النسخة الأميركيّة من بو عزيزي ونهاية التاريخ

سعاده مصطفى أرشيد

ينظر كثيرٌ من البشر عبر العالم، بمن فيهم نحن، للنظام الأميركي على انه النظام الأمثل والأكثر كفاءة ومقدرة على الإنتاج والإبداع وعلى رعاية المواطن صحياً واجتماعياً واقتصادياً، وهذه الرعاية لا تشمل المواطن الأميركي داخل بلادة فحسب، وإنما تمتدّ لترعاه أينما كان في العالم الفسيح، النموذج الأميركي لطالما بدا لامعاً وجاذباً، فهو مجتمع الفرص الفرص للأذكياء وأصحاب الحظ السعيد، مجتمع الحرية والمساواة والمواطنة. لقد كان لهذه الرؤية منظروها من أكاديميين وفلاسفة ورجال أعمال وسياسة ونجوم سينما، ولعلّ مَن يستحق أن يذكر من بين هؤلاء اليوم هو الفيلسوف الأميركي ذو الأصل الياباني فرنسيس فوكوياما الذي قدّم واحدة من أشهر وأقوى التعبيرات عن هذه الرؤيا من خلال نظريته التي شغلت أوساط الساسة والمثقفين في نهاية الألفية الراحلة والتي أسماها نهاية التاريخ.

رأى فوكوياما أنّ أنظمة الحكم عبر التاريخ الواضح والجلي قد أثبتت فشلها وتهافتها، من الأنظمة البدائية الرعوية المغرقة بالقدم وشيوخ الجماعات القبليّة مروراً بالملكيات الوراثية المطلقة المستبدّة أو الدستورية، إلى الأنظمة التي اعتمدت المشروعيّة الدينية الإلهية، وكذلك الأنظمة القوميّة والاشتراكيّة والشيوعيّة على أنواعها، فيما يرى أن النظام الراسخ والعصي على الزلل والفشل، إنْ هو إلا نظام الديمقراطية الليبرالية وفق النموذج الأميركي، فالديمقراطية الليبرالية تمثل لديه العقيدة (الايدولوجيا) الوحيدة الصالحة والعادلة والتي لا يمكن تجاوزها باعتبارها قد حققت حاجات الإنسان الفرد والمجتمع على حد سواء، لقد اعتبرها النظام الأكمل والذي لم ولن يأتي المستقبل بما هو خير منه، هذه القطعيّة المطلقة والتي تتسم بالمبالغة الشديدة لا تنسجم مع جميع نظريات التاريخ التي ترى أن للتاريخ حركة دائبة ودائمة لا تتوقف.

أعادني حادث مصرع جورج فلويد لأعود بذاكرتي إلى فوكوياما ونظريّته، ومع أن عمليات القتل والتنكيل بالسود وأبناء الأقليّات العرقيّة أمر يكاد أن يكون يومياً ودائم الحدوث، إلا أن عناصر ومستجدات غير محسوبة قد دخلت على خطوط مصرع جورج فلويد وأدّت إلى التداعيات المتدحرجة كما حصل في حادثة انتحار المواطن التونسي بوعزيزي والتي كانت عود الثقاب الذي أشعل الشارع التونسيّ المحتقن بسبب سياسات وفساد الرئيس الأسبق زين العابدين بن علي، هذه الأحداث ما لبثت أن انتشرت بسرعة إذ كان قد أعدّ لها على مدى سنوات بصمت، لتطبيق نظرية الفوضى الخلاقة التي أطلق عليها تعسفاً اسم الربيع العربي، وكما قال المثل الدارج إن (طابخ السم لا بدّ له من تناوله)، كان لا بدّ للغرب أن يضرس بحوامضه ومراراته، في أوروبا كانت البداية على شكل موجات من اللاجئين والهاربين من جحيم تلك الفوضى، وفي الولايات المتحدة التي ظنت أن المحيط الأطلسي سوف يقيها شرّ زوارق المهاجرين، جاء حادث مصرع جورج فلويد ليمثل عود ثقابها الذي أشعل موجة الاحتجاجات العابرة لكامل الولايات، وهو الأمر الذي لم يكن بحسبان مراكز دراساتها واستطلاعاتها ومجسّاتها الاستخباريّة أن تتوقعه وبهذا الحجم، وبهذا المقدار من العنف الذي يتهدّد النظام (النموذج) الأميركي برمّته لا الحزب الجمهوري والرئيس دونالد ترامب فقط، هكذا أصبح النظام النموذج والأكثر تفوقاً ومنعة على مستوى العالم عسكرياً واقتصادياً عاجزاً عن التعامل مع فوضى داخلية ستقوده حكماً إلى أن لا يبقى على حاله، وقد يكون من المبكر الحديث بالأماني عن أفول هذه الشمس الأميركيّة المحرقة التي لطالما اكتوينا بنارها ومعنا العالم أجمع، فإن ذلك يبقى أمنية عزيزة على قلوب شعوب وأمم كثيرة.

مصرع جورج فلويد وما تلاه من أحداث له جذوره التاريخية التي تعود إلى الأيام الأولى لاكتشاف العالم الجديد والطريقة التي تعامل بها المستكشف الأوروبي الأبيض مع أهل البلاد الأصليين، ولاحقاً مع مَن تمّ استجلابهم مصفّدين بسلاسل الحديد من أفريقيا للعمل في مزارع القطن التي تزود مصانع مانشستر الإنجليزية بالقطن الخام، فمع كل مظاهر الديمقراطية ونظريات المساواة والمواطنة وأدبيات الحرب الأهلية وتحرير الرقيق، فإن التفرقة العنصرية تجاه ما هو غير أبيض بقيت قائمة ومتجذّرة في أعماق النفس الأميركية البيضاء، وهي إذ تنعكس داخلياً باتجاه معاداة السود والأقليات، فإنها تنعكس خارجياً تجاه العالم بأسره (ربما مع بعض الاستثناءات تجاه أوروبا الغربية)، كما أن عمليات القتل والتنكيل بأبناء العرق الأسود من قبل الشرطة تحدث بشكل دائم، ولكنها تحدث أيضاً على يد العنصريين وعصابات متطرفة مثل كولوكس كلان والتي وإن تراجعت حيناً فإنها كامنة لتنقض حيناً آخر.

اعتقدت المؤسسة الأميركية في العقد الماضي أنها تستطيع تجاوز الاحتقان الشعبي أو تأجيله أو على الأقل التخفيف من حدته بوجود رئيس أسود في البيت الأبيض، ولعل رئاسة اوباما استطاعت بالفعل تأجيل ذلك الانفجار، ولكنها لم تكن قادرة على أن تحول دونه خاصة وقد ترافق ذلك مع كساد اقتصادي وتراجع في أسعار النفط، وانعدام الرؤية الجمعية الأميركية التي تستطيع معالجة مشاكل البطالة وتسريح العمال والموظفين وتراجع خدمات الرعاية الصحية والمجتمعية وافتقاد القدرة على تلبية حاجات الطبقات الفقيرة والمهمّشة، ثم جاءت جائحة كورونا لتزيد من الأزمة الاقتصاديّة تدهوراً، وانتشر الوباء وتصاعدت أرقام المصابين والموتى، فيما الرئيس الأميركي ينحو باللائمة على الصين، ولم تستطع المؤسسات والمراكز الطبية والصيدلانية أن تجد دواء أو لقاحاً للوباء، مع ذلك يرفع الرئيس ترامب من سقف أزمته بقرع طبول الحرب على الصين وإيران وفنزويلا وسيف العقوبات القصوى (قانون قيصر) على دمشق وما إلى ذلك من هوس سياسي على غير هذه الدول بمقبلات الأيام.

على أحد ما أن يخبر فرنسيس فوكوياما أنّ مصرع جورج فلويد، المواطن الأميركي الفقير والمهمش والمجهول، قد أثبت تهافت نظريته، فالتاريخ لم ينتهِ بعد، ولن ينتهي، وأن النظام الأمثل والأكمل الذي حدث عنه قد أخذ يتهاوى على وقع دماء الضحية، وسوف تحدث انعكاسات خطيرة وربما سريعة على الدول التي تستظل بتلك الحماية، ومنها دول عربية لذلك علينا نحن أن نتذكر أن في عالمنا العربي أنظمة من هذا النوع يحكمها ملوك وأمراء ورؤساء هم خارج التاريخ وخارج الجغرافيا، فضائياتهم التي تنقل الأخبار وهي في الحقيقة ليست إلا ترجمة أخبار من فوكس نيوز( FOX NEO ) إذ تصور للمشاهدين أن ما يجري في أميركا وكأنها معركة أولئك الحكام لا معركة النظام الأميركي، وهم لا يدركون متى يأتي الدور عليهم ويطيح بعروشهم وتيجانهم على أيدي شعوبهم المقهورة.

*سياسي فلسطيني مقيم في فلسطين المحتلة.

Sorry Mr. Pence, the Venezuelan Military Aren’t Rubes

Sorry Mr. Pence, the Venezuelan Military Aren’t Rubes

EDITOR’S CHOICE | 04.03.2019

Sorry Mr. Pence, the Venezuelan Military Aren’t Rubes

Jim CAREY

Here’s a message to Vice-President Piss, his freak family, Elliott Abrams and the rest of Washington: the Venezuelan military isn’t f*cking stupid.

Last weekend we saw an attempted coup in Venezuela by the US along with local lunatic/self-proclaimed “President” Juan Guaidó. This time, rather than just burning people alive in Caracas, the opposition started their stunt at the Colombian border.

The intent of this stunt was to highlight how the actual Venezuelan President, Nicolas Maduro refuses to let in “aid” from the United States. This is the same type of “aid” from the earlier stunt by the Trump regime that even the Red Cross and UN have called bullshit.

The plan this weekend was to give Maduro and ultimatum: either let in the aid, or the US will do something; although it’s still not clear what with even the bloated tumor Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil has said he’s not interested in any military operations launched from his country.

We all know that this coup attempt by the US and Guaidó failed because we all saw the anti-Maduro thugs on the Colombia-Venezuela border throw a tantrum when they realized their error. Once these CIA stooges realized the trucks of aid weren’t crossing the border they just decided to burn them and blame it on Maduro (which has also failed).

But why did it fail?

In the weeks leading up to the latest coup, multiple US officials spoke publicly (and privately) to members of the Venezuelan military urging them to turn on the Bolivarian Revolution. For the sake of simplifying this argument, let’s focus in particular on the promises made by the Vice President of the US, Mike Pence.

In his pre-coup address to the Venezuelan people, Pence practically begged the military to help the US overthrow – yet another – elected Latin American government. Pence and others such as Mike Pompeo even went so far as to promise any soldiers who defected a chance to ‘live in peace’ after Washington destroys their country if they would just let all the arms disguised as aid enter.

So why didn’t the soldiers do it?

Because, as I’ve already said, they’re not f*cking stupid. The Bolivarian Revolution was built from the ground up when the people of Venezuela (and Latin America as a whole), tired of the neoliberalism enforced by Washington since the 1970s and 80s rose up. In Venezuela, this came exactly 30 years ago with the riots know and the Caracazo.

Prior to the Caracazo, as many libertarian dumbasses will tell you, Venezuela was, in fact, one of the richest countries on the continent but what the free marketeers leave out is that they had massive amounts of poverty and an immoral wealth gap between the richest and poorest citizens. This poverty, the result of neoliberal privatization schemes, set off a chain of events that later helped spawn Venezuela’s communes and a young military leader who attempted to overthrow the crooked puppet state, Hugo Chavez.

The problem for Pence, Pompeo, Trump, Bolton, Abrams and the lot is that this military leader brought the military up with him as a liberatory force. On top of this, not only did Chávez secure the military’s loyalty because he was a military man himself, but also because, they too, had had enough domination from Wall Street.

This military, which is the same one helping Maduro protect Venezuela remembers this but they also remember other parts of history.

Another big reason the military likely won’t turn is that they know people like Pence are lying when they say anyone who supports Maduro, socialism, or even some forms of liberal democracy will never be allowed to live in peace if the US has their way.

Again, the reason they know this to be true is that they know revolutionary history. The Bolivarian military remembers what happened to other socialist movements around Latin America, the Middle East, Africa, and Asia once a US-backed anti-communist was in power. A lot of this history they know is still applicable since much of it was also perpetrated by people like Bolton and Abrams in their previous positions.

