Top Arab Spring Stories Today

Yemeni security forces killed 24 protesters on Sunday as the conflict between partisans of wounded president Ali Abdullah Saleh and his detractors escalated. Anti-Saleh protesters in Sanaa are taking their demonstrations to new neighborhoods, and are meeting sniper fire from security forces. On Saturday, thousands of protesters headed toward the university campus in the capital.

Leaks suggest that Egypt’s Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) will set elections for the lower house of the Egyptian parliament to begin on November 21. There will be three rounds, ending in January 2011. Then elections for the upper house will be held. Democracy activists had been worried that the SCAF was getting too attached to power and worried about the vagueness of proposed election dates.

Demonstrations continued this weekend in Syria, despite security forces raids on neighborhoods of Deraa and Hama. Four persons injured by security forces died on Sunday. The opposition selected a council on Saturday, though it is not the only claimant to being an alternative voice to that of the regime. Syrian protesters continued to reject the idea of foreign military intervention in their country.

In Libya, the emerging new order continued to face challenges. The Transitional National Council tried and failed to appoint a new cabinet on Saturday because consensus could not be achieved. Meanwhile, fighting in the cities of Sirte and Bani Walid seesawed.

Thousands of protesters came out in Bahrain on Saturday and there was substantial unrest in Shiite villages in the rural areas of the main island, as demonstrators rebuked the Sunni monarchy for the death in suspicious circumstances of a protester last week.

Five Tunisians trying to commit suicide were rescued by crowds, after the former tried and failed to get jobs as teachers in the rural southwest. Tunisia’s revolution, which inspired the rest of the Arab Spring, began with the suicide of Mohammad BuAzizi, who was reduced to selling vegetables from a carte despite being educated. The turmoil in Tunisia has hurt the country’s economy, ironically if very many of last winter’s protesters were complaining about lack of jobs. Tourism is way off, and even factory production is down.

7 Responses

  1. There appears to be a difference between Tunisia and America, in America the crowds would have encouraged the five Tunisians on in their attempt to end their lives, as this has happened before many times in our country. America appears to be becoming a broken nation, with an emotionally removed population compromised with people intent in taking advantage of others for their own amusement.

    We are a nation which embraces dishonesty as cleverness and intelligence.

    • @Debbie. I think that stems from the capitalist system. America was built on greed and every man for himself. I think that’s why there’s such an aversion to health care and other aspects of the social safety net. Strange that a “Christian” nation could be so cold. I began to lose respect for the “average American” back when that guy had the “talk show” with all the fist fights and cursing. People seemed not to care that they were airing their worst side on national television just to get on national television, AND, there was an audience for them. I think its the beginning of the end for a culture when that kind of thing is considered entertainment. A bit like “The O’Riley Factor”

      • The mob reaction to suicide is probably more of a rural versus urban thing. In rural societies, someone attempting suicide probably has relatives that you know. In cities, everyone’s a stranger. The cliche of New Yorkers encouraging people to jump off of ledges goes back a long way.

        On the other hand, I don’t expect that a crowd in the city of Tunis would actively be cheering on someone to jump. There are issues of alienation and projected hostility to consider in America’s case.

        • The encouraging of people in distress to harm themselves has happened in several American cities. Not long ago in San Francisco.

          Our American families have broken down, even in rural communities. In America it is not only hostility, but for amusement, many of our people seem to feel life is a video game.

      • @Yusuf, I agree I puzzle over the aversion to a safety net for our nations people. Many now, are even willing to throw our elderly out into the streets and seem to feel people in difficult straights are there due to their own actions, not seeing it can be the actions of others which put them in a tenuous situation.

        I struggle with our view of our nation sometimes. Reading history on early settlers in America, they traveled, moved and settled with their community. German’s moved into new territory with their community, the Irish and Scottish did the same, and later other ethnic communities stayed close to one another. They look care of their community members and took in orphaned children into their homes.

        Stores and business were run by people in the community for the most part, not an invisible corporation. The early settlers didn’t like the Virginia Company and rebelled against it, and didn’t like British soldiers sent to stay in their homes.

        People do not seem to have an overall sense of community in America, unless they are bound by corruption and some kind of exploitive behavior. Our nation has sunk to the lowest types of behaviors, instead of striving to be better people.

  2. Re Egypt : Three rounds to elect a lower house; the more rounds of voting. the more opportunity for corruption. Why not use the alternate or better yet full preferential voting method.

    You don’t need voting machines. Australia started using preferential voting in its local, state & federal elections in the 19th century. A few voting machines are provided to be used by people with disabilities, the rest use pencil and paper. There are some moves towards using the internet.

    Re Libya : The issue of anti-Qadaffi detaining, killing and raping black Africans was reported at the beginning of the month in Salon.com. Antiwar.org etc. It’s now being reported by the BBC link to bbc.co.uk.

    And the 30,000 to 50,000 deaths put down to Qadaffi forces is now under question – link to nytimes.com

  3. Regarding Libya, as far as I’m concerned, the more political problems like this that the NTC has, the better. It’s when there are no problems as such that you have to start worrying. The problems, the conflict, the haggling, they’re all part of an overall process. And process is good when you’re creating a new political environment.

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