The European Union and International Financial Institutions support energy efficiency policies and investments in Tunisia        
The European Commission and leading International Financial Institutions (IFIs) are on a joint mission in Tunis to agree policy priorities and sustainable investment solutions for energy efficiency. The joint mission is part of wider efforts to increase support for energy efficiency policies and investments in buildings in the EU's enlargement and neighbourhood regions. Four pilot countries have been selected: Tunisia, Georgia, Ukraine and Serbia. The initiative aims to move away from individual...
          Shakshouka cu rosii si ardei        

Shakshouka cu rosii si ardei, reteta delicioasa cu oua si legume pentru micul dejun Shakshouka este un preparat nord-african, foarte delicios si deloc greu de facut. Il Intalnim si in bucataria evreiasca, unde probabil a fost introdus de evreii din Tunisia si alti evrei maghrebieni, dar si in Turcia (Saksuka) si in Spania (Pisto). Shakshouka se prepara in mod traditional cu oua,  rosii (eu am folosit o conserva de rosii cuburi decojite de la Sun Food), ardei iute si ceapa, dar exista si alte variante, cu ardei gras, feta, vinete si spanac. Este o reteta foarte rapida si consistenta care se poate preparara atat la micul dejun, cat si la pranz. Eu am folosit doar 3 oua, unul pentru mine, doua pentru Cris, dar puteti, bineinteles, sa preparati shakshouka cu mai multe oua. Shakshouka se serveste imediat, direct din tigaia in care a fost pregatita. Shakshouka cu rosii si ardei – Ingrediente (2 persoane) 1 ardei gras rosu taiat cuburi 1 ceapa... Citeste tot

The post Shakshouka cu rosii si ardei appeared first on Laura Adamache.

          Hip Hop and the "African Spring"        

Why didn’t the momentum and exuberance of last year’s “Arab Spring” extend to African countries south of the Sahel? Sub-Saharan populations, many immediate neighbors of Tunisia, Libya and Egypt, followed the drama with fascination and some envy. When we spoke, I was surprised how few colleagues and friends in sub-Saharan Africa were optimistic about a counterpoint “African Spring.” They claimed their societies “weren’t ready” to rally widespread discontent towards a political tipping point.

Historically, my friends were wrong—SSA has much experience with successful opposition movements, from colonialism to apartheid. But I took their resignation to mean that social fragmentation had secured the upper hand, proof that poverty and cynical governance were not just misanthropic but bitterly divisive as well. The process of overcoming deep social, generational and political divisions, with their common denominator of skepticism and self-interest, cannot simply be ignited like the proverbial box of tinder.

Internet connectivity was clearly an enabler for the Arab Spring, and SSA still lacks reliable connectivity and familiarity with social media. But coastal North African countries are different from their southern neighbors in infinite other ways as well. Despite non-western culture, values and religious beliefs, North Africa’s Mediterranean exposure imposes a definite political and economic orientation towards Europe, for ill or good. Solidarity in any form—security, economic, ideological—is almost non-existent between countries divided by the Sahel. Few North African countries look south for constructive economic or political opportunity. Exploitation of less developed southern countries (human trafficking, resource predation) is more the norm.

I’ve written here before about the Nile Basin Initiative, an internationally-funded effort to negotiate equitable use rights for the countries of the great river, killed by mutual mistrust in 2010. The late Colonel Gaddafi led Pan-Africanism, the only other north-south unification effort. His utopianism managed to defy open ridicule thanks to his hefty wallet, but never commanded serious attention. In hindsight it proved far more effective at ensconcing the dinosaur club of out-of-touch leaders, like Gaddafi himself, for decades. This retrograde model of leadership, widely practiced among newcomers to power, is arguably the continent’s greatest impediment to modernity.

Continue reading "Hip Hop and the “African Spring”"

          Tank Warfare Tunisia 1943 Longstop Hill RELOADED-3DMGAME Torrent Free Download        

Tank Warfare Tunisia 1943 Longstop Hill (c) Strategy First Inc.

07/2017 :..... RELEASE.DATE .. PROTECTION .......: Steam
1 :.......... DISC(S) .. GAME.TYPE ........: Violent, Gore, Simulation, Strategy

Tank Warfare: Tunisia 1943 - tactical battalion level combat simulation.
Continuation of Graviteam Tactics series on the Western Front.

The British spring offensive in Tunisia was brought to a halt on the
approaches to Djebel el Ahmera (Longstop Hill) by the German 5th Panzer Army.
German forces took defensive positions on key heights along the roadway
leading to Tunisia\'s capital. Despite the fierce resistance of the enemy,
British 78th \"Battleaxe\" Division units supported by the Churchill tanks of
the North Irish Horse regiment are advancing along the roadway.

The game is made standalone and includes all previous updates!

1. Unrar.
2. Burn or mount the image.
3. Install the game.
4. Copy over the cracked content from the /Crack directory on the image to
your game install directory.
5. Play the game.

Torrent Free Download Here

          ICTs, Social Movements and Individual Accountability        
ICTs, Social Movements and Individual Accountability By: Anna Greenstone Over the past several months, we have watched ICTs play important roles in social movements and revolutions throughout the Middle East.  In countries from Tunisia and Egypt to Bahrain and Yemen, public protests have been organized on and through social media sites while recorded footage of […]
high times in kaiserslautern - no injuries, thank God

real life american travelers! omar, troy, jose, brian, and mathias (well... from denmark) these guys are on their graduation hurrah tour - all old friends from D.C. (not pictured, Amar - "el jefe" or in spanish circles....retarded tunisian)

azzuri buds - i predicted the score of the game beforehand- i was right, but the ref called back a goal...wanker. the back of my 'jersey' said "cazzo" - which got me laughs and dirty looks

the sureshot, jonas -köenigstrasse, stuttgart

the blessed father... italy v. ghana

someday my friend rusty ralston will own this stand
          rocking like pele back in his hayday...        

my apologies for MIA, but it has been a string of long, over-stimulated days of tramping around like a hobo with a pogo. let�s talk about spectrums for a moment. i started last week sleeping under an overpass in berlin eating other peoples� "trash" (don�t worry, mom...i still haven�t gotten herpes from this behavior) - to this week, waking up in a posh flat that overlooks all of stuttgart with a fridge full of beer, jello and cheese. the floors are all marble, too, so i feel like liberachi or sigmund and roy - without the tigers and the gay sex of course.

ok, moving on: top news...1) buying two overpriced tickets for italy v. ghana from some sleeze-ball italian guy named "salvatore" who had the chinese character for "trust" tatooed on his neck. turns out the tix were legit and my brother and i fulfilled a childhood vow to make it to the world cup together to see the azzuri play the game that we love. 2) meeting a talented, tramping welsh girl named faye who lives out of her van and busks enough money from playing songs with her guitar to get to her next temporary destination. a few of my new favorite english terms: minging - which means �disgusting� / rum - which means �risky� / see your ass - which means �to be humiliated ...another great comment she had concerning england was "soccer is the game that england gave to the world and now we can�t get it back." this was to describe a great english futbol song that talks about "thirty years of hurt" - england last won the world cup in �66.

the flybar continues to bring the people together and bring the kid out in those who are "rum" enough to hop on. one observation...though soccer has brought the world together this month in germany, all of the jerseys, flags and �ber nationalism keeps most of us at an arm�s length...until people start drinking, dancing, or flybarring. this is why i am doing what i am doing. i am addicted to seeing a tunisian hug a spainard after they have jumped around together for a few minutes in a sea of onlookers. stay tuned for some pictures- as soon as i figure out the damn website stuff. also, thought of the day: does hosting the world cup heal any residual guilt and shame from the nazi era?

          Women Around the World: This Week        
Tunisia prohibits violence against women

          A Muslim's Top 10 Wishes for 2016        

This post originally appeared in the Huffington Post on January 3, 2015. You can find the original article by clicking here or on the title. 