The Venezuelan military remembers things like Salvador Allende being fairly elected and then overthrown, or the Contras mass murdering civilians. They know that this type of behavior doesn’t end when the US wins. They know Pinochet threw labor leaders, socialists, and anyone who opposed his trash neoliberalism from helicopters after taking power. They know the Contras and other death squads were bayoneting toddlers to prove a point to scared farmers, often while not even actually engaging whatever force they were ostensibly fighting even a single time.

The Bolivarian Revolution and the “Pink Tide” that swept Latin America in the early 2000s were a response to all of this. The Venezuelan military knows there is no peace as long as there is ANY resistance to US financial tyranny. The US, all their intelligence agencies and their various stooges around the continent may have won some fights in countries like Brazil but this won’t be as easy on Venezuela. The Venezuelan military is part of the Bolivarian revolution, they will not be separated, and like the many of the average Venezuelans opposing US intervention, they know what comes next if Washington gets their way.

geopoliticsalert.com

Nasser Kandil: Sisi, Essebisi and Borotherhood

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ASSAD’S WALL: ARAB SPRING FORWARD; ARAB SPRING BACKWARD

mohamed-bouazizi-tunisie.jpg

 

ASSAD’S WALL

 

ARAB SPRING FORWARD ARAB SPRING BACKWARD
Nobody can deny the heart-rending story of Muhammad Bu’azeezi, the Tunisian young man, who, despite his secondary school education, was not able to find a job in his society and was relegated to peddling vegetables to support himself and his family.

 

Even his effort to hawk sundries met with failure when a Tunisian policewoman scuppered his enterprise with legalistic impediments that evolved into crass insult, a spit in the face and a last curse upon the memory of his father.

 

Efforts to immediately obtain redress were rebuffed by an insensate bureaucracy.  He burned himself to death in a public act that enraged the people of this North African country and brought about the much-ballyhooed Arab Spring.

 

I grew up in the United States during the middle Fifties onwards.  My father and mother sent me back to the Old Country every summer to spend time with relatives and to maintain my facility with the Arabic language.

 

During this time, the memory of Palestine was more than fresh – it was a scalding vision of British tyranny and an indictment of the Arab governments which fumbled their way into abject defeat at the hands of Jewish refugees from Nazi Europe who were backed by one of the world’s most sophisticated networks of disinformation known up to that time.

 

The propaganda machine that was to kite the libelous slogan, “Give the land without a people to the people without a land”, was a minor intimation of what was to come when the Western powers and the pre-Iron Age troglodytes of Arabia combined to destroy the Syrian Arab Republic. My father was an ardent nationalist and adored Jamaal ‘Abdul-Naasser, the Egyptian leader who accidentally donned the cloak of Pan-Arabism and found it to his liking.

 

gamal-abdel-nasser

 

All of us repeated the same mantra: “If the Arabs could only rid themselves of their tyrannical leaders and unify their ranks, the Zionist Entity would cease to exist”.  Nasser was the man who was going to galvanize Arab societies and break the back of imperialist schemes to keep the Arabs as backward as they obviously were.  The Egyptian leader was tall and handsome with the demeanor of the simple man speaking in an unadorned style.

 

But, Nasser failed miserably. The tyrannical leaders, on the other hand, succeeded in not only delivering a heart attack to him, but also in keeping the Arabs locked somewhere between the Stone Age and the Ice Age.

 

Enter the Arab Spring

 

No one could have predicted Bu’azzeezi’s act of self-immolation.  But, there were parties who had planned for the eventuality of an Arab popular outburst that would rock the foundations of their corrupt governments.

 

There were plans hatched since at least 2007 by the CIA, MI6, Mossad and the Saudi/Qatari Perso-phobes to expel the Ba’ath Party from Syria in as ignominious a manner as that self-same process in Saddam’s Iraq.

 

It had to wait, however, for the right moment when the gaskets, corks and stoppers were compromised by the pressure of demoniacal forces bursting out like a giant volcanic eruption, spewing fire that would sweep away every vestige of Arab nationalism, leaving the way open for a Dark Age, an Arab Winter of obsequious altar boys prone to every fetish nestled in the folds of the deviant Wahhabist brain.

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Zaynul-‘Aabideen Bin ‘Ali, Tunisia’s former president-for-life,  a favorite of the French colonial regime in Paris, was ousted through self-exile.  He, like Idi Amin, was welcomed in Saudi Arabia, which at the time had established itself as the Club Med for despised autocratic presidents, traitors and avowed cannibals.

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His departure was met with jubilation in the streets of Tunisia.  Muhammad Bu-‘Azeezi’s slow, agonizing death had begun to deliver on its promise – it was like a Celtic rite of Spring or a fertility sacrifice – the burning wicker man to end the drought and bring forth the abundance of the earth.  As of today, the Tunisians are fortunate they have not started to feed off one another.

 

Mua’mmar Qadhdhaafi

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The Libyan supremo, Pontifex Maximus and Messiah, did not have the opportunity to retire in Saudi Arabia where he would have been beheaded anyways.  He was the second casualty of the misnamed Arab Spring.

 

His death at the hands of a sociopathic ape-adolescent wielding the leader’s personal pistol followed by a post-mortem act of sodomy were repugnant acts no doubt celebrated in Washington D.C. by the Neo-Con flophouse proprietors in an animistic act of self-celebration worthy of their Nazi progenitors.

 

Libya, stands today for the proposition that the British and French, when bound together by a common purpose, can only engender chaos, at best, and the Void, at worst.  Libya is a monumental catastrophe nobody can treat.  It is a suppurating chancre promising blindness and an horrible death.

 

Husni Mubaarak

 images (3)

 

The long-serving Pharoah of Egypt, was probably flummoxed by the protests to end his reign during which he and his sons amassed a significant fortune.

 

Like the Tunisian and Libyan leaders, he too had sons ready to step in and continue the dynastic rule over his largely proletarian peoples who subsisted on fava beans, affordable hashish and the immortal, but false, Egyptian motto: “Egypt is the Mother of the Universe”.

 

Now too old to matter, and on the brink of a peaceful departure into the realms ruled by Osiris, he is preparing for the ultimate kiss-off to his beloved people: a pardon from President Al-Sisi and a probable hospice in Saudi Arabia where he can shrivel up, like a mummy, in the dry air of the pitilessly desiccating sands of Arabia. In truth, and I don’t say this in order to minimize Bu ‘Azeezi’s suffering or the reasons for his private auto da fe, his death has come to mean nothing more than failure – more failure for the Arab people.

Instead of being the start of a movement to bring Arabs together, it has highlighted the reasons why they cannot.  It has furthermore emblazoned the role of former imperialist powers and the servitude the Arabs were programmed to relive while under their tutelage.

 

That is, until the imperialist powers came up against the Ba’ath Party of Syria and President Assad!

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 It was the chance of a lifetime….a lifetime spread over geological eons of time.  Finally, with Ben-Ali, Qaddafi and Mubarak gone, Assad would fall also, and so, with that, all the planning in Tehran for the Shi’i Arc across the Fertile Crescent, which,  like a Sword of Damocles, pendulously swung over the offered necks of the European Jews in order to finally end the charade and put to death the mythology of a God who metes out real estate lots like the president of Century 21.

 

All the ducks were in a row:  the trained agents provacateurs, a crackpot American ambassador willing to travel around Syrian cities to motivate traitors and anti-minoritarian activists, the propaganda factories to illustrate how juvenile delinquents in Der’ah could become heroes of the revolution, Saudi and Qatari money spent on arms to challenge the power of the Ba’ath Party and its huge ideological army.

 

It was all there.  How could it fail?  It’s NATO, right? The Arab Spring was exposed as a canard after Tunisia, Egypt and Libya fell into a doldrum of Islamist mismanagement followed by a riotous plunge into the unknown.  While some Syrians took the bait, most wanted to wait and see.  Syrians, more than any other people, know a lot about their own country and how it’s administered.

 

Syrians know it isn’t easy to dislodge the Ba’ath, especially when there are over 100,00 members!  All throughout the tissue of the Syrian state is the presence of an arrogant and proud Arab nationalism that sniffs out imperialist plots and works to unravel them.

 

The symbols of fire and ice, used so much in this article, are forces of nature that have come up against the Wall of Assad.  Like the Great Wall of China or Hadrian’s, it will stand the test of time.

 

NATO and its simian allies in Arabia will beat their collective heads against this wall, which, unlike Herod’s in occupied Jerusalem, is a real wall, in a real place and with a real purpose; where the promise of Arab unity still lives and whose glowering, terrifying eyes beam down on the hapless invaders raining annihilation, Greek Fire and Hell’s Ice, upon them.

– Ziad Amin Abu Fadel, Esq

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عبد الفتاح مورو لموقع المنار: لا نستبعد وقوع السيناريو المصري في تونس 1/2

