow for organic programming of the mind towards dissolving the image of the Palestinian story and the facts that have been documented throughout history to desensitize the young population, eventually normalizing occupation. The Israeli curriculum is tailored to erase the Palestinian identity from the mindset of young Palestinian students, and instil the concepts of Zionism and emphasizing loyalty towards the Israeli state.</p><p dir="ltr">Israeli authorities are responsible for the printing of textbooks used in Arab schools in Jerusalem that follow the Palestinian curriculum. The printing is executed post-review, and changes to the texts are made per the authority’s views and ideologies. These books are used in schools that do not receive funding from the Jerusalem Municipality.</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>Multiple authorities, multiple problems</strong></p><p dir="ltr">One of the most pressing issues facing the education sector in East Jerusalem is the subjugation to multiple authorities, which leads to the absence of an individualized supervising party responsible for setting a unified vision and objectives governing the practices within the Palestinian education sector in Jerusalem. A causative catalyst that eventually creates a vacuum, where Israeli agenda that aims at interfering in the affairs of Palestinian schools in Jerusalem, gains momentum.</p><p dir="ltr">In addition to having multiple authorities governing the education sector in Palestinian schools, which creates an imbalance in the philosophy of Palestinian education, schools face other challenges that halt the healthy evolvement of an educated Palestinian generation such as the lack of classrooms and rented buildings.</p><p dir="ltr">Moreover, Palestinian schools in Jerusalem suffer from a severe shortage of qualified and specialized educational staff due to low salaries paid by schools compared to salaries paid by the Israeli Municipality schools. The Israeli authorities also refuse to grant teachers holding West Bank IDs entry permits to Jerusalem, where they can be hired by schools in Jerusalem.</p><p dir="ltr">These challenges maximize the impact of the burdensome economic, social and humanitarian situation in East Jerusalem, and they affect students both directly and indirectly. Whereas 41% of male secondary school students drop out of schools to financially assist their households, 27% of females would be coerced into early marriages to relieve the financial burdens of their parents. </p><p dir="ltr">In light of the preceding issues, and the impact of the Israeli policies on East Jerusalemite Palestinians in the education system, specific measures need to be taken to ensure that the Right to Education is intact and concurrent with International laws and human rights agreements. International monitoring needs to be exercised on the education sector in East Jerusalemite schools to ensure the adherence of the Israeli curriculum to international treaties. Likewise, there is a need for appropriately managing school systems, allowing for the connection of education to the community’s heritage, culture, and national life.</p><p class="mag-quote-left" dir="ltr">Palestinian Jerusalemite youth are still resilient and are open to life in a place where all the odds are against them</p><p>The need for devising nationwide campaigns to raise awareness of the Palestinian Jerusalemite parents is crucial to counteract the practices done by the Israeli government through the Jerusalem Municipality and the Israeli Ministry of education, aiming at tampering with the Palestinian heritage.</p><p dir="ltr">The international community needs to increase its financial assistance to Palestinian school in East Jerusalem to motivate competent Palestinian teachers to join the Arabic education institutions. Additionally, there is a need to allocate strategic funds to satisfy criteria for suitable physical infrastructure, which includes closing the gap of missing classrooms correlating to the average increase in population.</p><p dir="ltr">That being said, Palestinian Jerusalemite youth are still resilient and are open to life in a place where all the odds are against them. However, they need the International community to stand with them to get a tailored education to their needs to preserve their national identity. </p><p>&nbsp;</p><div class="field field-city"> <div class="field-label">City:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Jerusalem </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Conflict </div> <div class="field-item even"> Democracy and government </div> <div class="field-item odd"> International politics </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> Middle East Forum North-Africa West-Asia Jerusalem Conflict Democracy and government International politics Israel and Palestine Ali Ghaith Mon, 23 Jul 2018 14:28:13 +0000 Ali Ghaith 118963 at https://www.opendemocracy.net مقلوبة https://www.opendemocracy.net/north-africa-west-asia/ali-ghaith <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p dir="rtl">في هذه اللحظة فقط، شعرت بأن حبي لهذه المدينة ينبع من تعاطفي مع أهلها السابقون واللاحقون. وعند اقتناعي بأن دور مدينة القدس هو تعليمنا درساً كونياً عن النفس البشرية، رأيت جمالها واستشعرت بقدسيتها ووقعت بحبّ ندوبها الداخلية والخارجية.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p dir="rtl"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/563417/randy-jacob-358648-unsplash_1.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title="مقلوبة"><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/563417/randy-jacob-358648-unsplash_1.jpg" alt="" title="مقلوبة" width="460" height="307" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'> Photo by Randy Jacob on Unsplash</span></span></span>"أنت تُحبّها.. وبالتأكيد سترجع لها..."</p><p dir="rtl">وُلِدْتُ وترعرعت في القدس؛ مدينةٌ طال الحديث عنها كمركز للصراع الأزلي. في مرحلة الرعونة الأولى من حياتي وبعد إنهاء اثني عشرة سنة في مدرسة مقدسيّة خاصة، أردت أن أبتعد عن القدس بشدة، لا بل حلمتُ بذاك اليوم وأنا أودّع أهلي وأقراني وأستهلُّ صفحة جديدة من حياتي، فقد كنت لا أطيق حجم السلبية والسّواد المجتمعي والسياسي آنذاك. بالفعل؛ حزمت أمتعتي لأنثر محتوياتها في خزانة صغيرة في مدينة إربد في الأردن. اخترت تخصصي الجامعي من الاحتمال الوحيد الذي طُرِحَ لي: إما أن تتعلم الطب أو ترجع إلى القدس. نعم كنت طفلاً وشاباً ذكياً وعدّوني من المتفوقين في المدرسة، لكنني تعمّدت الفشل في امتحان الثانوية العامّة نظراً لما كنت أمرّ به في تلك الفترة من مشاكل داخلية عائلية وخارجية نظراً للوضع السياسي آنذاك. أردت التمرّد والخروج عن النص، لكن عاكستني الظروف وحظيت بمعدّل علامات جيدة كانت تخولني دراسة ما شئت، فاخترت تخصص هندسة الجينات؛ فقد كان يفي بمتطلبات المجتمع والعائلة.</p><p dir="rtl">- &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;"آه والله إبني بيتعلّم هندسة جينات، الله يرضى عليه قد ما رمشت عينيه!"</p><p dir="rtl">- &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;"يا حفيظ! والله إشي بيرفع الراس!"</p><p dir="rtl">عشتُ حياة مزدوجة بكل ما تحمله الكلمة من معنى. فقد أثبتُّ أنني أستطيع تحصيل درجات عالية في دراستي، ولكن بذات الوقت كنت أهربُ إلى عالمي الصغير الكبير بمعزلٍ عن الجميع إلا مَن فتحت دائرتي لهم. كنت فضولياً مفكراً متحدثاً لا يهاب البحث والربط والتمحيص في كل ما يدور حوله. استهواني الجنس البشري؛ لماذا نتصرف هكذا؟ متى نكذب ومتى نقول الحقيقة؟ لماذا نحن هنا؟ لماذا أنا هنا؟. أسئلة كثيرة وعميقة سألتها لنفسي واستخلصت بعضاً من أجوبتها عن طريق محادثات الليل والنهار. كنت أتسلل إلى دفاتري وأتسلّح بأقلامي محاولاً الولوج إلى أعمق بقعة ممكنة.</p><p dir="rtl">لم أكن أفهم سبب هروبي من القدس. كانت مشاعري مختلطةً أتخبّط في دهاليزها. تارةً أشعر بالحب تجاه مدينتي وتارة أخرى أتجهّم عند ذكراها. تماماً كعلاقة سُميّة بين مُحبّيْن لا يستطيعون فراق بعضهم البعض وفي لحظة عاصفة يهدمون صوامعهم ويرحلون. وبعد مرور العاصفة، تجلبهم العاطفة لنفس المكان ويهمّون بِجَبْلِ ما دمّروا مبتسمين.</p><p class="mag-quote-center" dir="rtl">لطالما شعرت برابطة قوية تجمعني بالقدس. كانت أقوى من حبي العميق لأسرتي، أو للمقلوبة</p><p dir="rtl">في يوم جُمعةٍ هادئ، كنت أراجع دفتر ملاحظاتي تحضيراً لامتحانٍ في علم الأجنّة موعدهُ بعد عطلة نهاية الأسبوع. أنَحْتُ الدفتر جانباً وضغطت أزرار الهاتف المحول بغية سماع صوت أمي.&nbsp;</p><p dir="rtl">- &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;"ماذا تفعلين؟"</p><p dir="rtl">- &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;"أحضّر لطعام الغداء."</p><p dir="rtl">- &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;"في هذا الوقت الباكر من الصباح؟"</p><p dir="rtl">- &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;"أنت تعرفني يا ولدي، لا أغادرُ المنزل إلى عملي إلا وقد حضّرت الطعام."</p><p dir="rtl">- &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;"ماذا ستأكلون اليوم؟"</p><p dir="rtl">- &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;"المقلوبة... أتمنى لو كنت معنا."</p><p dir="rtl">بعد عدة ساعات، أدرتُ المفتاح في القفل، وضعت حقيبتي أرضاً، ابتسمت، وأخذت غفوةً على أريكةٍ في غرفة الجلوس. فتحت عينيّ إثرَ قبلةٍ رقيقة على الوجنة وصوت دافئ: "قوم يا حبيبي، المقلوبة سُخنة..."</p><p class="mag-quote-center" dir="rtl">أرى القدس كامرأةٍ غريبة الطابع والطالع. يتنازع على وصايتها كل من يراها</p><p dir="rtl">لطالما شعرت برابطة قوية تجمعني بالقدس. كانت أقوى من حبي العميق لأسرتي، أو للمقلوبة. لم يتجلّى لي السبب إلا بعد ما يقارب العشر سنوات من السفر حول العالم بطابع عملي، الذي اتخذ مسار الصحافة والإعلام. لأنها كانت الطريقة الوحيدة لفهم البشر والخروج من "دائرة دائرتي". فبحكم عملي، كنت أستمع لقصص الناس في العديد من البلدان العربية، كنت أستشفّ حبهم وكرههم لبلدانهم. كنت أتعاطف مع قصصهم الإنسانية وأتعلّم من نظرتهم السياسية. عندها أدركت أنّ الطريقة الوحيدة لفهم أنفسنا وأفكارنا ومشاعرنا هي بأن نعيش تجربة مَن يُشاركنا هذه الأرض.&nbsp;</p><p dir="rtl">" على هذه الأرض ما يستحق الحياة..." – محمود درويش&nbsp;</p><p dir="rtl">أرى القدس كامرأةٍ غريبة الطابع والطالع. يتنازع على وصايتها كل من يراها. تُصارع العبودية في عصرٍ اعتُبِرت العبودية فيه جُنحاً يحاسب عليه القانون الدولي. فعند بروز برعم زيتونٍ على جسدها، تتسارع شفرات الحلّاقين لتسوية الأسطح. وتتوالى النظرات والعبارات لإبقائها على خط سيرٍ محدد.</p><p dir="rtl">" لا تستطيعين استقبال الزوّار متى شئتِ! ماذا ستقول عنّا فرنسا والولايات المتحدة؟؟"</p><p dir="rtl">" سوف نجزّ شعركِ لنبني لكِ تاجاً اسمنتياً نفاخر به إيطاليا!"</p><p dir="rtl">"سوف نفصل أجزاءً من جسدك بجدارٍ عظيم."</p><p dir="rtl">"لن نسمح لأحد بالمساس بكِ. فنحن نحبك وأنتِ لنا فقط."</p><p dir="rtl">عبارات وأقوال وشعارات سمعتها هذه المدينة على ألسنٍ عربية وأجنبية بعدد شاماتها. لكنها تتحمّل وتصبر وتنتظر من يفهم لغتها المقدسية. تحتضن الغريب الذي يحمل آلة التصوير على عنقه وتُقبّل الغريبة التي تضيء شمعةً للروح القُدُس. تطبطب على جروح المراهق الذي يرمي حجراً على من يلبسون الخِوَذ وتتعاطف مع من يضغطون على الزناد لأن أفعالهم نتيجة أفكار رؤسائهم.</p><p dir="rtl">&nbsp;لم أفهم القدس إلا عندما فهمت نفسي وفهمت –نسبياً- أصل نشوء الفكر البشري. فالأفكار والمعتقدات التي تحوم في عقولنا ما هي إلا لُبُنات أفكار من سبقنا ومن سبقهم. والصراع الوجودي على أي بقعة في الأرض ينبع من مقام حاجة للانتماء وتفعيل سبب الكينونة. فترانا نفنّد الأفكار ونبرر الأفعال حتى نصل لمرحلة من الرضى دون أخذ غيرنا بعين الاعتبار. فما هو لنا لا يصح أن يكون لمن لا يطابق معاييرنا.</p><p dir="rtl">عندما أمشي في شوارع القدس وأراقب اليهودي والمسلم والمسيحي، أبتسم وأمتعض. فهذا هو المكان الوحيد في العالم الذي يشعر كلٌّ من الثلاثة بأحقيته فيه. واستعدادهم للبقاء والدفاع عن بقعتهم الملموسة وغير الملموسة فيه ما هو إلا صرخة توسّل داخلية وتعلّق عاطفي بفكرة مدينة القدس. أبتسم لأنني أشهد الفرد في "أقوى" لحظات ضعفه، وهذا ما يجمعنا، وأمتعض لأننا نلجأ لدحض الآخر وهو في أشد حالات ضعفه. وبما أننا نتمسك بعنفواننا وخيلائنا، ولا نسمح لأحد بأن يستشعر ضعفنا واحتياجنا فإننا نعتصم بمشاعر البغض والكراهية لكي نخيف من يقترب إلى محصول قمحنا.</p><p dir="rtl">في هذه اللحظة فقط، شعرت بأن حبي لهذه المدينة ينبع من تعاطفي مع أهلها السابقون واللاحقون. وعند اقتناعي بأن دور مدينة القدس هو تعليمنا درساً كونياً عن النفس البشرية، رأيت جمالها واستشعرت بقدسيتها ووقعت بحبّ ندوبها الداخلية والخارجية. ولم أستطع استكمال الحديث عنها بسلبية كما كنت أتغنّى سابقاً. أستطيع القول بأنني سامحت القدس عندما سامحت نفسي. فأنا لست مثالياً، فكيف أتوقّع المثالية منها ومن سكانها. فكلنا يصارع شياطينه وكلنا يركض وراء رغباته وحاجاته. فقط عندما يتوصل عشاق القدس إلى تقبّل عيوبهم الداخلية سيتوصلون إلى تحرير عشيقتهم من براثن المتملّكين عاشقي السلطة والنفوذ. فليس كل من يقطن فيها يحبها لأجل السبب ذاته؛ فمنهم من يراها موقعاً استراتيجياً ينفع خططتهم في التوسع الاقتصادي والأيديولوجي. ومنهم من يراها اسماً يتغنّون به في المحافل الدولية لقبض الديّة والاحتفاظ بالجزء الأكبر منها لبناء قصورهم وتعليم أولادهم في الجامعات الراقية.</p><p dir="rtl">&nbsp;كلّنا خطاؤون وأنانيون، لكن كلنا بشر ولنا عقول تستمع للمنطق. صحيحٌ أننا لا نستمع للنقد غالباً ونتجه للدفاع عن موقفنا فضلاً عن الإنصات والإصلاح. من الجانب الآخر، كلنا نبحث عن الأمان والحرية والديموقراطية والأمل؛ نتبعُ أثَرَ رائحتهم في كل صوب وفي كل جلسة أمم متحدة وفي كل خطابٍ لرئيس أو ملك. ننبّش عن التفاؤل في كل تغريدةٍ أو منشور فيسبوكيّ. وعندما لا نجده، نكذب ونصوّره في حيواتنا ومجالسنا الفكرية وخطاباتنا السياسية. لكن إن سألتم أي مقدسي، ستجدونه ينتظر بأمل حتى يغفو ويستفيق على مدينة قُلِبَت سبع مرات لكنه سيبقى يحبّها.</p><p>"قوموا يا أحبائي، المقلوبة ساخنة..."</p><div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> North-Africa West-Asia Middle East Forum North-Africa West-Asia Ali Ghaith Fri, 20 Jul 2018 15:30:30 +0000 Ali Ghaith 118950 at https://www.opendemocracy.net My scorched land: the story of Sardasht’s unhealed wounds https://www.opendemocracy.net/north-africa-west-asia/ahmad-mohammadpour/my-scorched-land-story-of-sardasht-s-unhealed-wounds <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>The story of Sardasht is a perfect example of the dark days of the Iranian regime’s unbridled hegemony over the Kurds. </p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/562712/photo_2018-07-19_06-32-54 copy.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/562712/photo_2018-07-19_06-32-54 copy.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="614" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>One of the many survivors still suffering from the lack of medical attention from the government. Picture courtesy of Awat Rostamyani. All rights reserved. </span></span></span>Over the past few decades, Sardasht – a Kurdish city located in the western Azerbaijan province of Iran - has endured too much pain and neglect. The city can best illustrate the dynamics and mechanics of ethnic discrimination and suppression by the Iranian regime against the Kurds. </p><p> As a small city, however, Sardasht once had a long and glorious history, one with several episodes of success. For instance, it played a decisive role in the emergence and expansion of Kurdish nationalism during both the Pahlavi and Islamic regimes. Hence, what this city has gone through under the Iranian regime is by no means accidental. Sardasht was the first city that was brutally gassed by Saddam on Jun 28, 1987, during the Iran–Iraq war, a barbarous attack without any military and political justification. </p> <p> Sardasht is also called the “second Hiroshima” because it was the first city to witness a massacre of unarmed innocent civilians since the atomic bombardment of Hiroshima and Nagasaki during World War II. Its small population – which hardly amounted to 20,000 people in the 1980s – makes Sardasht’s case unique in a horrifying way. </p> <p> A total of four chemical bombs were dropped over the city during a single day. In just a few hours, hundreds of people, including women and children, were killed, while thousands of injured had to grapple with the long-lasting mental and physical effects of the attack, which persist to the present day. This barbaric carnage was not condemned by the International community at that time nor did the Islamic regime recognize it in the official calendar until many years later. </p> <p> At that time, I was a fifth-grade student, so I can remember those dark days fairly well. My oldest brother found our uncle’s deceased body lying in a hospital in Isfahan, about 15 hours away from our city. Because his body was burnt like charcoal, it could only be identified by the watch that he used to wear. I remember that our aunt, years after the bombing, still insisted that my uncle “Qader is alive, he might come back someday; how do we know for sure that it was Qader whom we buried?” </p> <p> When he died, he left his seven little daughters for my aunt to raise alone – a burden much heavier than she could carry. The depth and scope of the tragedy in Sardasht would be impossible to describe in a small essay. As a child, I found myself asking, why did it have to happen in this small city? Why not in a bigger one? </p> <p>Our generation witnessed the war in its cruelest, ugliest and most inhumane form. In this war, we – Iranian Kurds – were a nameless, defenseless people living in the unmarked territory; we were like an open laboratory in which the Iranian regime could run their dreadful experiments. I was telling myself that both the Iraqi and Iranian warplanes drop their last bombs on Sardasht to return to their bases with less weight and entirely unloaded. </p> <p><span class="mag-quote-center">Both the Iraqi and Iranian warplanes drop their last bombs on Sardasht</span></p><p>We had to pay the price for our ethnicity, religion, language, and identity; this was a toll we were required to pay every day. It reminds me of the Roman legal notion of Homo Sacer, a person who is banned&nbsp;from society and may be killed by anybody. This was almost true for us as we were excluded both from the protection of the law and the domain of the sovereign. </p> <p>During part of my elementary years, as a student, I lived under bridges, hiding in natural shelters, constantly running from the airstrikes. Agriculture and ranching had collapsed due to continuous bombardment. A lot of farms were turned into militarist garrisons or minefields, which were never cleared. </p> <p>Two decades after the end of the war, it is estimated that there are still some sixteen million landmines laying hidden throughout the four Kurdish provinces of Iran. More than 4,000 people, mostly women and children have lost their lives due to mine explosions. As soon as the war ended, the regime began to establish military, political, and ideological institutions in Sardasht; thousands of people were forced to join the newly formed local militia run by the government. The increasing militarization of the region served as an excuse for the regime to refuse to in<em>vest in infrastructure</em>, as well as in social and economic development programs.&nbsp; </p><p> By the end of the 1990s, Sardasht had become entirely dominated by military institutions such as the “Selection Department” (<em>Haste Gozinesh</em> in Farsi) whose goal was to determine who is qualified for government jobs or university admissions. The regime was specifically concerned about Sardasht. The regime commanders who “served” in Sardasht enjoyed a quick promotion, taking the highest military and political offices. Serving in Sardasht allowed unparalleled privileges for those immersed in the regime apparatus. From the regime’s eyes, Sardasht looked like a workshop, where the “Soldiers of Islam” had developed and promoted unique war skills, learning the techniques necessary to fight the “anti-revolutionary elements”, “separatist groups”, “Umarist” (a term denoting Sunni Muslims negatively), “perverts”, “Kurdistan’s outlaws” as well as any other “inimical and degenerate group.” </p> <p>After the war, the same “Soldiers of Islam” began to defame and vilify the people of Sardasht. They did so by forging untrue and baseless stories. Now, the people who were brutally scapegoated and deprived were being introduced as “beheader”, “traitor” and “killer” of the “Soldiers of Islam”. As a student who lived in non–Kurdish regions, I personally suffered from such humiliations over and over. Sardasht became a scapegoat. </p> <p>The regime used to carve its name on the gravestone of any of its unknown “martyr” in order to further agitate public opinion against Kurds. Once my university roommate admitted that he had not slept enough in the weeks preceding the day we first met. He explained that he was too scared of me and thought that I might behead him in the middle of the night. Many of my generation shared similar experiences when interacting with non-Kurds. </p> <p>Sardasht, however, was an exceptional target for the fictions and myths promoted by the regime. Not only had we to endure the pervasive harassment by non–Kurds, but we also had to keep silent in face of the implicit and explicit abuse promoted by the regime’s media.</p> <p><span class="mag-quote-center">Some of these officials would, years later, become the so-called “reformists.”</span>&nbsp; </p><p> Perhaps many among the youngest generations are not yet aware of the calamitous policies implemented by the Selection Department between 1989 and 2000, when the regime, with the collaboration of local officials and mercenaries, planned to take control over university admissions and government jobs. Some of these officials would, years later, become the so-called “reformists.” </p> <p>The regime, aided by local Basijs (a semi – military institution), began to fabricate false political and moral records for the youth and poor families. Indeed, these years marked a period of inquisition and interrogation in almost every Kurdish region, not just Sardasht. I finished high school in 1995, when I was preparing for the college admissions exam (called Conquer in Farsi). I witnessed first-hand what my friends and then myself went through.</p> <p>In such a small city that grappled with an unbearable pain and misery caused by eight years of war, still suffering from the 1980s chemical attacks, tens of students were denied university admission despite having some of the highest exam scores. To show a measure of the disaster, only 10 to 15 students were allowed to enroll to universities out of 70 students who had passed the exam.</p> <p>Sardasht is a perfect example of the dark days of unbridled hegemony of the regime’s intelligence services. Thenceforth, hundreds of Sardasht students were deprived from entering the university. Young students who were young children or not even born when the Islamic Revolution took place in 1979 now had to be interrogated by regime officials for allegedly collaborating with the Kurdish opposition or opposing the “Islamic Revolution.” They were forced to confess to what they have never done or to prove that they were “revolutionary” enough and sided with the government. </p> <p>Many of us were denied admission or employment for having a small radio or attending events such as a wedding. As a result of this harassment, many students dropped out of school and entered the labor force. Some fled from Iran or joined the Kurdish political parties. I knew some who, suffering from permeant psychological breakdown, ended up committing suicide.</p> <p>The Iranian regime took different turns in the last four decades. For the Kurds, new policies represented both changes and continuities. The discourse of securitization and militarization of the region (especially Sardasht) remained almost intact. The regime’s insistence on the de-indigenization of local administrative bodies, combined with placing non-Kurds in key political and economic positions, has resulted in the increasing underdevelopment of the region. </p> <p>Each year, tens of households are relegated to work in brick factories in non–Kurdish areas – mostly, in central Iran – which in turn has caused numerous problems. Besides, a large number of people (known as <em>Kolber</em> in Farsi) are currently engaging in the dangerous cross-border trade across the Iran and Iraq border because of absolute poverty and lack of other opportunities. These traders are often ambushed and brutally killed by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps. Over the past years, around 200 <em>Kolbers</em> – Kurdish tradespeople – were reportedly shot and killed. </p> <p>Despite all that has happened, Sardasht has survived the regime’s brutal policies; its people are still on their feet, standing and resisting the regime by every means. Sardasht is illustrative of the 1980s and 1990s Iran, and perhaps the Middle East at large: a unique case that illustrates the emergence, expansion, and destructiveness of totalitarian sovereignty, with its ruthless and tyrannical apparatus, in this case the Iranian regime.</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/ahmad-mohammadpour/looking-from-within-is-nuclear-deal-big-deal-for-iranian-p">Looking from within: is the nuclear deal a big deal for the Iranian people?</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/jubin-afshar/iran-gripped-by-strikes-and-protests">Iran gripped by strikes and protests </a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/julie-wark/to-become-bit-more-human-review-of-bel-n-fern-ndez-letter-from-ira">To become a bit more human: Review of Belén Fernández, “Letter from Iran”</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/dunia-assa-farman-farmaian/kurds-choices-heed-history-or-us"> Kurds’ choices: heed history or the US?</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Iran </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Conflict </div> <div class="field-item even"> Democracy and government </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> North-Africa West-Asia North-Africa West-Asia Iran Conflict Democracy and government Kurds Ahmad Mohammadpur Thu, 19 Jul 2018 11:42:21 +0000 Ahmad Mohammadpur 118929 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Is there a role for the EU in the Moroccan Rif crisis? https://www.opendemocracy.net/can-europe-make-it/mohammed-ben-jelloun/is-there-role-for-eu-in-moroccan-rif-crisis <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p class="normal">For Rabat, the challenge will be to access the EU funds and more while getting away from any significant EU impact. That is, even if it means faking Europeanization.<strong><em></em></strong></p> </div> </div> </div> <p class="normal"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/PA-35935309.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/PA-35935309.jpg" alt="lead " title="" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" width="460" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Emmanuel Macron receives the King of Morocco Mohammed VI on 10 April 2018 in Paris. Christian Liewig/Press Association. All rights reserved.</span></span></span></p><p class="normal">Experts say EU-Morocco mutual stabilization strategy mostly benefits the regime in Morocco. Rabat is using its political relationship with Brussels as a strategy to credit and stabilize its regime, rather than as an opportunity to progress along the democratization path. And up to now Brussels has fully backed Morocco’s game of security and migration. </p> <p class="normal">That is, at the expense of top priorities such as Europeanization of the Mediterranean southern shore and establishing a supranational power over member-states, including a protected non-member state such as Morocco. The EU, therefore, ought to review its policy. It ought to strike a balance between backing Moroccan top-down regionalization and supporting bottom-up Rifian regionalism. In particular, it ought to condition any likely Moroccan eligibility for European Structural Funds on the granting of autonomous rule to the Rif-region.</p> <p class="normal">“Advanced regionalization” is the latest development in Rabat’s enduring EU solicitation strategy. Beyond security and migration cooperation, Rabat has always (and not unsuccessfully) sought maximal cooptation into the EU. By self-styling as a regionalized democracy, it obviously wishes for access to the European internal market, to diverse EU funds, and it ultimately wishes for political recognition of its autocratic regime and its autonomy proposal for Western Sahara. <span class="mag-quote-center">Rabat has always (and not unsuccessfully) sought maximal cooptation into the EU.</span></p> <h2 class="normal"><strong>Liberalized autocracy</strong></h2> <p class="normal">I remember Autumn 1984 in Bruges (Belgium) when professor Raymond Rifflet, half amused and half surprised, informed our class: “Le sultan du Maroc vient de déposer une demande d’adhésion à la Communauté Européenne”. (King Hassan’s application has been officially rejected in 1987, which did not dissuade the then crown prince Mohamed from studying at the headquarters of the European Commission in Brussels in the late 1980s.) Indeed, in default of full EU membership in the 1980s, Rabat sought a quasi-membership. As the world of the 1990s obviously required liberalization, it sought to adapt by inaugurating a political liberalization process. In order for their regime to survive, king Hassan II, and then his son Mohammed VI set out to manufacture what D. Brumberg dubbed ‘liberalized autocracy’. In particular, Mohammed VI needed to accomplish some visible progress in order to officially present himself in a reassuring light to the international community, hence Regionalization touted as the great political project of his coming reign.</p> <p class="normal">Morocco is the first country in the southern Mediterranean region to be granted advanced status (‘more than association, less than membership’). This quasi-membership allows the regime to benefit both materially and mediatically. It allows it to maximally benefit from EU aid, trade, and mobility, while getting away from the conditionality policy of full EU accession. </p> <p class="normal">The partnership also promotes the regime’s international reputation, amplifying its ‘liberalization’ discourse and its rhetoric of Moroccan ‘exceptionalism’ in the MENA region. Granted on October 13, 2008, the status was like a gift from heaven. What, on November 6, 2008, was officially designated as Advanced Regionalization was thought to capitalize on the opportunity to ‘further advance the Advanced Status’.</p> <h2 class="normal"><strong>Advanced Regionalization</strong></h2> <p class="normal">The joint EU-Morocco Advanced Status document invites the parties to a "joint reflection ... with a view to taking a new step towards access to Community financial resources from 2013 onwards, to accompany Morocco in a logic of EU regional and cohesion policy and adoption of new implementation procedures." This prompted a collaborative research programme exploring the possibilities of extending the methodology of structural funds to Morocco. The team, including L. Jaïdi, a previously Advisor to the Prime Minister and to the Minister of Economy and Finance, found that a full extension of regional policy in Morocco could have a financial impact amounting to multiplying the current cooperation by 14. Moroccan decision-makers were consequently advised “not to miss the opportunity” of such a “qualitative leap in financial cooperation with Morocco.”</p> <p class="normal">As with the creation of Europe’s Regional Development Agencies (RDAs) in the UK, Sweden, or the candidate member-state Turkey, the Moroccan <em>Agences régionales d’exécution de projets</em> (AREPs) may have been expressly set up to anticipate the reception of EU’s regional policies. By regionalizing their countries, <em>member-states</em> <em>de facto </em>do allow EU’s regional policies to have more impact in their territories. It is doubtful, however, that the AREPs will serve Brussels’ objectives of Europeanization whether from inside or outside the EU. One guess is that Rabat will not submit to any <em>acquis communautaire</em> or any EU liberal-democratic constraints. </p> <p class="normal">For Rabat, the challenge will be to access the EU funds and so much more while getting away from any significant EU impact. That is, even if it means faking Europeanization. It would be a different case if Rabat were to Europeanize from ‘outside’ the EU, having no claims whatsoever on the so attractive funds, particularly if it proceeds out of political decency and not out of autocratic benevolence or for the sake of neo-liberal adaptation.</p> <h2 class="normal"><strong>Beyond fake Europeanization?</strong></h2> <p class="normal">The European approach has been cautious and willing to praise Moroccan progress rather than sanction its failures. In fact, Morocco has succeeded in silencing the EU on human rights, democracy and self-determination. Experts say “Indicators for Morocco clearly show that the country has not progressed much in its democratic record, this picture has not changed since the ‘Arab Spring’... Despite the failures in Moroccan democratisation processes, as well as a lack of improvement in the Western Sahara dossier... despite its worsening human rights record… the EU has welcomed Moroccan democratic progress and stability, and deepened commercial and trade relationships with the country.” <span class="mag-quote-center">Will Brussels now equally speak out about the human rights and suffering of the Rif population?</span></p> <p class="normal">The EU <em>declaration</em> that adopted the Advanced Status does “welcome Morocco's intention to strengthen decentralization and promote regional development." Will Brussels now equally speak out about the human rights and suffering of the Rif population? As a student of EU politics I believe there is now a role for Brussels to play in Morocco. I believe the Rif crisis gives it an opportunity to create counterbalances: Alhoceima’s rising bottom-up regionalism against Rabat’s failing top-down regionalization and the severely neglected Rifian non-member region against the spoiled Moroccan non-member state.</p> <p class="normal">Will Brussels put the necessary pressure on the Moroccan regime and its European protectors; the French and Spanish former colonial powers? So far it did not instrumentalize trade and the access to the internal European market, nor did it apply any sort of conditionality towards Rabat. It remains to be seen whether, in the event of a Moroccan request, Brussels will simply authorize EU-Morocco cohesion funds and renounce any kind of domestic impact in return. Or whether it will choose to trade the coveted European Structural Funds for the autonomy of the Rif-region.</p><p class="normal"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/22502CF453E548B0B2A459E73CCDB287.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/22502CF453E548B0B2A459E73CCDB287.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" width="460" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Flags at last Sunday's demonstration in Rabat. DR. All rights reserved. </span></span></span></p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/can-europe-make-it/john-weeks/free-markets-and-decline-of-democracy">Free markets and the decline of democracy</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Morocco </div> <div class="field-item even"> EU </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Democracy and government </div> <div class="field-item even"> Economics </div> <div class="field-item odd"> International politics </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> Can Europe make it? Can Europe make it? North-Africa West-Asia EU Morocco Democracy and government Economics International politics Mohammed Ben Jelloun Wed, 18 Jul 2018 09:09:13 +0000 Mohammed Ben Jelloun 118915 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Challenges of fieldwork in Egypt: changing/challenging theoretical leanings https://www.opendemocracy.net/north-africa-west-asia/mona-abaza-noha-fikry/challenges-of-fieldwork-in-egypt-changingchallenging-th <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p class="western">How can we ethnographically ground postmodern interest in human-animal relations?</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><em><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/562712/4526482783_482d4608c1_z.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/562712/4526482783_482d4608c1_z.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="305" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Manshiyet Nasir, Cairo. Picture by Joseph Hill / Flickr.com. Some rights reserved (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).</span></span></span>This is another part in a series curated by <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/author/mona-abaza">Mona Abaza</a> on the dilemmas and contradictions researchers encounter in undertaking research in the Middle East. The idea of listening to social scientists on the processes of the production of knowledge has been inspired from Michael Burawoy’s concept of &nbsp;‘public sociology’, which he initiated and was followed by other sociologists who carried out further interviews with social scientists in ‘Global Dialogue’. </em></p> <p class="western"><em>These articles attempt to focus on questions of methodology, equally, on the obstacles encountered by researchers when undertaking fieldwork in enduring political upheavals. It will also attempt to highlight the multiple and varied trajectories and voices which a younger generation of social scientists in the Middle East have been confronting. </em> </p> <h3><strong>Egypt = Politics?</strong></h3> <p class="western">Towards the end of my BA degree in anthropology at the American University in Cairo, I was introduced to a new body of literature, namely that which deals with human-animal relations (some of these fall under posthumanism while others don’t). I gradually came to appreciate, even fall under the spell of the animal and its worlds, and the opening of our thought and categories once we try to step outside the overused category of “human”. I felt a freshness, newness, and a breath-taking inspiration whenever I was assigned to read a book on forests, trees, dogs, or even mushrooms. Growing with the same ideas, similar views, and quite homogeneous body of literature for four years, this new theoretical oeuvre seemed very intriguing and I slowly felt that this is what I want to continue pursuing and experimenting with in my MA research/thesis. </p> <p class="western">Slowly yet surely, this infatuation with human-animal literature came to an ambivalence. Upon thinking about my topic, and coming to choose an ethnographic “field site” for my research, I came to realize how difficult it is to ethnographically ground this postmodern interest in human-animal relations. For a couple of months, I began experimenting with different ethnographic possibilities through which this interest can be realized. I began with stray animals. I followed stray cats and dogs, fed them, and tried to ask people wandering in the streets how they felt/reacted to/dealt with these stray animals inhabiting the metropolis. </p> <p class="western">The only way to structure this idea or ethnographically explore it was perhaps through volunteering in a dog/cat shelter or following an animal rescue team. For me this was a bit limited, and a bit too insincere. I was not really interested in “saving” any animals wandering the streets, nor was I ever intrigued by whether they really need to be saved or how these relations unfold. </p> <p class="western">A few months later, this proved to be a complete failure. I cannot speak anything but human, that’s the first challenge. Second challenge or rather sweeping conclusion/realization is that most of what I read under posthumanism, multispecies ethnography, or human-animal relations (with perhaps very few exceptions) are largely philosophical and rarely ethnographic. Trying to translate this interest into a fertile ground for ethnographic research proved futile.