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Tahrir Square

  • Five years on: Why the Arab Spring is here to stay — and win

    Despite highly destructive counter-revolutionary forces like a-Sisi in Egypt and ISIL in Iraq and Syria, there are grassroots movements across the region demanding governments that serve the people — all of the people. By Yoav Haifawi* On Friday, August 28, 2015, demonstrators in southern and central Iraq (those parts of the country not under “Islamic State” control) held their fifth consecutive “Friday protests” against government corruption, lack of basic services and the sectarian structure of power sharing. On Saturday, August 29, Lebanon’s “You Stink” movement held its largest demonstration yet in “Martyrs’ Square” in the middle of Beirut – undeterred…

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  • In Cairo, a demoralizing spectacle

    This time 'people power' returned Egypt to the Mubarak era, only worse. Since I spend most of my writing time denouncing the Israeli public for its rotten political inclinations, I think I have the right to call it as I see it about the Egyptian public, which has really put on a show these last few days. One of the polite hypocrisies of democratic society is that the public, in any country, is fundamentally good, that it wants good things, that it’s entitled to have what it wants, and that when masses of people are suffering and crying out for…

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  • 'In this room there is no Islam': The Shah's 'special relationship' with Iran's Israeli community

    A new documentary tells about the lives the Israeli community living in Iran during the 1960s and 1970s. But will the film be enough to challenge the dominant Israeli narrative regarding the root of animosity between the two countries?  By Lior Sternfeld / Haokets It seems that the mechanisms of remembrance and forgetfulness worked perfectly in shaping the collective memory of the relations between Israel and Iran. The Israeli narrative goes as such: during his reign, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi tried to create a modern, progressive, and western Iran (Iran’s relations with Israel were at the core and foundations of the shah's geostrategic…

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  • Block by block, Egyptians fight their past for a new future

    'For me, today is one of the days of the revolution,' Egyptian poet Zain El-Abdeen Fouad says, describing the recent unrest as part of a process of a continuing social transformation. 'The [revolt against Mubarak] sparked the revolution and it never ended. The revolution will continue until it achieves its goals.' By Jesse Rosenfeld CAIRO – Walking through Cairo’s Munira neighborhood on the third day of clashes since the second anniversary of Egypt’s revolution, riot cops sit behind barbwire awaiting protesters’ return following a night of clashes. Just blocks from Tahrir Square and the U.S. and British Embassies, the neighborhood…

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  • Where is the social protest movement in the Israeli elections?

    Did the revolution lose its sex appeal? Did the J14 leaders enable politicians to ignore them? Whatever the reason, it is clear that the main benefactor of this state of affairs is Prime Minister Netanyahu. By Ilan Manor With the elections just two weeks away, it has become apparent that the 2013 elections are no different than the ones held in Israel since the late 1980s. Once again, the debate revolves around a flailing peace process, a possible solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and the security challenges facing the State of Israel. The line between the Israeli left and right…

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  • The new Egypt - not so 'dark' after all

    Despite the way it has been depicted in popular Israeli newspapers, the election of the Muslim Brotherhood's candidate for president was less a vote for Islamism than a vote against dictatorship. Since the glory of the Tahrir revolt last January and February, things in Egypt have seemed to go downhill. The young secular idealists who started the protests were displaced by Islamists as leaders of the new Egypt starting the day after Mubarak resigned. Mob violence, including gang rapes, started happening in Tahrir. Bloody soccer riots, burning of Coptic churches, and a parliamentary election in which a more  radical Islamist party finished second to the Muslim Brotherhood - the news from Egypt has not…

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  • J14: No need to bring up the occupation - it’s the capitalism, stupid!

    With the growing number of calls for J14 to address the “elephant in the room” that apparently no one is willing to talk about - the occupation (shhh!), it’s important to understand something: there is no elephant Lately there have been calls on the Left, including here on +972, for the #J14 movement to talk about the elephant in the tent: the occupation. Not only do these calls show a misunderstanding of Israeli society, they also show what I believe to be a misunderstanding of what #J14 is really about. Allow me to begin with the latter. What is J14…

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  • Letter from Cairo: City's Jewish history presents political problems

    Surprising the locals When I walked into Cairo’s Ben Ezra Synagogue last Saturday afternoon, the groundskeeper, Hassan, was both surprised and excited. Now a museum, I was not the only person there. But it turns out I was the only one to kiss the mezuzah on the way inside. Hassan smiled and asked me, “Anta yehudi?” I smiled back and nodded. With his broken English and my shattered Arabic, Hassan apologized that he could not sell to me any souvenirs because “it is Shabbat,” but he then took it upon himself to briefly explain the city’s Jewish history. “There are…

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  • Egypt: Soldiers planted flowers in Tahrir Square

    CAIRO -- Tahrir Square has been cleaned up. One day last week soldiers laid new turf in the central traffic island, and the next day they planted flowers. A day after that they erected a huge banner that confirmed the army's commitment to the people and the goals of the revolution, but when I returned two days later with my camera, the banner had already been removed. Instead, I saw young girls photographing each other as they posed in front of the flowers, seemingly oblivious to the roaring traffic as they enjoyed a bit of green in a city that…

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  • Mid East women fight uphill battle in patriarchal society

    In the Middle East, representation of women in the public sphere is lower than in any other region. Women face enormous obstacles, ranging from sexual harassment and honor killings to ingrained patriarchal attitudes that belittle their intelligence and value. That is why it was so uplifting to watch the women of Tahrir Square take a leading role in the revolution of January 25 By Yael Lavie About half a century ago Tammy Wynette, of American country music fame, had a hit single with a song called: Stand By Your Man.  Its lyrics are possibly one of the most terrifying examples…

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  • Egyptian journalist: The revolution was not about Israel

    With very few exceptions, the protesters who toppled Hosni Mubarak did not even mention Israel during their 18-day revolution.  Even now, with post-revolutionary populism slightly on the rise, there is no-one, from anywhere on the political spectrum, who wants to abrogate the peace agreement. At the worst, Israel can expect the cold peace to become slightly chillier By Mohamed El Dahshan There was a “Down with Mubarak!” sign in Hebrew or two. With grammar mistakes, too. The implicit – and sometimes not so implicit – joke was that Mubarak was an Israeli agent and couldn’t read the signs ordering him…

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  • Age of revolutions: The day after the squares are taken

    Change is coming to the Middle East, but it’s a much slower process than we’d like to think By Yael Lavie The Middle East revolution age has begun. Its time has come. Geographically moving from Eastern Europe in historical decade intervals, every global region gets its revolutionary age. It is always an exciting time to watch if you are not a member of the region experiencing the jolts of revolt personally, rather viewing them comfortably on TV or your Ipad these days. You sip your tea, you nod your head in approval and believe in the power of people to…

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  • From Madison to Cairo, the people are rising

    I can’t help but wonder - is there a connection between the Wisconsin protests and the victory in Tahrir Square? It seems that no matter where you look these days, people are starting to stand for their rights. Here in the Mideast, the region is changing right before our eyes, at a pace that none of us could ever have dreamed. The past week has also seen some of the largest protests in America since the Vietnam war, and they’re taking place in Madison, Wisconsin. The middle and working class of the state are standing by the unions and have…

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