عبد الفتاح موروالشيخ عبدالفتاح مورو نائب رئيس حركة النهضة الاسلامية التي تقود الائتلاف الحاكم في تونس الى جانب حزبي المؤتمر من أجل الجمهورية والتكتل، وهو من أشهر الدعاة الاسلاميين في تونس ومؤسسي حركة الاتجاه الاسلامي ،حركة النهضة في ما بعد، علَّق عضويته في الحركة بعد ملاحقته من قبل نظام الرئيس المخلوع زين العابدين بن علي أوائل التسعينات ، وعاد إليها في تموز/ يوليو الماضي. تعرض الشيخ مورو الى اعتداءات لفظية وجسدية من قبل “متشددين” على خلفية مواقفه الرافضة للتكفير والتعصب والتي تنتقد أداء حركة النهضة ورئيسها راشد الغنوشي في أكثر من مناسبة.
اليوم يتحدث عبدالفتاح مورو في حوار حصري مع موقع قناة المنار عن خلافاته داخل الحركة، يعرج على أهم قضايا المنطقة.. يتناول ما جرى في مصر، يفنده ولا يستبعد تكرر السيناريو المصري في تونس.. ويتحدث عن أسباب تلويحه بالاستقالة من حركة النهضة، ويدافع عنها في بعض ما وجه إليها من انتقادات، يفسّر ما عناه رئيس النهضة راشد الغنوشي في وصف التكفيرين بأنهم “خوارج العصر” واصفاً اياهم بالفقاقيع.. منتقداً تراخي أهل العلم في مواجهة هؤلاء.
كلام الشيخ مورو ينشره موقع المنار في الجزء الأول من المقابلة التي أُجريت معه.
أستاذ عبدالفتاح مورو ما تعليقكم على ما وقع في مصر؟
ما حصل في مصر هو نتاج لعدم تواجد أرضية وفاق بين القوى السياسية في مصر، وفي الحقيقة مصر وتونس دخلا على  تخلف اقتصادي وتدهور اجتماعي  ومشاكل سياسية، وأعتقد أن انعدام تجربة السياسيين في تونس ومصر ما بعد الثورة جعلتهم يَعِدُون بالكثير، ولم يَتفطنوا بأن الانجاز لن يكون على مستوى الوعد..
إن السياسيين في مصر مثلا لم يصدقوا مع الشعب، وأخفوا عنه المخاطر التي تنتظره، وهم بالتالي جعلوا الناس في مصر يحتشدون وينقسم المجتمع المصري الى قسمين اثنين، واخشى ما أخشاه ان تنتقل العدوى الى بلاد الربيع العربي ومن بينهم تونس. تونس اليوم تتهيأ لأن يكون فيها اشكال من هذه الاشكالات، سببه التدافع بين السلطة والمعارضة في الاشهر الأخيرة. وكنا نتوقع أن يقع تنازل من الطرفين، لكن يبدو أن هذا الوفاق لن يحصل، لذلك أخشى من انتقال العدوى الى بلدنا، وتعطل بالتالي انجازات الثورة.
ألم تقوموا باتصالات ومشاورات مع حزب الحرية والعدالة قبل اعلان المؤسسة العسكرية بيان خارطة الطريق؟
لم نتعدَ مرحلة معرفة الواقع واستطلاعه ، ولم نتشاور معهم لنهيئ استراتيجية مشتركة او طريقة.  الاحداث تسارعت، والأمر جعلنا لا نقدر على التشاور مع جماعة الاخوان المسلمين في مصر. ربما توجه بعضنا الى مصر لمعرفة الوضع هناك،  لكن لم يتعدَ ذلك حدود الاستطلاع.
لوحتم شيخ مورو في أكثر من مناسبة بالاستقالة من حركة النهضة نظرا لاختلافكم في قضايا عديدة مع رئيس الحركة راشد الغنوشي. فهل مازلت مصراً على الاستقالة؟
أنا أمثل نفسي اليوم في الحركة بالرجل الذي يسكن بيتاً أبوابه موصدة بالكامل، وسينقطع عنه الاوكسجين، طبعاً سيبحث عن النوافذ لكي يخرج، ولكن إذا كانت النوافذ هي أيضاً موصدة بشكل يمتنع عليه فتحها، فإنه سيخرج منها ليتنفس هواءً نقياً، لكن هذا لا يعني أني وصلت الى القناعة بالخروج نهائيا من الحركة.
يكثر الحديث أن من بين أسباب الخلاف هو تعرضك للتعنيف من قبل بعض الجماعات المتشددة وتكفيرك دون أن يصدر دعم كبير من قيادات حركة النهضة لشخصك؟
نعم، هذا من بين أهم الأسباب.
ما تعليقكم على الجماعات المتحصنة في جبل الشعانبي بالوسط التونسي، قلتم أنهم من أصحاب الفكر التكفيري المنغلق، وها قد بدؤوا في اعلان ولائهم لأجندات غير وطنية ومواجهتهم لقوات الجيش والأمن التونسيين؟
نعم وأنا أؤكد ذلك، هم يدعون أنهم من الجماعات السلفية، وأنا أنفي عنهم هذه الصفة. يبدو أن بعض شبابنا اتحفوننا بتبني قضايا الماضي التي اختلف حولها الكلاميون في القرن الثاني والثالث هجري.. يستقدمونها من التاريخ، ويريدون طرحها مجدداً على النقاش بيننا، وكأنهم لا يعلمون ان المسلمين قد اصطفوا منذ ذلك الوقت، وكل أخذ موقفه، وأن هذه القضايا لا يمكن استعاداتها واعادة الخلاف حولها.
هذه قضايا فكرية كلامية وقع البت فيها، وكل أخذ موقفه، وعلى الذي يريد أن يتبع منهجا من المناهج فله ذلك دون أن يطرح القضية من جديد ويعيد تصنيف المسلمين الى مسلمين وكفار والى مسلمين ومبتدعين وسنة وشيعة، وكأن الاسلام نزل اليوم، وكأن النصوص مازالت اليوم، هذا في الحقيقة اذكاء للخلاف بين المسلمين بقضايا تاريخية تهم اناسا ولوا وانقضوا، وليس من العقل والرجحان الرأي ان نعيد طرحها اليوم..
خرج زعيم حزب النهضة التونسي ليصف “السلفيين الجهاديين” بـ “خوارج العصر”.. ماذا كان يعني الأستاذ راشد الغنوشي بهذا التوصيف؟
كان يعني أن الامة أصيبت بأنفار متشددين كانوا خوارج، خرجوا عن طاعة الامير ثم خرجوا عن الصف، واتهموا غيرهم بالكفر، وليس لديهم دليل على ذلك او مبرر لما يفعلونه.
هؤلاء يعلمون أن الحركة النهضة لو لم تقف للدفاع عن المشروع الاسلامي لما وجدوا الحرية التي يتنعمون بها الآن وهم مطلقو الأيادي. يقولون ما يشاؤون دون قيود، والقانون الذي يحاسب التَهَكُم على الاخرين لا يحاسبهم مع ذلك يسبون حركة النهضة، هؤلاء سيدركون لو اُغلق باب التجربة الانتقالية أي منقلب سينقلبون.
اليوم يستسهل التكفيريون رمي كل من يختلف معهم بالكفر ليُهدر دمه.. وتغص مواقع الانترنت بمشاهد قطع رؤوس بشر بنداء “الله أكبر”، ولطالما حذرتم شخصياً من الانجرار خلف هذه الظاهرة. لماذا لا نسمع استنكارات ، ولا نتلمس مواقف جدية من قبل علماء الدين؟
انا عجبت لشدة الفاسق وجَلَدِه، وضعف المؤمن ووهنه. أصحاب العلم منطوون على أنفسهم ولا يجهرون بالحقيقة، وأهل الافكار الزائفة هم الذين تجد عندهم الجلد والاصرار على خدمة قضيتهم. اليوم نحتاج الى علم صحيح يبث في صدور الرجال الى افهام الناس حقيقة الدين، ورد ذلك الى أصوله من الكتاب والسنة، وتقديمه بالنموذج الذي تقدم به الأولون منذ فجر الاسلام. وهؤلاء الشباب هم مجرد فقاقيع، وسيحصدون ما يفعلون خيبات، لانهم يقتلون الناس ويستبيحون دماء الابرياء، وسيدركون أن سبيلهم هو سبيل خطأ، وأنها لا توصل الى أي منفذ.
* مراسل قناة المنار في تونس.

The Splintered History of the Tunisian Left

A protester gestures to police during a demonstration near the Interior Ministry in Tunis on 8 February 2013. Tens of thousands of mourners chanted anti-Islamist slogans on Friday at the Tunis funeral of secular opposition leader Chokri Belaid. (Photo: Zoubeir Souissi – Reuters)
 
Published Saturday, February 9, 2013
 
The assassination of Chokri Belaid, a leader of Tunisia’s leftist Movement of Patriotic Democrats (MPD), raises many questions about not just Belaid’s party, but the Tunisian left as a whole.
 

The roots of the Tunisian leftist movement in all its variations go back to the Tunisian Communist Party, founded by the French in 1920.

With independence, the faction was gradually transformed into a Tunisian party, but despite its old roots, “the party did not spread in society for two central reasons,” according to Abdul-Jalil Bouqara, a historian specializing in the Tunisian left.

“The first was its position on independence following World War II. It rejected calls for independence, adopting the idea of coalition and unity between Tunisia and France under the leadership of the French Communist Party,” Bouqara explained. “This stance led Tunisians to abandon the party.”

“The second reason was its agreement on the partition of Palestine following the creation of the state of Israel,” he continued.

Despite attempts in the 1950s to “Tunisify” the party and adopt independence, it remained isolated until the beginning of the 1960s. Back then, a group of Tunisian students decided to establish a new leftist movement in France named “Afaq,” or “Prospects,” which adopted socialism and democracy.
In 1967, the new movement began aligning with the Maoist tradition, which was gaining ground worldwide. This new direction caused a split inside Afaq, prompting the creation of a splinter group called the “Patriotic Democrats,” which is where Belaid got his start.

Its activities were launched with the 1969 publication of al-Shola, or The Flame. One of its key figures in France and founder was Khaled al-Faleh.

Afaq’s leadership branded the group Stalinist, but this was a label that the Patriotic Democrats did not try to hide. Despite its leanings, the group called for abandoning socialism to concentrate on what it called back then, resistance against imperialist hegemony over Tunisia and the need for agrarian reform, due to MPD’s belief that a feudal class still owned most of the land.
The current became popular with students and began spreading in the Tunisian university scene. It was known for its radical positions and suffered from various splits. It ended up as a number of small groups whose influence was limited to some colleges and trade unions, especially teacher’s associations.

Attempts at Unification

When former Tunisian president Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali fled the country on 14 January 2011, several leftist parties began to practice their work in the open after years spent underground.

The most important of these groups was the Workers Party, which inherited the Afaq movement; its splinter, the Socialist Party; Belaid’s MPD who had led the Patriotic Democratic Current in universities; the Party for Patriotic Democratic Action; the New Left Party; the Progressive Struggle Party; the Radical Left Current (Trotskyist); and the Patriotic Democratic Party.

Despite this multitude of leftist groups, the left could only reap 5 of the 217 seats in the post-Ben Ali parliamentary elections.

The meager results in the elections prompted Belaid to commit to the unification of the Tunisian left, especially the patriotic-democratic family. Thus came Belaid’s initiative to unite the patriotic democrats in the Unified Democratic Nationalist Party.

The failure of this initiative convinced Belaid of the need to expand it to include all leftists, including the heirs of Afaq, namely the Workers Party, which was formerly accused by the Patriotic Democrats of being reformist.

This led to the Popular Front, which even included the Baath party’s two factions, the Syrian Baath and the Iraqi Baath.

Today, after the assassination of Belaid, the Tunisian left lost a leader who had resolutely strived to unite it, but the bullets put an end to his dreams.

This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.

 Al-Nahda calls for rally after Tunisian opposition figure’s funeral
 

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Fatwa in Egypt Permits Killing Morsi Opponents

 

Saad al-Katatni, head of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice party, talks during a news conference next to former Egyptian foreign minister Amr Moussa (L) and Egyptian liberal politician Mohamed ElBaradei (R) after a meeting in Cairo, Jan. 31, 2013. (photo by REUTERS/Asmaa Waguih)

By: Mohammad Hisham Abeih Translated from As-Safir (Lebanon).

 
اقرا المقال الأصلي باللغة العربية
The assassination of prominent Tunisian opposition leader Chokri Belaid sent ripples across Egypt. That owes partly to the similar political circumstances in both countries, where Islamists are the ruling majority, but also because the assassination coincided with the issuance of a fatwa by an Al-Azhar cleric sanctioning the killing of National Salvation Front members who oppose the Muslim Brotherhood regime. Prominent among these are Constitution Party leader Mohamed ElBaradei, Popular Current Party head Hamdeen Sabahi and National Congress Party head Amr Moussa.

The cleric who issued the fatwa was Mahmoud Shaaban, who received a doctorate degree from the Faculty of Arabic and Islamic Studies. One of the most famous and controversial television preachers, he appears on the Salafist Al-Hafez satellite channel, which has become very popular over the past year. Shaaban uses frequent obscenities when he speaks about opponents of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi.

Shaaban said in his fatwa that “what many do not know is that the National Salvation Front and its leadership, which is obviously only seeking power, must be killed according to the law of God.” He cited a hadith which says, “If a man takes an oath of allegiance to a leader, and puts his hand on his hand and does it with the sincerity of his heart, he should obey him as much as possible. If another man comes and contests him, then behead the other one.” He asked the opinion of senior scholars in Al-Azhar about Morsi’s opponents. This appeared to incite killing opponents of the regime.

All parties dissociated themselves from Shaaban’s fatwa. The presidency issued a statement saying that “the promotion and instigation of political violence by some is foreign to Egypt, as is sanctioning killing because of political differences by others who claim to speak in the name of religion. This is terrorism.” The statement added that the presidency “stresses its absolute rejection of hate speech falsely cloaked by religion.”

Egyptian Prime Minister Hesham Kandil said that he is examining ways to bring legal action against anyone who issues or promotes calls for fatwas that incite violence. He condemned “extremist” fatwas.

Members of the Islamic Studies Academy met yesterday [Feb. 7] with Al-Azhar Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb, who issued a statement rejecting the fatwa. He stressed his rejection of what he described as the false and incorrect understanding and use of religious texts. The academy warned that such views open the doors to sedition, chaos, killing and bloodshed. He stated that both killers and those who incite them are accomplices in sin and punishment, in this world and the afterworld. The Islamic Studies Academy urged Egyptians not to listen to such aberrant views, which are rejected by reason.
The al-Nour Party also denounced the fatwa. The party’s spokesperson, Nader Bakkar, demanded that Al-Azhar take a decisive stand against the issuer of the fatwa.

The interior ministry deemed the fatwa a public threat. Its spokesman said yesterday that Interior Minister Mohammed Ibrahim had ordered security chiefs to intensify patrols and provide 24-hour surveillance around the houses of opposition political figures ElBaradei and Sabahi.

ElBaradei tweeted, “When clerics issue a fatwa sanctioning killing in the name of religion and are not arrested, then bid farewell to the regime and its state.” He added, “How many crimes are being committed in the name of Islam?”

Sabahi chose to respond to the fatwa by participating in demonstrations scheduled to start today against the Brotherhood’s rule, dubbed by the organizers as the “Friday of Dignity.”

