/pages

  • Tunisian Media: Al-Nahda Tightens its Control
    http://www.jadaliyya.com/pages/index/7232/tunisian-media_al-nahda-tightens-its-control-

    Despite such words of assurance, the freedom and independence of Tunisian media remain under threat. Attacks on journalists are often treated with impunity while heavy punishments are handed out to those deemed to have “disturbed public order or public morals.” To some extent, the faltering process of media reform can be attributed to the failure to adopt the new Press Code as elaborated in November 2011 by the National Committee of Information and Communication Reform (INRIC). One must, however, ask why, despite commitments to the contrary, the government and justice system have so consistently failed to implement this new law or pay heed to the recommendations of the INRIC.

  • Tunisian Constitution : Text and Context
    http://www.jadaliyya.com/pages/index/6991/tunisian-constitution_text-and-context

    Une analyse intéressante sur le projet de constitution en Tunisie, notamment sur le débat autour des droits des femmes

    Egalité et complémentarité

    he wording of the proposed Article 1.27 in the new draft constitution reads:

    The state shall guarantee the protection of women’s rights and support for their gains, in considering her a true partner with man in building the nation; the role of these two is complimentary within the family. The state shall guarantee the parity (takāfuʾ) of opportunity between the woman and the man while accepting different responsibilities. The state shall guarantee prosecution of every form of violence against women.

    The content of these statutes does not differ significantly. They all ascribe a type of “complementarity” between men and women within the space of the family, with both forms of the personal status code making women explicitly subservient to the man, who is “head of the household.” Only the proposed Article 1.27 explicitly assigns women a role in building the nation based on “parity.” Perhaps the most objectionable wording of the proposed Article 27 is its emphasis on accepting “different responsibilities,” but this does not depart noticeably from the Personal Status Code in classifying a woman’s responsibilities. In each case, these responsibilities are vaguely defined through “custom,” and are specifically tied to her responsibility to contribute funds to familial expenditures, if she is capable.The draft constitution more fully defines the state’s relationship with the family in Article 1.21:

    The state guarantees the family’s rights the by recognizing them as potentialized, natural, and fundamental for society. The state shall work toward protecting the family, its stability, and allowing it to perform its role in safeguarding equality between the spouses. The state shall seek to ease the appropriate conditions for marriage; to guarantee a suitable home for every family; and to provide a minimum wage sufficient to support the dignity of its members.

    In this article, the government explicitly uses the word “equality” (musāwāh) to define the role of spouses. Additional guarantees to equality are provided for all citizens in Article 1.22: “All citizens are equal in rights and responsibilities, and they are equal under the law.” Article 2.22 echoes this wording: “Citizens are equal in the rights and responsibilities under the law, without discrimination (tamyīz) in any form.”

  • Frantz Fanon and the Arab Uprisings: An Interview with Nigel Gibson
    http://www.jadaliyya.com/pages/index/6927/frantz-fanon-and-the-arab-uprisings_an-interview-w

    The Martiniquan intellectual was skeptical of revolutions from above, as was the case with several anti-colonialist movements in the Arab World. Interestingly, while the Arabic translation of the The Wretched of the Earth came out shortly after its publication in French, it omitted many passages because they were critical of the national bourgeoisie. Fifty years later, Fanon is almost absent in public discourses in the Middle East and is still marginal in the Maghreb. The uprisings should have been an excellent opportunity for Arab intellectuals and activists to engage with Fanon’s work on the revolution and the subaltern in the new conjuncture. However, despite the significance of his political philosophy for the current revolts, his books are either out of print or conspicuously absent from many bookstores in the Arab world.

  • Liban : manifestation contre d’humiliants tests d’homosexualité
    http://fr-ca.actualites.yahoo.com/liban-manifestation-contre-dhumiliants-tests-dhomosexualit%C

    Des dizaines de personnes ont manifesté samedi devant un tribunal de Beyrouth pour protester contre le recours à un « test » anal pour les hommes soupçonnés d’être homosexuels, une orientation sexuelle illégale dans ce petit pays arabe.

    Ce genre de dépêche est très largement repris partout, et notamment par des médias qui ne publient jamais aucune information pertinente concernant le Liban.

