September 27 – October 1, 2010

Yemen’s Children of War: Tomorrow’s Fighters? Time (29/09/2010)

A six-year-long war in northern Yemen has created a generation of children who know of no other way of life except war. These displaced children who have witnessed horrors are often really violent. Other problems are related child labor and trafficking, exposure to land mines and unexploded ordnance, and the use of child soldiers. And as the young boys leave to fight, the young girls are being married off. Even in Yemen’s peaceful regions, child marriage is widespread, particularly in rural areas, where poor parents see marriage as financial security for their children. Some girls are married off as young as 8.

El Baradei and the Mobilization of the Egyptian Diaspora Arab Reform Bulletin (29/09/2010)

The Egyptian diaspora, estimated at between 3 and 8 million worldwide, has until now not been a factor in Egyptian domestic politics. El Baradei and his National Assembly for Change (NAC) entered the fray earlier this year with their efforts to mobilize and rally a divided diaspora through conferences in the US and the UK. Authorising Expatriates to vote is one of the seven demands made by El Baradei and the petition already received almost 1 million signatures.  The expatriate voting proposal is important not only because it has mobilized diaspora Egyptians, but because it potentially could have a significant impact on elections were it to be adopted. Indeed, There would be no Central Security Forces on the streets of London, Washington, or Montreal to block the entrance of the consulates, intimidate voters, arrest activists, and harass journalists who report on violations.

Web Tastes Freedom Inside Syria, and It’s Bitter The New York Times(29/09/2010)

Arab countries regularly jail journalists or bloggers who express dissident views, but Syria may be the most restrictive of all. Most of the Syrian media is still owned by the state. Privately owned media outlets became legal in 2001, as the socialist economy slowly began to liberalize following the accession of President Bashar al-Assad, but much of the sector is owned by members of the Syrian “oligarchy” — relatives of Mr. Assad and other top government officials. All of it is subject to intimidation and heavy-handed control.

Nostalgia for Egypt’s Nasser The Guardian (30/09/2010)

The fortieth anniversary of Gamal Abdel Nasser’s death has brought renewed speculation about the cause of his death, as well as a deep sense of nostalgia for the lost values he represented and advocated, such as the abolition of inherited privilege and the fair redistribution of national wealth. Despite all the acknowledged failings of the Nasser regime, Nasser embodied a dream that resonated, and still resonates, not only in his country but way beyond its boundaries. As the so-called popular campaign for the election of Gamal Hosni Mubarak as president gathers momentum, filling the streets with posters of Mubarak’s son, the Nasser era is remembered with a great sense of nostalgia.

And if we take an interest in women’s fate (Et si l’on s’intéressait un peu au sort des femmesCourrier International (30/09/2010)

The conflict between Sunnis and Shiites continues to take alarming proportions in some countries. The insult to Aisha, the wife of Mohammed, a Shiite cleric has almost set fire to the powder. One would have to seize this opportunity to draw attention to the plight of contemporary Aisha, instead of preparing attacks and bombings. The author wonders why Muslims do not they interested in the phenomenon of « tourism marital » or arranged marriages with underage girls, or the plight of divorced women and their children? Instead of defending the millions of women in the Muslim world who live in absolute poverty and suffer injustice, they respond to the question of the veil in Britain, Germany, New York or Paris.