For her part, Samar Foda — the daughter of prominent thinker Faraj Foda, who was assassinated in 1992 by Islamic groups at the height of takfiri activity — warned ElBaradei and Sabahi of assassination after the fatwa was issued. She wrote on Facebook: “ElBaradei and Hamdeen: They killed my father after sanctioning his blood through a fatwa. Do not underestimate what is happening and what they are saying. They are sick. They believe that they are protecting Islam.”

Ironically, Abboud al-Zumar — the leader in the Gamaa Islamiya and a former army officer implicated in the murder of former Egyptian President Anwar Sadat — rejected the fatwa, saying that “it is not acceptable to deal with political opponents with arms. This is unacceptable. Whoever resorts to assassination is using weak pretense.”

Shaaban, the issuer of the “deadly fatwa,” did not deny his statements. However, he added that he did not declare the National Salvation Front as infidels, but only called on the judiciary and ruler to apply the Prophet’s hadith. He expressed his willingness to appear before the public prosecutor for investigation. The public prosecutor quickly issued a decision referring a notice submitted by a lawyer to the Supreme State Security Prosecution that accused Shaaban of inciting the killing of opposition figures, which is a routine procedure usually taken by the Attorney General for all notices.
It is the second time a cleric from the Al-Hafez satellite channel has been referred to court. Abdullah Badr was sentenced to one year in prison and a 20,000 pound [$3,000] fine on charges of slandering the artist Elham Shahin. In the same case, a court ordered the suspension of the channel for 30 days. However, the TV owners appealed the decision and were able to continue broadcasting.

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Tunisian opposition leader murdered, sparks nationwide protests

A picture taken on 29 December 2010 shows Tunisian lawyer and human rights activist Choukri Belaid speaking as he attends a meeting along with other lawyers in Tunis to express their solidarity with the residents of Sidi Bouzid. Belaid, a senior leader in Tunisia’s left-leaning opposition Democratic Patriots party, was shot dead on 6 February 2013 in the morning, his brother told AFP. AFP PHOTO/FETHI BELAID
 
Published Wednesday, February 6, 2013
 
Updated 4:12pm: The murder of Tunisian opposition leader Chokri Belaid Wednesday morning sparked nationwide protests.

Belaid was shot dead a day after he had said on Tunisian Nessma TV that the leading Islamist party Ennahda had “given the green light for political assassinations.”

Eight thousand protesters demonstrated outside the interior ministry in central Tunis on Wednesday chanting for the government to fall and for a second revolution.

Police were said to be firing warning shots and tear gas at demonstrators.
Protesters also stormed the Ennahda headquarters in Sidi Bouzid where 4,000 protesters were said to have gathered.
Thousands more demonstrated in cities including Mahdia and Sousse and protesters reportedly set fire to Ennahda offices in Monastir, a city on the central coast of Tunisia.
Belaid, a left-leaning politician and a harsh critic of the Tunisian government, was shot dead, with four bullets to his head and his chest, Wednesday morning near his car as he left his home in Tunis, his family said.

The video shows the blood stained street next to his car as the ambulances close the doors behind the politician.


“My brother was assassinated. I am desperate and depressed,” Abdelmajid Belaid, brother of the dead leader, told AFP.

“I accuse … [Ennahda leader] Rached Ghannouchi of assassinating my brother,” he said.
Ennahda is an Islamist party currently leading the Tunisian government in a coalition with two other parties.

Belaid was seen as the party’s top critic.

Ghannouchi on Wednesday rejected the accusation and denounced the murder of the secular opposition leader, saying the killers wanted a “bloodbath” in Tunisia.

“They want a bloodbath but they won’t succeed” in creating one, Ghannouchi, whose party has been blamed for the murder, told AFP.

“We can only condemn this cowardly act, which is aimed at (undermining) the revolution and the stability of Tunisia,” he added.

Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali denounced Wednesday the murder of Belaid as an “act of terrorism” against Tunisia.

“This is a criminal act, an act of terrorism not only against Belaid but against the whole of Tunisia,” Jebali from the ruling Islamist Ennahda party told FM Radio Mosaique, promising to pursue all efforts to “immediately” arrest the murderer.

Tunisia President Moncef Marzouki denounced “the odious assassination” of his friend and opposition leader Chokri Belaid in a speech in front of Europe’s politicians Wednesday.

“This odious assassination of a political leader who I knew well and who was my friend … is a threat, it is a letter sent that will not be received.”

“We refuse this message and we will continue to unmask the enemies of the revolution,” he said though Tunisia’s path was “paved with hurdles,” including “orchestrated verbal violence, burnt preachers” and the murder of Belaid.

Chokri Belaid was one of the top six “worldwide trending topics” on Twitter at the time of the writing of this article.
Many are calling this the first political assassination since the revolution.
Belaid’s party was part of a coalition of parties which has emerged in opposition to the Tunisia government.

The country is witnessing a rise in violence fed by political and social discontent more than two years after the toppling of the former dictator Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali.

Several opposition parties and trade unions have accused the pro-Islamists of orchestrating clashes or attacks against them.
( Al-Akhbar, AFP)
 

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Exploited and Misused: The Impossible Discourse of the ‘Arab Spring’


    

The 'Arab Spring' has become an Arab springboard for regional meddling and foreign intervention.

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The ‘Arab Spring’ has become an Arab springboard for regional meddling and foreign intervention.

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By Ramzy Baroud
Jan 23 2013 / 11:10 pm

A reductionist discourse is one that selectively tailors its reading of subject matters in such a way as to only yield desired outcomes, leaving little or no room for other inquiries, no matter how appropriate or relevant. The so-called Arab Spring, although now far removed from its initial meanings and aspirations, has become just that: a breeding ground for choosy narratives solely aimed at advancing political agendas which are deeply entrenched with regional and international involvement.

When a despairing Tunisian street vendor, Mohamed Bouazizi lit himself on fire on December 17, 2010, he had ignited more than a mere revolution in his country. His excruciating death had given birth to a notion that the psychological expanses between despair and hope, death and rebirth and between submissiveness and revolutions are ultimately connected. His act, regardless of what adjective one may use to describe it, was the very key that Tunisians used to unlock their ample reserve of collective power. Then-President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali’s decision to step down on January 14, 2011, was in a sense a rational assessment on his part if one is to consider the impossibility of confronting a nation that had in its grasp a true popular revolution.

Egypt also revolted less than two weeks later. And it was then that Tunisia’s near-ideal revolutionary model became prey for numerous, often selective readings and ultimately for utter exploitation. The Egyptian January 25 revolution was the first Arab link between Tunisia and the upheavals that travelled throughout Arab nations. Some were quick to ascribe the phenomenon with all sorts of historical, ideological and even religious factors thereby making links whenever convenient and overlooking others however apt. The Aljazeera Arabic website still has a map of all Arab countries, with ones experiencing revolutionary influx marked in red.

Many problems have arisen. What tools, aside from the interests of the Qatari government, for example, does Aljazeera use to determine how the so-called Arab Spring manifests itself? And shouldn’t there be clear demarcations between non-violent revolutions, foreign interventions, sectarian tension and civil wars?

Not only do the roots and the expressions of these ‘revolutions’ vastly differ, but the evolvement of each experience was almost always unique to each Arab country. In the cases of Libya and Syria, foreign involvement (an all-out NATO war in the case of Libya and a multifarious regional and international power play in Syria) has produced wholly different scenarios than the ones witnessed in Tunisia and Egypt, thus requiring an urgently different course of analysis.

Yet despite the repeated failure of the unitary ‘Arab Spring’ discourse, many politicians, intellectuals and journalists continue to borrow from its very early logic. Books have already been written with reductionist titles, knitting linear stories, bridging the distance between Tunis and Sanaa into one sentence and one line of reasoning.

The ‘Arab Spring’ reductionism isn’t always sinister, motivated by political convenience or summoned by neo-imperialist designs. Existing pan-Arab or pan-Islamic narratives however well-intended they may be, have also done their fair share of misrepresenting whichever discourse their intellectuals may find fitting and consistent with their overall ideas. Some denote the rise of a new pan-Arab nation, while others see the ‘spring’ as a harbinger of the return of Islam as a source of power and empowerment for Arab societies. The fact is, while discourses are growing more rigid between competing political and intellectual camps, Arab countries marked by Aljazeera’s editorial logic seem to head in their own separate paths, some grudgingly towards a form of democracy or another, while others descend into a Hobbesian ‘state of nature’ – a war of all against all.

But reductionist discourses persist, despite their numerous limitations. They endure because some are specifically designed to serve the interests of certain governments – some with clear ambitions and others are simply trying to ride the storm. In the case of Syria, not a single country that is somehow a party in the conflict can claim innocence in a gory game of regional politics, where the price tag is the blood of tens of thousands of Syrians.

Western media continues to lead the way in language-manipulation, all with the aim of avoiding obvious facts and when necessary it misconstrues reality altogether. US media in particular remains oblivious to how the fallout of the NATO war in Libya had contributed to the conflict in Mali – which progressed from a military coup early last year, to a civil war and as of present time an all-out French-led war against Islamic and other militant groups in the northern parts of the country.

Mali is not an Arab country, thus doesn’t fit into the carefully molded discourse. Algeria is however. Thus when militants took dozens of Algerian and foreign workers hostage in the Ain Amenas natural gas plant in retaliation of Algeria’s opening of its airspace to French warplanes in their war on Mali, some labored to link the violence in Algeria to the Arab Spring. “Taken together, the attack on the U.S. embassy in Benghazi, Libya, the Islamist attacks on Mali, and now this Algerian offense, all point to north Africa as the geopolitical hotspot of 2013 — where the Arab Spring has morphed into the War On Terror,” wrote Christopher Helman, in Forbes, on Jan 18.

How convenient such an analysis is, especially when “taken together.” The ‘Arab Spring’ logic is constantly stretched in such ways to suit the preconceived understanding, interests or even designs of western powers. For example, it is now conventional media wisdom that the US is wary of full involvement in Syria because of the deadly attack on the US embassy in Benghazi. When seen from Washington, the Arab region appears less compound and is largely understood through keywords and phrases, allocated between allies and enemies, Islamists and liberals and by knee jerk reactions to anything involving Israel or Iran.

One only needs to compare media texts produced two years ago, with more recent ones. Whereas the first few months of 2011 were mostly concerned with individuals and collectives that had much in common with Mohamed Bouazizi – poor, despairing, disenfranchised, and eventually rebellious – much of the present text is concerned with a different type of discussion. Additionally there are almost entirely new players. The Bouazizis of Tunis, Egypt and Yemen remain unemployed, but they occupy much less space in our newspapers and TV screens. Now we speak of Washington and London-based revolutionaries. We juxtapose US and Russian interests and we wrangle with foreign interventions and barefacedly demarcate conflicts based on sectarian divisions.

“Arab awakening is only just beginning”, was the title of a Financial Times editorial of Dec 23. Its logic and subtext speak of a sinister interpretation of what were once collective retorts to oppression and dictatorships. “The fall of the Assads will be a strategic setback to Iran and its regional allies such as Hizbollah, the Shia Islamist state within the fragile Lebanese state,” the editorial read. “But that could quickly be reversed if Israel were to carry out its threats to attack Iran’s nuclear installations, enabling Tehran’s theocrats to rally disaffected Muslims across the region and strengthen their grip at home. It is easy to imagine how such a conflict would drag in the US, disrupt the Gulf and its oil traffic, and set fire to Lebanon.”

Note how in the new reading of the ‘Arab Spring’, people are mere pawns that are defined by their sectarian leanings and their usefulness is in their willingness to be rallied by one regional power or another. While the language itself is consistent with western agendas in Arab and Muslim countries, what is truly bizarre is the fact that many still insist on contextualizing the ever-confrontational US, Israel and western policies in general with an ‘Arab Spring’ involving a poor grocer setting himself on fire and angry multitudes in Egypt, Yemen and Syria who seek dignity and freedom.

Shortly after the Tunisian uprising, some of us warned of the fallout, if unchecked and generalized discourses that lump all Arabs together and exploit peoples’ desire for freedom, equality and democracy were to persist. Alas, not only did the reductionist discourse define the last two-years of upheaval, the ‘Arab Spring’ has become an Arab springboard for regional meddling and foreign intervention. To advance our understanding of what is transpiring in Arab and other countries in the region, we must let go of old definitions. A new reality is now taking hold and it is neither concerned with Bouazizi nor of the many millions of unemployed and disaffected Arabs.