</p> <p class="western">I then gradually, and with the guidance of my mentors, chose to settle for rooftops and the human-animal relations taking place through the rearing of goats, chickens, rabbits, etc. What these rooftops offer is indeed a closed, structured, fixed ground for research, with a sustained and intimate interspecies bond. Rooftops also playfully hover over a boundary of urban/rural with the practice of rearing animals on top of buildings of/in Cairo - the grand metropolis imagined solely for modern humans and perhaps pets regarded as family or friends but indeed never as food. </p> <p class="mag-quote-center">Most critiques amounted more or less to a conviction that the topic is devoid of politics</p> <p class="western">My theoretical coming of age, or rather taken more lightly as an experimentation for my MA thesis, brought to the fore many criticisms, challenges, and harsh comments – all so fruitful in thought and growth, however. Since its very first moment of birth, my topic (rooftops but interspecies relations more broadly) was usually regarded as so light, apolitical, and quite bourgeois/Californian in outlook. I was repeatedly criticized for choosing this topic and this body of research to begin with. Most critiques amounted more or less to a conviction that the topic is devoid of politics (even though this was before I began fieldwork), a blasphemous choice of topic indeed. This was for me part and parcel of a wider imagination of the “Middle Eastern social scientist” as inherently interested in Politics - a term that requires serious problematization. As living breathing beings post-2011, there seemed to be an unquestionable but also non-negotiable expectation that you need to speak about politics, about surviving massacres, about questions of governmentality and Foucault and Agamben. </p> <p class="western">While this is all potentially true, what if I am not interested in this particular brand of politics? As a becoming social scientist, I was trained and raised to research with all my being, and to have a particular very intimate and personal affinity with what I research. That said, then, are we assuming that all post-2011 Egyptian social scientists have authored and survived outwardly political biographies? What if my relationship to Politics is not that straightforward, direct, or even interesting for me to research? By Politics (deliberately used in upper case) here I mean state relations, governmentality, questions of revolutions, coups, and struggles for autonomy – or that is as far as I understood. More crudely, the critique was targeting a prioritization of the devastated, depressed, crushed, state-oppressed citizen over the fluff of an animal or an interest in what an interspecies relation might offer. </p> <p class="western">Firstly, this definition and understanding of politics is quite limited, narrowly structured, and does not allow for any actual improvisation through ethnographic realities. Secondly and more importantly, this critique stems from an expectation that goes against our ideals as autonomous, personal, sincere, genuine, and postcolonial researchers of the Middle East and more specifically Egypt. The critique expects and perhaps even forces a homogeneity in how “Egypt” needs to be researched, written about, discussed, and published at the moment. Thirdly, this raises very important questions about the politics of the academy, the making and growing of academics and more specifically in this part of the world, but also the nature of what topics are/should be given attention based on how “politically sexy” they are seen to be and can be marketed as – which is again very ingenuous to how social sciences and especially anthropology have taught us to become and think of ourselves. </p> <p class="western">More important than all of the previous is actually that we can never know if a topic is “political” before we see how it unfolds on the ground. I was again trained and raised to first and foremost take people, and their lives, seriously. Our topics and researches are thus primarily shaped by our interlocutors’ worlds and livelihoods, and not our theoretical leanings, academic imaginations, or self-fulfilling prophecies of how Egypt should be narrated at one point in time. I was increasingly uncertain and insecure about my topic, and felt like such a failure. Yet as quite expected, fieldwork grounded, transformed, and took the topic completely elsewhere – with yet more challenges to face, deal with, and unpack.</p> <h3 class="western">From animals to making a living: ethnographic maturations </h3> <p class="western">Once I began fieldwork, I came to face the challenge of “translating” my interests and anthropological backgrounds to my interlocutors who are all living in impoverished, lower-middle class neighborhoods around Cairo (namely, M<em>agra il-oyoun</em>, <em>Istabl ‘antar</em>, and <em>Il-kilo 4 wi nus</em>). For the first few weeks, I was repeatedly regarded as a veterinarian or a medical student interested in viruses and how they navigate across species.&nbsp; </p><p class="western">Whenever I asked about rooftops, I was given “model answers” of how much a chicken eats, how frequently a rabbit gives birth, or how often a goat mates. I began thinking of new ways to express what I am working on and explain my research. I told them that I am interested in their lives with these animals, their memories of some of the dead ones, and why they keep rooftops in the very first place. </p> <p class="western">Given these challenges and the reactions to a “researcher interested in animals”, I never ever used any sound recorders, notebooks, or any other devices or ways of recording that gave off this aura of “academic research”. I wanted to make it clear, by verbal expression but also by doing, that I am interested in a long-term, sustained, everyday, banal intimacy through which I can further gain access to these rooftop worlds and how my interlocutors actually make meaning of their presence. Seven months elapsed and I was never able to fully express anthropology or what it is exactly that I study at the university. I stayed the “<em>duktura</em>” (the doctor), without further details needed. Gradually, however, my interlocutors did understand and fully comprehend my interest in stories, memories, relations, and intimacies, and how these give way to how they saturate their livelihoods through the presence and growth of rooftop cycles of life. </p> <p class="western">That said, however, the kinds of stories shared and “fieldwork” more broadly was quite different from what I had initially expected. I did not actually get to spend that much time on rooftops, or “build relations” with goats, rabbits, or chickens. I visited my interlocutors once per week, sometimes once bi-weekly, and stayed there for at least 4-5 hours, only 30 min of which would be spent on the actual rooftops. I realized that the relationship with these animals is not as enchanted as I wished it to be, and that most of my interlocutors spend perhaps an hour or two per day, at best, on the rooftop. This made it difficult for me to ask to stay up there for longer, since for them this was strange and unjustifiable – why would you want to stay in that hot weather, with almost no shade, with screaming goats, chickens, and rabbits, when you can stay down, drink some cool over sugared Coca-Cola (that I quitted for a year but couldn’t refuse), and listen to us telling you all the stories that you would ever want to hear?</p> <p class="western">The stories shared, however, were again very different from what I had expected. There were indeed stories of love, attachment, grief, and loss among these multispecies rooftop worlds, yet there were also stories of dystopian realities, financial challenges, and struggles to make a living. My research topic then took a turn that I never expected or saw coming, namely how rooftops are valorized as outlets of access to proper food that is otherwise absolutely impossible to obtain. </p> <p class="western">As weeks and months of fieldwork elapsed, my interlocutors across all the three homes I always frequented took so much pride in knowing where their food comes from. They would always tell me how different everything they eat tastes (cleaner, safer, and indeed tastier) since they have grown it so intimately and lovingly. It felt so empowering and liberating for them not only to have access to proteins (with an otherwise class position that allows them almost no consistent access to meat or poultry) but also to know everything that has been put in a chicken/goat/rabbit’s belly since its very first day of birth. This then becomes a matter of a particular taste culture – one that valorizes home-grown food, as opposed to perhaps those bourgeois initiatives similarly relying on a home-grown agenda yet for a more commercial and class restricted audience – but also a sense of class empowerment taking place only through one finding a way out through exhausting a set of intimate resources such as rooftops and inherited habits such as rearing animals on these rooftops available for use. </p> <p class="western">Multispecies worlds were thus here pulled to a drift towards access to food and knowing where one’s food comes from – something that I as a middle-class researcher never ever thought of or had the opportunity to examine where my food comes from or how I relate to it. Yet more broadly, and again only with ethnographic practice and fieldwork intimacies over a number of months, this was also about a very different and intimate way of perceiving and relating to one’s surroundings. Access to food, and knowing one’s chickens and meat by heart requires a fundamental knowledge of and relationship with the surrounding environment. All my interlocutors, for example, knew the origins of the trees around them, the chains of animals inhabiting their neighborhoods and how to deal with each, the change of seasons and how this affects each of the species they grow, and how their lives are implicated in broader ecological webs of relation. They have a very unique and distinctive mastery over their environment, sustained through these multispecies relations on the rooftop but also how they live in synchrony with their surrounding species of all kinds – a synchrony that might also sometimes include killings, eatings, or eradications rather than just a loving intimate relationship of live and let live. </p> <p class="western">This change/maturation as to what I am researching primarily has to do with how concepts travel and are molded differently through the ethnographic worlds we explore. Those interspecies relations that I have read about translate in Egypt very particularly and uniquely, as stories of environments and ecological relations, but also making a living and navigating a financial/class precarity, along with indeed ever problematizing our urban/rural divide through the lens of a rather distinctive case of (urban) farming taking place on rooftops. </p> <h3 class="western">The ethnographer under a microscope </h3> <p class="western">With all these stories in mind, I was also held captive as an upper-middle class researcher so frequently visiting the various rooftops I encountered (mainly through an extended familial connection). In speaking about how intimately they know what they eat, I was always made fun of and teased for being such a picky eater (I only eat chicken breasts out of every other meaty protein) but also for having no basic knowledge of where my chicken come from, what they were fed, how they were grown, etc. This is indeed very true; as a middle-class kid, I have no knowledge and never sought to know anything more than how my chicken tastes perhaps. I increasingly felt how ignorant, problematic, and fooled I am in this particular regard.&nbsp; </p><p class="western">With that in mind, the rooftop was always a bountiful space that is also quite private but also vulnerable to the evil eye (<em>hasad</em>). Before beginning fieldwork, mama repeatedly advised me to say<em> mash’Allah</em> (may God bless) whenever I see any animal or whenever I even step on the rooftop. She told me that rooftops are quite private, and usually regarded as such an (economic but also social) asset that cannot be openly shared with anyone – hence why I never took photographs nor inquired about “numbers” of chickens or animals raised on the rooftop. Yet somehow, this was never enough. After four months of fieldwork, I was once visiting while one goat was very weakly pregnant. I asked Soso, my 17-year old interlocutor taking care of the rooftop with her mom, whether this is normal and she told me that this particular goat always grows so sick whenever she is pregnant and that I will only come in a week or two to find her running around with her new kids. </p> <p class="western">The following week I called to ask if I can pass by and asked how the goat was doing. Soso went silent and told me that she will tell me once I arrive home. I went the next day to find out that the goat did deliver two kids. Two days later one of her kids passed away, followed by the other kid, and one day later the mother goat died too. Everyone was grieving, but I was also denied access to the rooftop ever since that incident. Whenever I indirectly asked if I can join Soso as she went up to the rooftop, they would change the subject or just tell me how hot it would be up there and how tiring the stairs would inevitably be. In a few weeks, I stopped trying and fully relied on sitting in the living room, eating, drinking excessive doses of tea, Coca Cola, watching TV series, and talking about rooftop news and animal stories. Although I was never directly confronted, this was quite surely about the evil eye and suspicions around me being again a researcher, hopping on every week, checking on the rooftop and asking strange questions about chickens and their relationships with their animals, while accidents of this sort take place. Some distance needed to be made and sustained.</p> <p class="western">Yet while this denied access from the rooftop was in place, I was still more than welcomed (in fact encouraged) to come visit and spend some time with them every week or two. To make up for all these meals, teas, drinks I consume every single visit with almost no return, I would buy a box of eastern sweets, cake, chocolate, makeup for Soso who is about to be married, or story books for the little children with every single visit (costing around EGP 50-80 per visit). Whenever any neighbor would pass by, I was always introduced as a relative of theirs who lives in Nasr City (a middle-class neighborhood in Cairo, a class marker for sure). These neighbors would always in turn ask how come they have a relative who is that beautiful, when Soso would immediately respond shouting that she has green eyes just like mine – a running gene in the family. </p> <p class="mag-quote-center">I was faced with this dilemma of what needs to be shared of my background and what needs to be kept rather discrete</p> <p class="western">This class differential, implicated in ways through which I was cast off as different but also a relative but also someone to show off with/through, was manifested in various other ways. Again after a few months of fieldwork, we spoke about my parents and my father’s occupation as a medical practitioner. Soso’s mother asked me to try and buy her a medication that she rarely finds. After taking the name of the drug and asking around, I knew that there is relatively no dearth of the drug at all, but that one pack costs EGP 200. At first, I did not know what to do and whether I should buy the drug or not – whether it is ethical but also genuine to do so. I decided I won’t buy it for them, and later told Soso’s mother that she can go visit my father at the public hospital he works for, and perhaps he can refer her to some nearby pharmacy that sells the drug. </p> <p class="western"> Increasingly, then, I was faced with this dilemma of what needs to be shared of my background and what needs to be kept rather discreet. Should I mention that we moved to a gated compound in New Cairo? What if they ask me where I live now? It actually happened once that Soso’s mom asked me if my older brother has an apartment of his own (which he’d later use for marriage). When I said no not yet, she immediately suggested that my father buys a piece of land in New Cairo or 6th of October and build a villa with a couple of apartments for my brother, myself, and my parents. I was astonished and shocked for indeed my father has no money to buy a piece of land, let alone build a villa for an extended family at this point in time. I made it so clear that we can never afford such a life, and that our Nasr City apartment is my parents’ marital apartment that my father worked so hard to buy upon proposing to mama 30 years ago. </p> <p class="western">That said, however, there have always been repeated jokes about how Soso should break up with her current fiancé (who is slow and late in having his apartment ready for marriage) and marry my brother instead, who would definitely buy her a brilliant house in the fanciest neighborhood in New Cairo. My reaction remains unchanged: a very strange quite neurotic smile.</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/nawa-giuseppe-acconcia-mona-abaza/strikes-protests-and-egyptian-nights-of-curfew">Strikes, protests and Egyptian nights of curfew</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/mona-abaza-elena-chiti/criminal-victim-policeman-judge"> The criminal, the victim, the policeman, the judge </a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/mona-abaza-nezar-alsayyad/where-we-come-from">Where we come from</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/mona-abaza-nada-t/multiple-entanglements">Multiple entanglements</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/leila-zaki-chakravarti-mona-abaza/ethnography-in-time-of-upheaval-egypt-before-and-af">Ethnography in a time of upheaval – Egypt before and after the ‘Arab spring’</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/mona-abaza-karim-yassin-goessinger/sitting-on-top-of-egyptian-civilisation"> Sitting on top of Egyptian civilisation</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/wfd/north-africa-west-asia/mona-abaza-benjamin-geer/surviving-sociology-in-egypt-and-elsewhere">Surviving sociology in Egypt and elsewhere</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Egypt </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Democracy and government </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> North-Africa West-Asia North-Africa West-Asia Egypt Democracy and government ethnography research Noha Fikry Mon, 16 Jul 2018 12:22:51 +0000 Noha Fikry 118766 at https://www.opendemocracy.net The story of Saida Manoubiya: A Tunisian feminist icon https://www.opendemocracy.net/north-africa-west-asia/safa-belghith/saida-manoubiya-story-of-tunisian-feminist-icon <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>By calling for women's education and freedom, Saida Manoubiya was truly a feminist ahead of her time. <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/north-africa-west-asia/safa-belghith/Saida-manoubiya-feminist-icon-arabic"><strong>العربية</strong></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <p> <span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/562712/saida1_0.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/562712/saida1_0.png" alt="" title="" width="460" height="282" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Picture by author. Some rights reserved. </span></span></span>Aicha Manoubiya, known as Saida or Lella Saida, holds a special place in the memories and hearts of the people of Tunis.</p> <p> In the governorate of Manouba, west of Tunis, her shrine stands as a historical and cultural landmark of the city. It is a place for local gatherings and musical celebrations. Visitors join in eating, chatting and enjoying the folk songs praising the saint and singing her qualities.</p> <p> Wandering inside, I was told to speak to Aunt Zaziya, an old woman who lives in one of the rooms in the building. There was a line of people waiting outside her door. A little while later, I walked in and sat down while she was having lunch in a humble room, surrounded by a few bags of gifts from the visitors. </p> <p>Aunt Zaziya told me that people bring her sweets, to give away to visitors, and meat to cook and eat there, and she would send them away with the blessings of Lella Saida. She told me stories about couples who got pregnant after years of trying unsuccessfully and women who got married at a very old age, thanks to the saint’s blessings. However, when I told her I wanted to learn more about who this respected and revered woman was, Aunt Zaziya was unwilling to continue the conversation.</p> <p>I got the chance to talk to some of the women there and hear those stories. Amira, 25, said that going to the shrine gives her “an internal comfort”. But she was unaware of lella Saida’s origins, her life story or what Sufism was in general. Other regular visitors told me that Saida Manoubiya was a “wise and good woman who helped the poor”. However, exact details about what made her such a good woman were not common knowledge.</p> <p>This lack of knowledge is in striking contradiction to the teachings of Saida Manoubiya herself, how she lived her life, and why she should be celebrated as one of Tunisia’s greatest women.</p> <h3><strong>Education </strong><strong>in a </strong><strong>patriarchal society</strong></h3> <p> Growing up in 13th centure <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hafsid_dynasty">Hafsid</a> era in Tunis, Aicha exhibited exceptional intelligence and great intuition. Her father was a man of religion, an Imam or a Quran teacher. What should be noted in his relationship with Aicha is that he encouraged her education, teaching her Arabic - her native language being Amazigh - and the Quran. </p> <p> It was clear that Aicha was different, she was a free spirit who did not abide by the constraints imposed on women in her time, something that was not appreciated by the village people. Her attitude was perceived as untraditional or too liberal, to the point that her father would be often criticized for her actions. </p> <p> When Aicha was informed that she was going to be married to a relative, she refused and decided to move out, an option that is still frowned upon in present day Tunisia, let alone in the 1200s. By leaving Manouba to Tunis and sacrificing her family life, Aicha was not only leaving behind the confines of a loveless marriage and traditional social constraints, but also seeking freedom, financial independence and education. </p> <p> <a href="https://meemmagazine.net/2017/09/09/%D8%B9%D8%A7%D8%A6%D8%B4%D8%A9-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%85%D9%86%D9%88%D8%A8%D9%8A%D8%A9-%D9%82%D8%B7%D8%A8-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%B1%D8%AC%D8%A7%D9%84/">According</a> to historian Abdel Jalil Bouguerra, education during that period was only available to certain women: foreigners coming from the Mashreq, Al-Andalus or to the elite women of the ruling family. Aicha was neither of those.</p> <p> Settling down in Montfleury, she started knitting and spinning wool to support herself and soon became a student of <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abul_Hasan_ash-Shadhili">Abu al-Hasan al-Shadhili</a>, one of the most prominent religious figures of his time, who was immersed in the Sufi school of <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ibn_Arabi">Ibn Arabi al-Andalusi</a>. Ibn Arabi, a controversial but influential figure in Islamic history, believed that women and men are equal. He <a href="https://raseef22.com/culture/2017/11/05/%D9%88%D9%83%D9%84-%D9%85%D9%83%D8%A7%D9%86-%D9%84%D8%A7-%D9%8A%D8%A4%D9%86%D9%91%D9%8E%D8%AB%D8%8C-%D9%84%D8%A7-%D9%8A%D9%8F%D8%B9%D9%88%D9%91%D9%8E%D9%84-%D8%B9%D9%84%D9%8A%D9%87-%D8%B9%D9%86/">wrote</a> extensively about the various women teachers that shaped his spiritual knowledge, so it is no surprise that Aicha chose this Sufi order as her educational path.</p> <p> Aicha continued to defy the social standards of her time. She studied the Quran and sought to mindfully interpret it to understand its meanings, choosing questioning as a path towards faith. She would leave her house without a male companion, meet with men in order to preach and debate. This is believed to have led some Sheikhs to even call for her stoning.</p> <p> However, she studied hard, passed several exams and quickly rose from student to teacher. Her debates with her mentor, al-Shadhili, became an attraction for Sufi scholars and rulers. Pursuing her education in that time is an impressive feat by itself. But pursuing and teaching Islamic studies and religion, a field that is mostly dominated by men, is an even greater achievement.</p> <h3> <strong>Prominence and </strong><strong>i</strong><strong>nfluence</strong></h3> <p> Aicha took a rightful place as a leading religious figure in Tunis, with access to the highest religious circles. She would accompany her mentor to different prayer locations situated on tops of mountains and hills, considered as a privilege in Sufi circles. She became close to prince <a href="https://ar.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D8%A3%D8%A8%D9%88_%D9%85%D8%AD%D9%85%D8%AF_%D8%B9%D8%A8%D8%AF_%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%88%D8%A7%D8%AD%D8%AF">Abou Mouhamad Abdel Wahed</a> and to Sultan <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abu_Zakariya_Yahya">Abou Zakariyah</a> afterwards and she gained access to prayer areas that were previously restricted to men, like Mousalla Al-Idayn, built by Abi Zakariya in 1229.</p> <p> Preaching in the <a href="https://www.journal-30minutes.fr/%D8%AC%D8%A7%D9%85%D8%B9-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%B5%D9%81%D8%B5%D8%A7%D9%81%D8%A9/">Mosque of Safsafa</a> (the location is now the shrine of Abdallah Chrif), Aicha shocked and amazed people, as her eloquent style and sophisticated language skills, were then only expected of distinguished male scholars.</p> <p> In addition to her scholarly and religious attributes, Aicha was a philanthropist, using her income to survive and giving away the rest to the poor, especially women. There is also some historical evidence that she bought several Tunisian slaves that were being sent to Italy only to set them free, six centuries before slavery was officially abolished in Tunisia in 1846.</p> <p> When Al-Shadhili was leaving Tunisia, he gave Aicha his cloak, ring, and the title of Qutb in an official ceremony, and called her an “Imam of men”. Qutb (literally meaning “pole”), is the highest of spiritual positions in Sufism, and Aicha was indeed a pole of knowledge and religion in her lifetime and beyond. </p> <p> Her spirituality and deeds touched people’s lives in a way that elevated her to a Saint, and surrounded her life with supernatural and divine stories, referred to as “Karamat” in Sunni Islam. A famous story is that her father once gave her a bull for agricultural use, instead she gave it all to the poor, asking them to give her back the bones. Once the bones were collected the bull came back to life. </p> <p> What is certain about her life though, is that she was an independent and influential woman who was able to make her way through the social binds and establish herself as an equal, and an intellectual superior to men in her time. By calling for women education and freedom, Saida Manoubiya was truly a feminist ahead of her time.</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/chouaib-el-hajjaji/black-tunisian-women-ceaseless-erasure-and-post-racial-ill">Black Tunisian women: ceaseless erasure and post-racial illusion</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/chouaib-el-hajjaji/meet-drag-queen-Tunisia-LGBTQI-feminism-gender-sexuality">Meet the Tunisian drag queen defying the odds</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/safa-belghith/tunisia-selective-feminism-marginalization-of-women-s-struggle">Tunisia: selective feminism and the marginalization of women’s struggles</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Tunisia </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> North-Africa West-Asia Middle East Forum North-Africa West-Asia Tunisia feminism Mid-East Forum Safa Belghith Thu, 12 Jul 2018 15:02:52 +0000 Safa Belghith 118344 at https://www.opendemocracy.net السيدة المنوبية: قصة رمز نسوي تونسي https://www.opendemocracy.net/north-africa-west-asia/safa-belghith/Saida-manoubiya-feminist-icon-arabic <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p class="direction-rtl">بدعوتها لتعليم المرأة وللحرية ، كانت السيدة المنوبية بالفعل ناشطة نسوية سابقة لعصرها. <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/north-africa-west-asia/safa-belghith/saida-manoubiya-story-of-tunisian-feminist-icon"><strong>English</strong></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <p dir="rtl"> <span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/562712/saida1.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/562712/saida1.png" alt="" title="" width="460" height="282" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>الصورة لكاتبة المقال. بعض الحقوق محفوظة</span></span></span>تحتل عائشة المنوبية المعروفة باسم السيدة أو للاّ السيدة، مكانة خاصة في ذكريات وقلوب شعب تونس.</p> <p dir="rtl"> يقع ضريحها في محافظة منوبة غرب تونس، بوصفه معلماً تاريخيأ وثقافياً، وتقام فيه التجمعات المحلية والاحتفالات الموسيقية، حيث يقضي الزوار الوقت بتناول الطعام وتبادل أطراف الحديث والتمتع بأغاني الفولكلور التي تمدح القديسة وتتغنّى بها.</p> <p dir="rtl"> ما إن بدأت جولتي في الضريح، حتى قيل لي أن أتحدث إلى العمة "زازية"، امرأة مسنّة تعيش في واحدة من الغرف التي تشغل المبنى. خارج بابها، رتل من الناس ينتظرون. بعد فترة وجيزة، دخلت وجلست أثناء تناولها الغداء في غرفة متواضعة، محاطة بأكياس قليلة من هدايا الزوار.</p> <p dir="rtl"> أخبرتني العمة زازية أن السكان يحضرون لها الحلوى، لتقدمها للزائرين ، كما يحضرون لها اللحوم للطهي وتناول الطعام ببركة المنوبيّة. أخبرتني أيضاً قصصاً عن أزواج تمكنوا من الإنجاب بعد سنوات بلا حمل ، وعن نساء تزوجن بعمر متأخر بفضل بركات القديسة. ومع ذلك، عندما أخبرتها أنني أريد معرفة المزيد عن هذه المرأة المحترمة والموقرة ، لم تعد العمة زازية راغبة في مواصلة الحوار.</p> <p dir="rtl"> تمكنت من الحصول على فرصة للتحدث مع بعض النساء هناك والاستماع إلى قصصهن. فأميرة ذات الـ 25 سنة ، تقول أن الذهاب إلى المزار يعطيها "راحة داخلية". ولكنها لم تكن على دراية بأصول " للاّ السيدة" ، أو قصة حياتها ، أو إلى أي طريقة صوفيّة تنتمي. كما أخبرني زوار آخرون أن السيدة المنوبية كانت "حكيمة" و"امرأة جيدة ساعدت الفقراء". ومع ذلك ، لم يكن هناك الكثير من التفاصيل عن سيرتها، وسبب اعتبارها امرأة فاضلة.</p> <p dir="rtl"> شحّ المعلومات هذا، يتناقض مع تعاليم السيدة المنوبية نفسها، وكيفية معيشتها، والاحتفاء بها كواحدة من أعظم النساء التونسيات.</p> <h3 dir="rtl"> <strong>التعليم والمجتمع الذكوري</strong></h3> <p dir="rtl"> نشأت عائشة في <a href="https://ar.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AF%D9%88%D9%84%D8%A9_%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AD%D9%81%D8%B5%D9%8A%D8%A9">العهد الحفصي</a> في القرن الثالث عشر في تونس، وأظهرت ذكاءاً استثنائياً وحدساً مميزاً. كان والدها رجل دين، إما إمام أو مدرس للقرآن. ويلاحظ في علاقتها معه أنه كان دوماً يشجعها على إكمال تعليمها، فقام بتعليمها اللغة العربية، فيما لغتها الأم هي الأمازيغية ، بالإضافة الى علوم القرآن.</p> <p dir="rtl"> كان اختلاف عائشة عمن حولها واضحا، فقد كانت روحاً حرة لم تلتزم بالقيود المفروضة على النساء في وقتها، وهذا ما لم يكن موضع تقدير من سكان القرية. إذ اعتبرت خارجة عن التقاليد وليبرالية للغاية، لدرجة أن والدها كثيراً ما كان يُنتقد بسبب تصرفاتها.</p> <p dir="rtl"> حينما علمت عائشة أنها ستزوج من أحد أقربائها، رفضت وقررت ترك المنزل ، وهو خيار يُستاء منه حتى الآن في تونس ، ناهيك عن ذلك، أنه في القرن الثاني عشر. حين غادرت من منوبة إلى تونس وضحّت بحياتها العائلية ، لم تترك وراءها زواجاً بلا حب وقيوداً اجتماعية تقليدية فحسب، بل سعت أيضاً إلى الحرية واستقلاليتها المادية ومتابعة التعليم.</p> <p dir="rtl"> <a href="https://meemmagazine.net/2017/09/09/%D8%B9%D8%A7%D8%A6%D8%B4%D8%A9-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%85%D9%86%D9%88%D8%A8%D9%8A%D8%A9-%D9%82%D8%B7%D8%A8-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%B1%D8%AC%D8%A7%D9%84/">يقول</a> المؤرخ عبد الجليل بوقرة ، أن التعليم في ذلك الوقت كان متاحاً فقط لبعض النساء: إما الأجنبيات القادمات من المشرق ، أو القادمات من الأندلس أو من ينتمين للنخبة أو من العائلة الحاكمة. إلا أن عائشة لم تكن أياً من هؤلاء.</p> <p dir="rtl"> بعد أن استقرت في مونتفلوري، امتهنت حياكة وغزل الصوف لدعم نفسها مادياً، وسرعان ما أصبحت طالبة <a href="https://ar.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D8%A3%D8%A8%D9%88_%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AD%D8%B3%D9%86_%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%B4%D8%A7%D8%B0%D9%84%D9%8A">أبو الحسن الشاذلي</a>، أحد أبرز الشخصيات الدينية في عصره ، الذي كان تابعا مغمورًا لطريقة <a href="https://ar.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D9%85%D8%AD%D9%8A_%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AF%D9%8A%D9%86_%D8%A8%D9%86_%D8%B9%D8%B1%D8%A8%D9%8A">ابن عربي الأندلسي</a> الصوفيّة، والذي كان شخصية مثيرة للجدل ومؤثرة في التاريخ الإسلامي ، إذ كان يدعو للمساواة بين النساء والرجال. <a href="https://raseef22.com/culture/2017/11/05/%D9%88%D9%83%D9%84-%D9%85%D9%83%D8%A7%D9%86-%D9%84%D8%A7-%D9%8A%D8%A4%D9%86%D9%91%D9%8E%D8%AB%D8%8C-%D9%84%D8%A7-%D9%8A%D9%8F%D8%B9%D9%88%D9%91%D9%8E%D9%84-%D8%B9%D9%84%D9%8A%D9%87-%D8%B9%D9%86/">وكتب</a> على نطاق واسع عن مختلف المعلمات اللواتي شكلن معرفته الروحية ، لذلك لم يكن مستغرباً أن تختار عائشة هذه الطائفة الصوفية كمسار تعليمي لها.</p> <p dir="rtl"> واصلت عائشة تحدي المعايير الاجتماعية في عصرها. إذ درست القرآن وسعت إلى تأويله لفهم معانيه، كما اعتمدت الشكّ كطريق نحو الإيمان. كما كانت تغادر منزلها دون رجل مرافق لها، وتجتمع مع الرجال مناقشة ومحاورة إياهم، ويقال أن تصرفاتها هذه هي التي دفعت بعض الشيوخ للدعوة إلى رجمها.</p> <p class="direction-rtl"> بالرغم من ذلك ، درست بجد واجتازت العديد من الاختبارات وسرعان ما ارتفعت من مرتبة طالبة إلى معلمة. كما أصبحت مناظراتها مع مرشدها "الشاذلي" نقطة جذب للعلماء والحكام الصوفيين. المثير في حكايتها لا يرتبط فقط بمتابعتها لتعليمها. فأهمية إنجازها ترتبط بانخراطها في الدراسات الإسلامية والدينية، بوصفه المجال الذي يهيمن عليه الرجال في الغالب</p><h3 class="direction-rtl">البروز والتأثير</h3><p class="direction-rtl">احتلت عائشة مكانة بارزة كشخصية دينية في تونس ، وكانت قادرة على الوصول إلى أعلى الأوساط الدينية. كما رافقت معلمها إلى أماكن مختلفة للصلاة، كتلك التي تقع على قمم الجبال والتلال ، والتي تعتبر بمثابة امتياز في الأوساط الصوفية. بعد ذلك أصبحت قريبة من الأمير <a href="https://ar.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D8%A3%D8%A8%D9%88_%D9%85%D8%AD%D9%85%D8%AF_%D8%B9%D8%A8%D8%AF_%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%88%D8%A7%D8%AD%D8%AF">أبو محمد عبد الواحد</a> والسلطان<a href="https://ar.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D8%A3%D8%A8%D9%88_%D8%B2%D9%83%D8%B1%D9%8A%D8%A7%D8%A1_%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%A3%D9%88%D9%84"> أبو زكريا</a>، واستطاعت الدخول إلى مناطق للصلاة كانت تقتصر على الرجال في السابق ، كجامع موسى العايدين ، الذي بناه أبي زكريا عام 1229. </p><p dir="rtl"> أثناء خطابها في <a href="https://www.journal-30minutes.fr/%D8%AC%D8%A7%D9%85%D8%B9-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%B5%D9%81%D8%B5%D8%A7%D9%81%D8%A9/">مسجد صفصافة</a> (مزار عبد الله شريف حالياً) ، فاجئت عائشة الناس بأسلوبها البليغ ومهاراتها اللغوية ، والتي كانت متوقعة فقط من العلماء الذكور المتميزين.</p> <p dir="rtl"> بالإضافة إلى صفاتها العلمية والدينية ، كانت عائشة محبة للخير ، تنفق من دخلها ما يسد رمقها وتعطي ما تبقّى منه للفقراء، وخاصة النساء. وهناك أيضاً بعض الأدلة التاريخية، تقول أنها اشترت العديد من العبيد التونسيين الذين كان يتم إرسالهم إلى إيطاليا فقط لتقوم بإطلاق سراحهم ، وذلك حوالي ستة قرون قبل إلغاء العبودية رسمياً في تونس عام 1846.</p> <p dir="rtl"> عندما غادر الشاذلي تونس، أعطى عباءته وخاتمه لعائشة، كما أعطاها لقب "قطب" وذلك في مراسم رسمية، وسمّاها "إمام الرجال". والقطب هو أعلى المراتب الروحية في الصوفية، وقد استحقت هذا اللقب كونها كانت بالفعل قطبًا للمعرفة والدين خلال حياتها وما بعدها.</p> <p dir="rtl"> لمست روحانيتها وأعمالها حياة الناس بطريقة ارتفعت بها إلى منزلة القديسة، وأحاطت حياتها بقصص روحانية وإلهية ، أو "الكرامات" حسب التعبير المتداول في الإسلام السني. ومن أحد القصص المشهورة أن والدها أعطاها مرة ثورًا للاستخدام الزراعي ، عوضاً عن ذلك أعطته للفقراء، طالبة منهم أن يعيدوا لها العظام. ما إن تم جمع العظام مع بعضها من جديد، عاد الثور إلى الحياة.</p> <p dir="rtl"> ما هو مؤكد حول حياتها هو أنها كانت امرأة مستقلة وذات تأثير يقتدى به. تمكنت من شق طريقها من خلال الروابط الاجتماعية وفهم ذاتي قائم على المساواة، و تفوقها الفكري على الرجال في عصرها.بدعوتها لتعليم المرأة وللحرية ، كانت السيدة المنوبية بالفعل ناشطة نسوية سابقة لعصرها.</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/asmaa-abidi/tunisia-police-violence-campaign">تعلم_عوم: صرخة تونسيين ضد ظلم البوليس#</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/asmaa-abidi/tunisia-elections-municipality">الإنتخابات البلدية والشباب: مشاركة فعلية أم مناسبة جديدة للخذلان؟</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/safa-belghith/%D8%AA%D9%88%D9%86%D8%B3-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%85%D8%B1%D8%A3%D8%A9-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%86%D8%B3%D9%88%D9%8A%D8%A9-%D8%AD%D9%82%D9%88%D9%82-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%85%D8%B3%D8%A7%D9%88%D8%A7%D8%A9-%D8%A3%D8%BA%D8%B1%D8%A7%D8%B6-%D8%B3%D9%8A%D8%A7%D8%B3%D9%8A%D8%A9">تونس: النسوية الانتقائية وتهميش كِفاحات النساء</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Tunisia </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> North-Africa West-Asia Middle East Forum North-Africa West-Asia Tunisia Mid-East Forum Arabic language صفاء بلغيث Thu, 12 Jul 2018 15:00:43 +0000 صفاء بلغيث 118345 at https://www.opendemocracy.net The forgotten history of revolutionary Raqqa, and its deep wounds https://www.opendemocracy.net/north-africa-west-asia/anton-mukhamedov/forgotten-history-of-revolutionary-raqqa-and-its-deep-wounds <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>An interview with Mazen Hassoun, a young Syrian researcher and the co-founder of the online outlet <em>Raqqa Post. </em> </p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/562712/IMG_7338 copy.