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Showing posts from July, 2013

¿Pueden trazarse paralelismos entre el conflicto sirio y la guerra civil española?

A la hora de abordar el debate sobre los pros y contras de una intervención extranjera en Siria, no son pocos los que han encontrado paralelismos entre la situación siria y el dilema al que se enfrentaron varias potencias occidentales ante la Guerra Civil española.  George Orwell  señaló que “ el resultado de la guerra de España se decidió fuera del país y al cabo de un año, cualquier observador realista sabía que el gobierno democrático no podía ganar a menos que hubiera un cambio radical en la situación europea ”. El panorama era complicado: por un lado la mayoría de estados se aferraban a la necesidad de apaciguar a la Alemania de Hitler, y por otro tenían sentimientos encontrados hacia las fuerzas comunistas. ¿Será Alepo la nueva Guernica? / Flickr: Hersson Piratoba

Tamarrud all around

Tamarrud (rebel yourself in Arabic), Egypt's most famous protest movement , the one that sparked the 30 June huge demonstrations that ultimately ousted Mohammed Morsi, has inspired several copycats in brethren countries. Which ones? The ones who already went through their (successful or not) "Arab Springs".

Hey now, hey now. Don´t dream it´s over?

You know I'm not the pessimistic kind of person, but the opposite. Nonetheless, every time I take a glance at what is happening in Syria, I am increasingly disheartened. For months the conflict has been dragging on, with hundreds killed each day and thousands fleeing towards neighboring countries (or worse still, returning to Syria out of desperation at the sight of the outrageous conditions the gigantic refugee camps put them in). Let's not forget about the xenophobic feeling towards Syrians citizens that is mounting throughout the region, particularly in Lebanon and Jordan, tiny countries truly incapable of giving shelter and providing staples to the ravaged families that get to their countries. Xenophobia out of sectarian hatred, xenophobia out of fear of spillover, xenophobic out of anger at what they consider is putting stability of the whole region under threat. People talk about a lost generation in Europe. Try figuring the future of a generation whose children cannot g

Egypt up close and personal

It's no wonder Egypt impresses each and every visitor it always welcomes with open arms and heart, accompanied with the biggest sincere smile you will ever see. But it's not only about History, camels, souks, mystery, mummies, veils and Bedouins. Egypt and, above all, its capital, is much more, something pretty indescriptible. Something that gets you and never let you go. Something you feel deep in your bones. Something only people like my dear friend Maria (remember her name, you'll thank me later!) can try to explain. Read it (use Google Translate, you won't regret it) and try not to cry if you have been there. If not, you'll understand why we, adoptive Cairotes, miss it so much. 

Israeli settlers: patriots or criminals?

One of the major obstacles that stand in the road to peace between Palestinians and Israelis is the issue of Israeli settlements, colonies built in a territory that, according to Resolution 181 adopted in 1947 by the UN General Assembly and subsequent texts belongs to a (painfully still inexistent) Palestinian state. According to estimates, today about half a million Jews live as settlers in the more than 140 illegal settlements (so declared by the International Court of Justice) set up by Israel in East Jerusalem and the West Bank.

Egypt's failure

Today I found what is, in my opinion, one of the best articles on Egypt today . Thanks, Ursula Lindsey!

Intervention in Syria: should we follow the lessons of the Spanish civil war?

In addressing the debate on the pros and cons of foreign intervention in Syria, there are many parallels that might be found between the Syrian situation and the dilemma faced several Western powers before the Spanish Civil War. George Orwell said that " the outcome of the war in Spain was decided outside of the country and one year afterwards, any realistic observer knew that the democratic government would not be able to win unless there was a radical change in the European situation. " The picture was complicated: firstly most states clung to the need to appease Hitler's Germany, and at the same time, many had mixed feelings regarding the communist forces. Paradoxically, the ultimate goal was to avoid a general war in Europe with, like the Spanish war and the Syrian conflict, deeply ideological roots. The position of the international community in the conflict was finally based on the non-intervention principle, but this postulate was openly mocked by Nazi Germany

Help Syria now

This is a great article justifying why the international community should stop hesitating and has to effectively intervene right now. " There are no two equal evils in Syria [...] There is a fascist regime that has already killed more than 100,000 of its own people, on one hand, and a diverse umbrella of revolutionaries, of which some had been radicalised due to the longevity of the conflict and the weakening resistance of Syrian society towards radicalism ".