– Ramzy Baroud (www.ramzybaroud.net) is an internationally-syndicated columnist and the editor of PalestineChronicle.com. His latest book is: My Father was A Freedom Fighter: Gaza’s Untold Story (Pluto Press).


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After Two Years, the Tunisian Revolution Betrayed?

Tunisian people wave national flags in front of the big clock as part of the festivities that mark the second anniversary of the uprising that ousted long-time dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali on 14 January 2013 in Tunis. (AFP – Fethi Belaid)
Published Monday, January 14, 2013
Tunisia – On the second anniversary of the Tunisian Revolution, Tunisian public opinion seems more divided than ever. It’s been a year since the Islamist al-Nahda movement and its allies came into power, but opposition parties are calling for a boycott of Nahda’s revolution celebrations.
Instead, the opposition has called for demonstrations in protest of a revolution they claim has been subverted, according to Hammam al-Hamami, the official spokesperson of the opposition Popular Front.

The main opposition parties are divided into two coalitions. One includes the Popular Movement, the Republican party, and the Social Democratic Path party. The second includes Call for Tunisia, the Socialist party, and the National Democratic Action party.
Despite fears of clashes between government and opposition supporters, both opposition coalitions organized a rally for 14 January 2013 on Bourguiba Street.

The second anniversary of the revolution comes amidst mounting social tensions. There are blocked streets and sit-ins at every corner. Almost no city has escaped protests, many of them demanding economic development and jobs.

In the Tunisia-Libya border town of Bin Kirdan, tear gas was fired at protesters and some demonstrators broke into al-Nahda’s headquarters. The town voted heavily for al-Nahda in the previous elections.

Dialogue and Accountability

The Wafa Movement, which split from the Nahda-allied Congress for the Republic (CPR), held a conference in which they called for holding corrupt figures in all sectors accountable.

Interim Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki called for a broad and comprehensive national dialogue. He received leaders of all major parties, including those believed to be close to the ousted regime.

All political parties welcomed the idea of an all-inclusive national dialogue, including the leader of al-Nahda Rashid Ghannouchi. He maintained that an inclusive dialogue is key to organizing transparent and fair elections. If parties fail to reach an agreement, he argued that this could lead to the “Somalization” or “militarization” of the country.

It is believed that Ghannouchi’s statement could pave the way for abandoning a draft law supported by al-Nahda that aims to exclude former regime officials from politics.
Most political and labor union forces condemned the draft law, arguing that it is inconsistent with the principles of human rights because it amounts to collective punishment. These forces called instead for fostering a process of transitional justice that would put corrupt figures on trial without delay.

The Government’s Responsibility

The opposition holds the government and al-Nahda responsible for the deteriorating economic situation in the country. They are calling for a dialogue on national priorities that would draw a clear road map to reassure Tunisian citizens on economic security.

Specifically, the opposition wants to see the establishment of a high commission that would schedule elections, promote a hands-off policy towards the judiciary, and address the demands of the revolution, including jobs and freedom of the press.

The government, however, does not share the opposition’s vision. Al-Nahda believes it is the subject of a multi-pronged conspiracy, at its heart are anti-Islamist economic lobbies and media outlets that seek to exaggerate the government’s mistakes.

This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.

The Tunisian State is Crumbling

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Latest News From the Revolution

 
Published Sunday, December 30, 2012
 
Two years ago on this day, I wrote a column titled “On the Necessity of Rebellion.” In those days, beautiful Tunisia was calling out to Egypt, the motherland. The scent of jasmine was on the clothes of workers and peasants. Ben Ali’s regime fell, soon followed by Mubarak’s. Arab chests heaved with a single breath.
 
And then, suddenly, the moment was over. Libya rebelled and NATO intervened. We began to struggle with our own contradictions. While we were immersed in our existential navel gazing, American planes started bombing Arab lands. Gaddafi’s regime fell, only to be replaced by another regime.
Gaddafi had isolated Libya from the rest of the world and plundered its riches, while today Libya has opened up and democracy prevails – or so we assume. Who hears news from Libya these days? Who knows who’s stealing what from whom? Who knows anything about its regime, rulers, tribes, or resources? The last thing we heard about was the US ambassador’s killing. To be fair, the US was extremely tolerant and understanding on that occasion. Imagine if it had occurred in Lebanon. They would have sent the Sixth Fleet and Detlev Mehlis would have been appointed president.
 
The peaceful demonstrations in Bahrain (peaceful from one side because the government’s forces have no problem using violence as long as it does not bother Kim Kardashian) were accompanied by a new round of political hypocrisy.
 
The revolt in Yemen began and with it came the systematic starving of the revolution, followed by its hijacking at the hands of the US ambassador.
 
Syria ignited only to become a bleeding wound.
 
In Palestine, the chronic wound, we saw settlements expand and more concessions offered.
 
We heard some Syrian and Yemeni “revolutionaries” asking for help from the very people who ravaged Palestine. We saw those who had grown up in the cradle of resistance snuggling in the laps of the kings of oil.
 
And so today, more than at any other time, we need to intensify the rebellion against those who betrayed the revolution in order to seize power themselves.
 
Rami Zurayk is Al-Akhbar’s environment columnist and author of the blog Land and People.
This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.
 
حماس واسرائيل وحدة الهدف
We saw the “SON OF HAMAS” on his Third Birth  conquering Gaza with a zionist visa, raising the flag of the French mandate.
 
We saw Fateh and Hamas fighter opening the Gates of Yarmouk camp for Nusra front to displace the displaced Palestinians in Syria? 

 

We saw, Mohamad Ahmad Knaita, a son of “Qassam” known as Saqr al-Qassam fighting in Nusra front ranks in Idleb, side by side with Israelis for liberation of Syria, and we saw, the once upon a time called “The shaikh of Aqsa saying: “Ezzedine alQassam was Syrian and here his Palestinian Brigades fighting for Syria”

 
Saqr alQassam exploring “Aqsa Mosque”, Sorry, the Umayyad Mosque
 
محمد أحمد قنيطة
 
محمد أحمد قنيطة
 
 
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A lesson in hypocrisy by Rashid Ghannouchi

راشد الغنوشي يعطيكم درس في النفاق



 

Tunisia: Al-Nahda’s Failures Lead Sidi Bouzid to Rise Again

Protesters shout slogans calling for the release of other protesters, who were arrested after clashes with police late last week, outside a court in Sidi Bouzid 14 August 2012. (Photo: Reuters – Zoubeir Souissi)
Published Friday, August 17, 2012
On Tuesday August 14, the central Tunisian governorate of Sidi Bouzid held a general strike to call for the release of several protesters detained during the demonstrations held over the preceding weeks and to demand concrete plans for development in the region.
Tuesday’s events come after a series of city-wide general strikes which, from the month of May, have swept through Tataouine, Monastir, Kasserine and Kairouan. The recent events in Sidi Bouzid, cradle of the Tunisia’s 2011 revolution, should be considered the culmination of an extended standoff, not only between the al-Nahda-led ruling coalition and Tunisia’s main trade union federation, the UGTT, but also between those in power and those who are yet to see the revolutionary demands of “work, freedom, and national dignity” realized.

One year celebration of the Arab Spring in Sidi Bouzid

Tensions in Sidi Bouzid have been mounting over a period of months. However, the origins of this most recent wave of unrest can be linked to July 26 when a large number of day workers in the region attacked the al-Nahda party offices in protest at a two-month delay in their wages being paid. The Interior Ministry estimated the numbers involved at 150 while union officials claimed more than 1,000 took part.

The response of al-Nahda to these events was typical. Refusing to recognise the genuine demands of the chronically unemployed and disenfranchised in the southern regions of Tunisia, party officials claimed that those demonstrating had been manipulated by rival political parties, seeking to sow instability and dissent for their own ends. The police fired warning shots and tear gas canisters to disperse the protest.

Tensions have been further exacerbated in recent months by ongoing water shortages in the region. Over the past six months, drinking water has commonly only been available in the evenings and has occasionally been cut off for the entire day. Mohamed Najib Mansouri, the governor of Sidi Bouzid, claimed that one of the reasons for these shortages was the failure of residents to pay their bills. It is more likely that the local infrastructure has been unable to sustain the increased consumption of water during an especially hot and dry summer.

On Thursday August 9, a protest was organised by the December 17th Progressive Forces Front in conjunction with the December 17th Committee for the Protection of the Revolution, the UGTT and a number of opposition parties.

As well as demands for a guaranteed supply of water to the region, the protesters’ demands included the settlement of the status of workers, the resignation of the regional commander of the National Guard, the resignation of Governor Mohamed Najib Mansouri and the dissolution of the Constituent Assembly, in view of its failure to respond to the legitimate demands of the residents of Sidi Bouzid.
In response to the protests, police fired tear gas and rubber bullets into the crowds. One man was hospitalised having been struck in the stomach by a rubber bullet and four others were taken to hospital after inhaling tear gas.

Following these events, al-Nahda once again ignored the grievances of those protesting, this time claiming that rival party Nidaa Tunis was behind the protests. Indeed, a spokesperson from the ruling Islamist movement went so far as to claim that Nidaa Tunis, created in June of this year by former interim prime minister Beji Essebsi, represented the political arm of Ben Ali’s defunct Constitutional Democratic Rally (RCD) party and that they had “proof that some figures within the region known to be close to Nidaa Tunis sided with criminals, thieves and alcohol vendors to spread anarchy in Sidi Bouzid”.

Despite President Moncef Marzouki’s efforts to quell the the growing tension in the region, the general strike went ahead on Tuesday with over 1,000 protesters assembling outside the court house.
The events of recent weeks mark a significant development in the mounting levels of anger at the failures of the majority Islamist party. More than the ruling coalition as a whole, it is now al-Nahda which is perceived to be behind the lack of real progress in Tunisia. What’s more, one should not be surprised at the police’s violent handling of these protests. Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali and Interior Minister Ali Larayedh have previously made it clear that they are willing to use force in order to maintain order in the country. Sadok Chourou, a prominent figure within the al-Nahda ranks claimed in January that strikers were “enemies of God” and that they should suffer the same fate as apostates.
It is the protesters themselves who are blamed for the ongoing instability within Tunisia and not the failures of the ruling coalition and, specifically, al-Nahda. And yet, one need only look at actions of the ruling parties in order to see the falsity of such a claim. Negotiations up until now have been dogged by political outbidding and brinkmanship which has severely hindered the transitional process, as seen in al-Nahda’s attempts to prevent the transition to an independent judiciary, its decision to level a sentence of up to two years for attacks on “sacred values” or its recent rewording of the draft constitution to define the status of women as “complementary to men.”

Furthermore, the economic alternatives being proposed will likely do little to alleviate the situation of many in the southern regions of Tunisia which have traditionally suffered from high levels of unemployment and a lack of investment. Relying principally on foreign and private investment, the government aims to to provide 100,000 more jobs in Tunisia and predicts a level of 3.5 percent GDP growth for 2012. The latter of these two predictions seems increasingly unlikely considering that Tunisia has, to date, experienced four consecutive quarters of negative growth. With levels of unemployment at 18.1 percent, the aim to create 100,000 jobs will also do little to abate social unrest in a country which counts over 709,000 (of an active workforce of 3.9 million) unemployed.

With Minister for Investment Riadh Bettaib announcing last Friday that Tunisia can expect to receive a further $1 billion in World Bank loans alongside his continued insistence on boosting foreign direct investment (FDI) and tourism revenues, it is clear that the proposed model for economic development differs very little from the neoliberal agenda of the former regime.
Of course, alongside the social context of these protests, one must also take into account the political dimension of what is occurring. Tuesday’s general strike was called by the UGTT and the protests of the past week have found support among a broad range of opposition political parties, including the centrist Republican Party, al-Watan (The Nation), and several leftist parties, including the Workers’ Party. While it is important not to discount the role played by opposition political forces in these mobilisations, it remains the case that the principal drivers of this spell of popular contestation have been the young and unemployed in the region whose demands, as has commonly been the case, are channeled through the UGTT. Malek Khadraoui, a writer and activist who has been present throughout the latest wave of strikes and protests in Sidi Bouzid, further comments that, while some opposition parties may be seeking to capitalize on recent events, “the youth in the region harbour a deep distrust towards political parties” and the real cause of these events is the inability of the ruling coalition, and particularly al-Nahda, to respond to their demands.