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/562712/IMG_7338 copy.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="307" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Mazen Hassoun. Picture courtesy of the author. </span></span></span>Co-founder of the online outlet <em>Raqqa Post</em>, twenty-one year old Syrian researcher Mazen Hassoun has found asylum in Germany, where he is trying to lay the bricks for a career in journalism, a job he associates with exposing crimes and giving the "voice back to the voiceless". In the meantime, he is also recovering from the traumas and memories left by the brutality of the Assad regime as well as the horror of the Islamic State, that made Raqqa its de facto capital. He has nevertheless agreed to discuss the history of his city as well as the deep impact left on the civilians by the months-long bombardment by the US-led coalition, accused of war crimes by&nbsp;<a href="https://www.amnesty.org/en/documents/mde24/8367/2018/en/" target="_blank">a recent report</a>&nbsp;from Amnesty International. </p><p><strong>Anton Mukhamedov: A period in the history of the Syrian war which frequently tends to be left out in most stories is the brief window between Assad's loss of control over Raqqa and the city's capture by the Islamic State </strong><em>(also known as ISIS)</em><strong>. Could you tell me more about it?</strong></p> <p><strong>Mazen Hassoun:</strong> Raqqa was liberated from the Assad regime in March 2013. The Free Syrian Army and the other opposition groups entered the city. After a battle that lasted only three or four days, the city was completely under the control of the opposition. From then until January 2014, we experienced freedom. We could speak our minds. But in January 2014, the arrival of ISIS changed everything. My cousin was executed on January 10. The FSA was driven out of Raqqa. All of us activists who had worked for the revolution and stood against Bashar al-Assad fled the city. I was among the first to leave in January 2014 when ISIS gained full control of the city and there was no one to defend us.</p> <p>My uncle wrote a book in Arabic about Raqqa’s revolutionary history, based on information and articles he has gathered in the past two years. Many people don’t know about it and have only heard of ISIS. I used to be part of a local coordination committee. We coordinated protests, covered the walls with graffiti and revolutionary flags. Around three hundred thousand civilians came out to one of our protests. We were among the first provinces to completely escape Assad regime’s control. At first, after the liberation, we had a lot of civilian organizations and movements for a new, democratic Syria. Most of the people demonstrating were poor or middle-class. We had built a lot of beautiful things before ISIS came to destroy them. Raqqa even used to be referred to as the “Capital of Liberation”.</p> <p><strong>When did you join the revolution?</strong></p> <p>I used to protest and demonstrate against Bahar al-Assad even when I was just sixteen or seventeen, from the very start. My family had suffered a lot from the regime. My uncle had been in prison for twelve years under Hafez al-Assad. Another uncle was executed. I was raised in an opposition family, which is the main reason I joined the revolution.</p> <p><strong>So how did ISIS come to dominate Raqqa?</strong></p> <p>When ISIS initially appeared in Raqqa, they eliminated all opposition; anyone who rejected their rule was kidnapped: activists, doctors, soldiers. [<em>Interviewer’s note</em>: in April 2013, the Islamic State of Iraq became the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, ISIS, also known as ISIL.] They started attacking opposition factions in Raqqa claiming those groups were backed by Assad, including the major Ahfad al-Rasul Brigades [with whom they clashed in August 2013.]</p> <p>At the time, the opposition didn’t have much evidence that ISIS was responsible for the kidnappings and they managed to gain control over the city after an agreement with Ahrar al-Sham and Jabhat al-Nusra (JAN). [<em>Interviewer’s note:</em> those were two large Islamist groups present in Raqqa at the time, but officially unaffiliated with ISIS.] This agreement is well-known to all Raqqa residents who witnessed the beginning of 2014. At first, there were only two hundred ISIS fighters. Ahrar al-Sham, on the other hand, had about two thousand members. I believe an exchange between the armed groups happened: Ahrar al-Sham withdrew from Raqqa, while ISIS withdrew from Idleb.</p> <p>I was actually watching the battle with ISIS at the time. I took my camera to film the events from the side of the Free Syrian Army. ISIS were surrounded in two buildings, with several kilometers of distance in between the two. That was around January 9, 2014. They were that close to losing the battle. But there are two bridges on the Euphrates river south of Raqqa, connecting the city with the rest of the country. Ahrar al-Sham and JAN had each held one bridge and suddenly they left the two, allowing ISIS reinforcements to come in from Aleppo, Idleb and the rest of Syria. Ahrar al-Sham and JAN withdrew shortly afterwards, leaving the remaining group, Liwa Thuwar al-Raqqa alone and unassisted. Liwa Thuwar al-Raqqa, which was part of the FSA, was outnumbered and unassisted, so they eventually lost.</p><p class="mag-quote-right">Everyone was capable of eliminating ISIS in 2014</p> <p><strong>Do you think that at the time the US or other nations could have provided assistance to the Free Syrian Army thus preventing the rise of </strong><strong>ISIS</strong><strong>?</strong></p> <p>They could have: everyone was capable of eliminating ISIS in 2014. The organization was still very weak and didn’t have much military might, vehicles or money. Had the international community supported the FSA during that period of time, we wouldn’t see any of these tragedies today and the terrorist attacks [committed by ISIS] probably would not have taken place. But everyone left ISIS grow until they became a large threat.</p> <p><strong>Have you heard anything </strong><strong>about</strong><strong> those who had been kidnapped by ISIS, such as Father Paollo Dall’Oglio?</strong></p> <p>I saw Paollo Dall’Oglio in Raqqa but didn’t actually get to know him. Until today, we still don’t know what happened to him. We launched a campaign “Where are the kidnapped by ISIS?” More than a thousand Raqqa civilians have been disappeared by ISIS, including one of my cousins. We heard many stories about Paollo Dall’Oglio: some said they executed him days after the arrest; a former member of ISIS claimed to have seen him at the Euphrates Damn around 2015. I think that if the SDF will investigate, as they have arrested many ISIS members, they could learn the truth. In the case of those Syrians disappeared by Assad, relatives can bribe the government to know the truth, but not with ISIS.</p> <p><strong>Do you think Raqqa might still fall to Assad?</strong></p> <p>It is the civilians’ greatest fear…We’re hearing about this possibility ever since Assad lost control of the city. If Russia agrees with the US that the SDF should leave the city, we will lose it and Assad will seek revenge from the citizens.</p> <p>But I think Assad has more important things to focus on right now: he is trying to reconquer Idlib and Hama and Daraa in the South of Syria. [<em>Interviewer’s note:</em> Following our conversation, Assad recaptured the rebel-held pocket around Hama, leaving up to this date only Idleb, under the control of the Turkish-backed FSA, and Dara’a, under the control of the so-called Southern Front.]</p> <p><strong>When you founded the </strong><em><strong>Raqqa Post</strong> </em><strong>website, the city was under ISIS rule…how did you communicate?</strong></p> <p>I’m a co-founder of Raqqa Post and have worked on it with writers and activists… We founded it in October 2015.</p> <p>Communicating with Raqqa was the hardest thing ever. There were still a few internet cafés open and we had two contacts in the city working with us. They did their best to update us and send us news. We wouldn’t risk their lives to ask for photos or videos. In the last days of ISIS control of the city, during their battle with the SDF, it was extremely hard to connect with the people of Raqqa. There were no longer any Internet cafés open.</p> <p><strong>Some citizen journalists in Raqqa, such as the group “Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently”, have been on the receiving end of a lot of accusations of proximity with ISIS, from people sympathetic to the SDF.</strong></p> <p>We have all been targeted by these accusations. Most of the time, they accused us of working for Erdogan. When we speak against ISIS or the Assad regime or SDF or any other faction, we will be accused of treason or being paid by someone outside. Even when we document the violations of the Syrian opposition, they also accused us to be some sort of agent. When someone is afraid of their violations being exposed, they accuse you.</p> <p><strong>Would you like to pursue journalism as a career?</strong></p> <p>I would like to study journalism in Germany, but the problem is that I have to finish high school first. When I left Raqqa, I was in the last year of high school. I almost finished the studies, but ISIS came and I couldn’t stay. Nobody had heard of Raqqa until that point and nobody knew what was happening. So I started posting breaking news on my Facebook page and then I co-founded <em>Raqqa Post</em>.</p> <p><strong>What is the </strong><strong>atmosphere</strong><strong> in Raqqa currently like?</strong></p> <p>It is almost catastrophic. The people are very tired. The city is in ruins, if you saw any footage of Raqqa,—and I talked with a contact there who told me the destruction you saw in videos or images was still nothing compared to the reality. Every single building is damaged and there is no way to live in the city. About twelve thousand Raqqa buildings have been destroyed in total.</p> <p>[For months after the battle] people [were] still dying daily because of the landmines. The death toll is still rising. The media did not really speak about this, they just mentioned that ISIS lost its de facto capital,—and few people care about what happens afterwards. Every family has lost a member because of the four years of war. The financial situation is not better. The people lost all their money and it has been four years of them struggling to make ends meet.</p> <p><em class="mag-quote-center">We blame everyone: all the factions have participated in the massacre</em></p> <p>Everyone talks a lot about rebuilding the city. I don’t think anyone will rebuild the city and fix the damage but the civilians themselves. The Coalition has been talking about repairing the water and electricity grid since October, but in January they had done nothing. They couldn’t even clear the mines fast enough.</p> <p><strong>So after all this destruction, who do Raqqa citizens blame the most for everything you describe: Assad, ISIS, or perhaps the US?</strong></p> <p>We blame everyone: all the factions have participated in the massacre. ISIS was holding the civilians hostage, while the Coalition was bombing them. The coalition targeted the civilians, sometimes on purpose. The civilian death toll was not as high under Obama as it became under Trump. There was less error. The Coalition doesn’t care who dies. Brett McGurk insists on the fact that the Coalition has killed six thousand ISIS members, but there simply weren’t that many. I think that they are counting the civilians among the alleged ISIS losses.</p> <p>Until now, not everyone has been able to come back. Until December 2017, the SDF was preventing the civilians from coming back. But who will come back to live in such a city: most of the people lost their houses. There was some stealing too. Some SDF fighters stole houses in the city back in October, when they first captured it. Nobody can defeat ISIS by bombing. Ten years later, a new ISIS will rise, so long as this ideology and hatred, made possible by bombing, prevails. Al-Qaeda was never defeated by bombs.</p> <p><strong>Do you predict that ISIS’s grip on Raqqa will still exert its influence over the city for some time to come?</strong></p> <p>Yes. ISIS has been responsible for many executions which amount to at least three thousand civilians killed. So revenge crimes will be a serious problem, especially since the SDF have released dozens of ISIS fighters [in the aftermath of the battle]. When you see the man who killed your brother walking free in the streets, you won’t leave him alone. This will be a problem after everyone returns to rebuild their homes.</p> <p>The children have been affected by ISIS ideology being taught in schools, but Raqqa citizens are working on this and building organizations to fight against ISIS indoctrination. But this situation cannot be allowed to remain unsolved.</p> <p><strong>How do you feel about the course of the war?</strong></p> <p>From a military perspective, we lost the war. We can only continue the political work. And I don’t trust the Syrian opposition anymore. Since Aleppo fell, they haven’t done anything: instead of opening any new front, they just stood there and watched the Assad regime advancing. I am a little angry at them, but in the end of the day, they are better than the Assad regime.<br /> When I speak of the Syrian opposition, I don’t include Hayat Tahrir al-Sham or what was previously called Jabhat al-Nusra. [<em>Interviewer’s note</em>: Hayat Tahrir al-Sham formed in January 2017 after a merger between Jabhat al-Nusra, a faction previously considered al-Qaida’s Syrian wing, and several other Islamist groups.] I put them in the same category as ISIS. </p> <p>Recently especially, Syrians have been rejecting Hayat Tahrir al-Sham: they are less respected than even four years ago. The only difference between them and ISIS is that they don’t execute as many civilians, but that is because they don’t have the same strength on the ground. They have the same ideology, though. Jabhat al-Nusra was initially created as part of ISIS but they grew apart afterwards. In the end, they are extremists. If HTS came in full control of Idleb and proclaimed it “Islamic territory”, the result would be the same as if ISIS had done it.</p> <p><strong>Do you think that Raqqa’s history is being forgotten?</strong></p> <p>The problem is the media only discussed ISIS. Nobody really talks about Raqqa’s history. Raqqa was once the capital of the Abbasid Caliphate, [from 796 until 809]. It was a big city until the Mongol invasion leveled it to the ground [during the 1260’s], almost like today. It stayed abandoned and uninhabited until the 19th century, when people came to live there. My family was one of the first ones to arrive to settle and has been there for two hundred years. One of my great-grandparents was the first Sharif of the city,—the equivalent of a mayor. Before fleeing the city, I had only traveled out of Raqqa once: to Aleppo. But I don’t expect to come back to Raqqa anymore.</p> <p>It’s really hard to think about the beginning of the revolution, compared to what we are living through today. We are all disappointed and have lost hope of changing the regime. But before, we couldn’t discuss politics, there was a saying about the walls having ears. Anyone talking about the regime was disappeared or arrested and Assad was seen as some sort of a holy man, who could not be touched. The revolution erased all this. It changed the people, how they think and act. Even those loyal to Assad are now sometimes protesting the corruption.</p> <p><strong>When talking about anti-colonial revolutions, Frantz Fanon explained that they happened not because of a society rediscovering its precolonial culture, but “simply” because the people&nbsp; “could no longer breathe”.</strong>&nbsp; </p><p>This can be applied to Syria, too. Living in Syria before the revolution was like hell where we couldn’t breathe, fulfilling our basic needs, yet not allowed to think. Syria will never be the same.</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/budour-hassan/yarmouk-late-obituary-for-capital-of-palestinian-diaspora">Yarmouk: a late obituary for the capital of the Palestinian diaspora</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/omar-sabbour/why-would-assad-do-it-debunking-abstract-theories-surrounding-sy">“Why would Assad do it?” Debunking the abstract theories surrounding Syria’s chemical attacks</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/darius-kamali/iraq-and-syria-of-memory-and-maps">Iraq and Syria: of memory and maps</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/richard-salame/reporting-syria-this-is-story-about-people">Reporting Syria: this is a story about people - an interview with Rania Abouzeid</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/mohammad-dibo/oral-culture-and-identity-in-syria-dossier">Oral culture and identity in Syria - Dossier</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Syria </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Conflict </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> North-Africa West-Asia North-Africa West-Asia Syria Conflict ISIS interview war Through Syrian eyes Anton Mukhamedov Mon, 09 Jul 2018 12:50:10 +0000 Anton Mukhamedov 118713 at https://www.opendemocracy.net محمد صلاح، والثورة وهزيمة مصر https://www.opendemocracy.net/north-africa-west-asia/wael-eskandar/mo-salah-revolution-egypt-defeat-arabic <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p dir="rtl">مشكلة مصر الحقيقية هي أنها مكان لا يعيش فيه الأمل أبدا، لكنه أيضا لا يموت تماما. <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/north-africa-west-asia/wael-eskandar/mo-salah-revolution-and-egypt-s-defeat"><strong>English</strong></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <p class="direction-rtl"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/562712/PA-37096363_0.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/562712/PA-37096363_0.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="307" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Mohamed Salah during the match between Russia and Egypt at the 2018 World Cup. Picture by Ricardo Moreira Fotoarena/SIPA USA/PA Images. All rights reserved. </span></span></span>لم يكن أمرا صادما أن تخرج مصر من كأس العالم، لكنه كان مخيبا للآمال. مشكلة مصر الحقيقية هي أنها مكان لا يعيش فيه الأمل أبدا، لكنه أيضا لا يموت تماما. جرؤنا على الأمل مرة أخرى على الرغم من أن كل شيء يقول لنا ألا نفعل. لقد الهمنا النجاح غير المتوقع لشخص شعرنا أنه واحد منا، خاض نفس المعارك التي اضطررنا إلى خوضها كي نصل إلى القمة، بالعمل والاجتهاد المستمر. كان محمد صلاح، الرجل صغير الحجم الذي تحدى العمالقة ليصبح واحدا منهم، مصدر أمل لكثير من المصريين بطرق مختلفة. </p><p dir="rtl">أردنا أن نرى فيه ممثلا لما يمكن لمصر أن تصبح عليه، لكننا كنا نعلم في أعماقنا أنه لا يمثل سوى نفسه. أعجبنا هروبه من مصير الرداءة الرهيب الذي كان سيحكم به عليه لو أنه بقي في مصر. لو أنه فقد بعد أن أصبح قويا بما فيه الكفاية.. لو أنه فقط يعود ويقاتل نيابة عنا… وقد فعل ذلك، إلا أن نجاح رجل واحد لا يكفي لإنقاذ أمة. هل قلت أمة؟ كنت أعني الفريق.</p> <p dir="rtl">أهدرت مهارات محمد صلاح لأنه بينما كان نجماً، كان في حاجة لمن حوله ليجعلوه يبرق. لا أستطيع حقا إلقاء اللوم على أعضاء فريقه كأفراد. فهم أيضا كانوا ضحايا لانعدام هروبهم. هم غير قادرين على الهروب من الرداءة المحيطة بهم. لم يكن هناك فريق. كل شيء في مصر سياسي، حتى عندما لا يبدو كذلك. كرة القدم شأن سياسي، وتجاهل السياسات المتحكمة في كرة القدم هو موقف سياسي.&nbsp; </p><p class="mag-quote-left" dir="rtl">جرؤنا على الأمل، وما زلنا نجرؤ على الأمل</p><p dir="rtl">إن تحليل الخطأ الذي حدث هو أمر مجازي. تألق البعض لم ينقذ الفريق. وهو ما ينطبق على أمور أخرى كثيرة في مصر، ليس أقلها الثورة. طموحات واستقامة قلة قليلة لم تتمكن من إنقاذ الأمة، فقد كانت هناك قوى أخرى كثيرة – أكثر من اللازم – خارج السيطرة.</p> <p dir="rtl">جرؤنا على الأمل، وما زلنا نجرؤ على الأمل. بعد أن تعهدنا ألف مرة بألا نشعر بالأمل مرة أخرى، لم نستطع سوى أن نجرؤ على الأمل مرة أخرى. عندما تأتي الضربة، لا تكون صادمة، ولا مفاجئة، إنها ببساطة مخيبة للآمال. وفي آخر الأمر نسأل أنفسنا، “هل نحن أغبياء أم ماذا؟”</p> <p dir="rtl">لقد قلت لنفسي أن لا آمل مرة أخرى لأن كل شيء ضدنا، ولكن ها أن أفعلها مرة أخرى.نحن لا نتعلم أبدا.</p> <p dir="rtl">لكن رغم كل هذه الضربات، يسعدني أن هذا هو الدرس الذي لم نتعلمه. هذا هو الدرس الذي لا نتعلمه أبداً؛ هذا هو الدرس الذي لا نرغب في تعلمه أبداً. لقد التقيت بالكثيرين ممن هربوا من هزيمتنا الثورية. لقد تعهد جميعهم بطرق مختلفة ألا يترك نفسه للأمل، بعضهم بدل بيئته، وغيّر بعضهم الطريقة التي يتحدثون بها عن الثورة والبعض ينتقدها بشكل عنيف ويلعنها. ولكن في كثير من هذه الحالات، تظل تلك المسافة من الثورة مجرد واجهة رقيقة، تختفي عند الدخول في نقاش أعمق، أو بعد تناول بعض الكئوس في حفلة ما، أو من خلال أمل الفوز في مباراة كرة قدم. لا يمكن أن نتملص مما كان يمكن أن نفعله وما كان يمكن أن نكون عليه. إنها حالة مستمرة مثل المذاق المتبقي من احتساء مشروب شديد الحلاوة.</p> <h3 dir="rtl">جرؤنا على الأمل، وما زلنا نجرؤ على الأمل</h3> <p dir="rtl">لكن بغض النظر عن الثوريين، فإن الذين يقبلون بالغناء على ألحان عزف النظام يعلمون جيداً أنه رغم طبولهم وخطاباتهم الصاخبة عن النجاح والفخر، إلا أن مصر في الواقع لا تنجح. كانت كرة القدم هي الأفيون الذي يقدمه النظام لكنها خرجت عن السيطرة. كما أصبحت سبيلا للهروب من سيطرة الحكومة، مساحة من البهجة الخالصة منقطعة الصلة بالواقع السياسي. لهذا السبب، انتمت مجموعات من الشباب لفرقهم بحماس شديد ثم تحول إلى السياسة في زمن الثورة. وعندما تجاوزت كرة القدم كونها أفيونا للجمهور بدأ النظام في ملاحقة مشجعيها، فتآمر على قتلهم بداية في إستاد بورسعيد، ثم بعد ذلك في إستاد الدفاع الجوي، ثم إلقاء القبض عليهم ووضعهم تحت ظروف قاسية دون أي تهم حقيقية.</p> <p dir="rtl">بالنسبة لأولئك المصريين الذين ليس لهم مصلحة في أي مما يدور حولهم، مع ارتفاع الأسعار وتدهور الأحوال المعيشية، فإنهم سعوا إلى كرة القدم لتعطيهم نوعًا من السعادة الخالصة. عزز محمد صلاح فخرهم، لأنه كان ناجحًا بحق في جميع أنحاء العالم، وكان على استعداد للعودة، والقتال نيابة عنهم. بطريقة ما، كان هناك أمل أن لا نضطر إلى القيام بأي شيء بشكل جماعي لننفذ إلى خارج تلك الحفرة. ولكن بغض النظر عما فعله، كانت المهمة ستكون دوما مستحيلة. ذلك أن رجلا واحدا لا يستطيع أن ينقذ مائة مليون مهما كانت قوته. وبالمثل، لم يكن رجلا واحدا من زج بنا في تلك الحفرة، رغم أن الأمر قد يبدو كذلك في بعض الأحيان.</p> <p dir="rtl">يمكننا أن نتحدث كثيرا عن كيفية استغلال كأس العالم من قبل مسؤولي كرة القدم، وكيف تم استغلال صلاح دعائيا. يمكننا أن نتحدث كثيرا عن تفاصيل انهيار كل شيء بالتفصيل، ولكن في النهاية هذه التفاصيل ليست هي المهمة. نحن جميعا مسئولون بشكل جماعي عما وصلنا إليه، بغض النظر عما يتصف به بعضنا من خير أو شر استثنائي.</p> <p dir="rtl">كان العبء أثقل من أن يحمله شخص واحد، ومع ذلك فإننا نستمر في الأمل… ومثلما حدثت معجزة في 25 يناير 2011، حيث كان هناك ما يكفي من الأشخاص الموهوبين بالنزاهة والشجاعة لإخراجنا من غفوتنا، قد يأتي في المستقبل وقت يكون فيه عدد كبير من الناس اللامعين فيرفعونا بعيدا عن هذه الحفرة التي نجد أنفسنا فيها. لهذا السبب، وعلى الرغم من مرارة خيبة الأمل التي تأتي من الأمل الذي لا يتحقق، قد يكون من المجدي الاستمرار في الاحتفاظ ببعض الأمل وألا ندعه يموت. ربما يأتي اليوم الذي يحدث فيه أمر جيد، ويحيي الأمل مرة أخرى.</p><p dir="rtl"><strong>بالتعاون مع موقع <a href="http://bel-ahmar.net/?p=3436">بالأحمر</a></strong></p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/maged-mandour/%D8%B3%D9%8A%D8%B3%D9%8A-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%85%D8%B9%D8%A7%D8%B1%D8%B6%D8%A9-%D9%85%D8%B5%D8%B1-%D8%A7%D9%86%D8%AA%D8%AE%D8%A7%D8%A8%D8%A7%D8%AA">تنصيب السيسي والمعارضة المصرية</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/Ahmad-Maher/civil-society-elections-opinion-egypt">معترك جديد</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/dina-el-sharnouby-allison-west-ibrahim-mahfouz/elections-and-egyptian-movement-badiou-arabic">الانتخابات وحركة ٢٠١١ في مصر: التفكير مع آلان باديو عن الوضع الحالي</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Egypt </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> North-Africa West-Asia North-Africa West-Asia Egypt Arabic language وائل إسكندر Thu, 05 Jul 2018 13:46:32 +0000 وائل إسكندر 118727 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Hodeida: prospects of humanitarian catastrophe brings Yemen back into the news https://www.opendemocracy.net/north-africa-west-asia/helen-lackner/hodeida-prospects-of-humanitarian-catastrophe-brings-yemen-back <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Was the decision to carry out the offensive in the summer, when living conditions are the worst for the population, specifically intended to worsen civilian suffering?</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/PA-37147168.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/PA-37147168.jpg" alt="lead " title="" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" width="460" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Displaced Yemenis, who fled their homes in the war-torn port city of Hodeida, rest after arriving in Sanaa as clashes intensify in western coast areas, Yemen, 22 June 2018. Hani Al-Ansi/Press Association. All rights reserved.</span></span></span></p><p>Prospects of famine and humanitarian catastrophe seem to be the only way Yemen gets increased international media attention in the west. Hodeida city and its port are now the focus of this concern. Hodeida is Yemen’s main port which receives 70% of Yemen’s imports of basic necessities and has the best access to the densely populated parts of the country. While, prior to the war, the country already depended on imports for 90% of its staple foods, this ratio has certainly increased with reduced agricultural production. </p> <p>In addition to commercial imports, the country now needs very considerable humanitarian imports due to worsening poverty, as the country’s GDP dropped by 47 % in the first three years of this war and millions are lacking any income as most state staff have remained unpaid for close to two years. Although humanitarian shipments have gained importance, commercial imports remain the main source of supplies. </p> <h2><strong>Blockade</strong></h2> <p>The country has been under effective blockade since early in the war, with UN and other humanitarian agencies struggling to persuade the Saudi-led coalition to lift this blockade. In November 2017, after the Huthi movement had successfully launched a missile at the Saudi capital Riyadh, the coalition intensified the blockade by preventing ALL shipments, including medicines (at the time of the world’s worst cholera epidemic) and emergency food from reaching Hodeida and Saleef ports. Even Sana’a airport, closed to civilian traffic since August 2016, was closed to UN and other humanitarian flights. </p> <p>In the following weeks, under increasing pressure from the US, UK, EU member states and UN political and humanitarian agencies, the intensity of the blockade was reduced, allowing shipments to arrive though, since then, only insufficient quantities of food and fuel have been allowed into either port.</p> <h2><strong>‘Alternative’ ports</strong></h2> <p>Having abandoned its planned offensive on Hodeida in 2017 due to lack of practical US support and strong opposition from its other allies, this year is different. The Saudis and UAE, have prepared their offensive in some detail. First the coalition established the Yemen Comprehensive Humanitarian Operations (YCHO) in January 2018 to ‘address immediate aid shortfalls while simultaneously building capacity for long term improvements.’ During his visit to the US in April, Saudi Arabia’s effective ruler, Mohammed bin Salman, ceremoniously handed over US $930 million to the UN Secretary General for the UN’s Humanitarian Response Plan. &nbsp;</p> <p>Although a third of the total required for the UN’s humanitarian effort, it is peanuts by comparison with the amount spent on the military (equipment and personnel) intervention which is the very cause of this crisis. One of the components of the YCHO is the promotion of completely unrealistic ‘alternative’ ports for the delivery of aid: Aden (hundreds of km south of the areas in greatest need where anti ‘northern’ sentiment is strong,&nbsp; thus putting at risk trucks carrying supplies),&nbsp; Salalah in Oman (more than 1000km from these areas, with dozens of checkpoints staffed by multiple official and official groups along the route, each taxing traffic) and Jizan in Saudi Arabia (much nearer to the main areas but across major fighting zones). </p> <p>In anticipation of western public outrage at the foreseen humanitarian disaster awaiting Yemenis in Hodeida and beyond as a result of the offensive, coalition public relations strategy has focused on two points: first insisting that humanitarian aid will reach those in need better and faster once Hodeida is removed from Huthi control and, second, that the victory can be achieved quickly and without significant civilian casualties. Both these are highly optimistic versions are challenged by the humanitarian community: Huthi ‘taxation’ and ‘customs’ would simply be collected further inland, and most foresee a long and murderous street by street battle.</p> <h2><strong>Swift victory?</strong></h2> <p>Strengthened by feeble US and UK objections to the offensive, and its public relations campaign (promoted by the companies, media and individuals on their payroll), the coalition launched its UAE-led offensive on 12 June, with much fanfare and promises of a swift and decisive victory.&nbsp; </p> <p>Three weeks later, its forces have only achieved limited control of Hodeida’s airport, located south-east of the city and of little strategic importance, whereas the port is north-west of the city. Two temporary halts to the offensive were announced and partially implemented, supposedly to give the UN Special Envoy the opportunity to secure an agreement to avoid massive bloodshed. But it is equally possible that the coalition hoped to use his good offices to free their troops besieged in the airport area. In the first days of July, his&nbsp; desperate attempts at shuttle diplomacy to prevent a full-scale assault on the city appear to be failing in the face of the intransigence of the internationally recognised regime, whose senior officials keep repeating the same uncompromising demands, which can only be interpreted as ‘surrender’ by the Huthi movement. But his shuttles between Sana’a and Aden continue.</p> <p>There is little doubt that, objectively, the military position of the coalition is far more favourable this year than last, as the fighting units involved now include the experienced and skilled force under Tareq Saleh (composed of elite elements allied with the Huthis until last December and now renamed ‘Guards of the Republic.’), the UAE military, thousands of Sudanese troops, the local Tihami resistance which has been trained by the UAE in Eritrea and elsewhere for more than a year and, finally, those most seen on media, the southern Salafi ‘Amaliqa’ (Giants) brigades who, until recently, considered that the ‘liberation’ of parts of Yemen formerly included in the Yemen Arab Republic [1962-1990] was absolutely none of their concerns. </p> <p>The UAE are also now equipped with their own amphibious landing craft, thus enabling them to bring troops directly from the sea. However, it is worth remembering that it took them months to liberate Aden in 2015, a city populated by active anti-Huthi people and even more months in 2017 to work their way up the southern part of the Tihama to take the small town and port of Mokha, which is still under attack from the Huthis. Initially enthusiastic about their successes in heading for Hodeida on open terrain, they boasted that the Huthis had only mined the territory during their retreat, allowing an easy advance. They appear to have forgotten that, in open terrain without mountains or any cover, it was only wise for the Huthi forces to withdraw and wait for their attackers to reach more favourable terrain from their point of view, thus avoiding being massacred by air strikes.</p> <p>The Huthi movement is certainly weaker than it was this time last year. Killing former president Saleh last December was a major mistake, depriving them of Saleh loyalist forces which now fight them as part of the coalition. However, it is far from being defeated: it has developed significant military skills during the 6 wars it fought against the Saleh regime since 2004 and the three years of fighting in alliance with Saleh’s elite forces since 2015. Despite a few positive statements, significant compromise does not appear to be on its leadership’s agenda either. &nbsp;So prospects for the population of Hodeida and elsewhere in the Tihama are grim. The forthcoming battle is likely to compete in death and destruction with the fight for Aleppo in Syria in 2016 and other urban conflicts which have caused immeasurable suffering and death for thousands of civilians.&nbsp; </p> <h2><strong>House to house fighting <br /></strong></h2> <p>Understanding Hodeida’s social and economic characteristics is essential to assessing the likely impact of a protracted period of house to house fighting.&nbsp; The Tihama coast and Hodeida city have an extremely hot summer climate and for decades had the highest poverty ratios in the country. Both poverty and climate make the stocking of food almost impossible: basics like wheat, flour and sugar can’t be stored due to the humidity and heat. Most people don’t have refrigeration so must buy their supplies on a daily basis, as they can’t afford the private sector electricity which is the only available supply in some areas, while others have none. </p> <p>Most housing is flimsily built and multi-storey buildings are likely to collapse on their inhabitants under shelling and air strikes. Few people have any income as prices have rocketed and thousands have become destitute, depending on occasional day labour and support from their relatives who can send assistance. Even with full awareness of the prospects, they do not have the means to prepare for this disaster which they know is coming. &nbsp;</p><h2><strong>Spare Hodeida!</strong></h2> <p>Of the city’s 600,000 people, many have escaped to less dangerous areas, but thousands, or rather hundreds of thousands more, have nowhere to go. In addition, with a halt to imports resulting from fighting, the millions depending on imports in the highlands further inland, are likely to starve as food no longer arrives, regardless of whether they can afford it or not. In its worst scenario, the UN estimates the assault on Hodeida could lead to the death of more than 250,000 or a quarter of a million people! After the spontaneous response of speechlessness, shock and disbelief at the inhumanity of the decision-makers responsible for this situation, with the prospect of such nightmares ahead, it is only reasonable to ask a few questions.&nbsp; </p> <p>First, why did the coalition launch its offensive to coincide with the long announced presentation of the new UN Special Envoy’s draft ‘peace plan’ and proposals for re-starting peace negotiations? Since his appointment earlier this year, Martin Griffiths stated explicitly and frequently that he would consult widely and make new proposals mid-June. Knowing this, was the offensive deliberately timed to scupper his initiative? His task has been instantly transformed from seeking long-term solutions to simply trying to prevent short-term catastrophe. Not only will it be all the more difficult for him to re-direct attention to long-term solutions, but the offensive itself is likely to encourage both sides in their determination to stick to their positions. In addition the war in Hodeida is likely to be a matter of many months, possibly longer.</p> <p>Second, was the decision to carry out the offensive in the summer, when living conditions are the worst for the population, specifically intended to worsen civilian suffering? </p> <p>Finally, given that the coalition has been operating in Yemen, since March 2015 at the request of president Hadi, why did he find it necessary <a href="http://wam.ae/en/details/1395302694458">to specifically endorse this initiative</a> the day after it started? It is quite possible that those reading or hearing him won’t even notice that he made this statement in Aden where he returned from Riyadh, after a visit to Abu Dhabi and an apparent reconciliation with the UAE rulers, an event which may well be politically significant, given his absence of close to 18 months.</p> <p>As usual I conclude by expressing hope that, unlikely as it may be, reason and compassion will prevail, the assault be cancelled, and Yemenis in Hodeida, the Tihama and the highlands will be spared the disasters which so many are predicting. </p><div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Yemen </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Civil society </div> <div class="field-item even"> Conflict </div> <div class="field-item odd"> International politics </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> North-Africa West-Asia North-Africa West-Asia Yemen Civil society Conflict International politics Helen Lackner Wed, 04 Jul 2018 11:56:47 +0000 Helen Lackner 118702 at https://www.opendemocracy.net هل أنا ابن عائشة العربيّة؟ https://www.opendemocracy.net/north-africa-west-asia/dellair-youssef/son-of-aisha-sectarianism-syria <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p class="direction-rtl">إذا نظرنا بعمق إلى أسس تعامل وتفاعل عائلات بلادنا وأفرادها مع المحيط، وعائلتي ضمنًا، نرى أنّ هذه الأسس مبنية على القوميّة والطائفيّة والعشائريّة إلى حد كبير، واحترام الآخر هو غلاف هش رقيق لا معنى له حين يجدّ الجد. <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/north-africa-west-asia/dellair-youssef/am-i-son-of-arab-aisha-jokes-in-mixed-household"><strong>English</strong></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <p class="direction-rtl"><strong><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/562712/- ابن عائشة copy_0.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/562712/- ابن عائشة copy_0.