A Muslim's Top 10 Wishes for 2016

Have you ever made a wish that's come true -- because you made the wish? Until now, making a wish, whether at the sight of a shooting star or when blowing out the candle(s) on your birthday cake or when breaking a wishbone, has not yet been scientifically proven to actually work, as far as I know. Yet, in the spirit of hope, I am making 10 wishes at the beginning of the New Year. And as is always the case, as a Muslim, I speak on behalf of 1.5 billion people. So here goes...
1. People no longer confuse me with ISIS.
My name isn't ISIS. It's not even Islamic State. In fact, the words Islamic or State are not actually in my extended name. Nevertheless, time and time again, I keep getting requests to respond to the group's actions. I swear, ISIS or ISIL or IS -- none of them are in my family tree; they're not some distant cousins of mine. In 2016, I just want people to stop confusing me with ISIS. I really don't know what ISIS is thinking and why they do what they do. It's not like the State Department is asked for comment because of the State-to-State connection. As a postscript, can ISIS stop using the word Islamic? 
2. Muslims stop killing Muslims for being Muslim.
Somewhere, along the way over the last couple of decades, Muslims started killing other Muslims for being Muslim in the wrong way, or at least took it to a whole new level. There's a whole ideology out there built around takfir or essentially "declaring Muslims as kufar or unbelievers" for failing an evermore peculiar litmus test. Imagine if death squads emerged killing Black people for not being Black enough. Originating in some of the philosophical exhortations by scholar Ibn Taymiyyah 700 years ago, the criteria by which you are deemed "takfir-ed" and permissible to be killed has reached insane if not idiosyncratic levels. It would be funny if the situation weren't so deadly. Even barbers were caught in the crosshairs and were being assassinated in Baghdad in the 2000s. 
3. Death and destruction in the Muslim world have a timeout. 
From Yemen to IraqLibya to Somalia, and from Afghanistan to far beyond, civil strife is rife in too many parts of what is defined as the Muslim world. Autocrats, militants, extremists and terrorists, don't care who they kill: men, women, children -- everyone is fair game. I wish this would stop. Into this toxic mix, the last thing needed is more killing coming into these countries from the outside; the 2003 invasion of Iraq proved that. I wonder if Russia will hear that message? 
4. We all get comfortable with the "other."
What a difference it was in 2015 between Trudeau and Trump in the North American political cycle. The world needs more Trudeaus and less Trumps (Donalds that is). The fear of the "other" is starting to define Western politics and it is not just about Trump. The rise of right-wing political parties in Europe from Hungary to Denmark is a poignant reminder of the breadth of this phenomenon. Yet, outside the West this fear of the other also permeates and often dominates. In Turkey, we are seeing a renewed vilification of the Kurdish population. Further afield in Burma, the Rohingyaare cast as outsiders. In Malaysia, Christians are prohibited from using the Arabic word for God. And, in nearby Brunei, Christmas was simply cancelled. In some of the war zones in the Middle East, Christians are on the verge of disappearing. The world would be a lot better off if we weren't so afraid of the bogeyman of the other.
5. The Muslim world deals with its taboos. 
Speaking of an aversion to the non-orthodox, there's a whole set of taboos that many Muslim countries and societies need to start dealing with. A lot of them relate to sex. Sometimes the Muslim world acts like it has one big case of the cooties. There have been attempts by some to break through these restrictions. Wedad Lootah in the UAE comes to mind. Shereen El Feki's Sex and the Citadel is another. This is not an issue to take lightly, especially in societies where 60-70 percent of youth are under the age of 30. Bombarded by sexualized imagery from modern and digital media, these youth then live, essentially, in an austere second world that is their reality. More importantly and tragically, rape and sexual assault are simply not talked about; child abuse is an even worse curse hidden under the rug. Finally, at some point Muslim countries - and the clerical establishment -- will need to come to terms with the fact that gay Muslims exist
6. Somewhere, over the rainbow, democracy and Islam go steady. 
Let's be honest, a lot of people have tried to set up democracy with Islam for a relationship. Sometimes it has been a surprise blind date (e.g. Iraq in 2003). Other times, it was a relationship that grew from blind passion (e.g. the Arab world in 2011). Often, the sparks of love eventually turn into animus and things quickly go south. In the Arab world, Tunisia is carrying - with some fragility -- the banner of democracy. Many Muslim-majority countries that used to be counted as democracies now suffer from authoritarian syndromes (e.g. TurkeyMalaysia, and Bangladesh). In other cases, democracy in its infancy quickly devolved into score settling or majoritarian mafias (e.g. the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt). Perhaps Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim country is our hope that can breathe life into this wish. 
7. Averroes comes back in style. 
Averroes -- or Ibn Rushd -- was a man's man. He schooled his way into Raphael's The School of Athens. The polymath kept alive ancient Greek philosophy, paving the way for much of Europe's modern intellectual movements. Back in the day, in Andalusia, he was a big deal (Biden-style). And, why not? He vociferously argued for the co-existence of secular and religious thought in a posthumous debate with the Abbasid scholar Al Ghazali. Ultimately, Ibn Rushd lost the debate to the detriment of the Muslim world, but his arguments culminated with the work, The Incoherence of Incoherence, which I think would be a great riposte to all ISIS ideologues and their friends. If Ibn Taymiyyah came back, then let's bring Averroes back too. 
8. Flying while Muslim is no longer a thing. 
They say that flying while Muslim is the new driving while Black. I guess if you're a Black Muslim, this really sucks, especially if you drive to the airport for your flight. So my wish maybe can be two-pronged: getting rid of both 'driving while Black' as well as 'flying while Muslim.' What is flying while Muslim? Well, it often starts with a casual stare or two from across the way. A timid approach then ensues: "Excuse me sir." This is normally followed by a more forceful: "Please follow me." It can then get quite aggressive, with clothes falling by the wayside. It normally ends with your belongings in disarray, your belt on backwards, and you fast-walking without turning back in the hope that no one thinks twice about you boarding your flight. Oh, and don't watch the news while on the plane. I hate flying while Muslim. 
9. Trump presides over a Muslim beauty contest. 
Was 2015 the year of Trump? You have to hand it to Trump; he sure knows how to grab the spotlight. Unfortunately, he's used that spotlight to spew increasingly populist venom targeted at Muslims (and others). Maybe, we need to better appeal to Trump's core interest: beauty pageants. There are a few lists circulating online for potential Muslim contestants (for Men: click here | for Women: click here). Yet, I think we should make this a mipsters pageant and turn this whole thing on its head. 
10. Peace comes to Syria. 
This Muslim (me) -- speaking on behalf of 1.5 billion people around the world -- has 10 wishes for 2016 but if only one of them came true it should be this one. No country has been more ravaged in recent memory than Syria. Hundreds of thousands have been killed as gangsters, terrorists, and dictators fight for supremacy. The surrounding region, instead of trying to promote a solution, has sent in weapons, fighters, and incitement. The world, instead of trying to mediate, has sought to settle old scores. All the while, the people in Syria live in lifeless limbo amidst daily death and destruction. If I had only one wish it would be that the violence in Syria would come to an end. 
This wish list is non-exhaustive. I think I may have missed a few...

          The Democratic Case Against Islamism        
This article originally appeared in Al-Monitor, where you can find the full text. 

These days, the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt is under a systematic (some would say justified) assault by authorities seeking to dissolve the entire organization.  Yet, it’s not just in Egypt that Islamists find themselves under attack, rhetorically or by force. Across countries in the Arab world that had revolutions in the past two years, there is a growing wave of public opposition to the participation of Islamists in the political system, whether in TunisiaLibya or elsewhere.

Against this backdrop, countless Western analysts have clashed with their liberal Arab counterparts on the issue of Islamism, arguing that the exclusion of religious parties is incompatible with modern democratic principles. Yet is the exclusion of parties like the Muslim Brotherhood undemocratic on its face? The truth is somewhere in the middle and in fact, there is a legitimate democratic case to be made against the inclusion of some Islamists.

Since 2011, there have been two primary grievances levied against Islamist parties. The most salient argument in recent weeks has been that these groups are linked to a wider “terrorist” agenda, and are, as such, enemies of the state. Of concern is not necessarily their religious nature but the fact that they represent a subversive political movement. Granted, the closed nature of the Brotherhood, given its precarious legality in past decades, only feeds this view. In addition, offshoots from the Brotherhood like Gamaa Islamiya have been responsible for terrorist attacks in Egypt, and other affiliated groups such as Hamas do have militant wings as well.

Nevertheless, this argument is not one against "Islamism" or in favor of "secularism." When Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi held court with his beautifully choreographed choir of support on the night of the coup on Egyptian state TV, at his side were two religious figures, the grand sheikh of Al-Azhar and the Coptic pope. Furthermore, the recently announcedconstitutional committee includes a representative from the Salafist Nour Party, a group also present at that previous gathering. Thus, the argument in Egypt appears to be that the right type of Islamists (and in limited number) can be tolerated, as can a role for religion in the state.

Of course, the second case against Islamism is that it is inherently incompatible with modern democracy. At its core, the ideology is an absolutist form of thought that rejects all other intellectual currents in a society. While that may be true, couldn’t the same argument be made for any political ideology, whether it be libertarianism, or communism, or socialism, and the list goes on? Each political movement sees its ideas and philosophies as essential and paramount. A corollary to Islamist thought, however, is that it constitutes a religious supremacist movement that seeks to achieve the supremacy of its religion — Islam — at the official level of the state. It is here where Islamism and democracy start to have legitimate friction....

Read more:

          The Dubai Model and the new Arab world         

Johann Hari’s article “The Dark Side of Dubai” in The Independent in 2009, crystallized the hyperbolic writing on the Gulf emirate in the recent past:

“This is a city built from nothing in just a few wild decades on credit and ecocide, suppression and slavery. Dubai is a living metal metaphor for the neo-liberal globalised world that may be crashing – at last – into history.”

Of course, Dubai did not crash into history and Hari was dislodged from his perch due to a plagiarism scandal a few years later. Yet, for many commentators and journalists, any mention of Dubai still evokes a sense of moralistic derision – Dubai the land without culture filled with a people without history. For the youth of the region, however, Dubai represents something different: jobs, a relatively open society, and a government (in progress) that works. As countries in transition, like Libya, Tunisia and Egypt look to transform their own societies, Dubai is an enigmatic model in the distance.  

What is the Dubai model? It is hard to fully capture the multi-faceted nature of it in just a few words, but there are several key dimensions. In addition, the unique (and transferable) aspects of the Dubai model, however, are less to do with its political system, and more about the policies pursued. In fact, too much time is spent in the region debating the political system rather than the impact of policies on the ground enacted by any ruling group or party.

Fundamentally, Dubai made itself open to people flows from around the world, with all its associated risks. This has meant that its small population – today 90% of residents are non-citizens – has been able to build an economy depending on an externally generated labor and consumer market. In addition, to unskilled labor, Dubai has also been keen to open itself to the best talent from around the world.  Take Dubai Aluminum (DUBAL) as an example, founded n 1979 and predicated on leveraging international talent and expertise. In fact, in its initial year of operation, few of the 1,386 employees were Emiratis. Yet that has changed over time, as DUBAL has grown to become the world’s largest aluminum smelter. Understanding its own labor market and taking advantage of regional and international labors flows and talent has been critical to the Emirate’s success. 

Despite being in conservative surroundings, Dubai has also ensured that it functions as an open society, in terms of social and religious practices. While this diversity can raise tension, like last summer’s #UAEdresscode campaign for example, there is an open coexistence, as can be witnessed while walking on JBR Walk, along the beachfront, with full-length niqabs side-by-side with what could well be described as the opposite of that! This openness has also contributed to Dubai becoming a global hub, and now the 7th most visited city in the world, with 10 million tourist arrivals annually. This did not occur overnight, and was linked to the gradual (and sometimes sudden) growth of the hospitality industry and expatriate population. Being an open society, however, does not just mean bottles and bars; the government has consistently emphasized gender empowerment in all fields as a matter of policy, including in key positions, political and economic.

In addition to people flows, Dubai has ensured an inflow of capital, by building a financial sector and set of institutions to leverage the capital-rich environment around it. The Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) has created a separate regulatory environment and court system to provide security to investors and companies alike. In addition, while still not perfect, it is relatively easy for any foreigner to set up a local free zone company, allowing him or her to deploy capital, which subsequently generates employment (albeit more for non-locals than Emiratis). The stability of Dubai and the strength of its soft and physical infrastructure has meant that in times of uncertainty, capital finds its way there; last year that included $8 billion of foreign direct investment (FDI), a 25% increase from 2011.

In order to spur growth and absorb investment, Dubai borrowed a page from several economic models (Singapore & Hong Kong among them) and cluster-based theories (see Michael Porter). Take a look at the growth of the aviation sector in Dubai, which in 2011, directly or indirectly contributed $12 billion towards the GDP, and accounted for 125,000 jobs (in a city of 2 million people).  The same can be said for the logistics (e.g. Dubai Ports) and retail sectors (e.g. Majid al-Futtaim & City Centres), all of which have benefitted from an ecosystem approach that has included new regulation, government-driven investment, and infrastructure development. Emirates Airlines did not become one of the world’s leading airlines by accident or in isolation.

Finally, on a consistent basis, Dubai has pushed excellence in public services, culminating in the Government Summit earlier this year, which convened public servants from across the country to “exchange best practices.” In Dubai, there are regular awards for government excellence given to high-performing departments. In fact if you go see the Director-General of the Dubai Courts, he will likely give you a PowerPoint presentation on their caseload, wait times, and improvements.