It is difficult to predict where this latest spell of social upheaval is headed. An International Crisis Group report published this June remarked that it would be an exaggeration to “raise the spectre of a second insurrection,” but that the continued political instability within Tunisia alongside sustained levels of socioeconomic insecurity could “negatively feed on each other and risk snowballing into a legitimacy crisis for the newly elected government.”

In the same report, economist Lotfi Bouzaiane comments that one of the principal demands of the revolution was “the right to work.” Prior to the revolution, he says, it was Ben Ali who insisted that “to find work you just had to wait for the economy to grow!”

Following this latest wave of strikes and demonstrations, it is becoming ever more difficult to distinguish between the rhetoric of the former regime and Tunisia’s new ruling coalition, so committed is it to denouncing any expression of popular dissent in the name of national stability and economic growth. In the absence of any real answers to the demands of those in Sidi Bouzid and elsewhere, the government is increasingly having recourse to violent means of repression. It appears that Tunisia’s uncommonly hot summer may precede an even hotter Autumn.

Christopher Barrie is a student and journalist currently working in Tunisia at Nawaat.
The views expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect Al-Akhbar’s editorial policy.

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Redefining the ‘Arab Spring’: Is Chaos Overtaking Revolution?

By Ramzy Baroud

The age of revolutionary romance is over. Various Arab countries are now facing hard truths. Millions of Arabs merely want to live with a semblance of dignity, free from tyranny and continuous anxiety over the future. This unromantic reality also includes outside ‘players’, whose presence is of no positive value to genuine revolutionary movements, whether in Egypt, Syria, or anywhere else.
Shortly after longtime President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali was ousted in the Tunisian revolution in January 2011, some of us warned that the initial euphoria could eventually give way to unhelpful simplification. Suddenly, all Arabs looked the same, sounded the same and were expected to duplicate each other’s collective action.

An Al Jazeera news anchor might interrogate his guests on why some Arab nations are rising while others are still asleep. The question of why Algeria hasn’t revolted has occupied much international media. “No Arab Spring for Algerians Going to the Polls,” was the title of a US National Public Radio (NPR) program by Andrea Crossan on May 10. The very recent Algerian elections were mostly juxtaposed with much more distant and sporadic realities in other countries, rather than in the context of Algeria’s own unique and urgent situation.

Why should Algeria be discussed within the context of Yemen, for example? What kind of conclusions are we seeking exactly? Is it that some Arabs are brave, while others are cowardly? Do people revolt by remote control, on the behest of an inquisitive news anchor? Algeria is known as the country of a million martyrs for its incredible sacrifices in the quest for liberation between 1954-62. Some sort of consensus is being reached that Algerians are still traumatized by the decade-long civil war which started in 1992. The butchery of thousands was openly supported by Western powers who had feared the emergence of an Islamic state close to their shores.

While Palestinians have been traumatized severely in the 64 years that followed their expulsion from Palestine, they remain in a constant revolutionary influx. The current trauma that millions of Syrians are experiencing as a result of the violence also cannot be expressed by mere numbers. Yet the violence is likely to escalate to a civil war, as destructive as that of Lebanon’s, if a political solution is not formulated under the auspices of a third, trusted party.

It is easy to fall victim to conventional wisdoms, to disseminate odd theories about Arabs and their regimes. The problem is that every day is churning out new events which cannot fit into a simplified concept like the ‘Arab Spring’. The poeticism of the term was hardly helpful when 74 people died and hundreds more were injured as fans of two Egyptian soccer clubs clashed in Port Said on February 1st. The disturbing news seemed inconsistent with the Tahrir Square rallies one year prior. Some in the media dismissed the killings as ‘confusing’ or just ‘unfortunate.’ It simply didn’t fit the almost scripted perception we wished to have of Egypt’s ‘perfect’ revolution. But Egyptians understood well the roots of the violence, and explained it within a local context. The fact is, the occasional violence that followed the ousting of President Hosni Mubarak was uniquely Egyptian and perfectly rational within the many movements that were attempting to exploit the revolution.

If things go according to plan, Egypt might have its first democratically-elected president in July. While some will celebrate the official rise of a ‘new Egypt’, others will mourn the demise of the revolution and its prospected achievements. But there can be no perfect revolution with positive outcomes unanimously agreed on by all sectors of society. This doesn’t mean that the Egyptian revolution has failed. It has succeeded in engaging many new participants in the country’s political life, which had been controlled for so long by an authoritarian government. Tahrir Square has revised the rules of the game – partially for now, but maybe fundamentally in the future.

Jean-Paul Sartre believed that society needed to position itself in a permanent state of revolution in order for freedom to take root and flourish. His support of the French youth revolt in 1968 was a testimony to his strong belief in freedom as a collective quest. “What’s important is that the action took place, when everybody believed it to be unthinkable. If it took place this time, it can happen again,” he wrote in 1968.

“It is not uncommon…that the revolution by the masses turns upon itself and starts feeding upon its own to protect itself against a conceived counter-revolution or internal dissension,” wrote Ayman El-Amir in Egypt’s Al Ahram Weekly. He further claimed that the “Arab Spring has gone berserk, devouring its friends and foes alike, not so much because of fear of the counter-revolution but because one faction wants to steer the nation in its own direction. As a consequence, an environment of chaos is deliberately incited and revolutionary change is disrupted or misdirected.”

There is much truth to that, but El Amir too is falling into the pit of generalization. Syria is not Egypt, and a Tunisian may not think that her country’s revolution is ‘devouring its friends and foes.’ The Arab Spring is only confusing and strange when we insist on calling it an ‘Arab Spring.’ It is much more cogent when understood within its local contexts. Egypt is in turmoil simply because it is undergoing a process that is restructuring a society that was made to cater to the whims of a small, corrupt class of rulers. Syria is positioned in a much more difficult geopolitical intersection, where countries throughout the region are all ‘investing’ in the violence to ensure that the outcome suits their interests. The Syrian people’s relevance to the struggle there remains strong, but, unlike Egypt, they are not the dominant party anymore.

Egypt is not Syria, and Yemen is not Bahrain. However, while we need to remain wary of generalized and reductionist discourses, this does not indicate a need to disown collective identification with other people’s struggles. To the contrary, a truer understanding of what is now taking place in various Arab, and also non-Arab countries, is a more conducive way of offering solidarity. “We will freedom for freedom’s sake, and in and through particular circumstances. And in thus willing freedom we discover that it depends entirely upon the freedom of others and that the freedom of others depends upon our own,” Sartre argued. It is from this value as a point of departure that one can speak of Yemen, Syria, Egypt, and yes, Greece in the same sentence. Any other interpretation is lacking at best, suspect at worst.

– An internationally-syndicated columnist, Ramzy Baroud – www.ramzybaroud.net – is the editor of PalestineChronicle.com. His latest book is My Father Was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza’s Untold Story (Pluto Press, London).

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The Arab Spring: The Root Causes?

Hamze Abbas Jamoul

At the end of 2010 and the beginning of the 2011, a series of demonstrations and protests began to rise in the Arab world. These protests have become known as the “Arab Spring” (Ashley 2011), or, as someone else called it, the “Arab awakening” (Aljazeera, 2011).

The Tunisian revolution that took place in the self-immolation of Mohamad Bouazizi on 18 December 2010 in protest of police corruption and ill treatment (Fahim, 2011 ), has shaken authoritarian leaders across the Arab world in areas such as Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Bahrain. In this article we will try to answer the following question: why did the Arabs rebel? The Arab world was living a very difficult economic and social situation as in Europe in 1848. Poverty, rising food prices, inflation, human rights violation, and high unemployment were the main phenomena the Arabs were facing.

In addition there was much corruption of Arab leaders as shown by some of the Wikileaks diplomatic cables. The main reasons of the Arab revolts are not limited to internal causes, so it is important to analyze the international causes such as the failure of the war on terror, the Iraqi war and the U.S.A – European strategy of the imported democracy. Another possible reason could be the failure of the peace process in the Israeli- Arabic conflict. 

1. The internal causes:

Throughout history, any revolution is a result of many events that completely change the nature of the society and its political life. The French revolution (1789-99), for example, was due to many factors such as economic difficulties, political rights and rising food prices (Sydenham1997).

William Shaub, in his article, The Roots of the Revolution in Egypt, has highlighted on the average per –capita and it’s possible affect on the revolution. He wrote, “Egypt has had a massive income gap throughout Mubarak’s control, which is clearly the root cause of the original uprising. One half of Egyptians live on $2/day or less. The average per-capita income in the country is just $6,200.” The two Russians researchers, A. Korotayev and J. Zinkina, in their analysis on the Egyptian revolution, affirmed that Egypt was one of the most fast growth of the world food prices, and that definitely had influences on destabilization of Egyptian sociopolitical system (Korotayev et al: 011).
Unemployment in the Arab region is also a major source of economic insecurity and for destabilization of any political system. According to Don Tapscott, “twenty-four percent of young people in the region cannot find jobs” (Guardian:2011). This percentage of young unemployment is very high and the Arab countries in the region have not been able to change this situation and create new jobs, especially after the world financial crises.

Political and human rights are fundamental for any society and Arab region lives a situation well described by Hisham Sharabi in his book Neo-patriarchy. ” Even when most states arrived a very high level of democracy and political rights, the Arab region still suffers from bad political systems based on corruption, state of emergency laws, the lack of free elections and freedom of speech and religious fundamentalism ” (Sharabi: 2006).

Egypt was no exception to this corruption and lack of political freedom. After the 1967 ‘Six Day War’, for example, the emergency law number 162 of 1958 was issued. This law limited the freedom and “[gave] greater powers to the police, suspend[ed]certain constitutional rights in the name of security, allow[ed] the state to detain individuals and censor and close newspapers more easily and allow[ed] authorities to try civilians in front of military and security courts under certain circumstances” (Sehata: 2004). It is also important to bring to the light that in Egyptian political history many events outside of Egypt had an impact on democracy and political freedom, such as 9/11 attack in the U.S.A. This event and the ongoing “War on Terrorism” have been used as an excuse to increase the violation of the human rights and facilitated the role of the military court (ibid).

After all these internal causes of the Arab revolt, it is important to not underestimate the role of the technology and the social network (Facebook, Twiter ) that facilitated the communication between the protesters. For this reason, the governments in Egypt and Tunisia shut down the Internet during the last protest against Mubarak and Ben Ali, in order to limit communication between protest groups.

2. The international causes:

The geographic position of many Arab states protagonist of the “Arab Spring” lead us to analyze also the International causes of these revolts. Egypt is the biggest Arab state and it is the first state that signed a peace accord with Israel. At the same time Cairo during Mubarak regime enjoyed a solid alliance with the United States in addition to the high influence on Palestinian parties. To understand better the 25 January revolution in Egypt we have to focus on the relations between Israel and Egypt before the revolution. The best vision on the relation between the Hebrew state and the Pharonic one is the article of Benn Aluf, Israeli journalist, published on Haaretz.

The article, which appeared under the title “A prayer for the health of the rais,” began by stating that “of all the world’s statesmen, the one closest to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak” (Benn, 2010). Thanks to Mubarak, Egypt became a strategic ally of Israel, as well as Israel’s primary supplier of energy. Egypt has also ensured Israel’s stability and security. As a result of all of this the author concludes, “were Israel’s leaders given one wish, they might ask that Mubarak be granted immortality.”( ibid).

This article show how much the ideals of Mubarak were from Egyptians will and dreams. Egyptians have always refused the Camp David peace agreement, and since the fall of President Hosni Mubarak, “calls have grown in Egypt for ending the 1979 peace treaty with Israel” (Guardian, 2011).
In fact, on Friday 9 September 2011, “a group of 30 protesters broke into the Israeli embassy in Cairo and threw hundreds of documents out of the windows” (Ibid). The failure of the peace process between Palestinian and Israeli, the last aggression against Gaza on 2009 and against Lebanon on 2006 and the Lebanese victory against Israel, gave more reasons and courage to the Egyptians and Tunisian to demonstrate against their regime.

After the resignation of Ben Ali in Tunisia, and Mubarak in Egypt, much has occurred. Manifestations agianst governments have increased in number, seectarian clashes in Egypt have multiplied, and elections have been held in both countries amid an Islamic – elite political rule. Rather than holding a political position, this article wishes to go further – to give a scientific analysis of the events that have taken place, and evalutate the post-revolution period. The key question to adress is whether policy in Egypt and Tunisia changed in this transitional period?