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="259" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'></span></span>ينشر هذا المقال ضمن ملف يتناول الثقافة الشفوية في سورية، بالتعاون والشراكة مع موقع <a href="http://syriauntold.com/ar/">حكاية ما انحكت</a>، في محاولة لفهم جذور الطائفية والقومية وغيرها في سورية</strong></p> <p class="direction-rtl">تكون الإجابة عادة: لا أنت ابن خديجة العربية ثم تتعالى ضحكات الموجودين على سذاجة هذا الطفل الصغير، أنا. كنتُ أسأل هذا السؤال دون أن أفهم معناه. في محيطي <span><a href="http://www.syriauntold.com/ar/category/syria-writesar/%D9%85%D9%84%D9%81%D8%A7%D8%AA/%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%83%D8%B1%D8%AF-%D9%81%D9%8A-%D8%B3%D9%88%D8%B1%D9%8A%D8%A7/">الكردي</a><a href="http://www.syriauntold.com/ar/category/syria-writesar/%D9%85%D9%84%D9%81%D8%A7%D8%AA/%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%83%D8%B1%D8%AF-%D9%81%D9%8A-%D8%B3%D9%88%D8%B1%D9%8A%D8%A7/">ّ</a></span> كانت هذه المقولة شائعة، فإن مثلًا تمّ توزيع كاسات الشاي على كلّ الحاضرين باستثناء شخص واحد، يقول هذا الشخص بصوت عالٍ: "لماذا لم أحصل على الشاي؟ هل أنا ابن عائشة العربيّة؟". لا أعرف من أين أتت هذه المقولة، ربما كانت هناك امرأة عربيّة، اسمها عائشة، تعمل في خدمة أحد الآغوات الأكراد ولم يكن أطفالها يحصلون على الطعام والشراب مثل أولاد الآغا. </p><p dir="rtl"> أنا وإخوتي، مثلنا مثل الجميع، كنّا نردّد هذه الجملة، لكن إجابتها محسومة دومًا، فأمنا عربيّة في الحقيقة واسمها خديجة، لذا لم يكن من المفاجئ أن نسمع هذا الجواب دائمًا. وعلى سيرة أمي العربيّة، كان يقال لي أحيانًا من أكراد أكبر مني عمرًا أنّ على المرء أن لا يثق بالعرب، باستثناء أمي، فهي طيبة وموضع ثقة ليس مثل باقي العرب!</p> <p dir="rtl"> على كلّ حال كانت حياة عائلتي مبنيّة على احترام الآخر، لكن إذا نظرنا بعمق إلى أسس تعامل وتفاعل عائلات بلادنا وأفرادها مع المحيط، وعائلتي ضمنًا، نرى أنّ هذه الأسس مبنية على القوميّة والطائفيّة والعشائريّة إلى حد كبير، واحترام الآخر هو غلاف هش رقيق لا معنى له حين يجدّ الجد. وإن شئتم عزيزي وعزيزتي دققوا في الجمل التي نقولها في حياتنا اليوميّة بشكل طبيعي، نستعملها دون فهم، جملٌ فيها من العنصريّة ما يفوق التصور والقدرة على الوصف. فكم من مرة تردّد أمامنا، أو ردّدنا، جملًا مثل: "سوّد الله وجهك"، "اللي بياخد من غير ملته بيموت بعلته"، "كول عند يهودي ونام عند درزي/ مسيحي"، "المرشدين بيعبدوا الفرج وبيعملوا حفلات سكس جماعي كطقس مقدس وممكن الواحد ينام مع أخته أو أمه بهالحفلات بدون ما يعرف لأنه الضو بيكون مطفي" يقال هذا عن الإسماعيليين أيضًا.</p> <p dir="rtl"> في الجهة المقابلة كنت أقابل بنظرات ازدراء واستنكار كلما تكلمت باللغة الكرديّة في محيط غير كردي، كان يُقال لي بشكل شبه يومي: لماذا تتحدث بلغة غير العربيّة؟ ماذا تقول، هل تشتمنا؟ لماذا لا تعودون إلى بلادكم؟...الخ.</p> <p dir="rtl"> تعالوا لأقصّ عليكم بعضًا من القصص الصغيرة: </p> <p dir="rtl"> في المدرسة الابتدائيّة في مدينة القامشلي، ذات الأغلبية السكانيّة الكرديّة، في الحيّ الكرديّ كان معظم الطلاب والمعلمين أكرادًا، رغم ذلك كان يُمنع علينا التحدث باللغة الكرديّة، بعض الأطفال لم يعرفوا لغة أخرى سواها وكانوا يعاقبون في كلّ مرة يتكلمون فيها باللغة الكرديّة. وفي المدرسة الثانويّة في دمشق كنت أسمع الطلاب يتهامسون وهم يشيرون إليّ: هذا كردي يجب أن نخاف منه.</p> <p dir="rtl"> حين أُجبر أحد أعمامي على أداء خدمته الإلزاميّة على حدود الجولان المُحتل قابل أحد الأشخاص القادمين من إحدى قرى سهل الغاب، كان هذا الشخص يخاف من الأكراد خوفًا شديدًا، وحين سُئل عن السبب، قال إنّ أراد المرء في قريتهم إخافة الأطفال قال له: جاي الكردي ياكلك.</p> <p dir="rtl"> أمي عراقيّة، عاشت في سوريا بدًءا من العام ١٩٨٧. بعد سقوط نظام صدام حسين في العراق سنة ٢٠٠٣، وبعد موجات<span><a href="https://www.zamanalwsl.net/news/article/6647"> </a><a href="https://www.zamanalwsl.net/news/article/6647">اللجوء</a><a href="https://www.zamanalwsl.net/news/article/6647"> </a><a href="https://www.zamanalwsl.net/news/article/6647">العراقي</a></span> إلى سوريا، ارتفعت أسعار العقارات بشكل جنوني، وارتفعت الأسعار لأنّ في البلاد عراقيين. حينها بدأت تنتشر إشاعات، أصبحت بحكم المؤكد أنّ معظم العاهرات في سوريا هنّ عراقيات. وكان من أراد إهانتي من أصدقائي، مزاحًا أو جِدًّا، ينعتني بـ"ابن العراقيّة" قاصدًا قول "ابن الشرموطة"، وهكذا دخلت مشكلات لا حصر لها بسبب نسب أمي العراقي.</p> <p dir="rtl"> مرة كنت برفقة سيدة كرديّة نمشي في إحدى الشوارع الهولنديّة في مدينة روتردام، واصطدم بنا أثناء المشي شابٌ ذو بشرة سوداء. قالت السيدة دون وعي لما تقول: لعن الله هذا الأسود المطلي بالخراء. انصدمت من هذا الوصف المهين خاصة من سيدة مثلها كادت أن تُقتل من قبل عائلتها لأنّها أحبت رجلًا إفريقيًا وأرادت الزواج منه. لاحقًا رضخت وتزوجت كرديًا لا تحبه. قطعت علاقتي بتلك السيدة في ذلك اليوم.</p> <p dir="rtl"> مئات المرات سمعت نكات تُروى عن الأكراد كمثلها: وقع كردي من الطابق العاشر ولم يمت لأنّه وقع على رأسه. وتروى هذه النكتة للدلالة على رؤوس الأكراد اليابسة. وفي نكتة أخرى يُقال إنّ الكردي حين يموت يُرسل الله له اثنان وسبعون ملاكًا، اثنان يحاسبانه على أعماله وسبعون يقنعونه بموته. هذه تُروى للدلالة على غباء الأكراد.</p> <p class="mag-quote-center" dir="rtl">بيئة المنزل كانت علمانيّة. هذا جعل من بيتنا مكانًا تلتقي فيه النكات والشتائم الموجهة ضد كلّ الأطراف</p><p dir="rtl">كلّما انتشر خبر على مواقع التواصل الاجتماعي يخص الأكراد بشكل عام، نقرأ تعليقات من نموذج: "البويجية وصبيان الأركيلة صار بدهم دولة"، وفي ذلك إحالة إلى الأعمال التي كان يمارسها بعض الشباب الأكراد في مدن دمشق وحلب وحمص. حتى اليوم يقول لي بعض أصدقائي السوريين، على سبيل المزاح، كلّما هممنا بالدخول إلى مطعم ما: هل تراهن أن كلّ عمال هذا المطعم أكراد؟</p> <p dir="rtl"> أمي عراقيّة عربيّة شيعيّة وأبي سوريٌّ كرديّ سني وبيئة المنزل كانت علمانيّة. هذا جعل من بيتنا مكانًا تلتقي فيه النكات والشتائم الموجهة ضد كلّ الأطراف، فيومًا نسمع تعليقًا على سني ويومًا سخريّة من شيعي ويومًا يخبرنا أحد الأصدقاء عن قصة تسخر من المسيحيين. وعلى سبيل الذكر لا الحصر، انتشرت سنة ٢٠٠٥ نكتة في العراق، حملها أخي معه إلى البيت حين زار بيت خالته العراقيّة، تسخر من الطائفة السنيّة. تقول النكتة إنّ ولدًا صغيرًا شيعيًا شعر بألمٍ في أسنانه فنادى أمه قائلًا: يُمّا يُمّا سني خايس، فتردّ الأم: ليش أكو سني مو خايس؟ وكلمة خايس تعني العفن والمقصود بقول الأم، هل يوجد شخص سني غير عَفِنْ.</p> <p dir="rtl"> كان يُقال، على سبيل المزاح أحيانًا وعلى سبيل الجد في أكثر الأحيان، في وصف المرأة: "المرة مثل السجادة كل فترة بدها نفضة"، أي أنّ النساء مثل السجاد تحتاج إلى الضرب بالعصي كي تعود كما كانت نظيفة وصالحة للاستخدام. وكان يقال في دمشق: "المرة مثل الاسفنجة إذا ما دعستها بتنفش"، أي إن لم تدهس المرأة بقدمك ستأخذ مساحة أكبر، مثل الاسفنجة التي لا يوجد عليها أي ضغط فيزيائي، هكذا تأخذ المرأة حريتها إن لم تدهس.</p> <p dir="rtl"> عندي المئات من هذه القصص التي تحمل في طياتها الكثير من العنصريّة والطائفيّة والتحيّز ضد النساء، بعضها قصص وحكايات شخصيّة حدثت معي أو أمام عيني، وبعضها حكايات عامة يعرفها الكثير من الناس. بعضها حدث في المدن السوريّة المختلفة وبعضها حدث في دول الشتات والمهجر واللجوء. بعض هذه الأفعال والأقوال صدرت عن أغنياء وبعضها عن فقراء، لا تهم الطبقة الإجتماعيّة أو الطائفة أو الحالة الاقتصاديّة أو القوميّة طالما الموضوع متعلق بالسخريّة من الآخر، كلّ الطوائف تسخر من كلّ الطوائف وكلّ القوميات تسخر من كلّ القوميات، ومعظم الناس يظنون أنفسهم أفضل من معظم الناس.</p> <p dir="rtl"> أتذكر الآن المقولة الشهيرة الي يرددها المثقفون والفنانون بعد أن يقولوا نكتة عنصريّة أو طائفيّة أو جنسيّة: النكات المضحكة هي تلك <span><a href="http://www.syriauntold.com/ar/category/syria-writesar/%D9%85%D9%84%D9%81%D8%A7%D8%AA/%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%B7%D8%A7%D8%A6%D9%81%D9%8A%D8%A9-ar/">الطائفي</a><a href="http://www.syriauntold.com/ar/category/syria-writesar/%D9%85%D9%84%D9%81%D8%A7%D8%AA/%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%B7%D8%A7%D8%A6%D9%81%D9%8A%D8%A9-ar/">ّ</a><a href="http://www.syriauntold.com/ar/category/syria-writesar/%D9%85%D9%84%D9%81%D8%A7%D8%AA/%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%B7%D8%A7%D8%A6%D9%81%D9%8A%D8%A9-ar/">ة</a></span> أو العنصريّة أو الجنسية (النكات ذات الطبيعة الجنسية، التي تستعمل أعضاء المرأة الجنسية). أما الباقي فغير مضحك. ثم يردف بالقول أنّه لا يقصد شيئًا سيئًا، وقد قال ما قاله فقط من أجل الضحك.</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/mohammad-dibo/sectarianism-syria-popular-culture">الثقافة الشفوية والهوية في سورية - ملف</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/omar-kaddour/yazid-syria-sectarianism">عندما لا يكون يزيد شريراً أو خيّراً</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/mohammed-dibo/syria-sectarianism-sunni-onion">&quot;من &quot;هذه البصلة سنية&quot; إلى &quot;السنة طيبين متلنا</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/ahmad-khalil/syria-sectarianism">صورة الآخر في الثقافة الشفوية السورية </a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/mohammad-abu-hajar/our-sectarianism-regime"> طائفيتنا التي لم ينتجها النظام</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/Abdullah-Amin-Al-Hallaq/Syria-sectarianism-ismailiya">أنا من السلَمية... لكني لست ممن في هذا المقال</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Syria </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> North-Africa West-Asia North-Africa West-Asia Syria sectarianism Through Syrian eyes Arabic language دلير يوسف Wed, 04 Jul 2018 09:00:00 +0000 دلير يوسف 118681 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Am I the son of the Arab Aisha? Jokes in a mixed household https://www.opendemocracy.net/north-africa-west-asia/dellair-youssef/am-i-son-of-arab-aisha-jokes-in-mixed-household <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Our friendly teasing sometimes echoes nationalistic, sectarian and tribal prejudice. <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/north-africa-west-asia/dellair-youssef/son-of-aisha-sectarianism-syria"><strong>العربية</strong></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <p><strong><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/562712/- ابن عائشة copy.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/562712/- ابن عائشة copy.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="259" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'></span></span>Translated by Pascale Menassa</strong></p><p><em>This article by Dellair Youssef forms part of a special series focused on Oral Culture and Identity in Syria. It is the outcome of an ongoing partnership between <a href="http://syriauntold.com/">SyriaUntold</a> and openDemocracy’s North Africa West Asia in a bid to untangle the roots of sectarian, ethnic and other divides in Syria.</em></p> <p>“Am I son of Aisha?”</p> <p>Usually, the answer would be, “No, you are the son of the Arab Khadija.” Then everybody present would laugh their hearts out at the naiveté of the little boy — me. I would ask that question without knowing its meaning. In my <a href="http://www.syriauntold.com/ar/category/syria-writesar/%D9%85%D9%84%D9%81%D8%A7%D8%AA/%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%83%D8%B1%D8%AF-%D9%81%D9%8A-%D8%B3%D9%88%D8%B1%D9%8A%D8%A7/">Kurdish</a> entourage, that saying was popular. For example, if tea glasses were distributed to everyone except for one person, that person would ask out loud, “Why didn’t I get tea? Am I the son of the Arab Aisha?” At the origin of this saying is an Arab woman called Aisha who worked for a Kurdish <em>agha</em> [honorific title in the Ottoman days], and her children did not get the same treatment as the <em>agha’s</em> kids. </p> <p>My siblings and I, just like everyone else, would repeat that sentence, but the answer was always certain. Our mother was in fact Arab, and her name was Khadija. So, we were not surprised to hear that answer all the time. Speaking of my Arab mother, I would sometimes get advice from older Kurds not to trust Arabs, except for my mother because she is sweet and reliable, unlike other Arabs!</p> <p>In any case, my family life was built on respect for others. But, if we delve into the basics of interaction and behavior of families and individuals in our entourage, including my family, we realize that the foundations are nationalistic, sectarian and tribal to a large extent. Respect for others is a delicate cover stripped of its essence, when push comes to shove. </p> <p>If you would like, dear readers, you can ponder on the expressions we use in our daily lives without realizing their true meaning — expressions that are beyond sectarian. </p><p class="mag-quote-center">Each time I spoke Kurdish in a non-Kurdish environment, I would get stares filled with contempt and condemnation</p> <p>How many times have we heard or repeated expressions like, “God damn you, darkie”, “Birds a feather <em>should always</em> flock together,” and “Trust a Jew with your dinner, but trust a Christian/Druze with your life.” Another expression which also applies to Ismailis says, “Murshidis worship the vagina and hold orgies as a sacred ritual. A person can sleep with his sister or mother for all he knows in such celebrations because the lights are off.” </p> <p>Each time I spoke Kurdish in a non-Kurdish environment, I would get stares filled with contempt and condemnation. Almost daily, people would ask me, “Why are you speaking a language other than Arabic? What are you saying? Are you insulting us? Why don’t you return to your country?” and so on and so forth.</p> <p>Let me tell you some short stories. At my primary school in Qamishli, which was in a Kurdish neighborhood of the Kurdish-majority city in northern Syria, even though most teachers and students were Kurds, students were not allowed to speak Kurdish. Some children did not know any other language, and they were punished whenever they spoke Kurdish. In secondary school in Damascus, I would hear students whispering while pointing at me and saying, “He is Kurdish. We should be scared.” </p> <p>When one of my uncles had to complete his compulsory military service on the occupied Golan borders, he met a person coming from a village in Al-Ghab Plain. That person was afraid of Kurds. When asked about the reason, he replied that whenever they wanted to scare children in his village, they would say, “The Kurd is coming to get you.”</p> <p>My mother is Iraqi. She came to Syria in 1987. After the fall of Saddam Hussein’s regime in Iraq in 2003 and in the wake of the <a href="https://www.zamanalwsl.net/news/article/6647">Iraqi displacement</a> waves into Syria, prices of real estate soared, as did prices of commodities because Iraqis flooded the country. It was then that rumors about Iraqi prostitutes in Syria spread like wildfire. </p> <p>When a friend wanted to insult me, whether jokingly or seriously, he would call me “son of the Iraqi woman” to say “son of a bitch.” That was the start of a series of endless problems about my mother’s Iraqi descent. </p> <p>I was once strolling through the streets of Rotterdam with a Kurdish woman, and a man of color walked into us. The woman said reflexively, “God damn this black man covered in shit.” I was shocked at this insulting description from a woman like her, whose family almost killed her because she loved an African guy and wanted to marry him. She ultimately gave in and married a Kurdish man she did not love. I cut ties with that woman after this incident.&nbsp; </p><p>I heard jokes about Kurds hundreds of times along the lines, “A Kurdish fell from the tenth floor but did not die because he fell on his head.” The joke is told to indicate the stubbornness of Kurds. It was also claimed that when a Kurd dies, God sends 72 angels—two to punish him for his deeds and 70 to convince him that he is dead. This joke intends to reflect the idiocy of Kurds. </p> <p>Each time a story about Kurds spreads on social media, we read comments like, “Well, what do you know—shoe-shiners and shisha boys now want their own state!” This refers to the jobs of some Kurdish men in Damascus, Aleppo and Homs. </p> <p>Until today, each time we enter a restaurant, some of my Syrian friends jokingly address me saying, “Do you want to bet that all the staff in this restaurant are Kurds?”</p><p class="mag-quote-center">I grew up in a secular environment at home, which was a melting pot for jokes and insults against all religions and ethnicities</p> <p>My mother is Iraqi-Shiite-Arab and my father is Syrian-Sunni-Kurdish. I grew up in a secular environment at home, which was a melting pot for jokes and insults against all religions and ethnicities. One day, we would criticize Sunnis, another day we would mock Shiites. A friend would tell us a joke about Christians. In 2005, there was a running joke about Sunnis in Iraq, and my brother brought it home when he visited his Iraqi aunt.</p> <p>The joke goes like this, “A Shiite kid felt a toothache and called his mother, ‘Mama, mama, my tooth [<em>sinni </em>in Arabic] is decaying.’ She answered, ‘Is there any Sunni who is not corrupt?’” [the play here is on the Arabic word <em>sinni</em> for “my tooth” and the Sunni sect due to the similar pronunciation.]</p> <p>Sometimes, it was said jokingly or seriously when describing a woman, “A woman is like a carpet that needs dusting off every once in a while.” This is to say that a woman should be beaten to be set straight again, just like a carpet is beaten with a stick to clean it. In Damascus, the line went as such, “Women are like sponges. If you don’t step on them, they puff up.” This is to say that if you do not keep a woman subdued, she will be freer. </p> <p>I have hundreds of similar sexist, sectarian and racist stories. Some are personal ones that I witnessed or lived, and others are people’s tales. </p> <p> Some happened in Syrian cities, while others took place in the diaspora and asylum countries. Some words and acts were spoken or committed respectively by the rich and some by the poor. The social class, sect, economic situation or national affiliation do not matter when mocking others is concerned. All sects mock other sects, and all ethnicities joke about other ethnicities. Most people think they are better than most people.</p> <p>This reminds me of a famous saying that artists and intellectuals repeat after telling a racist, sectarian or sexual jokes.</p> <p>“The funniest jokes are either <a href="http://www.syriauntold.com/ar/category/syria-writesar/%D9%85%D9%84%D9%81%D8%A7%D8%AA/%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%B7%D8%A7%D8%A6%D9%81%D9%8A%D8%A9-ar/">sectarian</a>, racist or sexual. Humor is lost on other topics,” the person joking would say, then he would add that he does not mean anything bad and that all was said for the sake of having a good laugh.</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/mohammad-dibo/oral-culture-and-identity-in-syria-dossier">Oral culture and identity in Syria - Dossier</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/omar-kaddour/when-name-yazid-is-neither-good-nor-bad">When the name Yazid is neither good nor bad</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/ahmed-khalil/other-and-oral-sectarian-culture-in-syria">The “other” and oral sectarian culture in Syria</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/mohammad-dibo/from-this-onion-is-sunni-to-nice-sunnis-like-us">From “this onion is Sunni” to “nice Sunnis like us”</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/mohammad-abu-hajar/our-sectarianism-not-just-regime-s-creation">Our Sectarianism – not just the regime’s creation</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/abdullah-amin-al-hallaq/i-am-from-salamiya-but-none-of-this-applies-to-me">I am from Salamiya but none of this applies to me</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Syria </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Civil society </div> <div class="field-item even"> Culture </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> North-Africa West-Asia North-Africa West-Asia Syria Civil society Culture sectarianism Through Syrian eyes Dellair Youssef Wed, 04 Jul 2018 09:00:00 +0000 Dellair Youssef 118678 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Mo Salah, the revolution and Egypt’s defeat https://www.opendemocracy.net/north-africa-west-asia/wael-eskandar/mo-salah-revolution-and-egypt-s-defeat <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p class="western">The real trouble with Egypt is that it’s a place where hope never lives, but never truly dies. <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/north-africa-west-asia/wael-eskandar/mo-salah-revolution-egypt-defeat-arabic"><strong>العربية</strong></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/562712/PA-37096363.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/562712/PA-37096363.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="307" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Mohamed Salah during the match between Russia and Egypt at the 2018 World Cup. Picture by Ricardo Moreira Fotoarena/SIPA USA/PA Images. All rights reserved. </span></span></span>It’s no shock that Egypt is out of the World Cup, yet there is disappointment. The real trouble with Egypt is that it’s a place where hope never lives, but never truly dies. We dared to hope yet again despite everything telling us not to. We were inspired by the unlikely success of someone we felt was one of us, fought the same battles we had to in order to reach the top, ever diligent and hardworking. The small framed man who defied giants to become one of them, Mohamed Salah was a source of hope for many Egyptians in many different ways. </p><p class="western">We wanted to think of him as a representative of what Egypt can become, but we knew deep down that he only represented himself. We admired his escape from a horrible fate of mediocrity that he would be sentenced to have had he remained in Egypt. If only now that he was strong enough, if only now he would come back and fight on our behalf… and he did, but one man’s success isn’t enough to save a nation, did I say nation? I meant team. </p> <p><span class="mag-quote-left">Football is political, and to ignore the politics of football is a political statement.</span><em> </em></p> <p>Mo Salah’s skills were laid to waste because while he is a star, he needed those around him to make him shine. I cannot truly blame his teammates as individuals. They too have been victims of their non escape. They cannot escape the mediocrity around them. There was no team. Everything is political in Egypt even when it doesn’t seem to be. Football is political, and to ignore the politics of football is a political statement. </p><p>The analysis of what has gone wrong is allegorical. The brilliance of a few have not saved the team. It applies to many other things in Egypt not the least of which is the revolution. The ambitions and integrity of a few could not save a nation, there were too many other forces at play beyond control. </p><p>We dared to hope, and we continue to dare to hope. After we’ve vowed a thousand times not to have hope again, we could not help but hope again. When the blow comes, it’s not shocking, it’s not surprising, it’s simply disappointing. After it’s all said and done we ask ourselves, “Are we stupid or something?” </p><p>I’ve told myself not to hope again because everything is against us, but there I go doing it. We never learn. </p><p>Yet despite all these blows, I’m almost glad that this is the lesson we haven’t learned. This is the lesson we never learn, this is the lesson we never want to learn. I’ve met so many who have escaped our revolutionary defeat. Everyone has vowed not to have hope in different ways, some have changed their environment, some have changed the way they talk about the revolution and some are particularly critical of it and curse it. But in many of these cases, this distance from the revolution is merely a thin facade, stripped away when engaging in a deeper conversation, a few drinks at a party or through hopes of winning a football match. There is no walking away from what we could have done and what we could have been. It lingers on like the aftertaste of a bitter sweet drink. </p><p class="western">We dared to hope, and we continue to dare to hope</p> <p>But aside from revolutionaries, those accepting folk singing the regime’s tune know well that beneath their drums and loud rhetoric of successes and pride, Egypt is not really succeeding. Football was an opium that the regime administered but went out of control. It also became an escape where people escaped the government control, a place of pure joy divorced from the political reality. It is for this reason that groups of young men fanatically followed their teams and turned political at the time of revolution. It is because football became more than an opium for the people that the regime then went after supporters, first conspiring to murder them in Portsaid stadium and later the Air Defense Stadium and then arresting them and placing them under harsh conditions with practically no real charges.&nbsp; </p><p class="mag-quote-right">Football was an opium that the regime administered but went out of control</p> <p class="western">For those Egyptians who have nothing going for them as prices increase and living conditions deteriorate, they looked for football to give them some sort of unadulterated happiness. Mo Salah boosted their pride, because he was truly successful worldwide and was willing to come back and fight on their behalf. In a way it was hope that we didn’t have to do anything collectively to dig ourselves out of that hole. But no matter what he did, it was always going to be an impossible feat. One man cannot pull up a hundred million no matter how strong he had become. Similarly it was not just one man who dug us into a hole even though sometimes it appears that way. </p> <p class="western">We can go on about how the World Cup was exploited by football officials and how Salah was used as a propaganda prop. We can talk about the details of how it all went down in detail but in the end these details aren’t what matter. We are collectively responsible for where we are no matter how exceptionally good or evil some of us are. </p> <p class="western">The weight was too much for one person to lift, and yet we continuously hope… and just like something miraculous happened on January 25 of 2011, where there were enough people gifted with integrity and courage to shake us into an awakening, maybe in the future there will come a time when there will be enough brilliant people to lift us out of this hole we find ourselves in. For that reason, despite the bitterness of disappointment that comes from hope never coming to life, it may be worth it to continue to keep some hope and never let it die. Maybe one day something good may happen, and hope will live again.</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/leila-zaki-chakravarti/president-s-wedding-micro-politics-of-mass-mobilisatio">The president’s wedding: micro-politics of mass mobilisation in Egypt’s 2018 election</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/amro-ali/unhappiness-and-mohamed-salah-s-egypt">Unhappiness and Mohamed Salah’s Egypt</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/maged-mandour/big-brother-art-of-subversion">&quot;Big Brother&quot;: the art of subversion</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/hesham-shafick/return-of-ultras-ahlawy-egypt-football">The return of the Ultras Ahlawy?</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Egypt </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Civil society </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> North-Africa West-Asia North-Africa West-Asia Egypt Civil society revolution World Cup football society Wael Eskandar Mon, 02 Jul 2018 18:23:23 +0000 Wael Eskandar 118656 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Can Iran turn crisis into opportunity? https://www.opendemocracy.net/north-africa-west-asia/mehrdad-khonsari/can-iran-turn-crisis-into-opportunity <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Iran is facing what is what is potentially the greatest existential threat it has faced since its inception in 1979. </p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/562712/PA-36401854.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/562712/PA-36401854.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="307" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>People Iran's President Hassan Rouhani's speech at a teahouse in central Tehran on May 8, 2018. Picture by Ahmad Halabisaz/Xinhua News Agency/PA Image. All rights reserved.</span></span></span></p><p class="blockquote-new">“Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it” George Santayana</p><p>In face of unprecedented US hostility buoyed by a host of regional adversaries like Saudi Arabia and Israel, the ruling establishment in Tehran needs to tread cautiously if it is to manage what is potentially the greatest existential threat it has faced since its inception in 1979.&nbsp; </p><p class="western"> The choices before them are simple: continue as before and risk greater economic hardship, more internal unrest and possible military conflict; or provide instead through dialogue and engagement, real possibilities for economic recovery and a final end to Iran’s international isolation.</p> <p class="western"> In a difficult ride that has endured one crisis after another, the Islamic republic has successfully managed not just to retain total control at home but to extend its influence as a powerful regional player. Yet, its economy is in tatters and the gulf between ordinary people and the regime in general and its hardline ideologues in particular has seriously widened with the passage of time.</p> <p class="western"> Following President Trump’s announcement to withdraw from JCPOA and to reinstate previously removed sanctions, earlier promises to revive Iran’s ailing economy by creating jobs, curtailing inflation, salvaging the national currency and promoting over all prosperity by resolving the ‘nuclear dispute’ seems little more than a fading mirage.</p> <p class="western"> Although the European signatories of JCPOA along with Russia and China have remained faithful to their commitments so long as Iran remains compliant to its obligations, the reality is that the scale of investments and technology transfers needed by Iran is simply beyond their grasp in face of persistent US opposition. The French president, Emanuel Macron, has been quite succinct in pointing out the reality that no European government can force any major private entity to risk jeopardizing its US operations for the sake of doing business with Iran.</p> <p class="western"> The situation was further exacerbated when Mike Pompeo sent a 12-point ‘set of demands’ to the Iranian leadership - telling them amongst other things to give up Iran’s ballistic missile program, end all enrichment activities and cease involvement in every regional country it is currently involved in. Expectedly, his message was immediately rebuked by Ayatollah Khamenei and countered by Iran’s own ’15 point demand list’ as later announced by the Iranian foreign minister, Javad Zarif. </p> <p class="western"> Yet somehow, irrespective of the current toxic atmosphere, the possibility for a potential ‘new deal’ with Iran has deliberately not been blocked by no lesser figure than president Trump himself. This was made abundantly clear in the tail end of his speech removing the US from JCPOA and repeated in more precise terms during the course of his press conference with the visiting Japanese prime minister in early June. This flexibility suggests that much like his earlier hard rhetoric against North Korea, the US President in concert with a responsive Iranian leadership could be a willing partner to once again confound everyone by squaring the circle.</p> <p class="western"> Such a supposition would suggest that any initiative for exploiting possibilities for a more comprehensive ‘deal’ capable of meeting Iran’s broader expectations must now come from the Iranian leadership. Anticipating the urgent nature of this matter, some 100 well known Iranian political and social activists have signed an open letter demanding that direct negotiations with the US should now be actively pursued. While this call has been strongly rejected by hardline quarters close to Ayatollah Khamenei, the spirit of their message has received a positive response from a number of senior advisers close to president Rouhani.</p> <p class="western"> Responding to this challenge while strategically strong in the region, is an obvious advantage for Iran’s bargaining position in what one Iranian journalist has dubbed as the ongoing “public negotiations’ following the ‘maximalist positions’ that have been advanced by both Pompeo and Zarif. The alternative, in the event of added altercations leading to further diplomatic discord and possibly military confrontation with the US, would in all probability weaken Iran’s bargaining position and play more directly into the hands of its regional competitors such as Saudi Arabia and Israel. Such an outcome in concert with continuing domestic protests, could lead to seriously detrimental consequences not just for the ruling establishment but also for the country.</p><p class="mag-quote-center"> Responding to this challenge while strategically strong in the region, is an obvious advantage for Iran’s bargaining position</p> <p class="western"> The Iranian leadership has never been in a better position – i.e. given the existing level of international irritation with the Trump administration - for advancing its arguments for a more comprehensive new deal following America’s withdrawal from JCPOA. It is ironical that Iran stands to potentially gain a great deal more than an alternative scenario that would have had the US in the agreement but still obstructing the resumption of normal economic ties between Iran and the rest of the world.</p> <p class="western"> It is now incumbent on Ayatollah Khamenei in particular to respond in support of Iranian national interest by not obstructing the start of direct Iran-US talks with the clear purpose of reaching a durable agreement that no longer leaves Iran reliant upon partners incapable of meeting its crucial economic needs. While president Rouhani’s pragmatic government might be amenable to such an outreach, it is those self-serving quarters associated with Khamenei who grudgingly continue to label any rapprochement with the US as a betrayal of the Islamic Revolution. </p> <p class="western"> The hard-liners conveniently forget that while serving as president, Khamenei never opposed either repeated purchases of military equipment from Israel during the Iran-Iraq war nor the invitation that was extended to Robert McFarlane to visit Iran in what later became infamously known as the ‘Iran Gate’ scandal. At the time, pragmatism, not ideology was at the forefront of Khamenei’s consideration, much like the flexibility he later displayed over the nuclear issue when he allowed the Rouhani team to strike the JCPOA deal with the ‘5+1’.</p> <p class="western"> Obstinate rigidity on the part of Khamenei in current circumstances can prove lethal both at home and abroad, while direct dialogue with the US can potentially lead to a situation that might avert economic uncertainties, domestic instability , external humiliation and regional chaos. </p> <p class="western"> While Iran – just as the US - will undoubtedly have to make some concessions for reaching a durable compromise– similar to those made by countries like China, Vietnam and Cuba, each with their own past history of hostility with the US, the gains it can make are significant and well capable of bringing to realization the ambitious hopes of many patriotic Iranians for the future of their country.</p> <p class="western"> Iranian leaders need to appreciate that for the foreseeable future, Europe, China and Russia are incapable of circumventing the US in meeting Iran’s urgent needs. Moreover, they need to realize that either buying time or becoming reliant on countries like China and Russia simply for purposes of counterbalancing the US, quite apart from its limitations, is hardly in the long-term interests of the Iranian people.</p> <p>Mr. Khamenei, in light of America’s withdrawal from the nuclear deal, may be permitted to take some solace in having previously warned against “not trusting the Americans”, but it is a fact that as matters develop, only he will be held responsible for any harm that should befall upon the Iranian nation as a consequence of his intransigence in allowing for new talks.</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/ahmad-mohammadpour/looking-from-within-is-nuclear-deal-big-deal-for-iranian-p">Looking from within: is the nuclear deal a big deal for the Iranian people?</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/can-europe-make-it/eskandar-sadeghi-boroujerdi/open-letter-to-frederica-mogherini-and-european-imper">An Open Letter to Federica Mogherini and the European imperative to save the Iran nuclear deal</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/sara-takafori/eyes-of-iran-and-its-children-ordinary-lives-iranian-sanctions-and-donald-trump-s-reje">The eyes of Iran and its children: ordinary lives, Iranian sanctions and Donald Trump’s rejection of the nuclear deal</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/negin-shahiar/us-iran-policy-is-driven-more-by-psychology-than-geopolitics">US Iran policy is driven more by psychology than geopolitics </a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/mehrdad-khonsari/europe-must-honour-its-commitments-and-protect-nuclear-deal">Europe must honour its commitments: protect the nuclear deal</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Iran </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Conflict </div> <div class="field-item even"> International politics </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> North-Africa West-Asia North-Africa West-Asia Iran Conflict International politics Donal Trump nuclear deal Mehrdad Khonsari Mon, 02 Jul 2018 07:28:29 +0000 Mehrdad Khonsari 118653 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Palestinian Jerusalemites leading Israelis towards normalisation https://www.opendemocracy.net/north-africa-west-asia/ali-ghaith/palestinian-jerusalemites-leading-israelis-towards-normalisation <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Normalisation holds an incredibly vague definition, and varies from one Palestinian to another. There are Palestinians, and Arabs in general, who do not truly understand the meaning of the word, yet they stamp it on any and all relations with Israelis.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/563417/PA-36960396.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title="PJLITowards Normalisation "><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/563417/PA-36960396.jpg" alt="lead " title="PJLITowards Normalisation " width="460" height="307" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Muammar Awad/guoyu/Xinhua News Agency/PA images. All rights reserved </span></span></span>Since Israel formalised its annexation of East Jerusalem when it passed the&nbsp;<a href="https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/12/israel-judaising-east-jerusalem-171206102051198.html">Jerusalem Law in 1980</a>, Palestinians have been enduring numerous repercussions that rendered their mere existence difficult. Their fundamental human rights have been compromised, and their sense of national identity has been relentlessly challenged. And although Israel considers Jerusalem to be unified, Palestinians in East Jerusalem do not feel they are part of the Israeli cohort, and never will be.