    Alors :
    – Non, l’« orientation sexuelle » elle-même n’est pas « illégale » ; le Liban reste un pays où la justice n’essaie pas de deviner ce qui se passe dans la tête des gens. Ce qui est illégal, ce sont les pratiques sexuelles elles-mêmes. C’est moche, mais ça n’est pas la même chose.
    – Pour le coup, il y a réellement le choc de découvrir la descente de police et la pratique inadmissible des tests (j’ai déjà référencé l’article du Akhbar sur le sujet). Mais ensuite, puisqu’on traite sous l’angle de l’« illégalité », il n’est jamais précisé dans ces dépêches si l’article indigne du code pénal libanais est réellement appliqué par les tribunaux. Je n’ai jamais vu de mention d’une telle condamnation ;
    – Les 36 hommes humiliés l’ont-ils été par les flics, ou ont-ils ensuite été déférés devant les tribunaux, et y a-t-il eu des condamnations ? Pas à ma connaissance.
    – C’est-à-dire qu’il faudrait nous expliquer clairement s’ils s’agit d’une dérive policière (certes inadmissible) relativement déconnectée d’une réalité judiciaire dans laquelle la loi 534 est, en pratique, obsolète et jamais appliquée, ou s’il y réellement des condamnations d’homosexuels au Liban. Je m’étonne toujours de voir que cette question n’est jamais abordée.

    Et enfin : la série d’articles suite aux « tests » décontextualisent tous le fait qu’il s’agit d’une descente de police (certes scandaleuse) effectuée à la suite d’un « reportage » dégueulasse, parfaitement homophobe, de la chaîne de télévision Murr TV, dénonçant ce cinéma au motif qu’il s’y passerait des actes sexuels « contre nature » (entraînant je ne sais quel responsable débile local de la police à procéder à une descente pour mettre fin à ce que le reportage présentait comme une insoutenable nuisance dans le quartier, et aux risques que l’endroit faisait soit-disant peser sur les jeunes garçons du quartier). C’est une chaîne du 14 Mars (c’est-à-dire de nos amis modernistes et pro-occidentaux), qui s’était déjà auparavant illustrée en diffusant un autre « reportage » dégueulasse totalement raciste contre les travailleurs immigrés. Et c’est surtout la seule chaîne de télévision du Liban qui a reçu le soutien (et la visite récente) de l’ambassadrice américaine, en soutien à son courageux combat dans le brisage de tabous (c’est-à-dire la promotion du racisme et de l’homophobie au Liban).

    (Précision : mes critiques portent sur le traitement médiatique, surtout dans des médias qui, d’ordinaire, ne parlent jamais du Liban : une information même anecdotique - ici une manifestation de quelques dizaines de personnes - sur l’homophobie arabe est toujours reprise largement, quand les dépêches sur l’homophobie en Israël semblent peu intéresser. La délectation occidentale pour l’homophobie arabe ressortant en creux du pink washing orientaliste en faveur d’Israël. Le combat des associations pour les droits des homosexuels au Liban, qui rejoint d’ailleurs souvent les mobilisations pour la citoyenneté et la laïcité, a évidemment toute ma sympathie.)

  • On Defections and Developments in Syria: PBS NewsHour Interview with Bassam Haddad and David Lesch
    http://www.jadaliyya.com/pages/index/6771/on-defections-and-developments-in-syria_pbs-newsho

    It’s also important to recognize that still at the top levels in the military and security apparatus, there are still some Sunnis. And in society, there are still large pockets, if not very large pockets, of support, not necessarily for the Assad regime, but for a prevention of a fall into the abyss.

    What a lot of the reporting I think has been ignoring, especially from the West, is that Syria is falling apart not just as a regime, but as a country. And that is actually the biggest tragedy that I think is being shoved aside, in favor of focusing on cliche-ish things such as dictatorship and democracy in a situation where even if the Assad regime falls we are looking at a very, very tough process of reconstructing the country.

    And certain parties benefit, and these are the parties we should actually look at, including conservative Arab states, some European states, and, of course, the United States.