Lest, anyone think that everything is ‘perfect’ in Dubai, it is not. There are a number of issues, ranging from political prisoners in the country (due in part to a stifling intellectual/political climate) to the lack of legislative oversight to continued labor exploitation (far less than before but still problematic, given there is still no minimum wage). Societally, there are also a number of challenges, including naturalization, obesity, and a growing culture of materialism, none of which should be taken lightly. And, for the local Emirati population, there is a high rate of unemployment due to a mismatch between expectations and skills and the needs of the labor market. None of these should be under-estimated for both the moral issues they pose as well obstacles they may present to the viability of Dubai's success, as is the case in many transformative development contexts. 

The Dubai model works quite obviously, in Dubai. While other countries – especially those in transition – cannot copy-and-paste what Dubai has done, particularly on migration, cultural change, and government led-investment, they can still apply lessons from Dubai’s experience. Although it may seem that Dubai had the guarantee of Abu Dhabi behind it or capital flows in the Gulf to harness, every country has an advantage, which can be used as a foundation. Egypt has the largest consumer base in the entire Arab world that can drive industry. Tunisia has some of the highest literacy rates and education levels in the region, and an established tourist bridge with Europe. Libya has tremendous oil-wealth and a strong connection to the Sub-Saharan economy.

The fragility of transitional countries means that everything must be done to improve.  What Dubai has demonstrated is that there can be positive momentum and development on areas that affect the quality of people’s lives and their livelihoods. There remain critical challenges in front of it, but there is also something that works in Dubai, and it’s about time that some of these lessons are transferred to the wider region. 

          The (Counter?)Revolution in #Egypt will be Televised (and Tweeted)        
Around midnight in Cairo the night of Tuesday, July 2, millions of people in Egypt awaited the President of the Republic, Mohammad Morsi, to respond to the 48-hour ultimatum delivered by the country's military on Monday: resolve your differences with the protestors or we will do it for you. With the deadline fast approaching, and due to hit at 4:30pm local time the next day, Morsi rejected the challenge by the military in a tweet. Then, he came on television and delivered what was the most important speech in not just his life but in the history of the Muslim Brotherhood movement he represents. And it was a spectacular failure. While not as long-winded as the two-and-a-half hour speech he had given just days earlier - akin to a State of the Union - it was just as hollow. His near constant use of the word 'legitimacy' began to elicit uncontrollable laugher in many corners (with the usage count of the word at around 75 in the speech). With millions of Egyptians on the streets across the country - some in support of him but many if not most in opposition - and the military's ultimatum in the background, Morsi had seemingly put the final nail in his own coffin.

Just 30 months after the ousting of the dictator for the past 30 years, Hosni Mubarak, street protests in Egypt culminated on Wednesday night in a coup d'etat, effectively overturning the 14 democratic elections since February 11, 2011 (the total voting cycles for the parliament, presidency and constitution). Indeed, it was broader than a coup d'etat, as the Tamarod (rebellion) movement that brought millions of people to the streets was a grassroots uprising that gathered millions of signatures from ordinary Egyptians, and more significantly, managed to coalesce a previously disparate and dispirited opposition. Additionally, deposed President Mohammad Morsi had governed incompetently and non-inclusively, which seemingly left the invitation open to change. Yet, what transpired this week, especially in the final sequence of events, could be the initial salvo of a counter-revolution 2.0, potentially endangering the process of democratization in Egypt for years to come.

While things seemingly have not changed that much in Egypt, and in many ways have gotten worse, a lot has transpired. Following the departure of Mubarak and his gang from the scene, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) took charge of managing the country's affairs. It took nearly a year to hold parliamentary elections. When it did happen, in late 2011-early 2012 the Brotherhood's party (the Freedom & Justice Party or FJP) took 38% of the vote, followed closely by the more conservative Salafist party, Al Nour, which took 28%. Given that this body would determine the fate of the new constitution (and the assembly to draft it), the fact that it was dominated by 'Islamists' already meant the new era of Egypt was handed a poisoned chalice in the eyes of many. Six months later, in June 2012, the Presidential elections saw a run-off between a former Prime Minister but tainted 'remnant' of the old Mubarak regime, Ahmed Shafiq, and Mohammed Morsi (representing the Muslim Brotherhood). Morsi won, and with the backing of protests in the famed Tahrir Square, also managed to wrest plenty of executive authority from SCAF. Within two months, Morsi also seemed to assert civilian control over the military, with a shuffling of key positions in the defense establishment.

Then on November 22, 2012, with full executive powers, and the parliament in limbo (due to pending court cases), Morsi assumed essentially legislative powers and declared himself immune from judicial oversight until a new constitution was formed. In essence that gave birth to the current movement (well at least the National Salvation Front that formed 2 days later and was a hodge-podge of opposition groups, including figures such as Mohamed El Baradei) which culminated in Morsi's removal from office this week. Morsi and the FJP then ham-fisted a constitution through a referendum, which garnered the support of 64% of the voting public. However, the process was not led by consensus and Morsi appeared to be increasingly marginalizing the judiciary, which many viewed as being too linked to the old regime, especially given that many senior judges were appointed by Hosni Mubarak (the judges had their own democracy movement in 2006 so not a unified group by any means). Yet for many in the opposition, the judiciary was still a check against Morsi and the Brotherhood's power. And there were also complaints about the ikhwanization of the state; given what transpired this week, this appeared not to have been the case.

Nevertheless, the concentration of power by the Brotherhood and its non-inclusive method of governance as described above, could have overcome minor challenges from the opposition, if Morsi had enacted policies that improved the lives of everyday people. His approval rating had begun to drop dramatically, falling to 28% of the public just weeks before his overthrow. This was mainly due to the inability of the government to turnaround the economy, with 25% of Egyptians below the poverty line, unemployment on the rise, and the country's fiscal health on the decline. Meanwhile, his approach to foreign policy of aligning with the US, engaging with Iran, partnering with Qatar, and leading the charge on Syria, did little to assuage a frustrated public waiting for change at home in their daily lives that had yet to materialize. And sectarian clashes that mainly killed Shiites and Christians tarnished the impartial role the President was assumed to play, given that he was close to figures that were prone to incitement.

In the backdrop of all of this, the Tamarod movement, which started just several months ago (in April), began to tap into the widespread anger and frustration. Gone was the gloss of a technocratic 'Islamist' party - a la the AKP in Turkey, who incidentally are having their own issues - replaced instead by the reality of the FJP in Egypt. And gone also was the mystique of a survivalist Brotherhood that was the David against the Goliath of the last half century; the Brotherhood was now the Goliath, and seemingly squandering the power that it had accumulated. The Tamarod activists claimed to have gathered 22 million signatures, in a country of 93 million people, which seems patently ridiculous for many demographic/logistical reasons (in the course of just two months). Nevertheless, their demands were clear, and principally centered on early Presidential elections (Morsi had served one of a four-year term). They were supported by umbrella opposition groups such as the National Salvation Front, April 6 Movement, and others, and with their deadline of June 30 for Morsi to respond coming fast, thousands and then millions began to fill Egypt's squares (some as noted in support of Morsi).

By Wednesday, just prior to the removal of Morsi from power, several implications of what was transpiring were already clear. Firstly, the Tamarod movement, and subsequent mobilization demonstrated that there could be an organized opposition to Islamists in the 'new' Arab world, and that this secular alternative could mobilize numbers. This could have far-reaching consequences in other countries such as Tunisia, where Islamists like the Nahda Party hold sway, as well as eventually (in the longer-term) in autocratic countries where often the only strong opposition movements are bogeyman Islamists movements. Secondly, Morsi's reign had as noted above, dulled - as power does to any party - the shine of the Brotherhood. It has been noted, for example that the clashes that led to the separation of the West Bank & Gaza Strip, and undermined the Hamas victory in Palestinian elections, only emboldened Hamas instead of forcing the movement into the pubic accountability spotlight.

Of course, in the euphoria of what the opposition was about to gain, the darkness just around the corner might have seemed far away. With millions on the street, and the military indicating a willingness to force itself on the scene as the arbitrator, Morsi offered a new constitutional process, a unity government of technocrats, and an accelerated schedule of new parliamentary elections but it was too little too late it seemed for the street, especially with the military now backing the activists' play. And so instead of a negotiated agreement with President Morsi, or a legal process through the courts, or any other process through civilian authorities, it was the military that removed Morsi from power. The crowds in Tahrir Square cheered but the supporters of the deposed President, in Nasr City (also in Cairo), jeered. In a carefully choreographed display, the civil secular state - with an associated roadmap essentially a reset of the revolutionary period - was re-established by three initial speeches: first by General Abdul Fatah al-Sisi, head of the armed forces (appointed by Morsi), second by the Grand Sheikh of Al Azhar, and third by the Coptic Pope. Short statements followed from a range of opposition figures, including a representative of Tamarod and El Baradei and the conservative Nour Party.

If you are an opponent of the Muslim Brotherhood, this was indeed a victory. And given the direction that Egypt was going, if you are an Egyptian, you can only hope that this could lead to a more positive future. Whatever the case, however, the military re-takeover appears to also be a re-launch of the counter-revolution. The autocratic powers that be in the region were effusive and immediate in their praise of the military and the coup. More worryingly, was the systematic campaign of arrests that already started to unfold late into the night of Muslim Brotherhood activists, leaders, affiliated journalists, and yes even Mohammad Morsi. The military is looking not just to referee the playing field but to define the playing field and the players allowed on it. That's not democracy. It may be that in the modern Arab world the demographics are such that the debate is about choosing between liberalism and democracy, but isn't that the false choice of the last 40-50 years offered by autocratic rulers in the Arab world? And there is nothing 'rosy' about liberal autocracy versus religious autocracy in this region. In fact, if anything, liberal/secular authoritarianism has been the bane of decay in modern Arab history: the Baath parties in Iraq and Syria, Ben Ali's Tunis, Mubarak's Egypt, and the list goes on.

Yet, unless the Egyptian military is kept in check, it will likely go down the path it knows best and one that it has followed since 1952, which is to systematically crush dissent and marginalise and exclude the Muslim Brotherhood. All indications today point to a proclivity to re-instate this exclusion, which could lead to an Algeria scenario of the 1990s, albeit in a different form, of course. Paradoxically, as this new Pandora's Box is opened, the only hope to keep the military in check is the very street and youth who demanded its removal from the scene, and then demanded it to come back to its role as guarantor of the state. Hopefully the tamarod or rebellion, will keep that spirit, now that they have been given a share of the power.