</p><p>At many occasions, Palestinians voice their disapproval against the actions of the Israeli government, to which, they are faced with strict responses. House demolitions&nbsp;<a href="https://www.alaraby.co.uk/english/news/2017/5/6/israel-escalates-palestinian-home-demolitions-in-jerusalem">have increased in East Jerusalem</a>, residency statuses have been revoked, and more stringent security measures have been exercised to suffocate the nationalism out of East Jerusalemites. And while one could see many youngsters retaliating when the&nbsp;<a href="https://www.idf.il/en/minisites/about-the-idf/">Israeli Defense Forces</a>&nbsp;(IDF) upsurges its oppression in East Jerusalem, many others refrain from participating in any form of protesting on the streets or even on their social media accounts. It would be fair to say that Israel has been quite successful in desensitizing the sense of “Palestinian-ess” in the mind-set of the newer generation thus dramatically decreasing the number of activists in East Jerusalem.</p><p>Being an activist requires one to adopt a particular lifestyle that dictates their day-to-day activities, socializing sessions, and online presence. Being an activist who supports the Palestinian case and cause, demands one to fulfil the criteria mentioned above clandestinely, especially if they were residing in Jerusalem.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>The reason is due to the newfound understanding of the Israeli government, that by diminishing the numbers of Jerusalemite activists – who are witnessing first-hand the doings of the government – they would control the story delivered to the world regarding Jerusalem thus shifting the optics to their favor.</p><p>The majority of Palestinians in Jerusalem hold a temporary Israeli identification card where its holder needs to prove their center of life is Jerusalem. Vis-à-vis employment, there is a magnitude of Palestinian Jerusalemite youths – 18 years of age and above – saturating hotels, restaurants, coffee shops, hospitals, senior-care centers, construction sites, and the Jerusalem Municipality. Usually, these Palestinians fill the minimum-wage positions, leaving decision-making posts to Israelis.</p><p>Nonetheless, there are others who choose to enter the Israeli working force from an alternative gateway; one that provides them with a new form of contact with Israelis in Jerusalem – not merely through serving them a hot cup of latte.</p><p>These well-meaning individuals, who got frustrated from the on-going conflict, have turned into the fields of Social Development and Conflict Resolution within Israeli organizations. Their motivation to pass the boundaries and work for what many other Palestinians consider “The Enemy”, stems from their internal need for stability. They are trying to hold on to their waning Palestinian national identity and defend it at many occasions, simultaneously they are fighting off their increasing affection towards the modern Israeli lifestyle they grew up within; a case of societal schizophrenia, one might say.</p><p>East Jerusalemites who follow this path, become the ultimate guides for Israelis, mostly leftists, and provide them with an insight on the Palestinian mind-set, translate texts in Arabic and sometimes recruit other Palestinians to join their respective organization. You would find these amiable Palestinians working in high-positions at Israeli organizations that claim to be working towards realizing peace and tolerance between Israelis and Palestinians in Jerusalem.</p><p>This clan of Jerusalemites consider themselves the bridge between the conflicting parties. Although they have good intentions at heart because they are desperately aspiring to live a healthy life in Jerusalem, however, sometimes they fall into the trap of&nbsp;<em>normalisation</em>.</p><p>Those who decide to swim against the current risk their status within the Palestinian community. For, any interaction with Israelis in such organizations is deemed&nbsp;<em>normalizing</em>&nbsp;in the eyes of many Palestinians.</p><p>Normalisation holds an incredibly vague definition, and varies from one Palestinian to another. There are Palestinians, and Arabs in general, who do not truly understand the meaning of the word, yet they stamp it on any and all relations with Israelis. In my case, and after working in Journalism for a while, I had my confusions about the word because I could see different descriptions of it among the Palestinian people, which rendered me oblivious and frustrated. Until I came to understand that a normalizing person, views the notion of the conflict as obsolete and that Palestinians need to look towards a future that is more peaceful and harmonious. This act comes forth without acknowledging the facts of the past - at least from a Palestinian point of view.</p><p>I could understand this notion because I adopted it at some point when I got frustrated and unmotivated to think outside the political box and societal foiling; I was thinking to myself that we should move on and accept that the Israeli occupation has taken place and that we are the weaker link. That sense of psychological defeat rendered me submissive to the violations I had witnessed and experienced over the years.&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>However, in a gradual turn of events, I came to realize that one should not shy from demanding their birth right of being respected and dignified. When I was hearing the&nbsp;<a href="https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/statement-president-trump-jerusalem/">statement</a>&nbsp;of Mr. Donald Trump, the President of the United States, on December 6th&nbsp;2017. I pondered upon his understanding regarding Israel being the most democratic country in the Middle East. I thought to myself: Yes, perhaps it is, in comparison to other Arab countries in the Middle East. On the other hand, I am living in Jerusalem, which Mr. Trump considers the capital of Israel, and I could testify along with the other Palestinian Jerusalemites that it is not democratic towards us at all.</p><p>Palestinians in East Jerusalem can deduce the anti-democratic sentiment towards them when the police or IDF soldiers profile them on the street, or at Ben Gurion airport. They notice that their Arabic language is not properly and comprehensively used at governmental institutions in Jerusalem, so they tend to hire lawyers to finalize their papers and submit them only due to the language barrier; tasks that Israeli civilians can usually perform single-handedly. The sentiment extends to other mundane tasks, such as the renewal of travel documents and IDs, where East Jerusalemites have to endure inhumane conditions while waiting outside the Ministry of Interior’s building to be admitted.</p><p class="mag-quote-center">Being an activist requires one to adopt a particular lifestyle that dictates their day-to-day activities, socializing sessions, and online presence.</p><p>The heads of Israeli organizations in Jerusalem who wish to include Palestinians in their activities are not aware of the numerous difficulties East Jerusalemites face due to the Israeli occupation, however, they rely on their Palestinian guides to inform them. On the other hand, occasionally, these guides fail to disclose the pains of East Jerusalemites because they themselves were looking for a way out from the feeling of being disrespected, and have fully adopted the Israeli lifestyle, in addition to being shunned by their Palestinian community for being stamped as a normalizer, so they take on a different route.</p><p>They would still identify as Palestinian; however, they will start calling for Palestinians to take on responsibility for their situation and shed the cloak of victimization. Similarly, they would call for Palestinians to solve their internal issues and become mindful citizens before they can demand the cessation of occupation. A notion these guides utilize to show Israelis their just attitude. They also assume that both Israelis and Palestinians are on the same level, and both should be proactive in reaching the peace and justice Jerusalem needs; being the epicenter of the conflict. &nbsp;</p><p>To the Israeli organizations, who are sometimes genuine about reaching out to the Palestinian society in Jerusalem, and who are ignorant of the internal context, the notion provided through their trusted Palestinian guides becomes the core of their work and the Palestinian story gets lost in the cracks and they would all fall into the normalisation pit.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>However, the leftist Israeli society members, being against all forms of injustices, including that which befalls the Palestinians precisely, fail to genuinely understand the Palestinian case and cause. The only type of understanding and knowledge they receive comes through the Palestinians of the abovementioned class. Therefore, their efforts in diffusing the adverse effects of their government on Palestinians go in vain. These Palestinian guides become –to the organization- the compass to their efforts. However, when the compass is rigged, directions become unreliable.</p><p>I am taking the liberty of describing the guidance of these Palestinians as rigged because they bring in their personal experience in navigating the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and generalize their findings on the rest of Palestinians. Their cases are too specific which render their conclusions inapplicable.</p><p>For the Israeli employer, who has a&nbsp;genuine&nbsp;interest in being inclusive to Palestinians, they feel they had hit the jackpot by taking directions into the Palestinian society and mindset. They think they have a grasp on who Palestinians are, and start forming deluded perceptions on the Palestinian narrative.</p><p>I believe that this class of Palestinians, especially in Jerusalem, partake in stigmatizing Palestinians, on the other hand, they aid in unknowingly leading these organizations into the abyss of normalization.</p><p>I am not against Palestinians working in high positions at Israeli companies and organizations; on the contrary I think it is crucial. However, one needs to be vigilant and deeply understanding of the vision and mission of the entity they work for. On the other hand, one needs to be professional enough not to apply personal notions to their work and deem them universal to all Palestinians. Because when a Palestinian is at a position where they represent other Palestinians, they need to transfer the information with no personal prejudice, especially against their own people, and convey the most accurate information of how Palestinians perceive the situation, and guide the Israeli counterpart correctly towards achieving a better understanding. And it is true that Palestinians need to inspect their actions within their societies, but occupation has proven, unquestionably, to be one of the main reasons for these actions to have surfaced in the first place.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/samah-jabr/palestine-our-history-haunts-our-future">Palestine: our history haunts our future</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/isabella-bellezza-smull/from-land-day-to-70th-anniversary-of-nakba-palestinia">From Land Day to the 70th anniversary of the Nakba, Palestinians have plenty to protest</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/yara-hawari/seventy-years-of-palestinian-resistance-since-establishment-of-st">Seventy years of Palestinian resistance since the establishment of the State of Israel</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Palestine </div> <div class="field-item even"> Israel </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Conflict </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> North-Africa West-Asia Middle East Forum North-Africa West-Asia Israel Palestine Conflict Mid-East Forum Ali Ghaith Wed, 27 Jun 2018 08:30:48 +0000 Ali Ghaith 118563 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Yarmouk: a late obituary for the capital of the Palestinian diaspora https://www.opendemocracy.net/north-africa-west-asia/budour-hassan/yarmouk-late-obituary-for-capital-of-palestinian-diaspora <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>The story of the Palestinian refugee camp besieged, destroyed, and emptied it of its people before being looted by Syrian regime soldiers.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/562712/33475118_126784964860613_2786697720788680704_n.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/562712/33475118_126784964860613_2786697720788680704_n.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="289" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>One of the pictures and videos circulating on social media documenting the looting of Yarmouk by the Syrian regime forces. Source: Facebook/Yarmouk camp news</span></span></span>On 16 July 1948, several units of the Israeli army, backed by the navy, occupied <a href="http://www.palestineremembered.com/Haifa/al-Tira/index.html">al-Tira</a>, a Palestinian village on the western slopes of Mount Carmel in the Haifa District. The fall of al-Tira came after more than two months of siege and bombardment by Zionist militias met with fierce resistance by local Palestinian fighters. </p><p>During the two months of fighting, most of al-Tira's residents, numbering just over 6,000 at the start of 1948, were displaced or forced to flee. Among those displaced by Zionist militias was 15-year-old Dhahabiyeh Abu Rashed. The teenage girl and her family fled to Syria before moving into the newly built Yarmouk refugee camp. </p><p>Established by Syrian authorities in 1957 to accommodate the Palestinian refugees scattered across Syria, Yarmouk quickly morphed into a microcosm of the Palestine that once was. In that overcrowded space on the southern outskirts of Damascus, refugees reimagined their forbidden homeland and rebuilt it from scratch. They named the neighborhoods after their ethnically cleansed villages and preserved their eclectic native accents. They kept alive the struggle for Palestinian liberation and created a rich legacy of resistance and communal solidarity. </p><p><span class="mag-quote-center">Yarmouk was the lifeline that connected Dhahabiyeh and tens of thousands of Palestinian refugees to Palestine</span></p> <p>Yarmouk was the lifeline that connected Dhahabiyeh and tens of thousands of Palestinian refugees to Palestine. It was the thread weaving together their memories of home and a harbor protecting their right of return from drowning in oblivion. </p><p> For many in the camp, Yarmouk was not merely a makeshift sanctuary or a temporary residence to be promptly forgotten once they go home. You could often hear Yarmouk residents say, jokingly perhaps, that they would take a piece of Yarmouk with them after going back to Palestine. They would plant it amongst the almond and olive trees, a living testament to their perseverance and to the collective identity they fostered in Syria.</p><p>Was this special emotional attachment the reason for Dhahabiyeh Abu Rashed's insistence on staying in Yarmouk when most of her family, friends and loved ones had already left? </p><p> Did she cling to the camp because she did not want to be displaced again, seventy years after her first displacement? In Yarmouk, al-Tira feels like a heartbeat away and the right of return does not seem like an impossibility or an abstract. Leaving Yarmouk, however, means letting go of the certainty of return and giving up on the last remaining tangible bond with the land. </p> <p> Did the green buses, used by the Syrian government to evict Syrians to the far away north, evoke memories of the forcible transfer of 1948? Dhahabiyeh must have thought that at 85, she could not cope with yet another uprooting.</p><p>Perhaps, though, she stayed because she did not have the means or the ability to flee. We will never know the answer, for Dhahabiyeh was among those <a href="https://www.facebook.com/palsyr.2011/posts/1509689165808426">killed</a> in the Syrian-Russian shelling of the camp on 18 May 2018.</p><p>Three weeks earlier, Dhahabiyeh had lost another fellow survivor of the Nakba, the 1948 ethnic cleansing of Palestine. </p><p><a href="https://maseer.net/archives/3953">Inshirah Shaabi</a> was a little child when Zionist death squads murdered her father Qassem Shaabi in <a href="http://www.palestineremembered.com/Safad/Ayn-al-Zaytun/index.html">Ein az-Zeitoun</a> near Safed. Inshirah's father was among scores of Palestinian men and boys captured and summarily executed by the Palmach militia on 3-4 May 1948. </p> <p> Much like Dhahabiyeh, Inshirah, affectionately known as Umm Jihad, insisted on remaining in Yarmouk, never relinquishing the dream of returning to Safed one day.</p> <p> Following the destruction of her house by Russian air strikes on 24 April 2018, she chose to stay by her wounded friend who suffered a broken foot due to the air strike. They took refuge in the basement of a four-story building but there was no escaping the constant bombardment. After surviving the Nakba, the loss of her father, decades of self-imposed loneliness, a suffocating five-year siege, and numerous air strikes, Inshirah was killed in an air strike on 25 April. </p> <p> Dhahabiyeh and Inshirah were among just 3,000 civilians trapped in Yarmouk after Islamic State fighters occupied it in April 2015, but the exodus and destruction of Yarmouk had started long before that fateful month.</p> <p>For the first 20 months of the popular uprising that erupted in Syria in March 2011, Yarmouk, then the <a href="https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/sarah-irving/refugee-poet-remembers-yarmouk-capital-palestinian-diaspora">capital of the Palestinian diaspora</a>, served as a safe haven for internally displaced Syrians fleeing government repression. </p> <p>Although many of the Palestinian-Syrian youth opposed to the Syrian government participated in protests outside the camp and helped organize and document grassroots peaceful resistance activities, there was a collective tacit agreement to maintain the <a href="http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=506310">neutrality</a> of the camp.</p><p>Few months before the outbreak of the Syrian uprising, 495,970 registered Palestinian refugees lived in Syria, <a href="https://www.unrwa.org/userfiles/2011120434013.pdf">according</a> to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees, UNRWA. <a href="http://www.refworld.org/docid/532024234.html">Law 260</a>, passed by the Syrian parliament in 1956, regulated the legal status of Palestinian refugees in Syria and granted them rights nearly equal to Syrian citizens, with the exception of the right to vote and run for office. The situation of Palestinian refugees in Syria, who made up nearly <a href="http://studies.aljazeera.net/mritems/Documents/2012/5/2/201252132022536734The%20Syrian%20Revolution%20and%20Palestinian%20Refugees%20in%20Syria.pdf">two per cent</a> of the country's total population prior to 2011, was unique: they stuck to their Palestinian identity, heritage, and sense of community while simultaneously integrating into the country's social tapestry.</p><p>This dual identity pushed many youngsters from Yarmouk to join Syria's burgeoning social movement. They shared a strong sense of belonging to Syria and longed for building a free, more humane and just country. They were, however, wary of dragging the camp and the refugee population into direct confrontation with the government. </p><p class="mag-quote-right">The destruction of Nahr al-Bared laid bare the vulnerability of Palestinian refugees</p> <p>Fresh in their collective memory was the catastrophe of Nahr al-Bared. The Palestinian camp in northern Lebanon, home to 40,000 refugees, was destroyed by the Lebanese army in the conflict with the Jihadist group Fatah al-Islam, which occupied the camp between May and September of 2007. The destruction of Nahr al-Bared laid bare the vulnerability of Palestinian refugees during internal crises in their host countries. Thus, avoiding this scenario in Syria became a virtual consensus. </p><p>Yet, anti-government activists accused pro-government factions, most notably the Palestinian Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC), of violating the consensus, cracking down on peaceful dissent, and sacrificing the precarious status of Palestinian refugees in order to safeguard the interests of the Assad regime. </p> <p>They bring up the <a href="http://www.palestine-studies.org/jps/fulltext/162936">Naksa</a> (defeat) Day protests in 2011 as an example of how the PFLP-GC and the Syrian regime showed utter disregard for the lives of Palestinian refugees to deflect attention from the unrest in Syria. On 5 June 2011, the PFLP-GC mobilized Palestinian refugee youth to take part in the protests at the border with the occupied Golan Heights. Many prominent figures in Yarmouk had warned against participating in those protests because of the likelihood of high casualties, as evidenced by Israel's killing of unarmed protesters on 15 May. </p> <p>However, while the May 15 border marches were part of a protest movement across Palestine and the diaspora, the June 5 protests were orchestrated and coopted by regime-backed factions. During the protests, at least 23 Palestinian refugees, the majority of whom from Yarmouk, were killed by Israeli occupation forces near the border. Syrian soldiers stood idly by, sipping mate and tea while Israeli soldiers were callously shooting at protesters. </p> <p>Convinced that the PFLP-GC threw their children to the wolves to score political points for the regime, Yarmouk residents turned the funerals of those killed by Israel in the border protests into a <a href="http://www.palestine-studies.org/jps/fulltext/162936">day of rage.</a> Angry mourners set the PFLP-GC building ablaze and chanted anti-Assad slogans for the first time inside the camp. PFLP-GC gunmen responded <a href="https://www.thenational.ae/world/mena/up-to-12-killed-as-palestinian-refugees-are-drawn-into-syria-revolt-1.376205">with live bullets, killing</a> several protesters. </p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Although the polarization in the camp continued to manifest itself in sporadic violent outbursts and recurring tensions, the camp remained on the margins of Syria's conflict. It was not until the end of 2012 that it fully descended into chaos. </p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><span class="mag-quote-left">Yarmouk was seen as a strategic front by both the Syrian regime and armed rebels</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p><p>Following the transition of the overwhelmingly peaceful uprising into a full-fledged civil war in the summer of 2012, Yarmouk was seen as a strategic front by both the Syrian regime and armed rebels. Grassroots activists in the camp desperately tried to distance it from the battle raging in southern Damascus but militarization was gradually silencing their voices. </p><p> The presence of then-small armed opposition groups on the edge of the camp was a sufficient cloak for the Syrian regime to strike it. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p><p>On 16 December 2012, a Syrian warplane <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omgJovb65HU">shelled</a> Abdel-Qadir al-Husseini mosque, which also acted as a shelter for internally displaced people, and al-Fallujah school. It was the first time that the Syrian army deployed its air force against Yarmouk, killing and wounding dozens of civilians and sowing unprecedented panic and fear. </p><p> For survivors of the Nakba, the scenes of mass exodus triggered by the air strike were almost a repeat of the horror they fled in 1948. </p> <p>In the immediate aftermath of the MiG strike, nearly <a href="http://www.actionpal.org.uk/en/post/6312/flash-news/5-years-after-the-massacre-of-abdul-qadir-al-husseini-mosque-the-residents-of-yarmouk-are-victims-of-the-siege-imposed-by-the-syrian-regime-and-isis-groups-control-the-camp">80 percent</a> of the camp's 160,000 residents fled as Syrian government forces and their Palestinian allies imposed a partial siege on the camp. Rebel and Islamist groups, particularly Aknaf Beit al-Maqdis, a Palestinian Islamic militia affiliated with Hamas, grew in size and influence and so did their repressive practices and authoritarian grip. </p> <p>In July 2013, the Syrian government and its allies tightened the siege, denying access to food and medical supplies and holding close to 20,000 civilians in an <a href="https://www.unrwa.org/crisis-in-yarmouk">open-air prison.</a> The siege of Yarmouk was part of a "<a href="https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2017/11/syria-surrender-or-starve-strategy-displacing-thousands-amounts-to-crimes-against-humanity/">surrender or starve"</a> strategy, systematically employed by the Syrian government against civilians in rebel-held areas as a form of collective punishment. A <a href="https://www.amnestyusa.org/reports/syria-squeezing-the-life-out-of-yarmouk-war-crimes-against-besieged-civilians/">report</a> by Amnesty International documented the deaths of 128 Yarmouk inhabitants due to starvation. </p> <p> Caught between regime bombardment and siege, and extreme repression by Aknaf Beit al-Maqdis and Jabhat al-Nusra, Yarmouk residents were left reeling.</p> <p>"Yarmouk as we know is gone forever," Palestinian photographer and refugee <a href="https://electronicintifada.net/content/siding-life-face-death-photographer-captures-siege-palestinians-syria/14089">Niraz Saied</a> said back in 2014. "It is either heading towards complete decimation or becoming an Islamic emirate."</p> <p> His prognosis turned out to be painfully accurate.</p> <p>In April 2015, the Islamic State <a href="https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/maureen-clare-murphy/catastrophe-yarmouk-isis-seizes-camp">seized</a> Yarmouk after defeating Aknaf Beit al-Maqdis, leading to yet another exodus. Thousands of Palestinian refugees fled to the neighboring town of Yelda, leaving behind 3,000 civilians and a camp in tatters. For those who stayed in Yarmouk, enduring three years of IS control and five years of regime siege was akin to slow death amid constantly deteriorating conditions and a state of sheer desperation.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p><p>Routing Islamic State terrorists and insurgent groups was the official justification for the Russian-backed regime <a href="http://www.actionpal.org.uk/en/reports/special/yarmouksetonfireen.pdf">offensive</a> launched against the southern Damascus enclave, including Yarmouk, on 19 April 2018. </p><p> <span class="mag-quote-center">Justifying all-out annihilation under the guise of waging war on terror is immensely popular</span></p> <p> After all, justifying all-out annihilation under the guise of waging war on terror is immensely popular. It dismisses the lives of trapped civilians as collateral damage at best, insignificant and disposable at worst. It normalizes collective punishment and dehumanizes the victims, portraying them as terrorist sympathizers and generalizing their towns or neighborhoods as terrorist strongholds. </p> <p> In the case of Yarmouk, this justification overlooked the alleged complicity of the Syrian regime in facilitating the surprising IS invasion of the camp: in April 2015, Yarmouk was under complete regime siege and regime forces tightly controlled all entry and exit routes into the camp. Yet this did not seem to hinder IS fighters from entering the camp through the neighborhood of al-Hajar al-Aswad, also under regime siege. </p> <p>After an intensive military campaign that lasted for just over a month, the Syrian army <a href="https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2018/05/21/613083607/syrian-military-retakes-full-control-of-damascus">"liberated"</a> Yarmouk after having besieged, destroyed, and emptied it of its people. Syrian soldiers celebrated the liberation of Yarmouk by <a href="http://www.actionpal.org.uk/en/post/7193/flash-news/military-and-pro-regime-houses-in-yarmouk-camp-were-not-spared-from-looting">looting</a> all that could be stolen – and sold later - from homes and shops. The looting was so massive and widespread that many refugees from Yarmouk expressed their relief that their houses had been destroyed by then. "You have to look at the silver lining," one displaced refugee from Yarmouk said with a wry smile. "There was nothing left for them to steal from my home because it was completely destroyed by an air strike." </p> <p>The looting carried out under the approving gaze of senior Syrian army officers <a href="http://www.actionpal.org.uk/en/post/7205/flash-news/continued-looting-targets-the-houses-of-yarmouk-camp-in-damascus">included</a> furniture, wooden doors, wires, heaters, and sanitary installations.</p> <p> For the past forty years, the Syrian regime has been "looting" and exploiting the Palestinian cause to bankroll its quest for legitimacy or to condone and sugarcoat the oppression of Syrians. All that is left to steal, load and sell is one refrigerator here and a mattress there. In the meantime, supporters of the Syrian regime continue to blame the destruction of the camp on armed groups, absolving the regime of any responsibility. </p> <p> Palestinian thinker <a href="http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=488506">Salameh Kaileh</a> claims that expelling insurgent groups was merely a <a href="https://rommanmag.com/view/posts/postDetails?id=4868">pretext</a> for the systematic destruction of camps, citing the plight of <a href="https://electronicintifada.net/content/palestinians-khan-eshieh-face-second-nakba/17331">Khan Eshieh</a>. Located approximately 15 miles southwest of Damascus, Khan Eshieh refugee camp was subjected to heavy shelling and siege by government forces despite the absence of any armed groups. </p><p> Kaileh argues that the concerted campaign targeting Syria's Palestinian camps, especially Yarmouk, is aimed at erasing the Palestinian presence in Syria and getting rid of the refugee "problem," the heart of the Palestinian cause. Yarmouk embodied the inalienability of the right of return and represented the bond between refugees and Palestine. Destroying it, driving out Palestinian refugees, and blocking those who did stay in Syria from returning to the camp, constitute an attempt at breaking this bond.</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/josepha-ivanka-wessels/how-assad-tortures-and-kills-syria-s-young-pacifist-young-left">How Assad tortures and kills Syria’s pacifist young leftists</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/richard-salame/reporting-syria-this-is-story-about-people">Reporting Syria: this is a story about people - an interview with Rania Abouzeid</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/darius-kamali/iraq-and-syria-of-memory-and-maps">Iraq and Syria: of memory and maps</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/yara-hawari/seventy-years-of-palestinian-resistance-since-establishment-of-st">Seventy years of Palestinian resistance since the establishment of the State of Israel</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/omar-sabbour/why-would-assad-do-it-debunking-abstract-theories-surrounding-sy">“Why would Assad do it?” Debunking the abstract theories surrounding Syria’s chemical attacks</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/rayyan-dabbous/syrian-game-of-thrones-infotainment-and-new-york-times-spectac">A Syrian game of thrones: infotainment and New York Times’ spectacular coverage</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Syria </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Conflict </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> North-Africa West-Asia North-Africa West-Asia Syria Conflict Palestine war refugees Through Syrian eyes Budour Hassan Fri, 22 Jun 2018 10:48:34 +0000 Budour Hassan 118509 at https://www.opendemocracy.net The president’s wedding: micro-politics of mass mobilisation in Egypt’s 2018 election https://www.opendemocracy.net/north-africa-west-asia/leila-zaki-chakravarti/president-s-wedding-micro-politics-of-mass-mobilisatio <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>The micro-level responses, and the individual and local acts of agency still reaffirm Egypt’s longstanding tradition of subversive political humour. </p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/562712/PA-35813993.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/562712/PA-35813993.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="307" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Supporters of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi celebrate at Tahrir square after the presidential election results were announced, in Cairo, Egypt on April 2, 2018. Picture by Fayed El-Geziry/NurPhoto/Sipa USA/PA Images. All rights reserved.</span></span></span>Egypt’s recent presidential election saw unprecedented levels of <em>hashd</em> (mass mobilisation) in support of President Abd el Fattah el Sisi’s re-election. Ethnographic snapshots of micro-level responses, however, show not only the complex rivalries at play beneath the grand narratives of the state – but also individual and local acts of agency reaffirming Egypt’s longstanding tradition of subversive political humour. </p><p>For anyone arriving in Cairo airport in the run up to Egypt’s March 2018 Presidential election, the first overwhelming impression would have been the sheer exhilaration of the huge illuminated billboards that had gone up along the route into the city. Alongside large portraits of the benign, gently smiling ‘candidate’ they proclaimed messages such as “You are the Hope”, “The Story of Egypt” and “We began together, and together we march on”. </p><p class="western">I remarked to my cab driver that the flavour of the electoral campaign of President Abdel Fattah el Sisi’s nomination for his second term in office was clearly distinctive. He replied with a laugh:</p> <p class="western"> <span class="blockquote-new">“You haven’t seen anything yet! The entire city is festooned with Sisi billboards and banners. One of my mates tried to keep count of the banners in support of his lone opponent – he found a total of just six. And you won’t see them anywhere prominent, they’re all tucked away in quiet corners such as by the Pyramids.”</span></p> <p class="western">Days into my visit, as the final countdown rapidly approached for the three days (26th – 28th March) scheduled for polling, I saw banners being hung from wooden poles, or hung from frontages, along the streets – all bearing the same scripted messages of support as the larger official billboards. Cairo’s choked urban landscape can be overwhelming at the best of times – but now the sheer scale of this new visual assault made it seem almost as if a sorcerer has, in a moment of berserk frenzy, waved a wand to choke every inch of breathing space with yet another banner. </p><p class="western">Alongside the visual assault came a new oral assault to add to the existing cacophony of Cairo’s roads. This took the shape of pickup trucks contracted to drive around the city carrying huge sound systems blaring out nationalist songs. These throbbed to the populist beats ubiquitous in <em>shaabi</em> (working class, connoting ‘common’) street wedding parties – as well as, more recently, in the trendy <em>leilet el-henna</em> (literally traditional ‘henna evenings’, but in reality involving something more like a Western ‘hen night’) held before weddings amongst the more privileged classes. </p><p class="western">The rickety trucks circulated around different routes with each neighbourhood of the city, driving through the congested traffic with an air of authority. Each carried as many as six huge loudspeakers, as the lads in sunshades and reversed baseball caps who had been assigned to operate the sound system waved flags, pausing only to wiggle their lower torsos each time the vehicle hit a traffic light as they basked in the din they were making as well as their self-conscious cool masculinity.</p> <p class="western">The overwhelming display of banners and music rapidly became something of <span><a href="https://www.madamasr.com/en/2018/03/28/feature/politics/sugar-rice-and-everything-nice-mobilizing-voter-turnout-in-egypts-presidential-election/">a talking point among Egyptians</a></span>, whose quick political wit dubbed the electoral campaign as <em>il-ors il- gumhurri</em> (the “Presidential Wedding Party”), or less flatteringly (though no less effusively) as Sisi’s <em>leilet el-henna</em>. These observations came together in a growing commentary about how ‘the road to Ettihadiyya’ (the Egyptian White House), a foregone conclusion in terms of its inevitable end result, had come to take on a life of its own characterised as infused with <em>farha</em> (celebration, joy). The optimistic focus associated with this reading of the political landscape was intended to animate the spirit of the nation in the collective endeavour of <em>musharka</em> (pulling together) towards the ballot box.</p> <p class="western">The fortuitous timing also fitted in with the country’s annual sequence of spring festivals, long considered to uphold the family cohesiveness of Egypt as a nation: Mother’s Day (21st March), and Shamm Il Nessim (9th April – the spring festival), the time-honoured Pharonic spring feast when families rich and poor enjoy the traditional open air picnic – especially welcome, given the ever-escalating cost of living – consisting of <em>fiseekh</em> (a special kind of cured fish), boiled eggs and raw spring onions (symbolic of the cycle of death, rebirth and new life). </p><p class="mag-quote-center">Pop-up army kiosks sprouted along pavements, selling fruit, vegetables and frozen poultry at below market prices</p> <p class="western">Along with these moves to infuse a sense of <em>farha</em> into the campaign came other efforts directed at showing the goodwill of the military, as a national institution that everybody knows in effect runs the country, towards citizens. Pop-up army kiosks (<em>akshak el-geish</em>) sprouted along pavements, selling fruit, vegetables and frozen poultry at below market prices. Food baskets were distributed to Governorates, who were ordered to hand them out as aid for disenfranchised social groups, providing reassurance that they were an integral part of forthcoming plans. With a similar aura of magnanimity, the city’s many military clubs (normally for the exclusive recreational use of those in uniform of one sort or another) opened their doors to the public for family excursions, with special rebates offered for wedding and engagement parties as a special dispensation in support of <em>el intikhabat</em> (the election).