Inspiration in pictures

¿Cuáles son los pilares de la resiliencia del régimen sirio?

Resulta extremadamente difícil, hoy en día, encontrar a alguien sobre la faz de la tierra que se atreva a afirmar que la guerra en Siria aún no ha estallado. En ocasiones se habla de conflicto, a veces se utiliza el termino “lucha armada”, pero, eufemismos a un lado, parece hoy indudable que lo que comenzó como un mero levantamiento de una gran mayoría de la población que públicamente demandaba mayores libertades y derechos  y, sobre todo, la posibilidad de participar en la configuración de su país hasta el momento dominada por una monolítica élite  (en un principio, el objetivo no era derrocar el régimen autoritario de Assad), ha ido progresivamente tomando tintes de conflicto sectarios, con características tanto religiosas como incluso étnicas.

Potato, potahto, tomato, tomahto. Let's call the whole thing off.

I promised myself (and some friends) I would not comment on the situation. As always, much more prepared people on the ground were going to take charge of dissecting what just happened and what could happen in Egypt. But I casually found the perfect title for the post and decided to write a short post, mainly highlighting what I´ve been reading these last hours. Many people are still wonder whether we can label the events of July 3rd. The main labels, representing the two mainstreams of the opinionionators call for using the words revolution or coup, others in the middle believe it is possible to mix both notions, thus giving birth to strange expressions such as "coupolution" and "coup-ception". Arabic speakers, on their part, tend to use the word "inqilabution" (inqilab is the Arabic word for coup). Then comes the difficult choice of a suitable epithet: military coup? popular coup? military revolution? These digressions even sparked the creation of th

Split into two

Yesterday I was watching the news (I spent the whole day glued to a screen, as nearly everybody sharing my love for Egypt) on a Belgian TV-channel and they happened to interview a pro-Morsi supporter from a tiny town in Southern Egypt who very clearly explained why he was ready to give up his life: for the sake of Egypt´s Islamic identity, the only identity the country has had and should have, nowadays courageously upheld by the Brotherhood. Even though one year ago Morsi pledged to be the President of all Egyptians. The surprisingly soapbox orator was bluntly revealing what is nowadays the most serious problem the historic country faces: a tale of two Egypts. My flatmate shocked me when he asked if I believed Egypt was on the verge of civil war. I instantly reacted (well, I indignantly jumped up) and pretentiously affirmed that Egypt was no Syria, that Egypt was a millennium-old country (not a country created out of the blue by former colonial powers) whose population is characteris

On settlers in Palestine

Great account on Al-Monitor about the dilemma certain Israeli settlers face. "A military-political earthquake shook the land, at the height of which the settlers became the spearhead of Israeli national policy, both in the domestic arena and on the international front. [...] the "big bang" occurred immediately following the 1967 Six-Day War. [...] In those days of burning messianic fervor, Stern found himself in the minority among his friends. Only a few remained behind, while a surging wave of ecstatic religious youths, driven by intoxicating mystical passion, rushed to settle in the "promised land." As a child raised on the ideal of the sanctity of the land of Israel, Stern found himself in a dilemma. He had to make up his mind which side to take, now that the Greater Land of Israel was under Israeli control".

Bipolar Tahrir

This is an incredibly moving first-hand experience of what is currently going on in Tahrir. These lines have been written by a dear friend of mine, Alexandre Goudineau, who is successfully making his way as one promising journalist and writes for former Egypt Independent/ Mada Masr . It´s thanks to account like this that we outsiders get a glimpse of what Egyptians are going through. Thanks again, maestro! "I had a very strange day yesterday and I felt necessary to write a piece on it. Dedicated to all those who stand for their ideals, who risk their life to save their country. Anti-harassment groups are the only organizations working on the ground and trying to preserve the dignity and the security of the demonstrators. Join them, help them if you can. I had decided not to go to Tahrir today. I do... not have to cover the event and I believe foreigners' presence in such event can potentially do more harm than good. Following the news through the Internet, ever