          The Muslim Brotherhood in Denial (not just a river in Egypt)        
There's a lot to say about what's going on in Egypt, and a lot of great analysis out there. So I will simply re-post here a status I had on Facebook which I think sums up on the high-level the situation:

Today in #Egypt there are uncountable millions on the streets demonstrating in rebellion (#tamarod) against a President that the people democratically elected. And the military under their reconstituted form (i.e. SCAF) have backed their play and essentially called for a 'roadmap' towards an orderly transition. This is just 30 months after #Tahrir Square came to the world's attention when the then dictator for 30 years, Hosni Mubarak, was forced to step-down from power. So it is a little confusing. Adding to the confusion..The party in power is the Freedom and Justice Party, or Muslim Brotherhood. The people in Tahrir? Most of them Muslims, many devout, and still opposed to their so-called Brothers. Somewhat allies of the youth-driven, secular (not same as atheist) political opposition are the Salafists (Al Nour Party) or more conservative Muslims, who find themselves also calling for the President to step down. What should we make of all this? Some people may take this to mean that this is a strike against the role of Islam in government in the Arab world. Perhaps, but likely we won't see the same movement - yet - in Tunisia or Yemen and we now have a long ways to go in whatever Syria ends up (thanks to Assad & his enablers from all sides). Essentially, this ended up being a transaction between people and those in power. The Brotherhood in Egypt didn't fail because it started to ban alcohol or force women to wear Niqabs; no they failed because they failed to govern effectively. They failed to protect women in the streets from sexual assault. They failed to protect logically Egypt's interests with foreign countries like Ethiopia. They failed to stabilize an economy with any plan whatsoever. They failed to realize that appointing a member of a foreign terrorist organization that killed tourists in the 1990s to the position of Governor in a province that depends on tourism was a bad idea. The Brotherhood failed in Egypt not because they were Muslim - for their opponents are also Muslim - but because they failed to improve the lives of the very people that elected them. But here's the rub...and it's three-fold. First, removing them from power through the military's might could set back the country for decades to come. Only a negotiated democratic roadmap should be accepted. Second, the end of President Morsi's tenure, does not and should not mean the end of the Brotherhood. They are still Egyptian, will still be Egyptian, and will still have the support of many people. They are part of the political fabric of the country. And finally, the fact that the Brotherhood fails does not mean that the patchwork National Salvation Front - i.e. the Opposition - will succeed. Thus far their alliance is based on opposition to something rather than a coherent ideology. Moreover, their ideas for economic development and governance are no more clear, practical, or informed than the Brotherhood's. And so we end up with one takeaway, and this is applicable to all 'transition' countries. There will always be backsliding and regression in post-revolution environments. The key is to self-correct and aim to go two steps forward and one step backwards, rather than the other way around. Good luck to all our friends in #Egypt. They'll need it.

          Another Coup for the Outgoing Emir of Qatar        
In July 2010, the (now outgoing) Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, traveled to South Lebanon to bask in the gratitude for his country's largesse in supporting reconstruction following the Israeli bombardment just four years earlier. The $300 million (and beyond) committed by the Gulf state was very much appreciated by the Shiite armed movement Hezbollah, who ensured billboards in the South and on Airport Road in Beirut were decorated with notes of thanks to the Emir. It was a conspicuous visit because Qatar had stood out amongst the GCC in taking a strong if not controversial stand. Hand-in-hand with Hezbollah, the Emir, was not apparently one of the "half-men" that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad pointed to in the Gulf during the 2006 Hezbollah-Israel war. In fact, the Emir and Assad were quite close, if not close friends, and were frequently in touch.

In 2013, Qatar finds itself at the forefront on a number of regional issues, most notably the conflict in Syria, which had pitted the Emir in direct opposition to his old friend Bashar Al Assad. In fact, on the sectarian front, hosting firebrand spiritual figure, Yusuf al-Qaradawi who recently called for a Sunni-led jihad, and allying almost openly with Muslim Brotherhood movements in the region (which brought criticism from people as far afield as Egyptian satirist Bassem Youssef), has increasingly prompted the question: Has the politically adept Qatar lost its touch?

Once again, however, the Emir of Qatar (who I'll refer to by his initials HBK) shocked the region with another unprecedented move - this time the transfer of power to his 33-year old son Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani (the 'new Emir'). In doing so, HBK put Qatar back on the political front-foot and raised the pressure on regional allies. And in typical style, he added another deft touch in his address to the nation with a quote (and the only quote outside from scripture) from Ali Ibn Abi Talib, the fourth Caliph in Islam and the first Imam of the Shi'a Muslims: 'Teach your children other than that what you were taught; as they are created for a time other than yours."

It was nearly 18 years to the day, on June 27, 1995 [although official Qatari sites list his 'start-date' as June 26] that the outgoing Emir, HBK, came to power in a bloodless coup with the aid of his current outgoing Prime Minister, Sheikh Hamid bin Jassim al-Thani (HBJ) and other figures. He dislodged his father, Sheikh Khalifa bin Hamad, at the time, under largely benign circumstances but also as Qatar was starting to truly increase its economic base. When HBK took the reigns, the country was bit-player on the regional scene, with a GDP of $8bn. Today, the country is a regional powerhouse, punching far above its weight with a GDP in upwards of $170bn. The transformation, after HBK's rise, began in a number of areas:
  • In 1995 (August), the Emir alongside his wife, Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, launched what has become one of the largest foundations, Qatar Foundation, dedicated to 'knowledge' and social development in the country and wider region;
  • In 1996, the State of Qatar launched Al Jazeera, initially only in Arabic, which shocked the region by becoming literally the only widespread outlet of independent voices (from the 'regimes') in the region; 
  • And in 1997, Qatar Airways was relaunched and became a symbolic flagship for the country, although it is not clear whether the carrier will ever truly be profitable.
Economically, with growing revenues from natural gas over the last decade and a half, the departing Prime Minister, HBJ, effectively became the CEO of the country. In addition, to governing national investments through the Qatar Investment Authority, the sovereign wealth fund, HBJ also built up constituent vehicles like Qatari Diar, which looked to deploy billions of dollars in capital throughout the region, including in places that would traditionally be 'off-the-grid' like Libya, Syria and the Palestinian Territories.

Yet, while the transformation of Qatar happened on several levels - and Sheikha Moza led a number of key initiatives that have separately built up the profile of the country - the Prime Minister & Emir particularly forged a formidable political duo, implementing a plan for political leadership which led to alternating reactions of admiration and consternation in the region. HBK & HBJ became in recent years, the guiding and influencing force on a number of key regional files. It was a strategy of multi-faceted engagement and relevance, often replete with paradoxes, that even until now has confounded observers and analysts, who were always late to the party in understanding and engaging with Qatar.

For example, while condemning Al Jazeera Arabic for links to Al Qaeda, the U.S. government in September 2002 began moving its Central Command (CENTCOM) Headquarters in part to Doha. Qatar maintained an Israeli trade office since the late 1990s (closing intermittently during the Intifada and in 2009 during the Gaza War), while also building up relations with Hamas throughout the 2000s. The country maintained strong links within the GCC, and also with Sunni allies such as leader of the Future Party Saad Hariri, but in 2008 it was their ties with Hezbollah that allowed them to forge the Doha Agreement, averting what could have been a dark period of civil strife in Lebanon. There was no end to the political engagement: peace talks on Darfur, engagement with the Taliban, mediation between Chad and Sudan, and the list goes on.

On the political level, while the period prior to the Arab awakening was characterized by engaging with a wide variety of stakeholders, in early 2011, it seemed that Qatar was starting to play a much more partisan role. Previous allies such as Syria's Assad, and Libya's Gaddhafi fell by the wayside very quickly, with Qatar in fact leading efforts in the fight to topple both dictators. And in other 'revolutionary' environments such as Egypt and Tunisia, where the ruling parties are Islamist, Qatar has become the political football for its perceived support for Islamist movements. Critics ask why figures like Qaradawi (mentioned above) are based in Qatar? Why was the state mosque in Doha named after the founder of Wahhabism, the particularly conservative brand of Islam, in 2011? And why has a station like Al Jazeera portrayed only one side of the story, often with an 'Islamic' bent, the last two years especially?

Yet, the criticism has only grown commensurate with the prominence of Qatar in the region. On one hand, the policies of Qatar were simply part of its strategy of engagement in the region, to demonstrate leadership but also fundamentally relevance - important for a small country that previously lived in the shadow of Saudi Arabia and Iran. The Arab uprisings and subsequent rise of Islamist movements in the region was a tremendous opportunity for Qatar to provide indispensable leadership. Yet, leadership and unique prominence, has consequences, and it is likely that the inflection point of a transfer of power, provides a moment for reflection, especially as the region comes to terms with its new (and oft-changing) dynamics. What was immensely popular in late 2011 no longer is definitively so. For example, in Egypt, President Morsi's approval rating has notably dropped from 70% to 40%.

Thus, the transfer of power to a new ruler, in Sheikh Tamim, means that Qatar can assess its strategic position and alignment. Perhaps, the country could benefit from a broader engagement given rising divisions in the region, and once again capture the role of lead mediator? Domestically, Sheikh Tamim will play close attention to catalyzing the role of his generation in the country's leadership. After all, Qatar had yet to enact the legislative or Shura Council that HBK promised when he rose to power, and enshrined in the Constitution ratified 9 years ago. The first step will be the announcement of a new cabinet that will replace what is increasingly seen as a gentrified political elite with new or younger faces. It is also expected that there may be a rise in salaries of Qataris employed in the public sector, at a smaller scale, however, to a similar announcement in 2011. Most important, however, will be a new dialogue and series of consultations that the new Emir will have with Qatari citizens, whose expectations have risen with new-found wealth and prosperity. In particular, with 70% of Qataris under the age of 30, engaging youth will be a priority. Do they feel included in the governance of the country and its institutions? Are there sufficient opportunities for employment and growth? And do public services meet their expectations?

As Sheikh Tamim assesses the domestic situation, he does have a strong ally in his mother, Sheikha Moza, and the institutions she leads that address youth, health and education. And he will rely on  experienced hands like Sheikh Abdullah al-Thani to evaluate macro-projects like the Qatar World Cup preparations and the development of the national railways. Yet, both on the national and international fronts, the new Emir is not without experience or preparation. While observers were caught off-guard, it is thought HBK had planned for this day far ahead of time. The ascension of the Crown Prince to the leadership, began in earnest over the past two years. In fact, when significant announcements like the salary increase from 2011 were made, it was from Sheikh Tamim's office. He was also front and center, for example, when the move was made to shift Hamas headquarters out of Syria. And the then Crown Prince had been taking an increasing "foreign affairs role" amidst the Arab uprisings.

While the policies that Qatar will follow will likely be unchanged in the short-term, we will have to wait and see what path the new Emir forges in the long-term. Yet, his father has assured that he enters on the political front-foot. Even in his departure, the outgoing Emir left as he came in - with a coup. Upending traditions in the region, he ensured that he would leave the scene at the ripe (for the GCC) age of 61, leaving power to his son who is only 33. This is next to countries such as Saudi Arabia, where the King is 91 (if not older) and where power has never been transferred to the 'next generation', passed instead from brother-to-brother among the descendents of King Abdelaziz (since his death in 1953). Or take Bahrain, where the Prime Minister, Khalifa bin Salman, has helmed the government for over four decades without interruption.