</p> <p class="western">Through all this both state-owned and private media platforms (print, broadcast, online) combined to promote a steady, uniform theme of <em>hukumit el-sot el-wahid</em> (rule/government through and of ‘one voice’). Programmes championing the 2018 election dedicated their entire air time to applauding an idealised vision of the patriotic citizen, the expression of whose voice in the ballot box constituted a <em>wagib watani</em> (‘duty to the nation’). In between talk-show interviews with widows of soldiers fallen in Sinai’s latest terrorist attacks, and discussions with experts enthusing over Egypt’s spectacular economic revival over the past four years, came short visual fillers punching home how the stability and progress achieved in the Egypt of today is a far cry from the chaos and dislocation of the 2011 revolution, and its complex, shifting and unpredictable movements for reform.</p> <p class="western">In most journalistic or scholarly accounts, descriptions of moments such as these, and their place within the macro-politics of <em>hashd</em> (mass mobilisation), tend to represent something of an end point. Even those more analytical accounts which explore high-level political-economic themes, such as neo-liberalisation and/or the role of the military, nearly always seem to gloss over, or even evade discussing, the lived space of micro-politics, and the myriad ways in which local practices of participation are woven into the grander narratives – whether underpinning or contesting them. </p><p class="western">The latter, however, also needs to be understood – as, even more pointedly, does the politics of micro-level coexistence with the state. And this needs to be done not in the way of the media’s across the board take-it-for-granted assumption of a self-explanatory ‘consensus of evaluation and validation’; nor in some analysts’ preferred framework of ‘static complicity’; but rather by documenting and analysing patterns of individual and local discourse, and the political economy that sustains forms of participation. Through these patterns the aspiration of ‘just wanting things to return to normal’ can be seen to emerge, forged through practices with nuanced meanings which call into question the necessary separation between individual citizens’ lives and those of their local communities on the one hand, and the broader political landscape of their government and its supporters on the other. </p> <p class="western">I have previously described the collection and analysis of ‘<span><a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/north-africa-west-asia/leila-zaki-chakravarti-mona-abaza/ethnography-in-time-of-upheaval-egypt-before-and-af">ethnographic snapshots’</a></span> as one effective method for capturing local and/or individual practices which shed light on micro-political issues. During this trip, my first snapshot arrived when an acquaintance who lives in the low-income, high-density Sayyida Aisha area of Old Cairo (famous for its roundabout signposting the shrine of a revered female saint) described the scene in his traditional neighbourhood as the election banners started appearing in the square: </p> <p class="western"> <span class="blockquote-new">“As a rule, big pubic events of this kind attract a large crowd of people wanting to help out. We’re well-known in Sayyida for our mettle as wilad hitta (literally ‘sons of the neighbourhood’, implying brave, chivalrous, public spirited). This time the election banners came from locals directly involved in government work, who were the only ones who could afford them: we are not, after all, a super-rich neighbourhood. But it wasn’t long before competition broke out - between different traditional quarters, and different government departments – as to which district, street and roundabout could put together the most impressive display. Everybody piled in to help make their neighbourhood’s display the best. Things easily got heated in the excitement, as scuffles broke over which display angle showed <em>El Rais</em> (the President) at his best, especially since the thick oil-skin cloth is awkward to hang. I spotted an old man in rags getting so carried away by the hubbub that he knelt down on the pavement and started kissing the banner. Mind you, another bystander was quick to joke, “If the people love the Government so much, then why is everybody complaining that <em>el dunya nar</em> (literally ‘the world’s aflame’, a metaphor for the skyrocketing costs of food, fuel and other basic necessities)?”</span></p> <p class="western">From similar snapshots taken in my own neighbourhood of Heliopolis, I came to discover that our more upmarket area’s election displays came from a variety of local tradesmen and family-controlled businesses. It became a matter of local gossip as to how the more prosperous neighbourhood businesses were being approached by the representatives of the state and ‘invited’ to put up a banner in support of the drive to invigorate the <em>farha</em> atmosphere of the election. It was made clear that any business failing to accept this particular invitation could expect to face what one local shopkeeper summed up as ‘troubles not worth the headache’ including more frequent visits from tax officials, anonymous complaints made to the police station about business irregularities, or hefty fines for transgressing previously ignored regulations of one kind or another. </p><p class="western">‘Accepting the invitation’ entailed putting in a request to the local government division responsible for the organisational side of the campaign, with an enclosed monetary contribution to cover the costs of the materials used in the banner’s production. The highly centralised, rigorously controlled production process for the different banners, and the use of the same formulaic slogans on each, was explained to me as a measure to avoid supporters ‘getting their words mixed up’ - and at the same time reinforcing the homogenous and uniform style of the visual and creative landscape of all military organisations, and the ‘standards’ they require their contributors to ‘fall in line’ with.</p> <p class="western">The ‘contribution’ for a simple banner was a minimum of two thousand Egyptian pounds (a significant sum in today’s Cairo, equivalent to several months’ pay for an average salaried professional), while the corresponding amount for more ornate, generous looking specimens could easily run into many multiples of this. Once the banner had been delivered, and it was time to display it in a suitably prominent public position, its sponsor soon discovered that there were also other hidden expenses that came into unexpected view, including the daily hire charges for the wooden poles and heavy ropes involved in putting the banner up for public display, as well as the labour required for this. These rates had themselves rocketed in the face of surging market demand and the ever-escalating cost of living. These unexpected daily running costs proved, in the event, to be the main driver behind the suddenness with which almost all the banners were quickly taken down immediately after the polling booths had closed. </p> <p class="western">These <em>rasmi</em> (official) invitations instigated by state institutions revealed the high degree of surveillance and control exercised by the state in order to identify key economic and commercial targets as important resources for its campaign. However, the campaign soon led other, less successful enterprises and business people, to crowd in uninvited through the ‘back door’ in an attempt to join the parade, and compete not only with their more prosperous neighbours, but also with each other, for kudos, both official and public. </p><p class="western">This desire for ‘being seen’ by the state – and the public - to be participating and collaborating in the drive to infuse the election with a public spirit of <em>farha</em> had the effect of turning the visual manifestations of the Sisi campaign into a virtual ‘Yellow Pages’ type publicity vehicle for not only the more prominent, successful official ‘front door’ participants, but also for the entire ‘back door’ gamut of local enterprises and services, right down to beautician salons, small clothing emporia, mobile services and accessories kiosks. Despite the financial losses that have plagued such small-businesses since the chaos of the 2011 revolution, and the tightening of economic conditions since then, these enterprises were keen to make a public claim that they were on an equal footing to the ‘front door’ enterprises that enjoy leverage and are held in official regard.</p><p class="mag-quote-left">Those getting their banners up first often did not stop at just a single display</p> <p class="western">Those getting their banners up first often did not stop at just a single display – in some cases the same small business (such as the free-lance business contractors) would sponsor as many as 20 or 30 branded banners, to the point where it could easily appear that the sponsor was themselves a candidate in the election. Those who arrived too late to appropriate territorial slots feared being left out in the cold, and therefore found alternative modes of participation such as dispatching small vans with a single loudspeaker to tail the official sound system trucks, publicising their own small-businesses through home-made posters blazoned with hand-written slogans such as “Survival of the fittest” and “Egypt is happy”. </p> <p class="western">Nearly all the campaign ‘contributors’, front door and back door entrants alike, were assiduous in recording their banners or music vans for continuing ‘marketing material’ purposes: cameras, videos and smartphones were in evidence everywhere these visual manifestations of support for the drive for campaign <em>farha</em> appeared. And if the drummed-up spirit of <em>farha</em> was most widely captured as a celebration of <em>el</em>-<em>ors el-gumhurri</em> (the Presidential wedding party), then the choice of metaphor proved to be ironically apt in at least two respects. <em></em></p><p class="western"><em>Shaabi</em> wedding parties in Egypt are known for their night-long boisterous hubbub. The wedding parties of more affluent Egyptians have also, of late, shown a tendency to centre around fixed-point tableaux providing carefully staged photo opportunities of the event’s iconic moments. Much as these frozen images are subsequently displayed as public statements of the resources of cash that come with status and power, they do not necessarily square with the experiences of the guests on the ground, whose take on the events might differ sharply, with critical gossip and backbiting left to simmer in social gatherings and, more lastingly, on social media. </p> <p class="western">Government agencies were as much involved in this as were private businesses. Thus Tahani, a junior staff member in a civil service office job, described to me one day the problems she was having with her line-manager, who happened to be married to a high-ranking military person, allegedly working directly in the Office of the President. </p> <p class="blockquote-new"> “It is all <em>politeeka </em>(slang for dodgy/dirty business)! Her ego has sky-rocketed because of this much spoken of connection. But now she is virtually hijacking the election as a tool to strengthen her own position in the Ministry.”</p> <p class="western">Tahani went on to describe how her superior had given Sisi t-shirts to the 30 or so cleaners, security guards and other ancillary staff to wear on their daily bus trips to and from work, the official building of the Ministry having been relocated an hour and a half’s drive from Cairo as part of the Sisi government’s grand scheme to relocate civil service offices out of the congested city. She then set up elaborate rehearsals of the staff getting on, off, and waving from the buses, so that these scenes could be photographed and video’d from the best possible angles. </p><p class="western">The expectation was that the resulting visuals would be expected to serve as a backdrop during visits by high Government officials and other VIPs to the whitewashed foyer of the Ministry’s new building. She also made it clear, again with <em>politeeka</em> threats, that on polling days all members of staff returning to work would be inspected for the pink phosphoric finger (confirmation of having voted), and woe betide any who lacked this distinguishing mark, most especially younger staff recruited under the recent government employment regulations which dictate that all recent recruits are to be on short-term contracts, with an indefinite probation period that can be terminated without notice. </p> <p class="western">Although all the incidents described above carry an air of familiarity to many Egyptians, who expect the rules of co-habitation with any authoritarian ideology to involve a mixture of compromise and collaboration in their efforts to accommodate the forces in power, the competition for space and recognition intensified to the point that one local ruefully commented to me:</p> <p class="western"> <span class="blockquote-new">“<em>El suq ghaba wi kitab maftuh</em> (the market’s become a jungle, and the book is open i.e. everyone knows what’s going on within it). It’s becoming a fight of everyone against everyone else, to the point where long accepted bonds of family, friendship and community are appearing shredded. Some of the people paying out complain loudly that they’re victims of some kind of injustice - but then you discover they themselves are also perpetrators of acts exploiting others just as much. What were previously always clear, black and white boundaries are becoming fuzzy, so that the certainty that comes from being able to make sound judgement is lost. There are now only grey zones, and it’s more difficult to read people. The subject of human complexity is the talk of the town, and relationship problems are what’s on everyone’s mind.” </span></p> <p class="western">Throughout all these developments, there were nevertheless some signs, at least, of <span><a href="http://foreignpolicy.com/2011/01/03/three-decades-of-a-joke-that-just-wont-die-2/">Egypt’s long-standing tradition of subversive political humour</a></span> continuing to reassert itself in the face of the state’s relentless grand narrative of its ‘no margin for error’ <em>hashd</em> of the patriotic citizenry in support of the Candidate. Through the long years of Mubarak’s rule, and those of Sadat and Nasser before him, one could always find oneself, in urban on-the-ground spaces, coming face to face with acts of individual agency finding humour and scepticism trapped in the concrete realities of the daily struggles of ordinary Egyptians. </p><p class="western">Long seen as coping mechanisms, these tactics seek to help find the balance needed between on the one hand maintaining a critical distance from official narratives, and on the other bringing a sense of perspective to developments in one’s own surroundings on the other. Thus the sponsors of all the banners and music trucks, regardless of their official or unofficial standing, or of their commercial success and reputation, soon became known in local parlance as <em>mitbilatiyya</em> (‘drum beaters’ who are hired to perform at weddings and other celebrations, paying lip service in praise of whoever’s paying them). The term soon passed into common, unthinking usage in much the same way as, in the aftermath of the 2011 revolution, all the various pro-Mubarak factions (however intense their infighting) were collectively disparaged as <em>feloul</em> (‘remnants’). </p> <p class="western">And on a more personal note, pausing one day in a street café in my neighbourhood for a cold drink, I spot the familiar face of Khamis, an elderly and reticent silversmith, who has in the habit of turning up for a game of backgammon. Getting his table ready, arranging in careful steps his hubble-bubble and game board, Khamis breaks his habitual silence to loudly recall an anecdote that had been making the rounds earlier in his working day: </p><p class="western"><span class="blockquote-new">“Did you hear the one about this old woman, who was bribed with LE 100 to wriggle her belly and shout slogans at the polling station? She cried out <em>(mimicking a shrieking female voice)</em> Sisi – Sisi – Sisi! and then <em>(beating his thighs with mirth)</em> …. dropped dead!” </span> </p> <p class="western">Laughter breaks out as we are left visualising the scene at the polling station, encircled for added security by police and army forces, and how the incident will have broken the spell of the official script. A voice further back quips, “And does that entitle her to <em>ma’ash el-wagib</em> (the special pension given only to the families of soldiers and policemen who have given their lives in the line of duty)?”. “Oh no!” comes the rapid reply from elsewhere in the café, “hasn’t he just told you? <em>Di maatit!</em> (Literally “She just dropped dead” i.e. as opposed to heroically sacrificing her life in the service of the nation)”. This is met with still louder laughter at the ill-fated <em>mitbilatiyya</em> who has lost out on her promised ‘bounty’ of 100 LE. </p><p class="western">As the laughter subsides, Khamis changes register, mimicking official rhetoric asserting that Egypt is living the democratic dream, and how these dark days of austerity and daily struggles are what will build the nation’s future. He ends with a flourish as his tone rises to one of exaggerated anxiety: “I’m <em>really</em> worried about Sisi losing the election – then what will become of us all?” The café collapses in laughter at this absurd possibility, as trays of fresh tea arrive. </p> <p class="western">On the last day of polling a YouTube video went viral (which makes uncomfortable viewing, and for ethical reasons is therefore not hyperlinked here) confirming that Khamis’ story was not in fact apocryphal, but had actually happened. I heard about the video from my Sayidda Aisha acquaintance, who tells me that his children are absorbed in playing their new game of ‘Election’, which involves mimicking the video clip’s dance movements, and then tumbling to the floor in a ‘dead’ heap. He says that this has been going on so relentlessly that his wife is “desperate for YouTube to come up with a fresh video!” I reflect on how it seems that it is not only the grand narratives of the state that are being memorialised for posterity in social media, but also their more subversive, humorous counterparts – and whether, within all this, something of Egypt’s essential humanity is not at risk of being somehow lost.</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/amro-ali/unhappiness-and-mohamed-salah-s-egypt">Unhappiness and Mohamed Salah’s Egypt</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/leila-zaki-chakravarti/lights-camera-action-below-stairs-soap-opera-productio">Lights – Camera – Action! ‘below the stairs’ soap opera production in middle class Cairo residences</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/amro-ali/why-do-authoritarian-regimes-love-elections">Why do authoritarian regimes love elections?</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Egypt </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Democracy and government </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> North-Africa West-Asia North-Africa West-Asia Egypt Democracy and government election Leila Zaki Chakravarti Thu, 21 Jun 2018 09:05:03 +0000 Leila Zaki Chakravarti 118342 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Looking from within: is the nuclear deal a big deal for the Iranian people? https://www.opendemocracy.net/north-africa-west-asia/ahmad-mohammadpour/looking-from-within-is-nuclear-deal-big-deal-for-iranian-p <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>The best deal for the Iranian people is to get dignity and respect and to save their country from further political and economic collapse.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/562712/PA-36388964_0.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/562712/PA-36388964_0.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="321" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>A man watches the news broadcast on U.S. withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal at a teahouse in central Tehran, capital of Iran, on May 8, 2018. Picture by Ahmad Halabsiaz/Xinhua News Agency/PA Images. All rights reserved.</span></span></span>The United States’ recent withdrawal from the Iran Nuclear Deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), has exposed some of the multi-layered dynamics of entrenched socio-political and cultural contradictions embedded in the very formative constituents of the Iranian nation-state. </p><p> The debates over the (un)desirable repercussions of JCPOA have taken different expressions among proponents and opponents of the Iranian government; both signaled their deep apprehension about the possibility of a militarist intervention against Iran by the United States with the support of its regional allies. </p> <p> A cursory glimpse over the social media platforms in recent weeks reveals that a considerable number of Iranian intellectuals share with the hardliners and reformists the idea that the US decision to withdraw from the deal was fundamentally dictated by Israel, some Arab countries, as well as the US neoconservative faction, in an organized attempt to overthrow the Iranian regime. </p> <p> Appealing to a dozen conspiratorial accounts to explain the “invisible” causes “behind” breaking this internationally abided agreement, the Iranian nationalists jumped to the conclusion that the whole plan is to undermine the entirety and integrity of Iran by inciting ethnic and religious groups. </p> <p> However, they simply ignored the fact that Iran’s socio-economic fabric has already been destabilized by four decades of theocratic dictatorship that mobilized all resources in order to export the “Islamic Revolution” to the world. Having perceived Iran and <em>Iranianness </em>as “culturally consistent and unique phenomena”, they undervalue both the historicity and contingency of what came to emerge as the Iranian nation-state in less than a century. </p> <p> Such an ahistorical understanding is best exemplified in adopting and generalizing the politically forged binaries Iranian nationalists share with the regime, chief among them is the dichotomy of the separatist ethnic groups versus what is imagined as “pre-existed” Iranian patriots. In addition to constant warning against what they wrongly presume as “Syrianizing of Iran”, they have continuously expressed their deep concerns with regard to the potential ethnic revolts, something that denotes the long-standing idea of disintegration of the Iranian “nation” in regime ideological discourse. </p> <p> Overemphasizing the territorial integrity at any cost is a key point which brings to agreement many intellectuals of different ideological leaning (such as hardliners and reformers) of Iran. As Khomeini puts out: “the preservation of <em>Nezam</em> [regime] has the highest priority”. </p> <p> The Iranian nationalists’ captivation with the specific perception of the concept of Iran as one culture has long blinded them to see reality of the cultural diversity in Iran. <span><a href="http://www.thesaurus.com/browse/in%20consonance%20with">In consonance with</a></span> the government, the ethnic diversity is being described as an imminent and ever-present threat which jeopardizes the political existence of the nation.</p> <p class="western"> However, the question they never empirically attended to is: what is Iranian culture made of and, more importantly, how has Iran, whether as a culture or territorial entity, evolved? Stigmatizing the ethnic groups - who have inhabited the Iranian plateau for thousands of years – as a threat to a polity, which is historically justified by an imaginary past leaves the Iranian nationalists with two enormously lingering dilemmas: Firstly, is the Iranian nation synonymous with Shia and Persian dominant ethnic group? And secondly, how are the religious and ethnic groups represented in that existing imaginary political entity? </p> <p class="western"> The first question leads us to the appreciation of the ethnic diversity in which the Persian – Shia group constitutes but one ethno-religious element which has reserved political and economic monopoly over the other groups for decades. The second question draws our attention to the Iranian regime constitution which is centered on the marginalization of some ethnic groups, systematically deprived them of the equal share of cultural rights, political power as well as economic prosperity.</p> <p class="western"> However, there are important questions which Iranian nationalists either avoid or answer from a national perception of the past. These questions pertain to the cultural composition of Iran and its formation throughout history. Moreover, any act of stigmatization of ethnic groups, which have been part of this cultural geography of Iran for quite a long time, will leave Iranian nationalists with two dilemmas. </p> <p class="western"> The first concerns the question <em>is the nation religiously and ethnically synonymous with the Shia and the dominant Persian ethnic group, respectively? </em>The second dilemma concerns the representation of other religious and ethnic groups in Iran. Dealing with these dilemmas will make us regard <em>ethnic diversity</em> in Iran as a fact to be appreciated, although the Persian community has the dominant position, and draws our attention to the Islamic Republic’s Constitution, which marginalizes other ethnic groups as <em>aquam</em> [Qaum] with limited cultural rights.</p> <p class="western"> The advocates/supporters of JCPOA have also proved their tragic indifference to the domestic crisis the Iranians are grappled with on a daily basis. It is claimed that the deal benefited the Iranian people both economically and politically, whereas the post–JCPOA regime became more aggressive towards civil freedom, intensified political enclosure, and imposed pressure on Iranian civilians, eventually inducing popular protest throughout 2017 and 2018. </p> <p class="western"> <span class="mag-quote-center">The regime is neither reformable nor intends to safeguard their interests in the negotiations.</span><em> </em> </p> <p class="western"> Today, Iranian people, who have endured four decades of political repression, persecution, poverty, increasing economic inflation, as well as the state-sponsored violation of human rights, believe that the regime is neither reformable nor intends to safeguard their interests in the negotiations. </p> <p class="western"> Most Iranians have come to the point to consider the regime as their enemy, a ruthless and politically ambitious body which continues military interventions in the Arab countries such as Syria and Yemen. Moreover, Iran’s foreign policy includes the provision of generous financial aids to Hamas and other allies in Palestine and Lebanon, knowing that their country has already been sold to Russia and China which follow their own political and economic interests. </p> <p class="western"> All this is done by the Iranian government while hunger, starvation and lack of shelter continue to affect more people (for example, the people of Kermanshah who were hit by an earthquake a few months ago); Kurdish <em>Kolbers</em> [carriers], who engage with a dangerous cross-border trade between Iran and Iraq because of absolute poverty and destitution, are ambushed by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps and brutally killed; political prisoners are executed; and civilians are mysteriously disappeared. Their privacy is constantly violated by the regime’s security services, and their dignity and respect has long been denied. </p> <p class="western"> These are serious socio-economic and political issues which are ignored by Iranian nationalists whose obsession with criticizing the west and imperialism as the sources of misery of Iran has blinded them to the regime’s internal colonialism, which is the replication of the same imperialist pattern and the imposition of a dictatorship at home. </p> <p class="western"> The regime’s territorial and ideological expansion in the Middle East and beyond is simply justified under the name of national security and the fear of regime change in Iran. Such unwise and unethical endorsement of Iranian regime under any name or justification will only serve the regime to continue its unbridled violence against its people, and further destabilize the region. </p> <p class="western"> Finally, the regime’s supporters seem to have missed two points in their understanding of the situation. First, the regime’s aggressive policies towards its people in the last four decades as well as its increasing and continuing interventions in domestic affairs of the neighboring countries, are alarming enough for us to be aware of its attempts to strengthen its military capabilities. Secondly, instead of focusing on JCPOA, it is the human rights in Iran to which the regime must commit itself. </p> <p class="western"> It is only in this way that the dignity of and respect for the Iranian people will be restored, saving the country from further political and economic collapse at the same time. <em>This</em> is the best deal for the people of Iran. Finally, while the American militarist attack is by no means a solution for regime change, the solution should come from within: that is, promoting a democratic process through which the cultural diversity, multi-ethnic characteristics of Iran, and socio-political equality are acknowledged by both the Iranian government and the people of Iran.</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/jubin-afshar/iran-gripped-by-strikes-and-protests">Iran gripped by strikes and protests </a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/sara-takafori/eyes-of-iran-and-its-children-ordinary-lives-iranian-sanctions-and-donald-trump-s-reje">The eyes of Iran and its children: ordinary lives, Iranian sanctions and Donald Trump’s rejection of the nuclear deal</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/negin-shahiar/us-iran-policy-is-driven-more-by-psychology-than-geopolitics">US Iran policy is driven more by psychology than geopolitics </a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/mehrdad-khonsari/europe-must-honour-its-commitments-and-protect-nuclear-deal">Europe must honour its commitments: protect the nuclear deal</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Iran </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Democracy and government </div> <div class="field-item even"> International politics </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> North-Africa West-Asia North-Africa West-Asia Iran Democracy and government International politics nuclear deal Ahmad Mohammadpur Wed, 20 Jun 2018 13:50:07 +0000 Ahmad Mohammadpur 118489 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Russia’s cautious role in Syria https://www.opendemocracy.net/north-africa-west-asia/zeidon-alkinani/russia-s-cautious-role-in-syria <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p class="western"> How far would Russia risk its international relations to protect the regime of Bashar Al Assad?</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/562712/PA-34108222.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/562712/PA-34108222.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="249" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Syrian President Bashar al-Assad (R) and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin (L) view a military parade in the Russian-run Hmeimim Air Base in the coastal city of Latakia, Syria, on Dec. 11, 2017. Picture by Syrian Presidency/Xinhua News Agency/PA Images. All rights reserved.</span></span></span>What is Russia doing in Syria? Is it protecting the regime of its ally Bashar al-Assad from falling? Is it protecting its own geopolitical interests alongside Iran’s in the Middle East against the United States’ hegemony? Is it really bothered by the rise of Islamists and terrorists, as <a href="https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/putin-russia-ghouta-assad-syria-chechnya-shaun-walker-enemies-the-same-a8240311.html">Russian President Vladmir Putin claims?<span> </span></a></p> <p class="western"> The Arab Spring changed the face of domestic politics and foreign policies in many countries, from Tunisia to Bahrain. However, Syria could be seen as the most catastrophic location due to the existence of major regional and international stakes, in addition to a growing ethno-sectarian conflict and the rise of transnational terrorism, which directly affects neighboring countries like Iraq and Lebanon. </p> <p class="western"> Endless debates can be had on Syria today, ranging from the US-Russian rivalry to the hunting of Kurdish fighters by Turkey or the Iranian paramilitary expansionism, along with sectarianism, terrorism and many more. However, one of the major conclusions this conflict brought to light is an unusual, more confident Russian participation in the Middle East – in fact, its first since the fall of the Soviet Union. </p> <p class="western"> Syria, like many other Arab countries, faced a wave of protests during the Arab Spring in 2011 demanding a better economy and political freedom. Within less than a year, the country witnessed the formation of an armed opposition in response to the regime’s crackdown on demonstrations. </p> <p class="western"> Nevertheless, the power vacuum within a new and leaderless opposition, trapped between several regional and international interests and funds, caused an early breakup, as foreign fighters from all over the world were sent to fight in Syria for very different reasons than the original demands of the demonstrators.</p> <p class="western"> Indeed, Shi’ite and Sunni Muslim fighters from all over the Arab world and beyond joined the frontlines of governmental and non-governmental forces in Syria. Some even joined growing terrorist organizations such as the self-proclaimed Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS). </p> <p class="western"> Facing this chaotic or complex scenario, we cannot deny that Assad’s regime would not have lasted without the support of Lebanese Hezbollah, Iran and most importantly Russia. <a href="https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2015/09/russian-carries-air-strikes-syria-150930133155190.html">Russian strikes began overshadowing the Syrian skies in September 2015, as requested by the Syrian government and approved by the Russian parliament</a>. The motto “one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter”, perfectly suits the Syrian issue when it comes to the US-Russian debates about it, at least up until the Trump administration, which presented more commonalities with Putin. </p> <p class="western"> Today, Russia holds air and naval military bases on Syrian soil, but while the US differentiates between the terrorists and the opposition, the former seems to view both as one – and it is from here that both super powers face a tragic disagreement. </p> <p class="western"> The question here is about Russia’s alliance with the Syrian regime: how far would Russia risk its relations with many of the players involved in the Syrian conflict beyond this? Or is it that what happens in Syria stays in Syria? </p><p class="western"> <span class="mag-quote-center">Russia has been constantly avoiding direct engagement with the US in Syria</span></p> <h3 class="western"> <strong>US strikes</strong></h3> <p class="western"> <a href="https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/russia-respond-strikes-syria-180415130802748.html">One of the most recent US-led strikes on the Syrian regime, led to Russian military casualties near Damascus and Homs in April 2018.</a> The most significant relations at stake for Russia is the one with the US, which has proven to be notably tricky in Syria. </p> <p class="western"> Russia has been constantly avoiding direct engagement with the US in Syria, despite having casualties within its own military personnel amid domestic angers and concerns in Moscow by civil society and the families of the victims. If Russia does not have the confidence to directly retaliate against US attacks in a country where it has military agreements with the regime, then when will it ever? The Russian blind eye on the US involvement near its own military forces is another sign of Russian doubtful presence in Syria, and is similar to the US haphazard strikes just to boast their strength. </p> <h3 class="western"> <strong>Israeli strikes</strong></h3> <p class="western">The Soviet Union has always supported regimes opposed to Israel in the region, and now it is associating with the regional triangle’s (Syria, Hezbollah and Iran) greatest enemy – Israel. Whilst Israel continuously increases its military involvement in Syria under the proclaimed threat of Hezbollah and Iran near its borders, Moscow and Tel Aviv develop economic, military and political cooperation. </p> <p class="western">In fact, the relationship between the two countries has not witnessed such prosperity in decades. The relationship reached a level where both countries even established a joint military committee, where both ensure Russia’s military armament in Syria, and in particular to Hezbollah’s locations, does not harm Israeli jets in the Syrian airspace. </p> <p class="western">Despite all of this, Israeli warplanes did not hesitate to attack the Syrian regime’s T-4 air base, where Russia, alongside Iran, stationed their military warplanes and equipment.</p> <h3 class="western"> <strong>European strikes </strong> </h3> <p class="western"><a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/apr/14/airstrikes-syria-world-reacts-bombing-us-uk-french-forces">The UK and France joined the US in launching strikes last April with a strong international support from Germany, Canada, Turkey and the EU in response to what they claim was a chemical attack by the Syrian regime on the city of Douma.