It is perhaps too soon to adjudicate the work of the new political elite in both countries. However one thing is clear: The Arab people have changed and they will not accept the undemocratic politics of their countries’ past. Should they be forced to, they will revolt again to protect their rights and claims.
Hamze Abbas Jammoul is researcher in conflict resolution.

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Sidi Bouzid: Remembering Mohamed Bouazizi

Photo Blog by Ali Garboussi

One year after the outbreak of the Tunisian Uprising, Mohamed Bouazizi is celebrated in Sidi Bouzid. A hero, a martyr, and the face of the Arab Spring, his resting place is frequented by visitors paying their respect. As such, Sidi Bouzid celebrated the annual passing of one of it’s own sons while the country at large celebrated the memory of the man that brought on a new dawn.

(Photo: Ali Garboussi)

(Photo: Ali Garboussi)

(Photo: Ali Garboussi)

(Photo: Ali Garboussi)

(Photo: Ali Garboussi)

(Photo: Ali Garboussi)

(Photo: Ali Garboussi)

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Tunisian Elections: The Islamist Experiment

A Tunisian woman passes a wall covered with posters of
candidates during last week’s campaign for electing the
constitutional assembly. (Photo: AFP – Fethi Belaid)
Published Friday, October 28, 2011
Tunisians have elected a conservative-leaning constituent assembly dominated by the Islamist al-Nahda Party. The country home to the first outbreak of the Arab revolt will be a testing ground for an Islamist-led attempt to establish a true democracy.

Opinions of Tunisian citizens may not differ much from those of expert analysts except in one respect, they express no surprise at the results of the elections which saw the electoral defeat of historical political parties. The Tunisian people have chosen a conservative rather than liberal direction for their country.

Hamadi Redissi, comparative politics professor and head of the Political Science Department in the Faculty of Law and Political Sciences at the University of Tunis, told al-Akhbar: “Many factors came together leading to this result. The Tunisian people settled the struggle over cultural identity that flared up in the past few months when they chose conservative parties whose electoral platforms advocated protecting Tunisia’s Arab and Muslim identity.” The electoral victory of parties with conservative and traditional orientations is a blow to their leftist counterparts, who, the professor said, fell in the trap of a cultural identity struggle which led to their resounding defeat.

According to Redissi, it has been assumed for a while now that there will be coalitions inside the constituent assembly. News has already surfaced that the moderate Islamist al-Nahda party will form a coalition with the Congress for the Republic Party (CPR), headed by Moncef Marzouki, and the Democratic Forum for Labor and Liberties (FDTL or Ettakatol), creating a coalition with a big majority in the constituent assembly.

The assembly is charged with writing a new constitution for Tunisia that will last for generations to come, determining the nature of the future political system and putting forward basic laws for public life. Redissi said the political system that will be adopted in Tunisia is the parliamentary system proposed by the al-Nahda party in its political program and supported, to a certain extent, by CPR.
Redissi expressed his disapproval of the parliamentary system proposed by al-Nahda because it might lead to an ineffective quota system that will not serve Tunisia well, pointing in this context to the parliamentary system in Lebanon. Redissi prefers the semi-presidential system like the one in France. This is also the preference of the parties that lost the elections such as the Progressive Democratic Party (PDP) and the left-leaning Democratic Modernist Pole (El-Qutb).

Redissi said that al-Nahda will not be able to form a national unity government because of PDP’s and El-Qutb’s refusal to join such a coalition. The two parties will probably take on the role of the opposition especially considering that the constituent assembly will last for only one year. Al-Nahda will therefore resort to forming a majority coalition government with the parties that will join it.
Sources close to al-Nahda told al-Akhbar that leaders of al-Nahda, CPR, and Ettakatol have met to discuss the possibility of building a coalition that will form an absolute majority in the assembly.
Former Tunisian diplomat and political analyst Abdallah Obeidi wonders whether such an alliance between political parties that are not familiar with each other can function effectively. He adds that these elections produced a political terrain in which three different political groups have emerged. The first is a group influenced by the West; the second stands against the West; and the third, which he called the “constitutional” group, is somewhere between and is influenced by Habib Bourguiba’s legacy.
These constitutionalists who have shaped Tunisia’s political system since independence fared poorly in these elections. This suggests that Tunisians have chosen to break with the past and the political system set forth by founding president Bourguiba. Obeidi, however, doubts this, arguing that 90 percent of the constitutionalists moved to al-Nahda and other conservative parties after the fall of Ben Ali.

Obeidi called for dialogue between the political parties that won seats in the constituent assembly for the sake of stability. He emphasized the need for dialogue to rewrite the constitution, given that there will be more than one coalition in the assembly. Obeidi says that the biggest challenge lies in creating a national accord between the various political forces that won the elections.

Despite the political challenges facing Tunisia today, Tunisian political analyst Muhammad Toueir considers the assembly’s political make-up a good one as no political party can dominate without alliances. Agreement between the various political parties is therefore inevitable if they want to achieve what the Tunisian people want out of these elections. Toueir pointed out that the opposition will have a big role to play in exercising oversight over the government, explaining that the concept of opposition will change after the elections.

Even though the elections have been criticized, Toueir is optimistic about the results, saying Tunisia will not go back in time. The majority that will be created through a coalition in the assembly will guarantee the fulfillment of the Tunisian people’s dream since no party achieved absolute majority and the assembly is serving a one-year term. If al-Nahda fails to achieve what it promised the people in its electoral platform, then it will have dug its own grave. Asked about the West’s relations with the forthcoming Tunisian government, Toueir says the West and the rest of the world await the results of a young democratic experiment in the first country of the Arab Spring.

This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

Real Islam in harmony with real democracy.

I , in Palestinian diaspora, salute the Tunisian people revolution and democratic choice, but I don’t say: We, because, I don’t represent uprooted Palestinians. I am covinced a trilion per cent that Islam is not at odds with democracy.

When I say Islam, I mean Quran, the holy text, not the history of Islam, nor the relative human understanding of the holy text, and when I say democracy, I don’t mean the western Democracy as explained below by Mr. Amayereh. I mean human freedom, which I consider the head of Islam. God created me free, even to deny his existance.

29. Say, “The truth is from your Lord”: Let him who will believe, and let him who will, reject (it): for the wrong-doers We have prepared a Fire whose (smoke and flames), like the walls and roof of a tent, will hem them in: if they implore relief they will be granted water like melted brass, that will scald their faces, how dreadful the drink! How uncomfortable a couch to recline on!

Human freedom is theword that went forth before from thy Lord”

19. Mankind was but one nation, but differed (later). Had it not been for a word that went forth before from thy Lord, their differences would have been settled between them. (Surah 10. Yunus)

“There is no compulsion in religion,” – Holy Qur’an

Surah 42. Ash-Shura (Councel, Consultation)

38. Those who hearken to their Lord, and establish regular Prayer; who (conduct) their affairs by mutual Consultation; who spend out of what We bestow on them for Sustenance;

Here Shura (consultation) appeared in the holly text in between two of Islam Pillars, Praying (salah) and Spending out (Zakat). So, I wonder, why consultation is not considered a sixth pillar??

I claim, because, unlike the formal five pillars of Islam this sixth pillar may shake the pillars of dictatorship. (The alliance of Pharaoh=Political Power, Haman = Media Power, and Qaroon=Political Money). In prophets stories Quran called this Aliance, Al-Malaa’

Now read the next verses:

39. And those who, when an oppressive wrong is inflicted on them, (are not cowed but) help and defend themselves.

I don’t need a Sheikh to explain the verses, the oppressed are the people, and the oppressor is the ruler. The people have the right to defend themselve, and they did that all over the history of Islam. They did it in Tunis, and Egypt because the Dictator told them: Shut up.
No body has the right to say to anybody: Shut up.

This is Real Islam in harmony with real democracy.

Aggressive secularism in Tunisia must shut up

Add caption

Khalid Amayreh

Palestinian Information Center
Oct 27, 2011

We in occupied Palestine salute the Tunisian people for conducting orderly, democratic and nearly blemish-free elections. In many respects, Tunisia, the first station of the Arab Spring, can be a model to be followed and emulated throughout the Arab world. We are impatiently waiting to see free and transparent elections to take place in Egypt, Libya and elsewhere in the Arab world.

Credit should go primarily to the Tunisia Independent Election Commission which worked tirelessly for months to ensure that the elections were held on time and that absolute transparency is guaranteed.
Indeed, the nearly universal consensus about the transparency of the elections, both in Tunisia and abroad, illustrates the professionalism and credibility of the commission which saw to it that no foul-play was allowed, even behind the curtain.

This is quite important because in the Arab world, especially prior to the Arab Spring, even the smallest and pettiest thing, as far as election transparency is concerned, often proved a formidable challenge and couldn’t be taken for granted.

Moreover , the triumph of the Ennahda party in a country which witnessed ever since its independence from France in 1956 a relentless war against Islam and the Arab language and culture illustrates the resilience and tenacity of Islam in that small North African country.

Yes there was a conspicuous, elitist but quite arrogant stratum of Tunisians who swallowed everything that came from France. But these people, who always received a surplus of media coverage and accorded special attention by their western patrons, have turned out to be unrepresentative of the bulk of Tunisians.

Fortunately, the France party in Tunisia is the only party which is fretting and grumbling about the outcome of elections. These arrogant remainders of the French colonialist legacy are now invoking personal liberties, ignoring the fact that their very Qibla and ultimate role model, Paris, is constantly encroaching on individual freedoms, including freedom to wear Niqab by conservative Muslim women.

Does this mean that the defeated party will now fight a cultural war with the national and Islamic forces in Tunisia in order to secure and guarantee their eroding prominence and status?
Well, if they do, they will lose, because the majority of Tunisians, as is the case throughout the Muslim world, will not allow French or other colonialist legacies to dictate the destiny and future of Tunisia .
We Muslims are not against true democracy, a significant, accumulative human experience which can’t be dismissed lightly. None the less, we are convinced a million per cent that Islam is inherently superior to democracy.

The reason is simple; democracy in its simplest form means the rule of the majority. Right and wrong, morality and immorality, and other values are determined by the people whose views are often subject to all sorts of manipulations by special interest groups, media brainwashing and political money. (Question: Is the U.S. Congress able to say “No” to Israel even if the Jewish state does the unthinkable to the defenseless Palestinians?)

It is this type of democracy that allowed a decidedly criminal state like Israel to steal Palestine from its legitimate, rightful owners, routinely massacre them, demolish their homes, destroy their fields and expel untold numbers of Palestinians to the four corners of the globe.

Needless to say, this was done in the name of democracy and civility and freedom as the leaders of the so-called “free world” cheered this criminality.

Similarly, in the name of freedom and democracy, America invaded, occupied and destroyed Iraq and Afghanistan, killing or causing the death of hundreds of thousands of people.

Well, with all due respect to the committed believers in western democracy, we Muslims don’t believe in this way of thinking because peoples and nations ought to be answerable to values that are higher and more sublime than simple majorities.

Of course, the alternative to amoral western democracies should never be tyranny, dynastic despotism, or military dictatorship.

Instead, Muslims in particular ought to seek Islamic democracy where human rights and civil liberties are guaranteed while general moral values of society are preserved and encouraged. Thus moral vices shouldn’t be accorded the same freedoms as moral virtues.

I hope the west will finally leave us Muslims alone and refrain from interfering in our exercise of our inalienable right to elect our rulers and governments.

Then, and only then, we can speak, for the first time in recent memory, of free people versus free people involved in a constructive relation based on mutual respect and mutual interest.
Just don’t let Israel dictate your agenda toward the Muslim world.

Hezbollah Congratulates Tunisian People, Winning Forces

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

Tunisia’s Center-Left PDP Party Admits Election Defeat

Local Editor
The leader of Tunisia’s center-left Progressive Democratic Party, tipped in second place ahead of the country’s first free elections, conceded defeat Monday as votes were being counted.

“The trend is clear. The PDP is badly placed. It is the decision of the Tunisian people. I bow before their choice,” PDP leader Maya Jribi told Agence France Presse at party headquarters as the Islamist Ennahda party claimed to be in the lead.