  • Concerning the Gulf: The Emirates Crackdown
    http://www.jadaliyya.com/pages/index/6747/concerning-the-gulf_the-emirates-crackdown

    Most recently, the Saudi authorities arrested the Qatif-based cleric Nimr al-Nimr, shooting him in the leg and killing several people during the operation in the village of al-Awwamiyya. Interior Minister Prince Ahmed bin Abdulaziz said that al-Nimr is “the spreader of sedition” and “a man of dubious scholarship and dubious mental condition, and the issues he raises and speaks about show a deficiency or imbalance of the mind.” In the Kingdom, to champion democracy is a mental illness. Al-Nimr is not alone. The authorities have arrested Ra’if Badawi, editor of Free Saudi Liberals, and activists such as Mohammed al-Shakouri of Qatif, the hotbed of unrest. The Saudis cleverly use blasphemy laws to hit the democracy activists hard. The activists are “those who have gone astray” [al-fi’at al-dhallah], and it is the truncheon that is tasked with bringing them back to their senses.

  • My 50 Minutes with Manaf - Bassam Haddad
    http://www.jadaliyya.com/pages/index/6611/my-50-minutes-with-manaf

    Just a few years later, the unsavory actors of the world are amassed around Syria, calling for a “democracy” that will be obedient and not resistant on the regional stage, one that acquiesces in using the victimization of Syrians to perpetuate the victimization of others across the region. It did not have to be this way. And the only party that could have brought about a different kind of change is the party that had near total power. But that party failed to avert Syria’s present catastrophe, and brought so much more than itself crashing down — all because it would not risk one iota of privilege. By sharing just a little power, the regime might have avoided issuing an invitation to those who were waiting to destroy what Syria might have stood for in the region, as they did with Iraq. Now the true friends of Syria are in an impossible position: If we identify with the plight of Syrians under dictatorship, we are branded as imperialists. If we caution against uncritical support of the uprising for the reasons above, we are called regime apologists. We are all wrong, no matter what we say.

  • Syria Imperialistic Sins
    http://www.jadaliyya.com/pages/index/6516/imperialistic-sins

    In addition to rejecting humiliation, later slogans against Rami Makhlof, the financial giant and Bashar Al-Assad’s cousin, were no less significant. The Syrian regime did not wait for an American military intervention to implement its own version of “neoliberalism,” exactly as it did in implementing its own version of socialism. If imperialism is the driving force of neoliberalism, based on plundering national wealth for the interest of a small group of citizens and a handful of large companies, then the Syrian regime is guilty of this sin, even if it was for the interest of a handful of the Presidential court’s people.

    Cet article est intéressant à plus d’un titre. Il est écrit par Khalid Saghieh, l’ancien rédacteur en chef du quotidien de gauche Al-Akhbar . Ce quotidien, créé en 2006 par Joseph Samaha, s’est résolument placé du côté du Hezbollah dans la guerre de l’été 2006 et, plus généralement, de la résistance. Mais l’insurrection en Syrie a entraîné de profondes divergences au sein de la rédaction, amenant Saghieh à démissionner. Le texte reflète le clivage de la gauche libanaise et plus largement arabe sur les priorités de la lutte actuelle au Proche-Orient : est-ce que la chute du régime syrien ne va pas profiter aux Etats-Unis, aux pays du Golfe et à Israël ? Faut-il soutenir une insurrection soutenue par l’Arabie saoudite et les Frères musulmans ?

    Le Monde diplomatique reviendra, dans son numéro d’août, sur ce débat qui traverse la gauche arabe.

    • Curieusement, Saghieh semble continuer à écrire comme si le débat opposait « simplement » les pro-régime aux anti-régime. L’impression d’en être resté à l’année dernière. Lui représentant une sorte de pureté idéologique (de la même façon que Max Blumenthal claquait la porte du Akhbar récemment), face à ses anciens amis trop tolérants et laissant s’exprimer dans leurs colonnes des chroniqueurs trop alignés avec la paranoïa du régime.

      Cependant, de plus en plus, le Akhbar (et le débat plus général) semble plutôt représentatif de la « troisième voie » (third wayers) : ni l’opposition armée soutenue par les impérialistes, ni le régime autoritaire baasiste.