</a> </p> <p class="western">If we were to imagine a world where Russia is not powerful enough to face the US, is it not strong enough against the UK and France? Why would its main reaction to the European involvement in striking the Syrian-regime-held areas be to call an emergency meeting at the UN Security Council? Russia in Ukraine for instance, is more assertive than the Russia we know of in Syria. Or would an aggressive Russian retaliation against European strikes automatically entail one against the US? </p> <h3 class="western"> <strong>Turkish military involvement </strong> </h3><p>Russian-Turkish relations have witnessed their highest ups and downs throughout the Syrian conflict. The two strategic energy and economic partners clashed interests in the Syrian conflict: while Ankara funded and hosted Syrian opposition members, Moscow was Assad’s most prominent backer. </p><p class="western"> The biggest clash occurred when Turkey shot down a Russian jet in Syria in November 2015. <a href="https://www.brookings.edu/blog/order-from-chaos/2017/10/04/the-serpentine-trajectory-of-turkish-russian-relations/">Turkish leader Erdogan apologized in June 2016 and the Russian sanctions which ensued after the incident were lifted – and since then, a multilateral strategic partnership developed between Russia, Turkey and Iran, where they work on finding solutions to the Syrian crisis.</a> </p> <p class="western"> Nevertheless, fundamental differences in their views on Syria have ensured a continuous clash of interests even throughout the recent developments of their relationship. <a href="http://www.dw.com/en/turkey-softens-stance-towards-bashar-al-assad-in-syria-settlement/a-37211975">Moscow might have played a role in softening Ankara’s approach towards Assad’s regime</a>, but it has not been able yet to limit their military involvements in Syria. </p> <p class="western"> Turkey has conducted five different military operations on Syrian soil since 2015 – justifications vary from fighting ISIS, Rojava (Syria’s Kurdish region) to the relocation of a tomb. The most recent operation is the Turkish invasion of Syria’s Afrin, where Turkey aims at driving the Kurdish YPG fighters out. </p><p class="mag-quote-right">Today’s enemy, can be tomorrow’s friend, and vice versa</p> <p class="western"> <a href="https://www.quora.com/What-is-the-difference-between-the-PKK-PYD-YPG-KRG-KDP-and-the-Peshmerga">YPG is the armed wing of the Syrian Kurds’ Democratic Unit Party, and they are the ideological partners of the Turkish Kurds from PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party).</a> Ankara still enjoyed military and political confidence in Afrin despite the fact that pro-Russia Assad publicly criticized it and recognized it as a violation of Syria’s sovereignty. Even Moscow’s recent alignment with Syria’s Kurds by recognizing their autonomous rule in a constitution draft would not minimize the Turkish military actions in Afrin. </p> <p class="western">Due to the deep complexity and the diverse contradictory involvements in the Syrian conflict, no analysis can suggest itself to be definite, including the one presented here. </p> <p class="western">If there is evidence that Russia avoids retaliation with the US in Syria, then there is also evidence that it is not – and likewise with the other arguments. In today’s Syria, key players created temporary alignments with players who are arguably the enemies of the former’s own allies based on common interests on the battlefield. Therefore it would be inaccurate to consider the conflict’s structure through the lenses of the officially announced alliances. As today’s enemy, can be tomorrow’s friend, and vice versa. </p> <p class="western">Finally, following this analysis – what is Russia doing in Syria if it is not reflecting its ultimate willingness to take all necessary actions to protect its ally, the Syrian regime, or even its very own interests?</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/darius-kamali/iraq-and-syria-of-memory-and-maps">Iraq and Syria: of memory and maps</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/seyed-ali-alavi/who-is-winner-in-post-isis-syria">Who is the winner in post-ISIS Syria?</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/megan-barlow/long-way-to-afrin-turkey-s-strategic-refugee-policy-aimed-at-ele">Long way to Afrin: Turkey’s strategic refugee policy aimed at electoral hegemony and regional political ambitions </a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/josepha-ivanka-wessels/how-assad-tortures-and-kills-syria-s-young-pacifist-young-left">How Assad tortures and kills Syria’s pacifist young leftists</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/muhammad-idrees-ahmad/syria-on-academic-freedom-and-responsibility">Syria: on academic freedom and responsibility</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/alan-hasan/us-withdrawal-what-next">US withdrawal: what next?</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Syria </div> <div class="field-item even"> Russia </div> <div class="field-item odd"> Turkey </div> <div class="field-item even"> United States </div> <div class="field-item odd"> Iran </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Conflict </div> <div class="field-item even"> International politics </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> North-Africa West-Asia North-Africa West-Asia Iran United States Turkey Russia Syria Conflict International politics war Zeidon Alkinani Wed, 20 Jun 2018 07:45:30 +0000 Zeidon Alkinani 118484 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Can the Turkish Opposition beat Erdoğan? https://www.opendemocracy.net/can-europe-make-it/luke-frostick-merve-pehlivan/can-turkish-opposition-beat-erdo <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>The most likely challenger on June 24 is the CHP’s candidate Muharrem İnce who will have an uphill battle.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/PA-37060072.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/PA-37060072.jpg" alt="lead lead " title="" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" width="460" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>A huge banner for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan goes up in Ankara, Turkey, on June 17, 2018. Qin Yanyang/Press Association. All rights reserved.</span></span></span></p><p>Turkish democracy has been in a slow motion crisis for some time now. Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is frequently mentioned in the same breath as Victor Orban, Rodrigo Duterte, and Vladimir Putin. His Justice and Development Party has been running the country under a state of emergency since the summer of 2016, using anti-terrorism and defamation laws to imprison large numbers of journalists, NGO workers and opposition politicians. Last year, the party won a referendum to grant major new powers for the president. In April this year, Erdoğan called a snap election to vote in the next president of Turkey. The most likely challenger is the CHP’s candidate Muharrem İnce who will have an uphill battle.</p> <h2><strong>The “national willpower”&nbsp;</strong></h2> <p>For the AKP the most important aspect of democracy is the vote, while separation of powers, freedom of the press and independent judiciary are regarded as irrelevant compared to the power of the “the national willpower” as the AKP catchphrase goes. A ballot victory is considered a carte blanche and that’s why elections still matter to the AKP as their sole source of legitimacy. However, their corrupt control of the media and willingness to stoop to all manner of dirty tricks (as seen in the 2015<a href="https://www.osce.org/odihr/elections/turkey/219201?download=true">&nbsp;election</a>&nbsp;and 2017 <a href="https://www.osce.org/odihr/elections/turkey/324816?download=true">referendum</a>) means that elections are far from fair.&nbsp;<span class="mag-quote-center">A ballot victory is considered a carte blanche and that’s why elections still matter to the AKP as their sole source of legitimacy.</span></p> <p>That being said, this election is going to be very tight. Approval ratings suggest that the population is<a href="https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/security/reports/2018/02/11/446164/turkeys-new-nationalism-amid-shifting-politics/">&nbsp;closely divided</a>&nbsp;on the president, and that gap seems to have got even closer. Moreover, in last year’s referendum, despite ample evidence of cheating, the AKP was only able to scrape a small majority. With anecdotal evidence of concern regarding government overreach and a worsening economy (the lira is among the worst performing currencies in the emerging markets; the inflation rate is at 12.64% in May, and <a href="https://www.gazeteduvar.com.tr/ekonomi/2018/05/31/10-maddede-ekonomide-bizi-ne-bekliyor/">expected</a>&nbsp;to rise even further; two of Turkey’s major holding companies, Doğuş and Yıldız, have recently requested debt structuring from<a href="https://www.reuters.com/article/us-turkey-dogus-gyo-debt/turkeys-dogus-in-talks-with-banks-on-debt-restructuring-sources-idUSKBN1HE06U">&nbsp;banks</a>), even loyal followers of AKP are apprehensive of what is yet to come. This presents a real opportunity for an opposition candidate to pick up the votes from wavering AKP voters.</p> <h2><strong>Discriminatory secularism</strong></h2> <p>The biggest presidential contender after Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is Muharrem İnce of The Republican People’s Party, or CHP, the first party of modern Turkey founded by Atatürk. Whether he can beat Erdoğan is a crucial question in Turkish politics. However, the CHP has a long, troubled legacy tarnished with discriminatory secularism that they have to overcome if they are to win this coming election.&nbsp;</p> <p>The first problem facing CHP is the way that the new presidential system works. The move towards executive presidency was engineered by AKP for a number of reasons. The first and the most obvious is that according to the constitution of Turkey, Erdoğan is not able to serve as prime minister again, having to step back to the largely ceremonial office of the president. The other, less clear aspect is the calculation about how to make electoral success more likely for AKP, removing the possibility of a coalition. In June 2015, after thirteen years of single-party rule, AKP lost its parliamentary majority in national elections when the pro-Kurdish HDP won 13% of the votes, getting a sizeable share from the AKP. When coalition talks with the MHP (the nationalist party) and CHP fell apart, the country was rushed into snap elections in November. In the highly turbulent four months that followed, with a resurgence of terror<a href="http://www.euronews.com/2016/01/12/timeline-of-terrorism-in-turkey">&nbsp;attacks</a>&nbsp;and the<a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/26/world/middleeast/turkey-attacks-kurdish-militant-camps-in-northern-iraq.html">&nbsp;collapse</a>&nbsp;of the ceasefire with PKK, AKP regained power in the parliament, winning 49.5% of the votes. </p> <p>In less than two years after this victory, AKP issued a leaflet for MPs to promote the executive presidency to their constituencies ahead of the 2017 referendum. One of the promised virtues in the leaflet was as<a href="https://www.yenisafak.com/gundem/ak-parti-18-maddelik-cumhurbaskanligi-kilavuzu-hazirladi-2585421">&nbsp;follows</a>: “The executive presidency system leaves no room for a coalition and (therefore) ensures stability.” Erdoğan himself<a href="http://www.gazetevatan.com/cumhurbaskani-erdogan-nusretiye-camisini-ve-misir-carsisini-acti-1163488-gundem/">&nbsp;stated</a>&nbsp;that “there will be no opportunity for a coalition in the new system. With the team he gathers, the president will govern the country for five years.”&nbsp;</p> <p><a href="http://t24.com.tr/haber/secimlere-16-gun-kaldi-gezicinin-son-anketine-gore-hangi-aday-yuzde-kac-oy-aliyor,646333">Polling</a>&nbsp;puts the current ratings for presidential candidates as approximately 48.7%&nbsp;for AKP’s Erdoğan, 25.8% for CHP’s İnce, 14.4% for İYİ’s Akşener, 10.1% for HDP’s Demirtas , 0.6% for Saadet Party’s Karamollaoğlu, 0.4% for Vatan Party’s Perinçek; on paper enough opposition voters to form a coalition in a parliamentary system. In presidential elections there will be two rounds of voting. If one candidate doesn't pass the 51% threshold in the first round, the field will be reduced to two candidates, probably AKP’s Erdoğan at 48.7% and CHP’s İnce at 25.8%. For CHP to win in the presidential system they will have to take voters from the eliminated parties and ideally from the AKP.&nbsp;<span class="mag-quote-center">The CHP is the main political engineer of the top-down secularism that was the dominant force in politics until the AKP rose to power.</span></p> <p>This is where CHP’s own long and troubled history becomes a real obstacle. The CHP is the main political engineer of the top-down secularism that was the dominant force in politics until the AKP rose to power. For a considerable segment of Turkish population, the principle of “secularism” has a toxic history mired in discrimination and humiliation. Throughout the decades, it was implemented as the removal of religion, rather than state impartiality towards all forms of religion. The most palpable and recurrent conflict was related to the headscarf. Women with visible signs of their faith were banned from education and employment in the public sector, with private businesses mimicking the status quo and effectively excluding them. </p> <p>Nur Serter, former vice rector of Istanbul University, set up “persuasion rooms” on the campus to persuade students with headscarf to uncover. Years later, a<a href="http://www.idefix.com/Kitap/Ikna-Odalari/Gulsen-Demirkol-Ozer/Arastirma-Tarih/Politika-Arastirma/Politika/urunno=0000000640259">&nbsp;book</a>&nbsp;that sheds light on what happened in those rooms refers to the experience as “psychological torture.” In the meantime, Ms. Serter enjoyed immunity from prosecution while she served as CHP member of the parliament for eight years and<a href="https://www.sabah.com.tr/gundem/2012/03/29/ikna-odasina-ilk-sorgulama">&nbsp;refused</a>&nbsp;to share the video records of the sessions. Time and again, CHP tried to<a href="http://bianet.org/bianet/bianet/105196-chp-turban-degisikligine-karsi-anayasa-mahkemesi-ne-basvurdu">&nbsp;impede</a>&nbsp;any efforts that would allow the headscarf on university campuses. AKP was the party that eventually<a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/09/world/europe/turkey-lifts-ban-on-head-scarves-in-state-offices.html">&nbsp;brought</a>&nbsp;the headscarf into public life. It is therefore unsurprising that the group where Erdoğan<a href="https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/security/reports/2018/02/11/446164/turkeys-new-nationalism-amid-shifting-politics/">&nbsp;polls best</a>&nbsp;is amongst women who identify as conservative.</p> <h2><strong>Where Erdoğan polls best</strong></h2> <p>As the most visible marker of Islamic faith, the headscarf is an issue for religious conservatives of both sexes that symbolises their broader experience of discrimination by the secular government. But that discrimination seeped into other parts of conservative lives, particularly in the field of education which was organised by the secularist establishment with a very specific ‘state sanction’ version of Islam. Imam Hatip schools were the only places a person could go to get an Islamic education, but the CHP has a history of hostility towards them: for example when Erdoğan enrolled in the Imam Hatip school in the 1960s it was CHP policy not to open any more. Students that attended them reported discrimination both official and unofficial. In 2013, Erdoğan himself said that, while attending the school, he was told that the only job he could get after graduation was as an undertaker. <span class="mag-quote-center">When Erdoğan talks about the deep state, it isn't entirely a propaganda tool.</span></p> <p>There is also a long history of anti-democratic interventions by secular parties and governments against religious voters in Turkey. When Erdoğan talks about the deep state, it isn't entirely a propaganda tool. The last successful coup d’état&nbsp;was in 1997 when the Kemalist military forced the Islamist prime minister Necmettin Erbakan, Erdoğan’s mentor and predecessor, to resign and dissolve the coalition government. </p> <p>There have been numerous other attempts to make participation in the political system difficult for people outside of the secularist parties. It is something that Erdoğan experienced personally when he was imprisoned in 1998 for reading out a political poem. In 2007, the fifth year of AKP power, the CHP<a href="http://www.hurriyet.com.tr/gundem/anayasa-mahkemesi-367-sart-dedi-6436574">&nbsp;blocked</a> the presidential election to keep Abdullah Gül, an AKP candidate and former foreign minister from taking office. They were solidly backed in this by the constitutional court, the military and other parties. The calculation was simple: with Erdoğan’s party holding both the prime ministry and the office of the speaker of parliament, the secularist establishment attempted to withhold the last pillar of government from Islamists. It worked. Gül was not elected as president. However, the government then called a general election and the Turkish public voted overwhelmingly for the AKP in a backlash vote; and eventually Gul was made president. Only a year later, a prosecutor demanded the closure of AKP and a ban on its leading members from participating in political life on the grounds that the party sought to establish a sharia order. The call was overturned by the constitutional court, but the AKP was<a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2008/jul/30/turkey.nato1">&nbsp;stripped</a>&nbsp;of state funding as a penalty.&nbsp;<span class="mag-quote-center">Women with Islamic covering are now everywhere in the public sphere, as paramedics, judges, lawmakers and police officers.</span></p> <p>Gradually, the military control of Turkish politics has been removed, one of the achievements of the early AKP and the EU accession talks. With the AKP gaining in confidence, the headscarf issue was resolved without any public dissent. Women with Islamic covering are now everywhere in the public sphere, as paramedics, judges, lawmakers and police officers. These changes would have been unthinkable under a secularist government. New mosques are being built all across Turkey and the Imam Hatip schools are thriving. Religious voters feel like they have a lot to lose with the return of a secular party in power. </p> <h2><strong>Rapprochement?</strong></h2> <p>Despite the risk of alienating their secular base, the CHP is not unaware of the importance of gaining religious votes and have made attempts at rapprochement. In 2012, on a trip to Bosnia, CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu<a href="http://www.ensonhaber.com/chpde-yeni-model-zarif-dindarlik-2012-04-29.html">&nbsp;mentioned</a><span> </span>that his party adhered to an “elegant form of religiosity”, which is as ambiguous as it sounds. Two years later, they nominated Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu, former head of the Islamic Cooperation Organization (ICO) for the presidency. Widely regarded as a tactical move to topple Erdoğan with a like-minded rival, AKP loyalists didn’t pay too much attention to his campaign. </p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/PA-37028027.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/PA-37028027.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" width="460" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Muharrem Ince speaks during a rally in his hometown Yalova city, June 14, 2018. DepoPhotos/Press Association. All rights reserved.</span></span></span>CHP’s current presidential candidate Muharrem İnce is a practising Muslim, and his wife<a href="http://t24.com.tr/haber/muharrem-incenin-esi-birlikte-misafirlige-gidemeyiz-oturamaz-cunku-sikilir,638032">&nbsp;refers</a>&nbsp;to him as a “strong but private believer” who doesn’t like to display his faith. He doesn’t even mention secularism in his<a href="http://www.muharremince.com.tr/tr/gelecek-bildirgesi">&nbsp;manifesto</a>&nbsp;for the future, concentrating rather on the many urgent priorities on the country’s agenda including the economy, education and foreign policy. He has also <a href="https://www.yenisafak.com/video-galeri/secim/chpnin-basortu-celiskisi-2178684">declared</a>&nbsp;the headscarf “no longer an issue of the people.” He<a href="https://www.gazeteduvar.com.tr/politika/2018/06/07/ince-kavga-etmeyecegim-ama-makarami-yaparim/">&nbsp;refers</a>&nbsp;to AKP voters as “brothers and sisters who have voted AK Party.” <span class="mag-quote-center">Muharrem İnce is a practising Muslim, and his wife<a href="http://t24.com.tr/haber/muharrem-incenin-esi-birlikte-misafirlige-gidemeyiz-oturamaz-cunku-sikilir,638032">&nbsp;</a>refers&nbsp;to him as a “strong but private believer” who doesn’t like to display his faith.</span></p> <p>However, it is questionable whether CHP can win the hearts of the religious electorate. When İnce went to a Friday prayer, onlookers watched for blunders. As he held a gilded frame of the first letter of the Arabic alphabet upside down, his<a href="https://www.instagram.com/p/Bje498oh1f_/">&nbsp;video</a>&nbsp;was ridiculed on social media. </p> <p>More systemic concerns also come to the fore. His party’s election promises include nine-year compulsory primary education. Education, however, is a partisan issue rooted in the shadow of a pre-AKP era when the middle school segments of Imam Hatip schools were shut down and their high school graduates were blocked entry to universities, and consequently into the high-skilled labor market. </p> <p>Today, a significant portion of the government<a href="https://www.reuters.com/article/us-turkey-erdogan-education/special-report-with-more-islamic-schooling-erdogan-aims-to-reshape-turkey-idUSKBN1FE1CD">&nbsp;budget</a>&nbsp;goes into Imam Hatip schools that accept children from age ten. Both conservative media and the<a href="http://t24.com.tr/haber/basbakan-yardimcisi-bozdag-28-subat-zihniyeti-chp-eliyle-yeniden-hortlatilmak-isteniyor,639639">&nbsp;Deputy Prime Minister</a>&nbsp;were quick to attack the CHP’s<a href="http://secim2018.chp.org.tr/files/CHP-SecimBildirgesi-2018-icerik.pdf?1=1">&nbsp;clause</a>&nbsp;as an attempt to return to the days when early entry to Imam Hatip upper schools that offer religious tutoring were blocked. That particular allegation has no substance. However, using their media domination as leverage, the AKP seizes every opportunity to reinforce the lack of trust among religious people for CHP.&nbsp;</p> <h2><strong>Monstrous media control</strong></h2> <p>Any political party that wants to challenge Erdoğan in the coming election will have to deal with all the corrupt methods that the government has used over and over again. They will have to find a way round&nbsp;the monstrous&nbsp;<a href="https://sigmaturkey.com/2018/06/12/turkeys-pro-govt-press/">media control&nbsp;</a>that the government has managed to build for itself. </p> <p>But there is a constituency for change in Turkey from secular and religious people who are concerned about the state of the economy, the authoritarian policies of the government and the severe violations of justice after the coup attempt in July 2016. </p> <p>However, for Erdoğan to be voted out of power on June 24, it will require religious voters to cross the floor and vote for the CHP candidate. But the illiberal methods of the secular establishment in the past are still very much in the political memory of these voters, making it hard for them to put their faith back into a secularist government, and making the re-election of Erdoğan more likely. &nbsp;</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/can-europe-make-it/omer-tekdemir/turkey-s-three-dimensional-populism-three-leaders-and-three-blocs">Turkey’s three-dimensional populism, three leaders and three blocs </a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/can-europe-make-it/filiz-kahraman/can-europe-save-turkey-from-sliding-into-authoritarianism">Can Europe save Turkey from sliding into authoritarianism? </a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/sezai-temelli-pervin-buldan/turkey-s-economy-needs-reliability-and-peace">Turkey’s economy needs reliability and peace</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Turkey </div> <div class="field-item even"> EU </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Civil society </div> <div class="field-item even"> Conflict </div> <div class="field-item odd"> Democracy and government </div> <div class="field-item even"> Equality </div> <div class="field-item odd"> International politics </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> Can Europe make it? Can Europe make it? North-Africa West-Asia EU Turkey Civil society Conflict Democracy and government Equality International politics Turkish Dawn Merve Pehlivan Luke Frostick Tue, 19 Jun 2018 13:47:56 +0000 Luke Frostick and Merve Pehlivan 118470 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Turkey’s three-dimensional populism, three leaders and three blocs https://www.opendemocracy.net/can-europe-make-it/omer-tekdemir/turkey-s-three-dimensional-populism-three-leaders-and-three-blocs <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>The election is therefore offered a choice between three blocs, each of which mobilises people in terms of a different type of populism as expounded by their respective charismatic leader.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/PA-37060713.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/PA-37060713.jpg" alt="lead " title="" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" width="460" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Jailed presidential candidate for Turkey's pro-Kurdish opposition, Selahattin Demirtas, makes his first television appearance in over a year and a half on June 17, 2018. Depo Photos/Press Association. All rights reserved.</span></span></span></p><p>The upcoming presidential election in Turkey is another interesting example of the global populist zeitgeist, albeit taking on diverse forms in different countries in southeast Europe, the east Mediterranean and the Middle East. Turkey has been subject to the power of the right-wing conservative populist, Justice and Development Party (AKP) for the last 16 years under the former football player Recep Tayyip Erdogan (who is in some sense a charismatic leader). </p><p>The AKP’s hold on power has created a sense of despair on the part of the opposition (similar to that during Thatcher’s years in the UK with her claim that ‘there was no alternative’ to the neoliberal order) until June 2013 and the emergence of the Gezi protest movement, which has been compared to other grass roots (or square) movements such as occupy, the anti-austerity movement and the Arab spring.</p> <p>Gezi as an irregular, populist social movement rejected the existing representative democracy by arguing that as the mass of ordinary people, they were not represented by the elitist centre-right and centre-left parties. Instead, the many components of the Gezi movement synergized with the new Kurdish-led and left-leaning populist Peoples’ Democracy Party (HDP) that for the first-time afforded a real opportunity for representation of not only a collective Kurdish political identity but other excluded groups and brought 80 MPs into the Parliament in June 2015.</p> <p>The HDP established a chain of equivalence between its diverse components without essentialising Kurdish identity over other alliances, using radical democracy as a common point of affiliation. The HDP uses a different discourse than the orthodox pro-Kurdish political parties through the charming left-wing populism of the human rights lawyer, Selahattin Demirtas. He is one of the candidates for the presidency in the June 24, 2018 election but has been in prison for over a year facing a prison sentence of up to 142 years on terrorism charges (plus four years for insulting Erdogan) while approximately a hundred mayors of his HDP party have been replaced by government-appointed trustees.</p> <p>The discursive hegemonic approach of Ernesto Laclau identifies populism as something that constructs the political in terms of the people (the underdog) versus elites (the establishment) – although how populism is deployed can either further or frustrate democratic ends. Interestingly, the AKP as a party of the right successfully employed the discourse of ‘the People’ against the Kemalist status quo during the structural crisis of the regime, emphasizing stability and development within a liberal democratic framework, a policy of seeking EU accession and a neoliberal capitalist economy.</p> <p>After some time in power, however, the AKP began to define ‘the People’ in more religious, and recently more nationalist, ways. The party, now acting as a new power elite, offered the rhetoric of creating a ‘new Turkey’ by social engineering and tended towards a majoritarian and illiberal political stance. </p> <p>Within this authoritarian populist context, which we might describe as post-political (where the state-centred policies of the centre parties, both religious and secular, are hard to distinguish apart), the Kurdish political movement realized that it was not enough simply to pursue the demand for Kurdish national rights. Instead, the mainstream Kurdish political agents (such as the Democratic Society Party and the Democratic Regions Party) adapted a ‘progressive nationalism’ (similar to that of the Scottish National Party that electorally replaced the Scottish Labour Party on the left) which reached beyond regional politics and provided the ground for the HDP’s radical democratic project (a project bearing a relationship to Podemos and Catalan nationalism). This radical democratic bloc came to represent the demands of diverse groups based on religion, ethnicity, gender, and sexuality as well as economic minorities, in an inclusive left-wing populism.</p> <h2><strong>The CHP</strong></h2> <p>In the upcoming elections, the main opposition Kemalist secular Republican Peoples’ Party (the CHP and the founder party of the Republic) are using an offensive strategy and promoting their MP Muharrem Ince, a former physics teacher (who comes from a Sunni Muslim and leftist background), as the candidate for the presidency. </p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/PA-36955926.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/PA-36955926.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" width="460" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Muharrem Ince speaks during a rally in Diyarbakir city, June 11th, 2018. Depo Photos/Press Association. All rights reserved.</span></span></span>Ince’s humanitarian populist leadership demonstrates a very successful social democratic populism. He personally embraces the diversity of Turkish society and was even against removing parliamentary immunity against prosecution for those HDP MPs accused of promoting terror (namely a separate Kurdish national identity and self-governance) even though his own party, the CHP, supported the AKP’s decision to send them to trial which ended in a significant number of the HDP MPs being arrested or fleeing the country. </p><p>Ince became a hope for the liberal supporters of the CHP by reactivating the social democratic face of the party, although this audience already had had similar experiences with Erdal Inonu’s Social Democratic Populist Party (SHP) and Bulent Ecevit’s Democratic Left Party (DSP).</p> <p>Ince has started to develop a different discourse and has hence promoted a sort of neo-Kemalist six pillars (republicanism, populism, laicism, revolutionism, nationalism and statism) via an egalitarian and libertarian interpretation of Kemalism for his fellow citizens, although from this are excluded Syrian refugees who are accused of being supporters of Erdogan and the backbone of a Salafi Islam as well as an economic burden for the country. The problem here is the resulting ambiguity between the CHP’s institutional/vertical politics and Ince’s individual/horizontal populist leadership.</p> <p>In the recent post-political situation two main blocs have emerged. On the one hand, there is the Islamic-oriented AKP who have created a de facto coalition in the name of a ‘public alliance’ with the ultra-nationalist Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and Great Unionist Party (BBP). On the other hand, the secular CHP has joined with the Islamist Felicity Party (SP) and the right-wing Good Party (IYI) (former MHP members) to assemble a ‘national alliance’. Both pacts, particularly that led by the CHP, have ruled out bringing the HDP (because of its Kurdish domination) into blocs dominated by the Turkishnesss discourse of a homogenized citizenship, whether in an Islamic or secular form.</p> <h2><strong>Polarisation and tension</strong></h2> <p>The country’s politics and society are now extremely polarized and tense. The government party has established a new political frontier based on a division between us/friend (pro-AKP and support for a one-man rule presidential system) and them/enemy (anti-AKP, pro-parliamentarian democracy) which is different from the old we/they distinction. </p> <p>While the HDP’s position can be read as a Derridian ‘constitutive outsider’, the party has re-constructed an alternative political frontier which is based on an ideology and philosophy that does not moralize politics through the appeal to some sacred values not open to democratic discussion (e.g. Muslimness and Turkishness). Furthermore, the HDP has identified ‘we’, ‘the People’, in terms of an agonistic pluralism that brings the conflict into the centre of politics via a conflictual consensus and promotes compromise in disagreement (such as the association between devout Muslims, Alevis, LGBTs, feminists and Afro-Turks and non-Muslims) and one positioned within a symbolic democratic ground based on the democratic principles of liberty and equality for all.</p> <h2><strong>Choice of three?</strong></h2> <p>The election is therefore offered a choice between three blocs, each of which mobilises people in terms of a different type of populism as expounded by their respective charismatic leader. However, if Ince, in the way of Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party, can manage to shift the CHP’s establishment towards advocating a progressive and popular patriotism instead of ethnic nationalism, especially in relation to the so-called ‘Kurdish question’ and, moreover, if he can create a politics grounded on a new hegemonic articulation, with a partisan nature (e.g. left and right) where economic projects replace the prioritizing of state security over society, then this could pave the way towards more social justice, popular sovereignty and the democratisation of the political system.</p> <p>This would also allow scope for the radical democracy bloc to widen and deepen. This in turn might create an opportunity for an agonistic negotiation that seeks to transform an antagonistic enemy (one who needs to be eliminated) into an agonistic adversary (one with whom you can negotiate on different concepts, such as democracy, citizenship, etc.). There would be a chance to build an alternative society based on the diverse collective identities of Turkey, a ‘national alliance’ constituted by a dominant and extensive stratum of the Turkish society. </p> <p>This new initiative could bring new hope for a reconciliation with the Kurdish political groupings and a restoration of democracy away from the current post-democratic system that suffers under the state of emergency, decree law and a toxic demagoguery founded on post-truth and anti-intellectualism.</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/can-europe-make-it/luke-frostick-merve-pehlivan/can-turkish-opposition-beat-erdo">Can the Turkish Opposition beat Erdoğan?</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/can-europe-make-it/filiz-kahraman/can-europe-save-turkey-from-sliding-into-authoritarianism">Can Europe save Turkey from sliding into authoritarianism? </a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Turkey </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Civil society </div> <div class="field-item even"> Conflict </div> <div class="field-item odd"> Culture </div> <div class="field-item even"> Democracy and government </div> <div class="field-item odd"> Ideas </div> <div class="field-item even"> International politics </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> Can Europe make it? Can Europe make it? North-Africa West-Asia Turkey Civil society Conflict Culture Democracy and government Ideas International politics Omer Tekdemir Mon, 18 Jun 2018 20:55:12 +0000 Omer Tekdemir 118464 at https://www.opendemocracy.net I am from Salamiya but none of this applies to me https://www.opendemocracy.net/north-africa-west-asia/abdullah-amin-al-hallaq/i-am-from-salamiya-but-none-of-this-applies-to-me <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>In Syria, one could notice some of the significant remarks denigrating others based on their religion, sect, race or color. <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/north-africa-west-asia/Abdullah-Amin-Al-Hallaq/Syria-sectarianism-ismailiya"><strong>العربية</strong></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <p><strong><em><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/562712/ الفي copy_0.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/562712/ الفي copy_0.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="259" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'></span></span>This article by </em><em>Abdullah Amin Al-Hallaq</em><em> </em><em>forms part of a special series focused on Oral Culture and Identity in Syria. It is the outcome of an ongoing partnership between <a href="http://syriauntold.com/en/">SyriaUntold</a> and openDemocracy’s North Africa West Asia in a bid to untangle the roots of sectarian, ethnic and other divides in Syria.