Certainly, the move by HBK has not ushered in a democracy in Qatar; it is still an authoritarian state. And the ascension of Sheikh Tamim does not automatically assuage any of the concerns (real or perceived) ranging from migrant rights to nepotism to regional interference. Nevertheless, in its own way, Qatar has provided the region with a new revolutionary moment. Now we wait to see how the day-after, always the hard part, plays out.

           For President Obama on Day One: A New “New Beginning”         
On Day One: A New “New Beginning”
There was never a question that President Barack Obama represented a symbolic break with the past – someone who could redefine relations with the Muslim world. However to add substance to the symbolism of change, early on in his first term, President Obama went to Cairo to make a speech entitled, “A New Beginning.” Yet, as he begins a second term it is clear that this new beginning needs to be reinvigorated in both style and substance. That initial speech, while poignant then, today rings hollow. If indeed President Obama and the administration are to achieve a definitive step change in relations with Muslim communities, there must be a renewed effort for honest dialogue, robust development initiatives, and tangible shifts in policy.

At the onset of the Iraq War in 2003, President George W. Bush had abysmal numbers in many Muslim-majority countries. While 59 percent of Nigerians, 56 percent of Jordanians, and 46 percent of Pakistanis held confidence in Osama bin Laden’s leadership, Bush was polling in the single digits in the same countries. By 2008, in countries like Jordan and Turkey, nearly 90 percent of people had “little or no confidence” in President Bush.

So when a young Kenyan-American Senator with Muslim roots, Barack Obama, emerged on the political scene, he was a welcome sight in even unsavory and sharply antagonistic corners of the Muslim world. In the midst of the political campaign even Hamas seemingly endorsed him saying, “Actually, we like Mr. Obama.” Winning over Hamas never was (nor should it have been) a litmus test, but when President Barack Obama was elected, there was near universal euphoria across Muslim communities.

Early on, Obama and others in the Administration acknowledged the challenge in meeting these expectations. Even before he was inaugurated, the Administration was already planning to mark this ‘new beginning.’ Going into the heart of Cairo to engage university students in an honest speech about a real change in relations between the U.S. and Muslims was indeed something to be commended. Subsequent to the speech, the White House created a position on the National Security Council for Global Engagement, and the State Department launched a number of partnership initiatives. In the fall of 2009, D.C. played host to the Presidential Summit of Entrepreneurship that brought together 250 delegates from over 50 (mostly Muslim) countries.

Then the situation started to become more difficult. There are no easy answers in the complex geopolitical relations in the wider Middle East and beyond. When the Green Movement in Iran demanded democratic change, the Obama administration had to contemplate whether it was for engagement with ‘regimes’ or engagement with ‘peoples.’ One of the President’s early visits was to Saudi Arabia to meet with King Abdullah prior to his Cairo speech, during which he said in reference to fundamental liberties, “They are human rights, and that is why we will support them everywhere.” But during his visit with the King, there was deafening silence on this point. The advent of the Arab Spring made these dilemmas even sharper. Support democracy in Tunisia and Egypt at the last minute. Push democracy by force in Libya. Half-heartedly support it in Yemen. Remain frozen on Syria. Tacitly oppose it everywhere else.

While Obama has grappled with difficult decisions, as any President would, he also shirked following up on critical points he made during his speech in Cairo. For example, he declared, “I have unequivocally prohibited the use of torture by the United States and I have ordered the prison at Guantanamo Bay closed by early next year.” Guantanamo Bay remains open, almost glaringly so. And while, torture has allegedly stopped being an officially sanctioned practice, summary executions and civilian casualties by drone strikes have dramatically increased in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen, and the Horn of Africa. The latter have led directly to animus towards Obama from within many Muslim countries.

Then there was the line in the speech about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: “The United States does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements…The settlements must stop.” Of course, they did not. In fact, in February 2011 the U.S. vetoed a UN Security Council Resolution that called on Israel to simply “cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian Territory.” Out of 15 countries on the Security Council, the U.S. was the lone dissent (and of course the fatal one). This is not to mention that the U.S. also stood against 95 percent of the world’s population in voting against recognizing Palestinian statehood at the United Nations General Assembly in November.

There were other elements of the ‘New Beginning’ that were promised, particularly around education and entrepreneurship. It is true that the U.S. has now (co-)organized three global entrepreneurship summits, in D.C., Istanbul, and Dubai, the latter being held in 2012. Yet, it is also clear that beyond the pomp of a summit, the once-robust programmatic initiatives that have come out have been weaker. Leadership changes within internal initiatives, as well as those with partners, have meant stalled if not stagnant programming. The idea of connecting entrepreneurs between the Muslim world and the West is a mutually beneficial and powerful concept, but it has not translated into the impact it should have by now. In the last summit in Dubai, it was as if the institutional memory from three years ago was lost, and everything was starting again.

All this being said, there still exists the perception that relations have improved between the U.S. and Muslim communities. However, since 2009 and Obama’s inauguration, positive views have been on a steady decline in Muslim countries, according to the Pew Global Attitudes Project. In 2009, 33 percent of respondents held confidence in Obama; that number slipped to 24 percent in 2012. In 2009, 25 percent of respondents held a favorable view of the U.S.; that figure dropped to 15 percent in 2012. Finally, approval of Obama’s ‘international policies’ fell from 34 percent in 2009 to 15 percent in 2012. Without a substantive shift, these numbers will continue to decline, further cementing the reality that there never was a new beginning.

Can things be turned around, given the current state of affairs? It would be misleadingly Pollyannaish to think that President Obama could snap his fingers and magically change opinion towards him from Muslim countries. Moreover, there are certain political realities that will remain. The U.S. will continue to be an ally of Israel. The U.S. will continue to fight terrorism. And the U.S. will not be able to fund new Marshall plans in the Middle East for the foreseeable future. Nevertheless, there is a lot that can and should be done.

At the outset, President Obama needs to re-launch a dialogue with the Muslim world. At the beginning of his first term he went to Cairo to give a speech. Perhaps he should go to Cairo in 2013 to have a conversation. In fact, since becoming president, Obama has visited only the country of his upbringing, Indonesia, apart from the initial trips to Saudi Arabia and Egypt (in addition to cloak-and-dagger visits to Afghanistan), within the Muslim world. Instead of distant speeches and dispatched drones, the Administration would be served by a President who is more engaged with his audience, through visits as well as frank and honest dialogue during those trips.

Although the U.S. will not reverse decades of support for Israel, it need not ally with the most extreme policies of the Israeli government. Continuing to be the lone voice at the United Nations and international community defending illegal Israeli practices is a sharp blow to many efforts of the Obama administration. There is no third-term, and the President should stop pandering to contrived political interests in Washington D.C. There are enough Jewish supporters, lobby groups, and intelligentsia, who would support a more moderate and principled set of policies towards the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

Israel is, of course, not the only foreign policy issue that should be of concern. The U.S., while acting in its national interest, should remain consistent in its language and support for key principles of human rights. It is when it becomes caught in naked hypocrisy that support for the Administration falls, whether in Bahrain in 2011 or Egypt in 2012, and a range of countries, perhaps, in 2013.
Finally, initiatives that can make an impact on tackling the economic despair for young people, like the 100 million youth who will enter the labor market over the next decade in the Arab world, need to be prioritized. There needs to be sufficient attention and support for the global entrepreneurship program that can truly support the emerging and exciting entrepreneurial energy in places like Amman and Ramallah, Karachi and Kuala Lumpur. The U.S. has the best soft-power in this area, from the start-up scene in Silicon Valley to MIT Labs, yet it is hardly deployed, even though the White House calls entrepreneurship, “a critical pillar of U.S. global engagement.”

There is a tremendous opportunity in President Obama’s second term to catalytically shift relations with Muslim communities and turn potential adversaries into allies. If the status quo, however, is maintained in policy and practice, this opportunity will be lost.

This article originally appeared in the print edition of the Diplomatic Courier, in the January/February 2013 issue. It can be accessed online at: 

          Harissa Paste        

Prepare to be kissed by fire, but in a good way! The spicy way, with my easy recipe for Harissa Paste. Harissa is a North African hot chili paste or sauce commonly eaten in Tunisia and Morocco whose main ingredients are chili peppers, tomatoes and Paprika. This fiery red sauce is served as a condiment with […]

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          Destination: the OTHER Roman coliseum and a secret surprise (El Jem, Tunisia)        

It’s not every day you have a place to yourself as a tourist. Despite being easy to reach and a wonderful example of Roman architecture, this 3rd century UNESCO World Heritage doesn’t get nearly the sort of coverage it deserves. We saw no more than 10 tourists during our shoulder-season visit, though to be sure […]

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          Comment on The young entrepreneur myth? by James Morton        
Please, please, please will someone show this data to all the international aid agencies like IFC which are promoting entrepreneurship as the answer to youth unemployment in places like Tunisia and the way forward for the Arab spring.
          Nigeria, Egypt top list for intenet penetration in Africa        

Top 10 African countries with highest intenet penetration (2012) Nigeria Egypt South Africa Morocco Kenya Sudan Tanzania Algeria Uganda Tunisia Source: African Development Bank  

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          BANG BANG: Dave McDougall        
[BANG BANG is our week-long look back at 20!!, or "Twenty-bang-bang," or 2011, with contributions from all over aiming to cover all sorts of enthusiasms from film to music to words and beyond.]

Selected 2011 discoveries, briefly noted and across various media by Dave McDougall.


Homeland —— the characters on this show run deep; their history and demons are as much a driver as the twists of plot. Which certainly helps Claire Danes and Mandy Patinkin and Damian Lewis and Morena Baccarin act their asses off. Allegiances don't shift as much as they are gradually revealed; even though the audience isn't only in the headspace of Danes' rebellious CIA agent, everything is filtered through the line between the watchers and the suspects, and the further into each world we're given access, the more complicated the line between terrorist and hero. This isn't a war of ideas as much as a war between wounded people who've sided with ideas, and those wounds are what drive both the terrorists and those trying to stop them. This week's showstopping season finale toyed with heavy political and personal dénouement and teased an even greater moral complexity to come. If there's a better show on television right now, I'd like to see it. 

The Color Wheel (Alex Ross Perry, 2011) —— A masterpiece, a perfect screwball comedy, and a vicious, misanthropic, prickly little thing. What Ignatiy said, and then some.

And two other filmic masterpieces-to-be-named-later that also tackle communication (and shared histories) between men and women, on which I'll have more to say in the Mubi year-end roundup.