      Et en la matière, j’ai du mal à comprendre comment se positionne Saghieh, auteur de ce ce texte court et simples, par rapport à la longue interview de Haytham Manna sur le même site (Jadaliyya). Lequel clairement a toujours dénoncé le régime et demandé sa chute, mais jamais au prix de la destruction de l’État syrien :
      http://seenthis.net/messages/77903
      Et en particulier : pas de recours à la violence armée par l’opposition favorisée par le CNS et financée par les séoudiens et le Qatar, ni même (ce qui peut étonner) l’effondrement économique total du pays, deux faits dont il pense qu’ils éloignent du but de la révolution en radicalisant les syriens. Or, c’est cette position qu’exprime le plus souvent le Akhbar (tout en revendiquant le besoin d’intégrer tous les points de vue).

      Est-ce que la promotion et la sympathie désormais affichée pour les « third-wayers » est une manœuvre de rattrapage pour une partie des pro-régime qui cherchent à limiter les dégâts, je l’ignore. Mais ce que raconte Saghieh semble totalement occulter cette position, qui est centrale désormais dans le Akhbar. Voir par exemple la réponse suite au départ de Blumenthal :
      http://english.al-akhbar.com/content/al-akhbar-and-syria-no-room-silence

      L’autre point aveugle de son billet, c’est l’histoire des gauchistes libanais, qui ont quand même largement espéré de la guerre libanaise de 1975, pensant mener la révolution contre le féodalisme libanais, avant de se rendre compte (certains dès 1978) qu’ils avaient en réalité tout perdu dans le déclenchement d’une guerre devenue milicienne et confessionnelle. D’anciens gauchistes libanais ont décrit les espoirs de leur camp au déclenchement de la guerre, qui finalement aura favorisé la réaction et la transition du féodalisme au confessionnalisme soutenant le néolibéralisme (lire Charbel Nahas sur l’idéologie de la reconstruction). Du coup, quand il dénonce « un terrible échec moral », il parle de mouvements qui ont lourdement payé un certaine naïveté morale dans les années 70 : l’idée de démarrer une guerre civile en Syrie au motif qu’on est dans son bon droit, pour quelqu’un qui a milité au début des années 70 au Liban, ça ne doit pas être totalement évident.

      Bref, par rapport au choc intellectuel qu’a dû représenter sa rupture avec le Akhbar, je trouve son texte pas bien éclairant.

  • Asad Apologists: The Ostrich Syndrome
    http://www.jadaliyya.com/pages/index/6383/asad-apologists_the-ostrich-syndrome

    The debate surrounding Syria has stooped very low among self-identified leftists and anti-imperialists. It is high time the discussion moves away from personal attacks, and focuses instead on presenting specific arguments and developing clearer political positions. No group has been as pilloried by all sides as much as that which has come to be labeled “the third way,” composed of those who are simultaneously opposed to foreign intervention (cheered for by major opposition forces) and the Asad regime. Apologists for the Asad regime, or what have become labeled as “first wayers,” will go to great lengths to discredit third-way politics. This essay serves as a rebuttal of apologist arguments. In doing so, the hope is not merely to expose the fallacies of first-way rhetoric, but to also elaborate what a third way might actually mean or entail. The latter is something that has yet to be fully expounded in terms of its principles and consequences.

    In their attempt to distort and discredit third-way politics, most first wayers identify the essence of the Asad regime as anti-imperialist, when in reality it is ultranationalist with an anti-Zionist silver lining—a thick lining one might still argue. Sometimes, they invoke Lenin’s critique of third-way politics, with little accompanying class analysis. However, a more apt analogy would be the non-aligned movement of the Cold War era. Apologists will confuse the lack of political power (i.e., the power of decision-making) with a lack of political position (i.e., a practical political agenda or plan), and draw a caricature of who is a third wayer as a criticism of last resort.