</em></strong></p><p><strong>&nbsp;</strong></p><p>For better or for worse, I am not sure which exactly, I was born in the city of Salamiya, located in the heart of Syria to the east of Hama. I am Ismaili by birth (Ismailism is a branch of Shia Islam). Both my parents belong to the Ismaili faith but I am irreligious by conviction. I follow secular tactics in my day-to-day life and apply secular “strategies” to live in the world. I respect the right of any person to believe—as well as not to believe—in any religion or doctrine (although most believers do not respect or recognize our rights to not believe). I respect that right provided they do not see their sect or religion as the end of all righteousness, based on supernatural and shamanistic ideologies firmly rooted in environments still mired in superstitions. </p><p>Holding one’s own sect in high regard was not shown publically in Syria, perhaps due to the “Syrian mosaic” and “coexistence” propaganda, which we experienced so clearly after the revolution! However, one could notice some of the significant remarks that were flourishing among the least educated in this or that community, remarks denigrating to others. Denigrating others based on their religion, sect, race or color is to a certain extent a pretension to superiority based on one’s own sectarian or religious affiliation. There is no need to dwell on the obvious here: the need to not label an entire group with one defining feature, and to be careful not to attribute to the “whole” what only “some” of its members might gossip about. For the purpose of this article, however, there are some “rare” verbal narratives that are rather narrowly circulated among “sectarian activists” in Syria worth mentioning. These are precisely the type of narratives we need to be looking into and writing about.</p> <p>Salamiya is a city in Syria where the Ismaili minority constitutes a majority of its population. Six Shia imams, from Ali down to Ja’far al-Sadiq, are the common denominator between “Sevener” Ismailis and the largest branch of Shiite Islam, known as Twelvers. In a country like Baathist and Assadist Syria, people were prohibited from discussing politics as well as manifesting any sound or healthy interest in fellow Syrians. Members of majority and minority religious groups developed their own parochial oral histories vis-a-vis other sects. These were often promoted by unfathomable anecdotes of paranormal events and reinforced by walls or security barriers which prevented Syrians from getting to know each other. </p> <p>The more educated classes, which regularly encountered other sections of the Syrian populations, did not care about the “morning sermons” passed down verbally by some “elders” who have long been insulated within the confines of their sects and regions. But we often heard these elders chatter about the Sunnis, the Alawites and the Druze in ways that resembled the anecdotes one hears in <em>Arabian Nights</em>. I remember that the first folk proverb to be invoked in moments of great injustice inflicted upon someone is “like a <em>Nusayris</em> [an Alawite] beaten down in market.”</p> <p>In fact, I do not yet know the source or the original story of this widespread saying in the Ismaili community, nor the location of the market in which the above-mentioned “Nusayri” was dealt that “beatdown.” Is it the Salamiya market? Hama market? Al-Hamidiyah market?! The market is a variable that is open to speculations, but what is constant is that an Alawite person was once subjected to a physical assault so horrible that it became remarkably proverbial, a “spiteful” remembrance that is nevertheless invoked to ease the pain of someone being wronged.</p> <h3><strong>Mockery and ridicule</strong></h3> <p>There are additional sayings used by Ismailis, Sunnis and many others to mock and ridicule the Alawites. One such saying is <em>silk bi-laban</em> [chard with yogurt], which is a rural dish made even in non-Alawite villages, but has been associated with the Alawites when poking fun at their lives and traditions. Another is <em>shu’aybiya wa kazuza </em>[custard in filo and soft drink], which refers to a poor Alawite descending from his village, enjoying a <em>shu’aybiya </em>with a soft drink and considering that his utmost “model of luxury.” These are only two examples of countless forms of mockery.</p> <p>While the Ismailis and the Sunnis share a similar view toward the Alawites, the Ismailis are also viewed as a “one stereotypical whole,” most famously as “the sect that worships vaginas.” This is another widespread conviction among “Sunni” marginalized rural groups, which rely on communal anecdotes and hereditary myths to learn about the sectarian or religious other, which is in this case the Ismailis.</p> <p>This allegation of an Ismaili cult serves a twofold purpose. On the one hand, it obscures the fact that Ismailis worship Allah, just like other Muslims. On the other, it is used to vilify the Ismaili faith and reduce it to “vaginas,” at which point infidelity, atheism or paganism become too nice a “charge” when compared with the above-mentioned worship. Perhaps the most astute response to this charge was that of the poet Ali al-Jundi, which is often repeated by activists and young people from Salamiya. “Is it true that the Ismailis worship vaginas?” the late poet was once asked, rather jokingly, on the sidelines of a press interview. “Frankly, I have no clue if the dignified sect worships it, but personally I do,” al-Jundi replied. </p> <p>Furthermore, within the Ismaili “sphere,” there is another anti-Ismaili slander propagated by Alawites, especially those who have reached extreme old age. This is the term <em>kalb el fayy</em> [dog of shadows], which is grounded in the stereotyping notion that Ismailis are too lazy and passive. “An Ismaili man rests in the shadow, loosens his balls, and watches whoever comes by. If he ever works a few minutes, he takes a three-hour break, whereas a villager is a hard-working early riser.” It goes without saying that many Ismailis are villagers and peasants as well.</p> <h3><strong>Myth-making and narrative wars</strong></h3> <p>The same smear tactic is used by other sects towards the Murshidi [members of a religious community that split from the Alawite tribes], such as the popularized rumor that they meet in a special ritualistic evening to have an animalistic orgy between their men and women. Indeed, sex has been and remains a primary myth-making tool in this sectarian “war or narratives.”</p> <p>In the minds of the most ignorant and backward groups, for instance, Sunnis are Bakris. Bakrism here is not an affiliation with the tribe of Bakr or any other Arab tribe. It is simply a “charge” against the Sunnis who believe in Abu Bakr’s entitlement to the first caliph coronation, which is in the Alawite and Ismaili tradition an entitlement of [the fourth caliph] Ali. In the same context, another expression concerning major Sunni figures is <em>Aisha alhamra</em>. This invokes the description by Prophet Muhammad of [his youngest wife] Aisha Bint Abu Bakr as <em>humayraa </em>[rosy-complexed], which is now used by Aisha’s haters, who are entrenched Ali’s camp, to describe any “bitchy” woman as <em>Aisha alhamra</em>.</p> <p>One could elaborate and research endlessly into this subject, which is not the purpose of this article. Such hostile speech remained confined to very narrow spaces, barely extending beyond its original communities. But it bears witness to what might be the case in politically impoverished environments, where societies invoke their distant historical heritage to wreak havoc in such historical moments as the breakout of the Syrian revolution – albeit in a different language from what I have described here. </p> <p>In many aspects, the Syrian conflict today has turned into a military war and given way to sectarian and national strife. Many have drawn on the historical heritage: a Sunni-Shiite divide as Iran intervened in support of the regime, and an over-Islamization and sectarianization of the conflict. If this historical heritage is transient then it can either be overcome by cumulative political action and under modern or reformist systems; or it can be perpetuated by discriminatory sectarian regimes. A regime such as the Assad regime will only produce hideous outcomes of the sort we are witnessing nowadays. The “<a href="https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/19/homs-sunni-markets_n_1608009.html">Sunni market</a>” <a href="https://www.zamanalwsl.net/news/article/46566">epitomizes this hideosity</a>!</p> <p>I said at first that I am affiliated with an irreligious minority that is ostracized by whoever defines themselves by their sect, who are indeed so many. However, having read what I wrote above, and contemplated what I could write and narrate in this file, I think I have to alter my said affiliation as I conclude this article. It is too early to discuss “freedom to not believe” within the constitutional framework. So, it suffices to say: “I descend from a rural peasant family. I might not be a good person, but at least I'm not <em>kalb el fayy</em> [dog of shadows].”</p><p><strong>Translated by Yaaser Azzayyaat</strong></p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/mohammad-dibo/oral-culture-and-identity-in-syria-dossier">Oral culture and identity in Syria - Dossier</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/omar-kaddour/when-name-yazid-is-neither-good-nor-bad">When the name Yazid is neither good nor bad</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/ahmed-khalil/other-and-oral-sectarian-culture-in-syria">The “other” and oral sectarian culture in Syria</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/mohammad-dibo/from-this-onion-is-sunni-to-nice-sunnis-like-us">From “this onion is Sunni” to “nice Sunnis like us”</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/mohammad-abu-hajar/our-sectarianism-not-just-regime-s-creation">Our Sectarianism – not just the regime’s creation</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Syria </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Civil society </div> <div class="field-item even"> Conflict </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> North-Africa West-Asia North-Africa West-Asia Syria Civil society Conflict sectarianism Through Syrian eyes Abdullah Amin Al-Hallaq Mon, 18 Jun 2018 14:00:00 +0000 Abdullah Amin Al-Hallaq 118442 at https://www.opendemocracy.net أنا من السلَمية... لكني لست ممن في هذا المقال https://www.opendemocracy.net/north-africa-west-asia/Abdullah-Amin-Al-Hallaq/Syria-sectarianism-ismailiya <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p class="direction-rtl">"عبادة الفرج" كتهمة تتخذ بعدين اثنين. فهي من جهة تنكر عليهم "عبادة الله" كمسلمين، وهي من جهة ثانية تحقّر المعتقد الإسماعيلي إلى مستوى "عبادة الفرج"، بحيث يكون الكفر أو الإلحاد أو الشرك بالله "تهمة" لطيفة جداً. <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/north-africa-west-asia/abdullah-amin-al-hallaq/i-am-from-salamiya-but-none-of-this-applies-to-me"><strong>English</strong></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <p><strong class="direction-rtl"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/562712/ الفي copy.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/562712/ الفي copy.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="259" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'></span></span>ينشر هذا المقال ضمن ملف يتناول الثقافة الشفوية في سورية، بالتعاون والشراكة مع </strong><strong>موقع <a href="http://syriauntold.com/ar/">حكاية ما انحكت</a></strong><strong class="direction-rtl">، في محاولة لفهم جذور الطائفية والقومية وغيرها في سورية</strong></p> <p dir="rtl"> قادني حسن حظي أو سوؤه، لا أعرف بالضبط، لأن أولد في مدينة السلَمية، الواقعة وسط سورية بالقرب من مدينة حماة. أنا اسماعيلي بالولادة (الإسماعيلية هي طائفة دينية منشقة عن الشيعة) لأبوين اسماعيليين، وأنا لا ديني بالقناعة في تكتيكاتي اليومية و"استراتيجياتي" في هذه الحياة وهذا العالم. أحترم حق كل مؤمن وأي إنسان في الاعتقاد أو عدم الاعتقاد بأيّ دين أو مذهب "رغم أنّ معظم هؤلاء المؤمنين لا يحترمون ولا يقرّون حق عدم الاعتقاد لأمثالنا"، طالما أنّه لا يرى أن طائفته أو دينه هي البداية والختام، وفقاً لمقولات قيامية وسحرية تضرب عميقاً في بيئات لا يزال السحر والخرافة مقيمَين فيها.</p> <p dir="rtl"> لم يكن تفضيل طائفة لذاتها على غيرها يظهر إلى العلن في سوريا، ربما من باب الدعاية لـ "الفسيفساء السورية" و"التعايش" اللذَين خبرناهما جيداً بعد الثورة. لكن، يمكن للمرء أن يرصد مقولات تزدهر في صفوف الفئات الأكثر جهلاً في هذه الطائفة أو تلك، تحمل تحقيراً للآخرين. وتحقير الآخرين تبعاً لدينهم أو طائفتهم أو عرقهم أو لونهم هو، في مكان ما منه، ادعاء تفوّق منسوباً بدوره إلى طائفة أو دين وغير ذلك.</p> <p dir="rtl"> لا داعي لكتابة سطور طويلة حول ما هو بديهي، أي ضرورة الابتعاد عن وسم جماعة ما بِسِمة ما، وعن محاذرة أن يُنسب إليها كــ "كل" ما يتناقله "البعض" فيها، لكنّ سرديات ومرويات شفهية "نادرة" بين بعض "ناشطي" الطوائف في سوريا موجودة وإن بشكل محدود، وهي تحديداً ما يستحق الوقوف عنده والكتابة عنه. إذاً، هنا "وردة". فلنرقص هنا.</p> <p dir="rtl"> السلَمية مدينة تشكل الأقلية الإسماعيلية (يشكل الأئمة حتى جعفر الصادق قاسماً مشتركاً بين الإسماعيليين والشيعة الإثني عشرية) أكثرية سكانية فيها. وفي بلد مثل سوريا البعثية والأسدية، يلتجئ أناس من الأكثرية والأقليات إلى رواية تاريخهم الشفهي تجاه الطوائف أو الجماعات الأخرى وتعزيزه بالخوارق غير المعقولة، في ظل غياب السياسة وحجبها ومعها أجواء التعبير السليم والصحي بين السوريين. وفي ظل عدم معرفة السوريين بعضهم البعض، ووجود جدران وسواتر أمنية بينهم كان سبباً أساسياً في امتناع المعرفة ذاك.</p> <p dir="rtl"> لم تكن الطبقات المتعلمة والمثقفة، والتي احتكت مع أبناء المدن السورية الأخرى تكترث لــ "أحاديث الصِّبحيات" التي يتناقلها بعض "الكبار"، أولئك الذين انغلقوا أو أغلق عليهم داخل بوتقة الطائفة والمنطقة، لكننا كنا نسمع من بعض هؤلاء الكبار أحاديث عن السنّة والعلويين والدروز لا تشبه إلا ما يمكن أن يقرأه المرء في "ألف ليلة وليلة". وأتذكّر، من ضمن ما أتذكره، أن أول مثل شعبي "سلموني" كان يتم استحضاره في لحظات الظلم الكبير الذي قد يلحق بأحدهم هو: "مثل قتلة النصيري بالسوق".</p> <p dir="rtl"> والحال، أنني لا أعرف حتى الآن مصدر وحكاية هذا المثل، ولا موقع ذلك السوق الذي تعرض فيه "النصيري" آنف الذكر إلى تلك "العلقة" الساخنة. هل هو سوق السلَمية؟ سوق حماه؟ سوق الحميدية!! السوق متغير وحمّال أوجه هنا على كل حال، ويحتمل تأويلات مكانية متعددة، لكنّ الثابت أن شخصاً من العلويين قد تعرض لاعتداء جسدي فظيع، لدرجة أن هذا الاعتداء حوّله إلى مضرب مثل وإلى ما يشبه "التشفي" منه، رغم استحضار هذا المثل القديم للتخفيف عن شخص تعرّض للظلم حديثاً.</p> <p dir="rtl"> يكمل إسماعيليون وسنّة وغيرهم درب التندر والسخرية من العلويين، كأن تسمع مثلاً مقولة "سِلق بلبن"، وهي أكلة ريفية يتم طبخها حتى في الأرياف غير العلوية، لكنها لازمت العلويين عموماً لدى السخرية منهم ومن بيئتهم. هناك أيضا مقولة "شعيبية وكازوزة" كدلالة على علوي فقير ينزل من القرية إلى المدينة، وتكون الشعيبية والكازوزة "نموذجين للرفاهية" لديه. وهلمجرا من مهازل وعبارات وكلمات.</p> <p dir="rtl"> هذه النظرة لدى "اسماعيليين" و"سنّة" تجاه "العلويين"، تتزامن معها نظرة تجاه الاسماعيليين أنفسهم كــ "كل"، ضمن ما هو معروف عن تلك الرواية التي تقول بأن الإسماعيليين هم "طائفة تعبد الفرْج"، أي "فرج المرأة". وهي منتشرة في صفوف فئات ريفية مهمشة "سنّية" تعتمد على الأحاديث الأهلية المنقولة والمتواترة حول الآخر المختلف بالطائفة أو بالدين، وهو هنا: "الإسماعيليون". </p> <p dir="rtl"> "عبادة الفرج" كتهمة تتخذ بعدين اثنين. فهي من جهة تنكر عليهم "عبادة الله" كمسلمين، وهي من جهة ثانية تحقّر المعتقد الإسماعيلي إلى مستوى "عبادة الفرج"، بحيث يكون الكفر أو الإلحاد أو الشرك بالله "تهمة" لطيفة جداً قياساً بالعبادة المذكورة أعلاه. وليس أبلغ من الرد على هذا النوع من الاتهامات مما يتناقله بعض الناشطين والشباب من أبناء السلَمية، من سخرية للشاعر الراحل علي الجندي، عندما سُئل على هامش أحد الحوارات الصحفية معه ومن باب المزاح: هل صحيح أن الاسماعيليين يعبدون الفرْج؟ فكان جواب الجندي: "بصراحة لا أعرف إن كانت الطائفة الكريمة تعبده. لكنني شخصياً أعبده".</p> <p dir="rtl"> واستطراداً، وفي "الحقل" الإسماعيلي، فإن ثمة تحقيراً آخر يسوقه علَويون تجاههم، وخصوصاً ممن بلغوا من الكبر عتياً، وهو مصطلح "كلب الفيّ". و"كلب الفيّ" هي تهمة تطال الإسماعيلي بناء على نظرة تقول بكسله وبلادته، فهو "بيقعد بالفيّ وبيرخي بيضاتو وبيتفرج ع الرايح والجاي، وإذا اشتغل ضربتين بيرتاح 3 ساعات، بينما ابن القرية نشيط وبيفيق بكّير ع الشغل". هذا مع العلم أن الكثير من الإسماعيليين هم من أبناء القرى والفلاحين أيضاً.</p> <p dir="rtl"> نفس الأسلوب يتم استعماله من قبل أبناء طوائف متعددة تجاه "المرشدية" مثلاً، وما حِيك حولهم من اجتماعهم في ليلة خاصة لممارسة الجنس بين رجالهم ونسائهم وبشكل بعيد عن أي فعل إنساني وهلمجرا. الجنس كان ولا يزال بوابة ومدخلاً لخلق الكثير من الخرافات في "حرب المرويات" الطائفية هذه.</p> <p dir="rtl"> السنّة في عرف الفئات الأكثر جهلاً وتخلفاً أيضاً من أبناء الطوائف الأخرى هم "بكريّون". والــ "بكريّة" هنا ليست دلالة على الانتساب إلى قبيلة بكر ولا إلى أي قبيلة عربية أخرى. هي بكل بساطة "تهمة" تساق ضد السنّة الذين يعتقدون بخلافة أبي بكر ضداً على خلافة علي، والتي يراها العلويون والإسماعيليون حقاً لهذا الأخير. وفي ذات الإطار وحول الموقف من رموز السنّة من قبل أنصار علي بن أبي طالب، لا بد من المرور بــ "عيشة الحمرا"، وهي استحضار لما يتم تداوله من أن النبي محمد قد وصف عائشة بنت أبي بكر بــ "الحميراء"، وتحول هذا الوصف لدى بعض مناهضي عائشة، المتخندقون اليوم في خندق علي بن أبي طالب، إلى وصف يطال كل امرأة يرونها "سفيهة"، تحت مسمّى "عيشة الحمرا". </p> <p dir="rtl"> يمكن الاستفاضة والبحث كثيراً في هذا الموضوع، ولا يتسع له مقال وعجالة كهذه. بقيت تلك الملاسنات محصورة في نطاق ضيق جداً، ولم تتمدد إلى نطاقات واسعة. إلا أنّها تحمل دلالة على ما يمكن أن يكون عليه الحال في بيئات مفقرة سياسياً، في مجتمعات تستدعي الموروث التاريخي لديها لتتحول إلى احتراب في لحظات تاريخية كلحظة الثورة السورية، وإن بلغة غير التي سبق ذكرها. لقد تحول الصراع السوري اليوم إلى حرب عسكرية واقتتال مذهبي أو قومي في جوانب كثيرة منه. وجرى استلهام موروث تاريخي، سني شيعي مع دخول إيران على خط الصراع لصالح النظام، وأسلمة الصراع في سوريا وتطييفه. وإذا كان الموروث التاريخي متحولاً وقابلاً للتجاوز بفعل سياسي تراكمي وفي ظل نظم حديثة وإصلاحية، أو قابلاً للتكريس بفعل أنظمة طائفية تمييزية، فإن نظاماً كالنظام السوري لن يفضي إلا إلى نتائج كالتي نعيش اليوم وجهها الأهلي والطائفي الأبشع. أليس "<a href="https://www.zamanalwsl.net/news/article/46566">سوق السنّة</a>" مثالاً على ذلك!</p> <p dir="rtl"> كنت أقول في البداية بانتمائي إلى أقلية لا دينية منبوذة من كل من يعرّف نفسه بالطائفة فقط، وما أكثر هؤلاء. لكن، وبعد قراءتي لما كتبت أعلاه، ولما كان من الممكن أن أكتبه وأسرده في هذا الملف، يبدو أنه بات لزاماً عليّ تغيير انتمائي ذاك في خاتمة هذا المقال. لا يزال الوقت مبكراً جداً على الحديث والسجال في مسألة "حرية الاعتقاد وحرية عدم الاعتقاد" ضمن الإطار الدستوري. إذاً، يكفيني القول: أنا أنحدر من عائلة فلاحية قروية. ربما لا أكون شخصاً جيداً. لكنني على الأقل لست "كلب الفيّ".</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/mohammad-dibo/sectarianism-syria-popular-culture">الثقافة الشفوية والهوية في سورية - ملف</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/omar-kaddour/yazid-syria-sectarianism">عندما لا يكون يزيد شريراً أو خيّراً</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/mohammed-dibo/syria-sectarianism-sunni-onion">&quot;من &quot;هذه البصلة سنية&quot; إلى &quot;السنة طيبين متلنا</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/ahmad-khalil/syria-sectarianism">صورة الآخر في الثقافة الشفوية السورية </a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/mohammad-abu-hajar/our-sectarianism-regime"> طائفيتنا التي لم ينتجها النظام</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Syria </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Civil society </div> <div class="field-item even"> Conflict </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> North-Africa West-Asia North-Africa West-Asia Syria Civil society Conflict sectarianism Through Syrian eyes Arabic language عبدالله أمين الحلاق Mon, 18 Jun 2018 07:43:08 +0000 عبدالله أمين الحلاق 118440 at https://www.opendemocracy.net The Great Return March and the women of Gaza https://www.opendemocracy.net/north-africa-west-asia/jen-marlowe-fadi-abu-shammalah/great-return-march-and-women-of-gaza <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Why are Palestine’s feminists fighting on two fronts?</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/562712/PA-36909072.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/562712/PA-36909072.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="307" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Palestinian protesters at the Gaza border. Picture by NurPhoto/SIPA USA/PA Images. All rights reserved. </span></span></span></p><p class="blockquote-new">“I am here because I heard my town call me, and ask me to maintain my honor.” Fifty-seven-year-old Um Khalid Abu Mosa spoke in a strong, gravelly voice as she sat on the desert sand, a white tent protecting her from the blazing sun. “The land,” she says with determination, “is honor and dignity.”</p> <p>She was near the southern Gaza Strip town of Khuza’a, the heavily fortified barrier with Israel in plain sight and well-armed Israeli soldiers just a few hundred meters away. Abu Mosa’s left arm was wrapped in a sling fashioned from a black-and-white-checkered&nbsp;<em>kuffiyeh</em>, or scarf, and a Palestinian flag. Israeli soldiers had shot her in the shoulder with live ammunition on March 30th as she approached the barrier to plant a Palestinian flag in a mound of earth. The bullet is still lodged in her collarbone. Three weeks later, however, she’s back at the Great Return March, a series of protests organized around five encampments stretching along a unilaterally imposed Israeli buffer zone on the 37-mile barrier between the Gaza Strip and Israel.</p> <p>The Return March, which has just ended, was unique in recent history in Gaza for a number of reasons. Palestinians there are known for engaging in militant resistance against the Israeli occupation and also for the internal political split in their ranks between two dominant factions, Fatah and Hamas. Yet, in these weeks, the March has been characterized by a popular, predominantly nonviolent mobilization during which Gaza's fractured political parties have demonstrated a surprising degree of unity. And perhaps most noteworthy of all, women activists have played a visibly crucial role in the protests on a scale not seen for decades, possibly indicating what the future may look like when it comes to activism in the Gaza Strip.</p> <p>The Return March began on March 30th, or&nbsp;<a href="https://www.justvision.org/glossary/land-day" target="_blank">Land Day</a>, commemorating the 1976 killings of six Palestinians inside Israel who had been protesting land confiscations. The March was slated to end on May 15th, the 70th anniversary of the&nbsp;<a href="https://www.justvision.org/glossary/al-nakba" target="_blank">Nakba</a>, Arabic for "catastrophe." The term is used to refer to the 1948 war that led to the creation of Israel and the displacement of approximately 750,000 Palestinians, as well as the depopulation of more than 450 Palestinian towns and villages. Seventy percent of Gaza’s blockaded population is made up of those who fled or were expelled from their lands and villages during the Nakba or their descendants. The vast majority of those participating in the Great Return March, including Abu Mosa, know those native villages only through family lore, yet their yearning to return is visceral.</p> <p class="mag-quote-center">During the March,&nbsp;125 Palestinians&nbsp;were killed and a staggering 13,000 wounded</p><p>During the March,&nbsp;<a href="https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/04/gaza-protest-latest-updates-180406092506561.html" target="_blank">125 Palestinians</a>&nbsp;were killed and a staggering 13,000 wounded. Abu Mosa saw many fellow protesters wounded or killed, especially on May 14th, the day the Trump administration&nbsp;<a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/14/world/middleeast/gaza-protests-palestinians-us-embassy.html" target="_blank">opened</a>&nbsp;its new embassy in Jerusalem when the protests escalated and some participants attempted to break through the barrier.</p> <p>On that day alone, Israeli forces killed&nbsp;<a href="http://www.middleeasteye.net/news/gaza-names-palestinians-killed-israel-us-embassy-1239370023" target="_blank">62 Palestinians</a>&nbsp;and injured 2,700 more. “Don’t ask me if someone close to me has been injured or killed,” Abu Mosa says. “All the protesters are my relatives and friends. We became one family.” After the carnage of May 14th, the grassroots committee organizing the March decided that the protests had to continue. The killings continued as well. On June 1st, a 21-year old woman volunteer paramedic was, for instance,&nbsp;<a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/02/world/middleeast/gaza-paramedic-killed.html?rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Fworld&amp;action=click&amp;contentCollection=world&amp;region=rank&amp;module=package&amp;version=highlights&amp;contentPlacement=2&amp;pgtype=sectionfront" target="_blank">shot in the chest</a>&nbsp;and killed.</p> <p>For Abu Mosa, a schoolteacher and mother of six, the March centers entirely on her dream of returning to her native town of Beer Sheva. And in its wake, she insists that she will go back, “and on my way, I will plant mint and flowers.”</p> <p>Much like Abu Mosa, 20-year-old Siwar Alza’anen, an activist in an organization called the Palestinian Students Labor Front, is motivated by a deep desire to return to her native village. She is also marching “to send a message to the international community that we are suffering a lot, we are living under pressure, siege, pain, poverty.”</p> <h3><strong>The Great Return March and the first Intifada</strong></h3> <p>A small Palestinian flag flutters on the edge of Samira Abdelalim’s desk in Rafah, the southernmost town in the Gaza Strip. Forty-four-year-old Abdelalim serves as the director of the women’s department at the Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions. Her steely eyes are framed with a simple navy-blue headscarf. Abdelalim hopes the Great March of Return will peacefully achieve the right of return to her people’s villages, self-determination, and the possibility of living “in peace and freedom” -- but she’s realistic, too. “I know that the occupation will not end in one day,” she says, “but by cumulative work.”</p> <p>Iktimal Hamad is on the Supreme National Commission of the Return March, the only woman among the March’s 15 lead organizers. Sitting in her Gaza City office, her light brown hair pulled into a tight bun, she speaks about her own double agenda -- to end the Israeli occupation, but also to promote equality for women in Gaza. “Women can play a prominent role in the liberation of Palestine, because they are integral to the Palestinian community,” she tells us.</p> <p>Abdelalim leads the March’s women’s committee in Rafah, one of five with 15 members for each of the encampments. With her fellow committee members, she organizes the women in the March, arranges logistics such as water and buses, and plans youth empowerment and cultural activities.</p> <p>Her own activism began during the first Palestinian Intifada (Arabic for “shaking off”) or “uprising” and she insists that the goals and methods are the same in the present set of demonstrations. The&nbsp;<a href="https://www.justvision.org/glossary/first-intifada" target="_blank">First Intifada</a>&nbsp;began in 1987 and was characterized by a highly coordinated, unarmed mass-mobilization against the Israeli occupation. Widespread acts of civil disobedience included strikes, boycotts, the creation of “underground” schools, grassroots projects to develop economic independence from Israel, and mass demonstrations. Women were that uprising’s backbone.</p> <p>“The masters of the field are the protestors,” Abdelalim says of both then and now. “In the First Intifada, women and men used to stand shoulder to shoulder beside each other, struggling together.”</p> <p>Abu Mosa, who is typical of many women in Gaza in not having been politically active in more than 25 years, tells us that the Return March brings back her memories of that earlier period. Even the smell of tear gas makes her nostalgic. “I feel this March is the First Intifada.”</p> <p>Hamad was also a young activist during the First Intifada. Now 51, she remembers how women were “the vanguard” of that uprising. “There was a unified women’s council in 1989 and this council had the responsibility of the streets,” she recalls. Women led demonstrations and sit-ins, distributed leaflets, created neighborhood committees and participated in a unified women’s council. They even worked together in remarkable unity, whatever political faction they belonged to.</p> <h3><strong>Women’s activism after the first Intifada</strong></h3> <p>The First Intifada ended with the signing of the&nbsp;<a href="https://www.justvision.org/glossary/oslo-accords" target="_blank">Oslo Accords</a>, a peace agreement negotiated in secret between the government of Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). Made up only of Palestinians in exile, the PLO negotiation team was all male.</p> <p>The Oslo Accords led to the creation of the Palestinian Authority and the return of the exiled PLO leaders to the West Bank and Gaza. Many of the grassroots activists who had led the uprising were promptly marginalized in the formation of new leadership structures -- and women were excluded altogether.</p> <p>According to Samira Abdelalim, the trajectory of the struggle, and particularly the role of women, then shifted radically. There was now an armed, institutional Authority governing a traditional, patriarchal society. "The male societies refused to include women in the decision-making units, and denied women’s [engagement] in policies and plans," she explains. So, rather than confronting the Israeli occupation, Palestinian women began agitating for social, political, legal, and economic rights within Palestinian society. Abdelalim and other women activists organized around the task of creating laws to protect women from honor killings -- that is, the murder of a female family member when she is perceived to have brought shame upon the family -- and to prevent gender-based male violence.&nbsp;</p> <p>The Oslo process was supposed to culminate in agreements on a set of thorny “permanent status” issues between Israel and the Palestinians. These issues included Jerusalem, water rights, border delineation, settlements, and refugees. However, trust in the process continued to erode over the years and the “final” status negotiations held in the summer of 2000 collapsed, setting the stage for the&nbsp;<a href="https://www.justvision.org/glossary-search?name_field_value=second+intifada" target="_blank">Second Intifada</a>, which erupted on September 29th of that year.</p> <p>Though that uprising initially began with large-scale demonstrations reminiscent of the previous one, it quickly turned toward armed resistance. According to political scientist Marie Principe’s&nbsp;<a href="https://www.usip.org/sites/default/files/SR399-Women-in-Nonviolent-Movements.pdf" target="_blank">research</a>&nbsp;for the United States Institute for Peace, nonviolent movements create openings for a wide range of people, including women, children, and the old, to get involved in a way that violent campaigns don’t. Due to the armed nature of the Second Intifada, the space for the involvement of women, in particular, began to shrink radically. In this period, according to Abdelalim, women activists refocused their work in the international arena, attempting to expose the violence of the occupation to the world through documentation, media reports, and international conferences.</p> <p>This sort of activism, however, was predominantly open only to women from a higher socio-economic class -- those, in particular, who worked for NGOs, had access to university education, and<strong>&nbsp;</strong>had some ability, however restricted, to reach the outside world, whether through travel or the Internet. Many of the women who had been out on the streets during the First Intifada were left without roles to play.</p><p class="mag-quote-center">The Hamas-Fatah divide became a new focal point for women activists in Gaza</p> <p>In 2006, Hamas (an Arabic acronym for Islamic Resistance Movement) won the Palestinian legislative elections over the previously dominant Palestinian National Liberation Movement, or Fatah. Some Gaza-based leaders of Fatah then sought to oust Hamas (<a href="https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2008/04/gaza200804" target="_blank">with U.S. backing</a>), leading to a bloody internecine civil war on the Strip in which Hamas violently gained control in 2007.</p> <p>The Hamas-Fatah divide became a new focal point for women activists in Gaza. In those years, women generally called for Palestinian unity, remembers Abdelalim, insisting that their enemy should be the Israeli occupation, not a competing Palestinian faction. The official reconciliation negotiation team (which signed multiple unity agreements starting in 2011 that were never implemented) did not include women. Abdelalim and other women activists nonetheless held weekly demonstrations to protest the internal split in Gaza, even drafting a joint statement by women on both sides of the political divide calling for national unity.</p> <p>Under the Hamas regime, however, the situation of women only continued to deteriorate. “Hamas took us back decades,” says Iktimal Hamad, noting the regime’s desire to impose Islamic Sharia law in place of the Palestinian law in force on the West Bank. “Hamas doesn’t believe in equality between women and men,” she says bluntly.</p> <p>Palestinian society has indeed grown ever more religiously conservative over the past decades, especially in Gaza. Siwar Alza’anen remains among a small minority of women in that imprisoned strip of land who do not cover their hair. She admits, though, that most women in Gaza have little choice but to adhere to restrictive societal norms in dress and culture. They generally can’t even leave home without the permission of a male relative. Abu Mosa remembers protesting during the First Intifada alongside women with uncovered hair who were wearing short skirts. “Now they ask girls to wear head scarves at the age of 12,” she adds with obvious disapproval, though she herself does cover.</p> <p>Yet throughout those repressive years, Hamad points out, women continued to play a central role in the Palestinian struggle through family education. Women were the mothers of the martyrs, the wounded, and the prisoners. A woman, as she puts it, remains “half of the community and the community is not complete without her contribution.”</p> <p><strong>Women begin to reclaim their activist roles</strong></p> <p>Abdelalim and Hamad are hopeful that the current protests indicate a new phase for women’s activism in Gaza and may provide a path to greater gender equality. “What happened in this Great Return March is that women reclaimed their large role in the Palestinian struggle,” Abdelalim says. As Hamad observes, the number of women involved increased each Friday. In fact, according to Abdelalim’s estimate, women made up about 40% of the protesters, a remarkable figure given the history of these last years.</p> <p>Because the protests are unarmed and popular in nature, men have even supported women’s involvement. Hamad is organizing for the first time not just with men from the national secular movements but from the Islamic movements as well, and she feels respected and appreciated by them.</p> <p>Still, Abdelalim insists that women have never simply sat around waiting for men’s permission to act. “We’ve always claimed our role in the struggle,” she says.</p> <p>Abdelalim, Hamad, Alza’anen, and Abu Mosa all spoke with pride about the unity exhibited during the Great Return March. As Hamad put it, “In spite of the internal political split, we succeeded in embodying the unified struggle.”</p> <p>“No one raises the flag of their political faction,” adds Alza’anen. Instead, the chants for Palestine send a message of unity both to Palestinians and to the world.</p> <p>Women’s participation in the March boosts their self-confidence, says Abdelalim. “The march broke the wall of silence between the women and [the rest of our] community,” she insists. And she’s convinced that this new sense of power will lead women to struggle to take part in decision-making on a larger scale, while becoming more courageous in demanding their rights. After marching at the border side by side with her father, her husband, her brothers, no young woman will be content to “stay at home waiting for men to give her small benefits.”</p> <p>All four women hold expansive visions of what they want their national struggle to yield. Abdelalim says that she is “fighting to guarantee the best future” for her children. She wants her people to be free in their homeland. She imagines children playing with joy instead of fear and a future world lacking refugees, hunger, or war-related disabilities. “The future means young men and women singing, dancing, building their homeland,” she muses.</p><p class="mag-quote-center">“I have no problem with Jews. If they visit me, I will host them in my house, and they can live in my country.”</p> <p>For Abu Mosa, “the future is hope and love for the homeland.” In her dream of the future, she describes an old man, right of return fulfilled, wiping away his tears so many years later. Her vision also has space for non-Palestinians. “I have no problem with Jews. If they visit me, I will host them in my house, and they can live in my country.” But, she adds, she will not tolerate the presence of the Zionists who displaced her family.</p> <p>Alza’anen hopes the losses sustained during the March will not be in vain. The killings “motivate us to keep walking in the same direction, that our determination and intention will not collapse.”</p> <p>Hamad is convinced that the liberation of Palestinian women is dependent on the national liberation that the Great Return March embodied. “Women,” she says, “will always be in the front lines of our national struggle.”</p><p><strong>This article was originall published on <a href="http://www.tomdispatch.com/blog/176435/">Tom's Dispatch</a> </strong></p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/in-memory-of-razan-al-najjar-steve-bells-cartoon">In memory of Razan al Najjar: Steve Bell&#039;s cartoon</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/piergiuseppe-parisi/creeping-annexation-of-identity-culture-history-and-memor">A ‘creeping annexation’ of identity, culture, history and memory</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/gabrielle-rifkind/gaza-regeneration-we-all-need-dreams-for-future">Gaza regeneration: we all need dreams for the future</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/anastasia-kyriacou/mental-health-in-conflict-occupation-therapy-needed-for-pa">Mental health in conflict: ‘occupation therapy’ needed for Palestinians</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/daniel-avelar-bianca-ferrari/israel-and-palestine-story-of-modern-colonialism">Israel and Palestine: a story of modern colonialism</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Palestine </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Civil society </div> <div class="field-item even"> Conflict </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> North-Africa West-Asia North-Africa West-Asia Palestine Civil society Conflict Women Gaza activism Fadi Abu Shammalah Jen Marlowe Fri, 15 Jun 2018 06:00:00 +0000 Jen Marlowe and Fadi Abu Shammalah 118375 at https://www.opendemocracy.net