Jribi, the only woman to have led a political party in Sunday’s elections for an assembly tasked with rewriting the constitution and appointing a caretaker government, congratulated “those who obtained the approval of the Tunisian people”.

“We will be there to defend a modern, prosperous and moderate Tunisia,” she said, adding the PDP would “clearly be in opposition.”

“It is a majority that governs, a minority that opposes,” she said.

Ennahda earlier said it expected to capture about 40 percent of the vote.

“We are not far from 40 percent. It could be a bit more or a bit less, but we are sure to take 24 (of the 27) voting districts,” Samir Dilou, a member of Ennahda’s political bureau told AFP, quoting “our sources”.

Analysts widely predicted Ennahda to win the most votes but fall short of a majority on the 217-member constituent assembly.

The body will decide on the country’s system of government and how to guarantee basic liberties, including women’s rights, which many fear Ennahda would seek to diminish despite its assurances to the contrary.

It will also have interim authority to write laws and pass budgets.

Ennahda says it models itself on the ruling AKP party in Turkey, another Muslim-majority country which like Tunisia to date has a secular state.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

The same slogan, but not the same revolution

الشعارهو نفسه… لكنّها ليست الثورة نفسها
بعد اندلاع الاحتجاجات في سوريا، فُتح نقاش لا يزال مستمراً: هل نحن أمام ثورة حقيقية؟ أم جولة احتجاجات؟ أم هي انتفاضة لا أحد يقدر على وضع إطار لها؟
النقاش السياسي كان قد سبقه نقاش أخلاقي بشأن أيّ موقف يجب أن يُتخذ من هذه الأحداث؟ هل يمكن مناصرة المتظاهرين في تونس ومصر وليبيا واليمن والبحرين، وعدم تكرار الأمر نفسه في حالة سوريا؟ وهل الموقف الأخلافي يمكن أن يكون منفصلاً عن الموقف السياسي من الأزمة الدائرة؟ وبالتالي فإنه لا يمكن التفريق بين الأمرين. ثم ما هو دور الإعلام (الذي بات يحوي جميع أصناف التفكير والتنظير وادعاء القيادة والمعرفة بأحوال الشعوب كافة) في متابعة هذا الأمر؟ هل يكون الموقف على شكل تغطية حيادية لا موقف فيها، أم الانحياز فوراً وبصورة مسبقة غير قابلة للنقاش الى موقف الجمهور والناس؟ ثم كيف يكون الكلام عن الحكم والحكام هناك؟ هل تُطلَق عليهم النعوت نفسها التي تطلَق على الآخرين من الأنظمة والحكام، أم ماذا؟ وهل هناك حاجة الى نقاش أم لا؟ فإما أنت مع الثورات كافة، وبالتالي مع الثورة السورية، وإما أنت انتهازي، تتّخذ هنا موقفاً، وتتّخذ في مكان آخر موقفاً آخر؟
لا أحد يدّعي السبق هنا. إنّ من يعتقد أن ما حصل في تونس ومصر هو نفسه ما يحصل في ليبيا واليمن، يكون مخبولاً يحتاج الى مصح، ومن يعتقد أن ما يجري في سوريا هو أيضاً نفسه ما يجري في ليبيا، فهو مصاب بهوس سوف يقوده الى الخطأ الكبير، الذي إمّا يبدأ بعملية انتحارية، أو ينتهي بمقتل المهووس نفسه.
وفق هذا النوع من المعايير، يمكن القول إن ما حصل في مصر وتونس له خصوصية لم تكن تخطر في بال أحد. وبالتالي، فإن سرعة انهيار الحكّام هناك (باعتبار أن الأنظمة لم تسقط بعد) ترتبط أكثر بقوة الضغط الجماهيري من جهة، وارتباك الحاكم من جهة ثانية، وبكون القوات المسلحة، التي ينتهي مشهد الثورة بتوليها الأمر، لم تكن في قلب الانقسام بين الشارع والحاكم، بل كانت تقف على مطل، وسرعان ما أدركت أنّ مصالحها الحقيقية أقرب إلى الجمهور.
في تونس ومصر، ظهرت منذ اليوم الأول عزلة الحاكم. إنه بلا جمهور ولا يمثل مصالح فئات واسعة، وإنه أقرب الى العمالة التي فقدت دورها في آلية الإنتاج، وإن الموت حاصل منذ زمن، لكن كانت هناك حاجة إلى دفن صاحبه. كذلك كان الخارج مكبّلاً بجهله، وبصدمته إزاء عدم توقعه أيّاً من العناصر التي كوّنت المشهد الشعبي.
في حالتَي اليمن وليبيا، ثمة عنصر واقعي، بمعزل عن الموقف منه، تقديراً أو تقريعاً، إلا أنّ الحاكمَين اللذين تطلب غالبية شعبية إطاحتهما، يتمتعان بحضور جدي وسط الناس. وعندها قرر إعلام غبيّ، أنّ من يقف الى جانب معمر القذافي هو من المرتزقة. وصارت الخرافات تنهال على المواطن العربي: إنهم يأتون بطيارين من دول أخرى، وإنه يجري ربط الطيار بمقعده حتى لا يقفز، وإنه جيء بأهل القادة العسكريين الى منزل القذافي فمن يهرب منهم يبقَ وحيداً، ثم جرى تصوير قسم من الجمهور الليبي المتعاطف مع القذافي على أنه في حالة فقدان للتركيز، ووصل الأمر بجلّاد المجتمع الدولي أوكامبو، الى الحديث عن تزويد المقاتلين بحبوب منشّطة للجنس.
في حالة ليبيا، قررت الدول المعنية التحرك وعدم انتظار المزيد من المفاجآت. وكان لهذا التحرك نتائجه المباشرة، إذ أُسندت قيادة الثورة الى مجموعة ائتلافية تجمع منشقين عن القذافي، وعملاء الاستخبارات الغربية المنتشرين في عواصم العالم، وتستوعب مقاتلين من أيتام تنظيم القاعدة. وجيء لهم بمنظّرين ورجال دين ثم تقرر أن يتحرك الغرب ليتولى هو تحديد آلية سقوط القذافي. وتبيّن مع الوقت أن إسقاط القذافي يحتاج الى عمل عسكري بري، والغرب لا يريد إنزال جندي واحد على الأرض حتى الآن، وليته يفعل، فيما لم يصل المقاتلون من المنتفضين على العقيد الى المستوى الذي يتيح لهم هزمه سريعاً. وبالتالي، تقرّر أنه بانتظار تركيب صورة النظام المقبل، سوف يصار الى استخراج حيلة القبائل والعلماء، وما على الليبيّين سوى انتظار ما يقرره العالم لمصير ثورتهم… فهل نحن أمام ثورة حقيقية ينبغي لنا دعمها من دون سؤال؟
ثم جاء القرار الآخر من العالم، بأن تتولى دول الخليج العربي إدارة شؤون ثوار ليبيا، فتهتم قطر باستضافة القبائل وإعداد «قياديين إعلاميين»، لأن العقيد حرم الثوار نعمة الفايسبوك، بينما ترعى دولة الإمارات المؤتمرات الداعمة مالياً، فيما تعد السعودية بأنها تهيّئ لهم منذ الآن ملايين النسخ من القرآن، المرفقة بشروح ابن تيمية والأفكار الوهابية الوقّادة.. ومع ذلك يراد لنا أن نقف إلى جانب هؤلاء؟
أما في حالة اليمن، فلا أحد يمكنه تجاهل المشهد الأسبوعي لساحات صنعاء وتعز وبقية المدن. أنصار علي عبد الله صالح ليسوا قليلي العدد إزاء غالبية مؤيدة لخروجه من الحكم. والانشقاقات داخل الجيش لا تلامس مرحلة نزع أنياب الرجل، ثم إن مؤسسات الدولة نفسها لم تفقد كامل زخمها كما هي الحال في مصر مثلاً، بل على العكس، فإن التفتيت الجغرافي والقبائلي والعشائري والحزبي يدل على مستقبل بائس لهذه الدولة، سواء نجحت الثورة أو لم تنجح. ومع ذلك، فإن الغرب يدرس خطواته بحذر. لا هو قادر على ضمان مسبق بأن يأتي رئيس ليّن ومتجاوب كالموجود حالياً، ولا هو قادر على إدارة تسوية للنزاع، بينما تُرك لعرب أميركا في الخليج إجراء مفاوضات، لكنها أخذت طابع الوصاية الذي استفزّ المعارضين من الثوار الحقيقيين قبل الحاكم. وفي النتيجة، تنساق اليمن نحو حرب أهلية تحتاج الى منقذ لمنع تفاقمها.
أما في سوريا، ولمن يرغب طبعاً، فيمكن الجزم بأن المشهد الاحتجاجي، لا يوازي حتى اللحظة حجم تظاهرة في حي شُبرة، التي لم تصلها كاميرات العالم خلال انتفاضة مصر، كذلك فإن المشهد ينمّ عن أقلية شعبية تشارك بفعالية من جمعة الى أخرى، واختفاء بعض مظاهر الاحتجاج في مناطق عدة، ليس سببه القمع الكريه. وإنّ من تحدى الموت في أكثر من مكان ويصر كل أسبوع على التظاهر، يعطي الانطباع الأكيد، بأنّ الامتناع عن الانضمام سريعاً وبكثافة الى هذه التظاهرات لا يعبّر عن خوف. قد يكون هذا العامل موجوداً، لكن الأكيد أن مشاهد الحياة الطبيعية دليل على أن الشعب السوري لا يعيش همّاً مشتركاً اسمه تغيير الحكم أو النظام أو إطاحة الحاكم. والإجماع القائم على ضرورة إحداث تغييرات عميقة، لا يقابله إجماع على كيفية الوصول الى هذه النتائج، والذين يدعون العشائر الى التحرّك، معتقدين أنهم يستفزون شعوراً خاصاً عند هؤلاء، يجب أن يأخذوا في الاعتبار أن العشائر الأخرى، ولو كان اسمها طوائف أو أقليات، سوف تكون أكثر استنفاراً لخطوات مضادة. وبالتالي فإنّ مشهد الخوف من نتائج ما يحصل ليس أمراً مفتعلاً. تارةً نقول إن النظام والإعلام الرسمي السوري كذابان ولا يجيدان حتى الكذب، ثم نتهمهما بأنهما نجحا في ترهيب الناس وخلق مناخات عن فتنة مقبلة إذا استمرت الاحتجاجات.
وبمعزل عن الأدوار المنفوخة التي ينسبها البعض إلى نفسه في معرض أبوّة المتظاهرين أو تولي وظيفة مرشدهم الروحي، فإن واقع الحال يشير الى مشكلة حقيقية: لا النظام يمكنه تجاوز ملف الإصلاح العميق، ولا المعارضون قادرون على إطاحة النظام لمجرّد أن نقلت «الجزيرة» تصريحاتهم، ذلك أن النظام لا يزال متمتعاً بدعم غالبية شعبية. ومجموعات كثيرة من الذين تحاورت معهم السلطات على شكل لقاءات أو مقابلات، إنما عبروا بوضوح عن تمايز بين جانب مطلبي إصلاحي والموقف السياسي. وحتى اللحظة، فإن من يدّعي انتقال المتظاهرين الى مرحلة إسقاط النظام، إنما هو فاقد العقل، وغير عارف أبداً ما يجري في سوريا أو حولها.
الأهم من كل النقاش الخالي من الواقعية، هو أن إسقاط النظام في سوريا دونه استحقاقات كثيرة، بعضها داخلي يتمثل في بروز مشاهد الاحتجاجات المليونية، وبعضها خارجي يتمثل في عزلة دولية حقيقية، لا عزلة أميركا وجماعتها. أما بعضها الثالث، فهو القدرة على منع حصول الانفجار الكبير، الذي سيطيح كل شيء، ولا يبقي لأحد ما يتحدث عنه، سوى تقديم واجب العزاء.
ليس من عناصر متشابهة بين كل ما حصل في الدول العربية، سوى الكادر الذي قررت قناة «الجزيرة» ومن هم خلفها اعتباره العنصر المحدد لوجهة الأمور. أعان الله من فيها ومن هم حولها ومن هم أمامها ومن هم خلفها على رسم كادر صورة النهاية لمشهد إعلامي ما كان ليكون أكثر بؤساً…

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

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