  • The Current Impasse in Syria: Interview with Haytham Manna (Jadaliya)
    http://www.jadaliyya.com/pages/index/6245/the-current-impasse-in-syria_interview-with-haytha

    On 27 April 2012, around the Jadaliyya Co-Sponsored Conference at Lund University ("Contesting Narratives, Location Power"), I sat down for an extensive interview with Haytham Manna`, one of the icons of the independent Syrian opposition and a leading founder of the National Coordinating Body for Democratic Change (in Syria). The interview was long and candid, and addressed several topics, including the current impasse in Syria, the stages and transformation of the uprising, the questions of international intervention and of resistance, the Syrian National Council and its relations with other opposition groups and the Arab Gulf States and beyond, and the relationship between Syria and Hizballah. (...) Source: Jadaliya

  • À lire absolument: la traduction de l’interview de Haytham Manna‘ sur Jadaliyya: The Current Impasse in Syria: Interview with Haytham Manna’
    http://www.jadaliyya.com/pages/index/6245/the-current-impasse-in-syria_interview-with-haytha

    The mobilization began in Dar’a, and I always say that it started neither in Istanbul nor in Doha. It started in Dar’a, in the Syrian cities, and in the Syrian regions. Therefore, when it began, it had two key phrases that were clear to all of its followers: It was against “corruption” and against “authoritarianism.” In every protest, we see that the two slogans are interrelated. We see a condemnation of corruption and a condemnation of repression. “Death rather than oppression” was the political expression. But “Rami the thief” was also the expression. There was the political bloodletting that was a function of the elimination of basic freedoms, basic rights, and the concept of citizenship. There was also the economic bloodletting that was the result of the massive corruption that was ongoing. These two processes were obvious to the Syrian youth.

    Outside of Syria, the message is not the same. When someone is on Facebook in Saudi Arabia, he cannot speak of issues that highlight the numerous million dollar deals made in Saudi Arabia by speaking about a system of corruption. Many of the businessmen that fund the conferences of the [external] opposition were partners with Rami Makhlouf and disagreed over [business] deals. Therefore, the divide between the internal discourse and the external discourse is being narrowed. The citizen begins to feel that there is something missing, because the citizen is not just speaking about the fall of an authoritarian regime, but also of a corrupt economic system for which the citizen is paying the price.

    • C’est vraiment passionnant :

      If you want to ask the Syrian citizen to do everything necessary to survive (i.e., obtain bread, water, electricity, and kerosene) and at the same time make the revolution, we do not need an economic crisis for people to come out into the street. The theory of economic crisis is thus being mobilized against the revolution. This is because people are within a social mobilization and not ousted from it. For people to be able to come home to some comfort and return [into the streets] anew the next day, they need to be able to find the bare minimum means for living. This is why we were against the notion of an economic crisis that would somehow accomplish the task of the revolution. Economic crisis would do the opposite, as it would limit the stamina of the majority of mobilized people.. This majority would no longer have the energy to do what we ask of it: to secure its necessities, to meet the challenges it faces, and to sustain mass-based mobilization within the context of a political, economic, social, and military siege. In the face of all of this it would not be possible for the revolution to maintain itself. A revolution is not reactionary, nor is it vengeful. We cannot kill a soldier simply because the regime killed three of our family members, one through torture, and the other two during protests. So we do not descend into such a situation, we need to provide the minimum capacity to breathe. This is why the theory of economic crisis is, in reality, a theory of extremism.

      We face two dangers: the first is the exacerbation of the economic crisis, and the second is that of violence. If they combine, then the revolution is dead. For thirteen months, violence has been escalating. That is why we said we wanted Kofi Annan, and when we were asked about Kofi Annan we said, “cease fire.” We need to stop the violence to resume the political discourse. We need to once again consider the political solution. During such a political solution, you can have a discussion with everything on the table. Such a discussion should first be held amongst the various sides of the opposition and then with the regime. This is so as to reach a solution with the least amount of losses. The losses we have endured thus far have been immense, and Syria cannot sustain any more. We need to know how to stop paying a human and material cost that is greater than the human and natural capacity of Syria.

  • “Up Front” Interview with Jadaliyya Co-Editor Bassam Haddad on Current Developments in Syria
    This interview was conducted with Jadaliyya Co-Editor Bassam Haddad by Brian Edwards-Tiekert of KPFA’s “Up Front.” The interview discusses the staying power of Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria, and why the regime’s days may be numbered; the ineffective cease-fire plan of Kofi Annan; what a post-regime Syria might look like; and the increase in violence between uprising forces and the regime.

