Ghaith Abdul-Ahad released from Libyan prison after Turkish government and foreign ministry joined negotiations
The Turkish government played a role in helping free the Guardian journalist Ghaith Abdul-Ahad from prison in Libya, it has been disclosed.
The New York Times has received second-hand reports that 4 of its journalists have been “swept up by Libyan government forces” from Ajdabiya. The reports remain unconfirmed, however. The missing journalists are photographers Tyler Hicks and Lynsey Addario, reporter and videographer Stephen Farrell and Anthony Shadid, Beirut bureau chief and Pulitzer Prize winner.
Syria’s day of rage was originally scheduled for February 5, but no protesters showed up. On February 15, we reported the arrest of a teen blogger and speculated that the patience of the Syrian people which president Bashar al-Assad was assured would protect his country from protests may soon wear thin. On February 18, we asked, Did Syria run out of patience? as a protest broke out over the beating of a man by police. Since then it has become clear that Syrians have reached a slow boil. This time, on the announced protest day of March 15, Syria was unmistakeably in the streets of Damascus and Aleppo. The facebook page has announced another protest tomorrow, beginning at 12 noon, in all Syrian cities. Reuters announced 40 protesters, but the videos below show far more.
By Rashid Khalidi, The Nation, March 21, 2011 and Institute for Palestine Studies, March 3, 2011
Suddenly, to be an Arab has become a good thing. People all over the Arab world feel a sense of pride in shaking off decades of cowed passivity under dictatorships that ruled with no deference to popular wishes. And it has become respectable in the West as well. Egypt is now thought of as an exciting and progressive place; its people?s expressions of solidarity are welcomed by demonstrators in Madison, Wisconsin; and its bright young activists are seen as models for a new kind of twenty-first-century mobilization. Events in the Arab world are being covered by the Western media more extensively than ever before and are being talked about positively in a fashion that is unprecedented. Before, when anything Muslim or Middle Eastern or Arab was reported on, it was almost always with a heavy negative connotation. Now, during this Arab spring, this has ceased to be the case. An area that was a byword for political stagnation is witnessing a rapid transformation that has caught the attention of the world.
2011-03-15 Journalists Expelled from #Yemen & Al Jazeera Journalist Threatened with Kidnapping of Children
Throughout the protests in Egypt, and especially right after the resignation of Mubarak, many Western commentators expressed concern about stability in the Middle East, and they have connected the question of regional stability with that of whether or not Egyptians will enjoy genuine democratic freedoms. The idea is that if Egypt becomes a genuine secular democracy, then Egyptians will truly have democratic freedoms and the region will remain stable. If, on the other hand, Egypt becomes a religious state (i.e., an Islamic state ruled by the Muslim Brothers), then neither will Egyptians have these freedoms nor will the stability of the region be assured. Other commentators have responded to these concerns with assurances that the Muslim Brothers have only partial support in the population, are ideologically heterogeneous, would have to rule in coalition with other secularly oriented parties, and would therefore have to moderate the political positions they take. In this way, both democratic freedoms and regional stability would be preserved. Either way, regional stability is thought to hang on Egypt?s ambiguous future?specifically, on whether it is to be a secular or a religious state.