Governments toppled, not by social media but by people going to the streets to battle for their due. But the dynamics of open source protest and new media communication flows were a big part of why this was the year that kicked off an #ArabSpring, an indignado movement, a global coalition of #Occupy protests. It's not just coordination of protests but the ability for knowledge flows to reveal the silent political preferences of a people, and to rally supporters to the cause. None of these movements were created by the emergence of social media -- all grew out of previous organization by activists on the ground, over years and decade -- but it's hard to deny that these movements could only coalesce through communication, and that new forms of one-to-many communication smooth the friction of reaching out to wide audiences. 


As the 2008 financial crisis has shifted to become a crisis of solvency and liquidity in the Eurozone, the economic intelligence of the left-ish political blogotwittersphere rises almost as fast as events shift; but the key insight is that, unlike the people-powered movements and revolutions mentioned above, the fate of all of our economic lives still hangs in the balance of deals to be cut in back rooms by power brokers. Which, as those same movements will attest, is the opposite of democracy. If the revolutions of Egypt or Libya or Tunisia (or Syria or Bahrain or Yemen, if you're looking for revolutions-in-the-making) were best revealed by the participants themselves in 140 characters (or 140 character updates, compiled), then the stories of our economic dilemmas have been best told by those savvy enough to get to the bottom of capital flows and reveal these inner workings via blogs, articles, and interviews, whose links were embedded in 140-character updates themselves. Information, in all its forms -- pictures, videos, charts, analysis, stories from the front lines -- move and flicker and flow just the ways frames do in the cinema. For me, these were a few of the sources that made the leap to essential in 2011, from the MENA uprisings to the Econopocalyse and the social movements pushing back:


Among all the books and blogs and analysis, an epic cornerstone of how to even begin to think of how we got here — David Graeber's Debt: The First 5000 Years. 

David McDougall is a writer, filmmaker, and media strategist based in London and Los Angeles. He's got blogs and films and words in various places, some of them on the internet. He twitters here.

          FIDE Newsletter July 2017        

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FIDE Grand Prix Series was held in Geneva, Switzerland from 5th to 16th of July 2017

Teimour Radjabov emerged clear winner of the FIDE World Chess Grand Prix in Geneva after sharing the point with his nearest follower Ian Nepomniachtchi in the final round. Radjabov earned 20.000 EUR and 170 Grand Prix points for the clear first place. Nepomniachtchi and Grischuk took 13.500 EUR and 105 GP points each.

Radjabov gp2017

In the overall Grand Prix standings Shakhriyar Mamedyarov is leading with 340 points, while Grischuk is second with 316,4. They have completed three events each and will cautiously await the results from the final 4th leg.


Radjabov jumped through to the third place with 241,4 points. Ding Liren on 240 and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave on 211,4 can also hope to earn one of the two qualifying spots for the Candidates Tournament.

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Photo gallery

European Senior Team Chess Championship 2017 took place in Novi Sad, Serbia from 24th of June till 4th of July 2017.

The Serbian team became European champion in the "50+" section European Championships for seniors. The title was brought by the grandmasters Miloš Pavlović, Goran M. Todorović, Siniša Dražić and Nenad Ristić and international master Zoran Arsović.

European Senior Team Chess Championship

Second place get to the team of Italy, which had three grandmasters in their team composition, and the third place went to team of Sweden. Particularly interesting is the fact that for the Swedish team successfully played the Swedish ambassador in Serbia, His Excellency Jan Lundin.

In the 65+ section the team of Russia, for which are playing the legendary grandmasters Sveshnikov, Vasyukov and Balashov made amazing result of all eight victories, and took the first place. The Danish team was the second, and Belgium, after they lost match in the last round against Russia, took third place.

Official website

Panamerican Youth Championship 2017 took place in Costa Rica from 30 June 2017 till 7th of July 2017.

Panamerican Youth Championship 2017

Total medal counts at PanAm Youth Championships:

USA 4 Gold, 5 Silver, 6 Bronze = 15 medals
Peru 2 Gold, 3 Silver, 2 Bronze = 7 medals
Canada 2 Gold, 2 Silver, 1 Bronze = 5 medals
Venezuela 1 Gold, 1 Silver, 1 Bronze = 3 medals
Colombia 1 Gold, 1 Bronze = 2 medals
Argentina 1 Gold
Chile 1 Gold
Mexico 1 Silver
Bolivia 1 Bronze

Lopez Rayo Santiago COL
Mishra Abhimanyu USA
Prestia Sebastian USA

U8 girls
Vidyarthi Omya USA
Maravi Ceron Ayme PER
Qu Greta CAN

Li Eric USA
Atanasov Anthony CAN
Gao Marvin USA

U10 Girls
Contreras Fiorella PER
Wong Allyson USA
Wang Ellen USA

Chasin Nico Werner USA
Galaviz Medina Sion Radam MEX
Flores Quillas Diego Saul Rod PER

U12 Girls
Perez Hernandez Vicmary C. VEN
Yellamraju Ambica USA
Matute Escobar Roxanny VEN

Liu Aristo S USA
Nakada Akira W USA
Titichoca Daza Daniel BOL

U14 Girls
He Emma CAN
Zeng Sheena USA
Ehsani Yassamin L USA

Varacalli Francisco ARG
Ramirez Gonzalez Mauricio VEN
Liang Albert USA

U16 Girls
Gomez Barrera Javiera Belen CHI
Mostacero Velarde Isabella PER
Caballero Quijano Mitzy Mishe PER

Song Michael CAN
Cori Quispe Kevin Joel PER
Quinonez Garcia Santiago COL

U18 Girls
Cosme Contreras Trilce PER
Wang Constance CAN
Cervantes Landeiro Thalia USA

Panamerican Youth Championship 2017 2

Official website


North American Youth Championship 2017 was held in Morristown, NJ, USA from 12th to 16th of July 2017.

North American Youth Championship 2017 2

A record-breaking 357 players from the United States, Canada and Mexico descended on the historic American Revolution town of Morristown, NJ, to compete in the North American Youth Chess Championships from July 12th to 16th. Sponsored by the Chess Tech, Continental Chess Association’s Darcy Lima, the International Chess School’s Michael Khodarkovsky and in Association with New Jersey Chess Federation and United States Chess Federation, the tournament had 12 sections with girls and open sections from under 8 to under 18. International Arbiters Steve Doyle, Eduard Duchovny and Ken Ballou have a staff of New Jersey State Chess Federation officers and staff: Hal Sprechman, Jim Mullanaphy, Jabari McGreen and Noreen Davisson. IA Steve Doyle, a legend on the chess scene, former President of USCF and Vice President of FIDE conducted the Tournament together with Tournament Directors GM Darcy Lima and Michael Khodarkovsky.

Final Standings 

Asian Zonal 3.1 took place in Tehran, Iran from 29th of June till 8th of July 2017

20 players (18 from Iran, 1 from Syria, 1 from Iraq) took part in the women`s section. Mobina Alinasab, a youth player from North of Iran, won the golden medal; Sarasadat Khademalsharieh and Mitra Hejazipour were second and third.

Asian Zonal 3.1

30 players (28 from Iran, 1 from Syria, 1 from Iraq) took part in the Open section. GM Amirreza Pourramezanali achieved Gold Medal. IM Aryan Gholami and GM Pouya Idani took silver and bronze medals.

Sponsor of Federation and this championship is MCI (Mobile Telecommunication Company).

Official website

African Individual Chess Championships 2017, African Rapid and Blitz Championships took place in Oran, Algeria from 1st till 13th of July 2017

45 players (and 18 players) among which the best African players, including a member of the top 100 the Egyptian GM Bassem Amin (Elo 2684) and Ahmed Adly, ex-junior world champion Elo on 2598. All the participants representing 8 countries (Algeria, Egypt, Zambia, Angola, Tunisia, Republic Centers African, Tunisia, Zimbabwe, Ivory Coast) greeted the perfect organization and the good conditions of play in the international hotel "Assala" situated in the city center.

African Individual Chess Championships 2017

GM Amin Bassem from Egypt won the African Individual Championship. Daniel Cawdery from South Africa shared the first place but came second on the tie-break. Adly Ahmed from Egypt finished on the third place. 3 Egyptian players occupied the stage in women's section: WGM Mona Khaled won the championship, while Wafa Shrook and Wafa Shahenda took silver and bronze medals.

Amin Bassem

Rapid Championships: Amin Bassem (Egypt) won another golden medal, Adly Ahmed (Egypt) came second and Hesham Abdelrahman (Egypt) was third.

Amin Bassem 2

Wafa Shahenda (Egypt) was the best one in blitz, Esperance Caxita (Angola) and Amina Mezioud (Algeria) came third.

Blitz championships:
Adly Ahmed (Egypt) won blitz championship, Mohamed Haddouche (Algeria) was second and Phiri Richmond from Zambia was third.
Wafa Shrook (Egypt) was the strongest in blitz. Amina Mezioud (Algeria) took the silver medal, while Mona Khaled (Egypt) came third.

Commonwealth Chess Championship 2017 took place in New Delhi, India from 2nd till 10th of July 2017.

Commonwealth Chess Championship 2017 2

Grandmaster and former world junior champion Abhijeet Gupta (india) came up with an inspired performance in the final round to crush Aleksander Wohl of Australia and annexed the gold medal in the Commonwealth Chess Championship 2017. GM Vaibhav Suri (India) won the silver while the bronze medal went to GM Tejas Bakre (India). WGM Swati Ghate (India) became the Women Champion.

Commonwealth Chess Championship 2017 3

Players from 15 countries including some from South Africa and Kenya have registered for the nine-day long events. The championship had over 550 registered players in various categories spanning from under-8 till open. There were 16 Grandmasters and 13 International Masters in the fray apart from five more Woman Grandmasters.

Official website

Asian Schools Chess Championship 2017 and Asian Schools Rapid and Blitz Chess Championships were held in Panjin Lianoing, China from 20th till 30th of July 2017.

Chinese Chess Association under the auspices of the Asian Chess Federation and World Chess Federation, organized the event in high-standard playing hall and hotel, earning unanimous acclaims from more than 700 participants from 23 countries and regions in Asia.

Asian Schools Chess Championship 2017 3

China won 10 gold medals, Uzbekistan won 8 gold medals and Philippines won 7 gold medals.