    Click below to listen. The interview runs from 9:00 to 18:00 minutes

    http://www.jadaliyya.com/pages/index/5930/up-front-interview-with-jadaliyya-co-editor-bassam

  • De @alaingresh // The Idiot’s Guide to Fighting Dictatorship in Syria While Opposing Military Intervention
    http://www.jadaliyya.com/pages/index/4065/the-idiots-guide-to-fighting-dictatorship-in-syria

    Writing this in Beirut is apt, where there is a deep polarization between those who would die for the Syrian regime and those who just want it to die, at any cost. Those who do not support either position “as is” are dubbed cowards and opportunists by both sides, as well as by the pro-Saudi camp. Outside the Arab context, pro-Israel commentators do not like the nuanced position herein, because it puts Israel and the United States in a bad light. Good company. The author does NOT assume this is the best rendition of a nuanced position: just one of them.]

  • UN Committee 2012 Session Concludes Israeli System Tantamount to Apartheid
    http://www.jadaliyya.com/pages/index/5588/un-committee-2012-session-concludes-israeli-system

    Between mid-February and early March 2012, the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination held its 80th session, in which it evaluated the compliance of several states with the 1966 International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD). Among these states was Israel, which became a party to the Convention in 1979. The Committee’s concluding observations and recommendations are notable because they establish that Israel’s policies in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) are tantamount to Apartheid, and additionally determine that many state policies within Israel also violate the prohibition on Apartheid as enshrined in Article 3 of the Convention.

  • Egypt’s Presidential Election: Meet the Contenders
    http://www.jadaliyya.com/pages/index/5604/egypts-presidential-election_meet-the-contenders

    Egypt’s first presidential election after the ouster of Hosni Mubarak is scheduled to take place on 23 and 24 May 2012, with a possible run-off race on 16 and 17 June 2012. The following guide to the presidential candidates is based on a series of articles published by Egypt Independent. For more information on prominent presidential candidates, click on any of the names below.
    – Abdel Moneim Abouel Fotouh
    – Khaled Ali
    – Selim al-Awa
    – Hesham al-Bastawisi
    – Abul Ezz al-Hariry
    – Mohamed Morsy
    – Amr Moussa
    – Hamdeen Sabbahi
    – Ahmed Shafiq

  • On Syria and Its Neighbors: Jadaliyya Co-Editor Bassam Haddad Featured in CNN Panel Column
    http://www.jadaliyya.com/pages/index/5575/on-syria-and-its-neighbors_jadaliyya-co-editor-bas

    The Syrian situation is complex like any other uprising, but the situation has added complexity because it is at the juncture of several conflicts in the region. Those struggles involve local, regional, and international power plays that make the situation a lot more charged.

    For instance, we have Syria at the center of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Syria is part of an axis, so to speak, with Iran, Syria and Hezbollah, confronting imperialism in various forms from inside and outside the region, particularly in relation to U.S. domination and Israel’s occupations and belligerence.

    There is also resistance to the conservative Arab camp that includes Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and other conservative countries that are usually allies with the United States.

    Also, Syria is, in many ways, the guarantor of stability in Lebanon. Syria’s presence in Lebanon has guaranteed some stability despite many violations of Lebanon’s sovereignty by Syria.

    For all these reasons, Syria’s position in the region is pivotal. This is not simply another uprising against a dictator. It is also being transformed by other players into an effort to redraw the political map of the region and curtail further protests elsewhere.

  • Haytham Manna’ dans Jadaliyya :
    http://www.jadaliyya.com/pages/index/4957/arabic

    لقد أصبح السؤال: إلى أين نحن ذاهبون؟ سؤالاً مشروعاً. فالثورة ليست جواز سفر لإعادة انتاج القمع والعسف والتعذيب والكذب، بل قلعة منيعة في وجه استمرارها، ولا يمكن الحديث عن ثورة ومذهبية أو طائفية في الوقت نفسه، أو الحديث عن المقاومة المدنية وتحطيم آليات ثقيلة للجيش..