February 28, 2013

Aleppo, Syria - Mahmoud al-Halabi was once the driver of a Syrian minister’s wife. Nour al-Hassan was a stylish hairdresser. In the early days of the Syrian uprising, their personal rebellions brought them together and have since pushed them both to become fighters in Aleppo’s battle against President Bashar al-Assad’s forces.
Mahmoud, a 28-year-old rebel fighting on the frontline in the Sheikh Saeed neighbourhood, was fired from his job three years ago. He said he was jailed and tortured by the regime for a year, and then forced to leave Syria.
His crime? He had fallen in love with the minister’s daughter.
He fled to Libya, where he took up his professional passion: sculpting. But when the Libyan revolution broke out in February 2011, he joined his friends in their battle against Muammar Gaddafi’s forces.

"This is where I learned most of the fighting skills I now use in the fight against Assad," Mahmoud told Al Jazeera in Sheikh Saeed, now the most active frontline in the city.
Nour, 22, was a hair stylist at a salon in the centre of Aleppo. She is also the daughter a senior official in the ruling Baath Party.
A few months into the Syrian uprising, Mahmoud returned to Aleppo to join his countrymen in the struggle against Assad. Nour, meanwhile, had created a Facebook account under a pseudonym and became an activist on social media, organising protests and spreading news about the regime’s crackdown.  
When her father and brother, staunch supporters of Assad, learned about her opposition activities, they beat her to the point that she wound up in hospital. Her story became the talk of the town, and Mahmoud heard about her.

"After I was released from hospital, I was stuck at home. Mahmoud came to help me escape the house," she said. "I didn’t know him well, but I still left with him. I completely defected from my family."

On the frontline

The two began organising protests and distributing anti-regime pamphlets. As the uprising turned into an armed struggle, they were both in favour of it.

"We began transporting weapons into the Salaheddin neighbourhood together. I taught her how to use guns. Initially, I was teaching her for self-protection because her father organised several kidnapping attempts to bring her back home," Mahmoud said…

"Later she wanted to participate in the fighting. We had many fights because of that but she eventually got her way," he said..

Nour has become a sniper on the frontline in Sheikh Saeed, where rebels are trying to push back regime forces and block the main road to Aleppo International Airport.

Recently, she said she had shot down a regime sniper who was targeting rebels in the neighbourhood.

Her comrades call her Abu al-Nour - a masculine nickname.

"I don’t see her as a female. She is one of the best snipers we have in the battalion. That’s how I see her," Ahmad, a rebel fighter, said.

Nour said she leaves all femininity behind when she goes to the frontline.

"I do not feel like a woman whatsoever when I am here," she said.


January 30, 2013
EXCEPTIONAL look at progress, or lack thereof, in post-revolutionary Tunisia

January 30, 2013

Evidence of police shooting rockets at protesters in Cairo, Egypt.


Evidence of police shooting rockets at protesters in Cairo, Egypt.

January 28, 2013

Egypt’s senate on Monday ratified a law that would grant the armed forces powers of arrest.

In Port Said, however, Al Jazeera’s Rageh reported that the army was not enforcing the curfew.

"Thousands poured into the streets when the curfew went into effect, in clear defiance of President Morsi in all three cities," she reported late on Monday.

"The military has completely pulled back, and in some instances even allowed protesters to pose for pictures on tanks in the streets. They do not appear to be trying to enforce the curfew in the streets of Port Said."



December 25, 2012

The Syrian government’s former spokesman, Jihad Makdissi, is co-operating with US intelligence officials who helped him flee to Washington almost one month ago, the Guardian understands.

Makdissi became one of the most prominent regime defectors in late November when he left Beirut after first crossing from Syria. The Guardian reported at the time that he had fled for the US, possibly in return for asylum. This has now been confirmed.



December 9, 2012
Essential Reading on Bashar al-Assad, Syria, and the truth about chemical weapons - Robert Fisk

Bashar’s father Hafez al-Assad was brutal but never used chemical arms. And do you know which was the first army to use gas in the Middle East?

September 16, 2012
"Israeli spy networks operating in post-revolution Tunisia took advantage of the state of chaos and lawlessness that swept the country following president Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali’s escape"

— Tunisian Workers Party


July 22, 2012
"You could stop your politicians selling arms to the people who are shooting us."

Egyptian activist Salma Said’s answer when she was asked what people in the West could do to help with the Arab Revolution. “Said spoke from experience: she was hospitalised after being shot during protests that followed the Port Said football stadium tragedy that left at least 74 people dead.”

The fact that women’s rights have been hijacked for the purposes of liberal interventionists should be a concern to women in the West. We should therefore tread carefully when supporting politicians who make pronouncements about democracy and human rights, ensuring that we always read the small print. In this respect, the arms trade is a feminist issue.

Read this.

(via mehreenkasana)

(via jayaprada)

July 8, 2012

Police in Sudan have used tear gas to break up a student protest at the University of Khartoum in the latest crackdown on public dissent against President Omar al-Bashir.

About 1,000 students chanting: “The people want the downfall of the regime” and “Down, down with military rule” tried to force their way out of their campus, but were driven back inside by police who fired volleys of tear gas at them, witnesses said.

Some 150 students temporarily broke through the cordon after throwing stones at police, before also being driven back inside, a student and an activist told the Reuters news agency.



July 8, 2012

It is truly fucking amazing to be back in Tahrir square. My god Egypt, I do love you..

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