Yuruultei Batbaatar MGL
Nurgaliyev Sauat KAZ
Kiaan Agrawal IND

U7 Girls
Tselmuun Dorjsuren MGL
Ruzimatova Afruzabonu UZB
Zhumagali Raian KAZ

Xie Kaifan CHN
Chen Muye CHN
Huang Yishi CHN

U9 Girls
Chen Yining CHN
Dela Cruz Daren PHI
Azzaya Amarbat MGL

Wei Yaqing CHN
Rakhmatullaev Almas UZB
Zhou Xiangru CHN

U11 Girls
Omonova Umida UZB
Kriti Mayur Patel IND
Withanarachchi W A Vinoli One SRI

Peng Shunkai CHN
Wang Zideng CHN
Arfan Aditya Bagus INA

U13 Girls
Cai Boheng CHN
Khegay Yuliya UZB
Liuviann Cecilia Natalie INA

Nanayakkara J A K Saranath SRI
Lin Yi CHN
Tan Jun Ying MAS

U15 Girls
Rasyid Nur Aini INA
Mordido Kylen Joy PHI
Saparova Sitora UZB

Pangilinan Stephen Rome PHI
Sagita Catur Adi INA
Min Po-Yen TRE

U17 Girls
Doroy Allaney Jia G PHI
Edithso Samantha INA
Men JiaYi CHN

All results

          Eight Cape Town beaches were awarded Blue Flag status        

If beaches have Blue Flag status, that means they are clean, safe and secure, and adhere to international safety and tourism standards.

"Having Blue Flag beaches and marinas is a significant tourism draw-card, because international visitors know what to expect when visiting a Blue Flag beach or marina."

The city said Cape Townhad the highest number of Blue Flag beaches in the country.

The Blue Flag is awarded annually to over 3650 beaches and marinas in 44 countries across Europe, South Africa, Morocco, Tunisia, New Zealand, Brazil, Canada, and the Caribbean.

The eight beaches granted Blue Flag status are as follows:

Camps Bay
Clifton 4th

The two marinas that got Blue Flag status are Granger Bay Water Club and the False Bay Marina.

To see full article see here. 

          Blue Flag Status for 8 of the City of Cape Town's beaches        
Picture: iafrica (source: Tumblr)

The National Minister of Tourism, Marthinus van Schalkwyk, confirmed that eight of the City of Cape Town’s beaches and two of its marinas have been awarded Blue Flag Status.

The Blue Flag is a voluntary eco-label awarded annually to over 3650 beaches and marinas in 44 countries across Europe, South Africa, Morocco, Tunisia, New Zealand, Brazil, Canada and the Caribbean. The City has successfully participated in the Blue Flag Beach Programme since its inception in South Africa in 2001.

This year the City applied for Blue Flag status for eight of its beaches across the metropole – all of which have been granted this coveted status. This means that the City has the highest number of Blue Flag beaches in South Africa.

The beaches that have been awarded Blue Flag status for this season, which runs from 1 December 2012 to 31 March 2013, are Bikini, Mnandi, Strandfontein, Muizenberg, Llandudno, Camps Bay, Clifton 4th and Silwerstroomstrand.

Blue Flag beaches are required to meet 32 criteria spanning four aspects of coastal management: water quality, environmental education and information, environmental management and safety and services. The status indicates that the beaches are clean, have adequate ablution facilities and parking, are environmentally sound, are safe and secure to visit, and adhere to international safety and tourism standards.

In conclusion, the Blue Flag brand adds value to Cape Town’s Responsible Tourism offerings and supports the implementation of the City’s Responsible Tourism Policy.

Read more:

          Viral Video Exposes Cultural Response to Rape in Tunisia        
A high school theater piece in Tunisia reveals what girls there consider the double victimization of rape. “I think it’s time for the Tunisian society to understand that a shotgun marriage will never be the solution for rape,” one girl says.
          The Afternoon Sound Alternative 08-20-2015 with DJ K-Nee        

Arkestra One- Man From The Audience - Man From The Audience Single
Fish Go Deep- The Jazz - Lounge Basics Vol 1 Les Basics De La Lounge
Zero 7- Distractions Madlibs YNQ Remix - RECORD The Best Of Zero 7
- voicebreak -
Wibutee- First There Was Jazz - Eight Domestic Challenges
Slide Five- Outerspace - Rhode Trip
Compilation- Feelin Good Joe Claussell Remix - Verve Remixed
- voicebreak -
The Beast And Nnenna Freelon- Umi Says - Freedom Suite
Sasha Keable- Careless Over You - Black Book Ep
Neneh CherryMichael Stipe- Trout - Homebrew
The Slakadeliqs- Dream On - The Other Side Of Tomorrow
- voicebreak -
Air- Modular Mix - Premiers Symptomes
BitterSweet- Heaven Nicola Conte West Coast Vibes Remix - The Remix Game
Various Artists- Soul Sauce Cal Tjader Fila Brazilia Remix - VerveRemixed2
Scrimshire- Chakas Night In Tunisia - Scrimshire Edits Vol 1
Djinji Brown- Waterfalls In Dub - Only To Survive The Diaspora
Maribel Tafur- Summer Dreams - Summer Dreams Single
Flor- Ocean - Ocean Single
- voicebreak -
Soundsci- Coastin ReBlessed - Soundsational Instrumentals
Marina And The Diamonds FCharli XCX- Just Desserts - Just Desserts Single
Glass Animals- Gooey - Gooey EP
- voicebreak -
Herbie Hancock- Watermelon Man Kenney Dope Extended Remix - Watermelon Man Remixes Ep
Les Gammas- Afternoon At Rossis - Exercises De Styles
The Dining Rooms- M Dupont - Subterranean Modern Vol 1
Michal Menert FKeepLove C1 Paul Basic- Sweet Remorse - Sweet Remorse Single
- voicebreak -
James Vincent- Higer Love Moritz Guhlings Herz Rmx - Higer Love moritz Guhlings Herz Rmx Single
Jill Scott- Cruisin - Woman
Zara McFarlane- Angie La La Yoruba Soul Mix feat Leron Thomas - Angie La La Single
A Tribe Called Quest- Bonita Applebum CK Mackintosh UK 12 Mix - Bonita Applebum Single
- voicebreak -
Gregory Porter- Liquid Spirit Claptone Remix - Defected In The House Ibiza 2015
MNEK- The Rhythm - The Rhythm Single

playlist URL:
          The Afternoon Sound Alternative 05-04-2015 with Tonja Loendorf        

Wayne Hancock- Home With My Baby - Ride
Dwight Yoakam- Man Of Constant Sorrow - Second Hand Heart
- voicebreak -
The Mannish Boys- I Aint Sayin - Wrapped Up And Ready
Nathan James- Hear Me Calling - Hear Me Calling
Selwyn Birchwood- Addicted - Dont Call No Ambulance
The Bob Lanza Blues Band- Maudie - Til The Pain Is Gone
Rod Piazza And The Mighty Flyers- Neighbor Neighbor - Emergency Situation
Too Slim The Taildraggers- Wishing Well - Anthology
- voicebreak -
Martin Lang- Billys Shuffle - Martin Lang Chicago Harp Blues Sesssions feat Rockin Johnny Burgin
Ray Bonneville- Who Do Call The Shots - Easy Gone
Buena Vista Social Club- Black Chicken 37 - Lost And Found
Ludovico Einaudi- Taranta - Taranta Project
El Naan- Charro Del Marinero Y La Estrella - Cdigo De Barros
- voicebreak -
The Tornados- Telstar - The Tornados Play Telstar And Other Great Hits
Bethany Yarrow- 1 - Trouble In The Land
Soft Machine- Riff II - Switzerland 1974
Father John Misty- True Affection - I Love You Honeybear
Shakey Graves- The Perfect Parts - And The War Came
Ryley Walker- Summer Dress - Primrose Green
Sinkane- How We Be - Mean Love
- voicebreak -
Dark Horses- Live On Hunger - Hail Lucid State
Second Sky- Purpose - Touching The Surface
Tribe Society- Bullet With Butterfly Wings - Delirium Sonata
Banditos- The Breeze - Banditos
Waxahatchee- Poison - Ivy Tripp
Ambrosia Parsley- Empire - Weeping Cherry
Intuit- Patterns - Intuit
Sharon Jones The DapKings- Retreat - Give The People What They Want
- voicebreak -
The Ventures- Walk Dont Run - Walk Dont Run The Best Of The Ventures
The Sonics- I Dont Need No Doctor - This Is The Sonics
Matthew E White- Rock Roll Is Cold - Fresh Blood
- voicebreak -
Bombadil- Forgive Me Darling - Hold On
Robert Wyatt- Slow Walkin Talk - 68
Holy Ghost Tent Revival- Right State Of Mind - Right State Of Mind
Miles Davis- A Night In Tunisia - Out Of Nowhere The Rise Of Miles Davis with Charlie Parker
The Flaming Lips- Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band feat My Morning Jacket Fever The Ghost J Mascis - With A Little Help From My Fwends
The Flaming Lips- With A Little Help From My Friends feat Black Pus Autumn Defense - With A Little Help From My Fwends
- voicebreak -
Lady Lamb The Beekeeper- Vena Cava - After
Mike Watt The Missingmen- Up To My Neck In This - While No One Was Looking Toasting 20 Years Of Bloodshot Records
Houndstooth- Bliss Boat - No News From Home
Guided By Voices- Authoritarian Zoo - Cool Planet
Guided By Voices- Costume Makes The Man - Cool Planet
Love- Young Able Good Evil - Black Beauty

playlist URL:
          The Afternoon Sound Alternative 04-16-2015 with DJ K-Nee        

- voicebreak -
- voicebreak -
- voicebreak -
- voicebreak -
Spirit Level FJake Telford- Feel The Music - Mo Cookin
Various Artists- Masters At Work Pienso En Ti luis Salinass - Latinique
- voicebreak -
Yo Flaco- Mole Mole - Yo Flaco
Scrimshire- Chakas Night In Tunisia - Scrimshire Edits Vol 1
United Future Organization- Make It Better - No Sound Is Too Taboo
- voicebreak -
- voicebreak -
Dwight Trible The Life Force Trio- Love Is The Answer - Love Is The Answer
CRL CRRLL- Cheers - Cheers Single
MNEK- Thats The Way Love Goes - Thats The Way Love Goes Single
Jose James- Sword Gun FaltyDL Remix - Sword Gun FaltyDL Remix Single
Flume- Sleepless feat Jezzabell Doran - Flume
Soundsci- Coastin ReBlessed - Soundsational Instrumentals
Theophilus London- Enjoy The Sun - This Charming Man Bonus Track Version
Mary J Blige- Be Happy SatOne Rmx - Be Happy satone Rmx Single
Glass Animals- Gooey - Gooey EP
George Maple- Where You End And I Begin feat Grand Marshall - Where You End And I Begin feat Grande Marshall Single
The Beast And Nnenna Freelon- Umi Says - Freedom Suite
Free The Robots- Lonely Traveler - Free The Robots EP
Robert Glasper- Twice uestloves Twice Baked Remix feat Solange Knowles The Roots - Black Radio Recovered The Remix EP
Lunice The Jealous Guys- Buss Stop Jazz - Bus Stop Jazz Single
Lyric Jones- Loss On Repeat feat Esperanza Spalding - Jones St
Consequence- Sounds Good To Me - Sounds Good To Me Single
Lili K- My Name Is Peter Cottontale Remix - My Name Is Peter Cottontale Remix Single
AlunaGeorge- Your Drums Your Love - Body Music
Snakehips- Forever Pt II feat Kaleem Taylor - Forever Pt II EP
Lee Scratch Perry- Freedom Dub - Megaton Dub
Bob Marley The Wailers- Punky Reggae Party feat Lee Scratch Perry ZTrip Remix - Legend Remixed
Major Lazer- Lean On Shemce Remix - Lean On shemce Remix FMO DJ Snake Single
Skrillex Diplo- Where Are Now feat Justin Bieber - Skrillex And Diplo Present Jack
M- Say Youll Be There - Say Youll Be There Single
Povi Tamu- Tiny Bombs - Tiny Bombs Single
Anderson Paak- Off The Ground - Venice
Monster Rally RUMTUM- Walters Jam - Coasting
FKJ- Waiting feat Madelyn Grant - Take Off Ep
Full Crate X Mar- Nobody Else - Nobody Else EP

playlist URL:
          Trash Technology for Education and Survival        

100s of toys from trash for science education, one step away from survival tech (solar disinfection, solar cookers for example) from trash for survival and economic development. Next step for Tunisian and Egyptian uprisings?

