Stories from Quick Reads and Syria
On August 21, Mexican cartoonist Francisco Calderón raised controversy after publishing on his daily cartoon section on Grupo Reforma, an image depicting president Enrique Peña Nieto wearing an orange jumpsuit and kneeling down in front of a masked executioner. The image is a clear reference to the brutal murder of reporter James Foley in Syria, on August 19, by the jihadist group Islamic State that was later published on video as a warning to the United States.
Jueves 21 de agosto de 2014 LA ENTREVISTA QUE HUBIERA SATISFECHO A LOS TERNURITAS: pic.twitter.com/xFOiml9mqt
— PacoCalderónCartones (@CartonCalderon) agosto 21, 2014
Thursday August 21, 2014 THE INTERVIEW THE ALL THE TERNURITAS WOULD'VE LOVED.
The title of the cartoon plays with the idea that an execution like the suffered by Foley would have been the kind of “interview” the “ternuritas” (cuties) would've loved. Ternurita is the name some people use for Peña Nieto government opponents.
Some Twitter users reacted to the cartoon:
— Juan, el gato nerd. (@emejuan) agosto 21, 2014
Your cartoon is a total disrespect to the life of James Foley. Let's hope it's just your ignorance.
@CartonCalderon Porque cuestionar con firmeza es lo mismo que degollar ¿Verdad monero de la derecha?
— Guillo (@GuillodeClio) agosto 21, 2014
Because being firm when questioning is the same thing that beheading. Right, right winger cartoonist?
— Septimus Heap (@3Septimus) agosto 21, 2014
It's a shame that Francisco Calderon makes a cartoon with a beheading. Will he make one about dead children in Gaza?
Sólo México reúne la dosis necesaria de insensibilidad e hijoputez para burlarse de la muerte de James Foley pic.twitter.com/VruWNaRdTT
— Osiris Jasso (@typgrph) agosto 24, 2014
Only Mexico can gather the necessary dose of insensitivity and numbskullness to make fun of James Foley's death.
A day after a tiny news items titled, “Saudi Arabia ‘seeking Pakistani arms for Syrian rebels” appeared in Pakistani newspapers, political blogger Ahsan Butt posts a provocative piece warning Pakistan's foreign policymakers against tiptoeing into Syria's affairs.
In “This is not our war (Syria Edition)” on the Five Rupees Blog, Ahsan writes:
What Pakistan is doing vis-a-vis Syria is one of the dumbest things Pakistan has done in a long time, and that’s really saying something. The Syrian civil war, tragic as it is, has nothing to do with Pakistan. Pakistan has no interests in that conflict. None.
Saudi Arabia is in talks with Pakistan to provide Pakistan-made anti-aircraft and anti-tank rockets. Ahsan warns:
Is it wise and advisable to wade into a sectarian civil war two thousand miles away?[...]
Just examine the trajectory of sectarian violence over the last decade.
He explains that any interference in Syria will force the Pakistani state to pay attention to rising sectarian violence in the country:
What are the possible ramifications for such a policy on sectarian violence in Pakistan? Is it likely to exacerbate and make more deadly sectarian cleavages or the opposite?
Ahsan lists four more provocative questions which you can read here.
“Why did you kill my son?” yells Fatima Khan, the grieving mother of British doctor Abbas Khan who was killed in Syria, at regime officials who were in Geneva for peace talks aimed at ending the country's civil war. Dr Khan had traveled to Syria to provide humanitarian aid in Aleppo, and according to his mother, was killed because “he entered Syria illegally.”
Zaid Benjamin shares on Twitter a photograph of the first car in Syria with the Islamic Caliphate state registration plates:
— Zaid Benjamin (@zaidbenjamin) December 28, 2013
The number plates are operated by the Islamic State of Syria and Iraq.
Syrian activists are now able to access an online archive which lists tactics for resisting tyranny and peaceful ways to revolt.
محاولة لتقديم بعض الأساليب والتكتيكات التي استخدمها وما زال يستخدمها نشطاء سوريا في كفاحهم السلمي.
حاولنا قدر الامكان أرشفة هذه التحركات لتقديمها للسوريين وغيرهم على شكل دليل للحراك الثوري في سوريا.
لربما يلهم هذا الكتيب البعض على إنتاج المزيد من تجارب الأرشفة للحراك السلمي في سوريا ويزود الناشطات والناشطين بأساليب خلاقة في كفاحهم ضد الطغيان.
attempt to provide a number of methods and tactics which were used and are still being used by activists in Syria as part of their peaceful resistance.
We have tried, as much as possible, to archive these movements to present them to Syrians and others, as a guide to the revolutionary movement in Syria.
This series may perhaps inspire some of you to produce more archives for the peaceful movement in Syria, which will provide activists with creative methods to resist tyranny.
A video by WITNESS on the Human Rights Channel of YouTube wrapped up some of the most significant protests and human rights abuses of 2013. Dozens of clips shot by citizens worldwide are edited together to show efforts to withstand injustice and oppression, from Sudan to Saudi Arabia, Cambodia to Brazil.
A post on the WITNESS blog by Madeleine Bair from December 2013, celebrates the power of citizen activism using new technologies including video, while readers are reminded that the difficulty of verification and establishing authenticity remains a big obstacle.
“Citizen footage can and is throwing a spotlight on otherwise inaccessible places such as prisons, war zones, and homes,” says Bair. “But given the uncertainties inherent in such footage, reporters and investigators must use it with caution.”
Islamist Jihadists are online.
Lebanese blogger – and occasional satirist – Karl Sharro tweets:
I honestly sometimes can't tell anymore if I'm watching news from Syria or a period drama from early Islamic history.
— Karl Sharro (@KarlreMarks) December 16, 2013
Syrian Noor Al Ali replies:
@KarlreMarks Have you come across Jihadist tweets? Same thought occurred to me the other day after stumbling into that dark side of Twitter.
— نور العلي (@NoorAlAli) December 16, 2013
And Sharro responds:
@NoorAlAli I have indeed, and it's dark, pretty dark.
— Karl Sharro (@KarlreMarks) December 16, 2013
Five Arab countries have been named among the top 10 most corrupt countries, according to Transparency International's newly released annual Corruption Perceptions Index.
Egyptian Amro Ali reacts:
Congrats Syria, Iraq, Libya, Somalia & Sudan – 5 Arab states top most corrupt list http://t.co/7rsD6xErlA Egypt needed a break from rankings
— Amro Ali (@_amroali) December 3, 2013
And Sudanese Usamah Mohamed comments:
Iraq is occupied. Syria & Somalia are in civil war. Libya just revolted against the 41-year-old tyranny that mismanaged it. Sudan? #prt
— Usamah Mohamed أسامة (@simsimt) December 3, 2013