View Link [] …

          That Witch, Inflation Eats Our Earnings Away        
Title: That Witch, Inflation Eats Our Earnings Away
Raj Patel of wrote this article about inflation. Yes we can blame external shocks, mainly high fuel and commodities prices, oil, coal, grains etc. Natural disasters that affect production of food and commodities are also to blame. Increased affluence in some countries also stokes the demand for food, hence stoking inflation.
China, India, ASEAN countries and Brazil have become more affluent lately, and the first thing people spend more when they are richer, is more quality food, clothing and housing, which translates to more demand on commodities.
I agree with Mr Patel and the World Bank that freer market helps lower prices in urban areas, whatever that cannot be produced locally at a competitive and cheap price, can be imported. But that would kill off local production, contributing to a higher price of the said produce in the future. Well designed public feeding and public works programmes gives people jobs, but this requires government spending which is inflationary.
In the short term, government and policy makers has to accept that commodity prices will stay high. Hence government must handle this issue of feeding the people and fair distribution of food. Hence well designed programme that feed the poor and hungry is necessary, even if that will mean higher government spending. Food grant and welfare payment for the poor and also public works programmes that will provide jobs. A content population would less likely to stir unrest. Yes it is inflationary.
In the medium term, investment must be made in food and commodity production, food doesn’t grow in an instant, land must be plough first before seeds planted. Infrastructure for farming has to be built. Without these new investments in food production, food production cannot increase and cannot meet increased demand.
What is more important, the country’s economic structure must be rearranged, more focus on food and commodity production as a larger portion in GNP. It is all well that the country has been steadily increasing industrial and service sector production to earn higher and higher incomes, but this has been at the expense of agricultural production which feeds the populace. So it’s no surprise that food prices have been steadily increasing. This call for new government policies that encourage food production, as well as incentives that encourage food production.
Look at Tunisia lately,,
1. High youth unemployment, and high unemployment overall.
2. 1 in 40 adult male is a policeman, which translate to high proportion government servant.
3. The economy has high proportion in service sector, ie resorts, hotels that cater for European tourists.
So the seeds of Tunisian discontent can be summarised in high food prices, unemployment and envy of wealth. What are worse the ruling elite displays their wealth, ill-gotten or not.
If we learn anything from this, we must handle these issues of unemployment, inflation, high food prices and unfair distribution of income immediately.
          Strengthening the Right to Information for People and the Environment (STRIPE)        

Rapid development has transformed many countries’ economies, but with this growth comes hazardous pollution. Globally, 80% of wastewater contaminated by toxic sludge, industrial chemicals and other pollutants flows untreated into the water that poor communities rely on for everything from their drinking water to their livelihoods. Many of these same communities also suffer from dangerously high air pollution. Each year, 6.5 million people die from causes directly related to air pollution.

A lack of information is a key part of the problem. Despite the passage of Freedom of Information (FOI) laws around the world, people still don’t know if their water is safe to drink or if their air is too dirty to breathe. Worldwide, 80% of countries do not publicly report the amount of pollution that companies discharge. Without this information, local communities cannot voice their concerns, participate in decision-making or hold powerful interests to account.

Strengthening the Right to Information for People and the Environment (STRIPE) helps communities improve their environment and health by exercising their right to access information and participate in environmental decision-making. Working with civil society organizations and local communities, STRIPE:

  • Assesses countries’ transparency, participation and environmental laws
  • Evaluates what environmental information is available to the public and the barriers communities face in accessing this information
  • Works with community members to use FOI laws to request information from governments and tracks the results—how many requests were granted? How many were appealed? Was the information given complete? How much time did officials take to respond?
  • Analyzes findings to inform local advocacy campaigns that urge governments to improve transparency and proactively release environmental information
  • Build community members’ capacity to advocate for pollution prevention and restoration

STRIPE is one of The Access Initiative’s (TAI) projects. TAI is the largest civil society network in the world dedicated to ensuring that citizens have the right and ability to influence decisions about the natural resources that sustain their communities. Subscribe to our newsletter, and follow us on Twitter @TAIGlobal to learn more. 


Improving communities’ health and environment through their right to access information and participate in decision-making

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          Moumen Smihi: The Sorrows of a Young Tangerian        
One of the most important Arab filmmakers working today, Moumen Smihi is founding figure of the New Arab Cinema of the Maghreb (Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia). Introduction and Q&A for the film screening event at Tate Modern.
          Moumen Smihi: A Muslim Childhood        
One of the most important Arab filmmakers working today, Moumen Smihi is founding figure of the New Arab Cinema of the Maghreb (Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia). Introduction and Q&A for the film screening event at Tate Modern.
          Moumen Smihi: Moroccan Chronicles        
One of the most important Arab filmmakers working today, Moumen Smihi is founding figure of the New Arab Cinema of the Maghreb (Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia). Introduction and Q&A for the film screening event at Tate Modern
          Moumen Smihi: 44, or Tales of the Night        
One of the most important Arab filmmakers working today, Moumen Smihi is founding figure of the New Arab Cinema of the Maghreb (Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia). Introduction and Q&A for the film screening event at Tate Modern.
          Tunisia Seeks Its Way On A Winding, Bumpy Path        
Editor's Note: An attacker opened fire on a beach in Tunisia and killed 38 people on June 26. NPR's Alice Fordham went to cover the story. She used to live in Tunisia and reflects on how the country's changed in recent years.

Two years ago, I first went to the town of Kairouan, one of the holiest sites in Islam. Tear gas drifted around the beautiful old stones of the Great Mosque and nervous police sheltered in small patches of shade.

          Some Tourists Show Solidarity With Tunisia After Beach Attack        
Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit



Some tourists are sticking with their vacation plans in Tunisia, despite a mass shooting on a beach there Friday. Thirty-eight people were killed, most of them tourists.

          After Slaughter Of Tourists, Tunisia Cracks Down On Islamists        
Tunisia was in shock after at least 38 foreign tourists were killed Friday at a beachside hotel, apparently by one man: Saifeddine Rezgui, who was in turn killed by police.

Amid the horror, there was defiance in the air in the seaside town of Sousse. Hundreds of foreign tourists decided to stay, and were out on the beaches. And local residents held a patriotic demonstration, waving the red national flag and chanting about unity in a palm-fringed square.

Many talked about how to prevent another attack.

          After Tunisia Attack, Tourists Leave — And Locals Worry        
Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit

          Arturo Sandoval A Night In Tunisia trumpet solo and cadenza transcription        
You are going to like this Arturo Sandoval trumpet transcription if you haven’t seen it yet. At the end, my computer’s speakers started freaking out it was so high. The arrangement was done by Wally Minko and from the album Dear Diz (Every Day I Think Of You) , by Arturo Sandoval You can download [...] Read the rest of this entry...
          Tragedy turned into political capital        
Mohammed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, a 31-year-old from Tunisia, killed 84 men, women and children in Nice, France and wounded many more when he drove a rented truck through the city on the Mediterranean coast last Thursday evening. It was July 14, Bastille Day, a day of patriotic celebration for the people of France. Bouhlel zig-zagged so
          How did 2011 change democracy worldwide?        
On the next Your Call, we'll talk about the year in democracy. It has been one full year since Tunisian fruit vendor Mohamed Bouazizi set himself on fire--setting off a domino chain of revolts and revolutions in the Arab world and around the globe. Now there are 150 cities with Occupy movements in California alone. What's the moment from the 2011 grassroots uprisings that will stay with you? Join us at 10 or email us at What does democracy mean to you today? It's Your Call with Rose Aguilar, and You.

 Khaled Fahmy, associate professor of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies and History at NYU; currently on leave from NYU and teaching at American University of Cairo

 Fred Weir, Canadian journalist who lives in Moscow and specializes in Russian affairs

Click to Listen: How did 2011 change democracy worldwide?

          How should the US engage with new Islamist governments?        
How should the US engage with the governments emerging from the uprising in the Arab world? On the next Your Call, we'll have a conversation about the emergence of Islamist parties in elections in Egypt and Tunisia. What do they stand for? Why are they so popular? And should the U.S. embrace them? Join us live at 10 or send an email to It's Your Call, with Matt Martin and you.

Juan Cole, Richard P. Mitchell Collegiate Professor of History at the University of Michigan.

Mona El-Ghobashy, an Assistant Professor in political science at Barnard College

Click to Listen: How should the US engage with new Islamist governments?
          Kenya's Reelected Leader Must End Horrifying Anal Exams        

Will President Uhuru Kenyatta nudge his nation toward the future or keep it in the past?

WorldKenya's Reelected Leader Must End Horrifying Anal ExamsEric Gitari

Kenya, the economic and political powerhouse of Eastern and Central Africa, held an election this week to choose the fifth president of the country since independence. While the vote is still being contested by opposition leader Raila Odinga, it appears that incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta just won a second and final term. When it comes to defending the human rights of Kenya’s LGBTIQ citizens, Kenyatta’s record is critically important to our emerging democracy.

During President Obama’s visit to Kenya in 2015, Kenyatta said, “We share a lot of things, but gay issues are not among them. ... There are some things that we must admit we don't share. It's very difficult for us to impose on people that which they themselves do not accept. This is why I say for Kenyans today the issue of gay rights is really a nonissue." Kenyatta was responding to Obama, who emphasized the need for Kenya to stop discriminating against gays and lesbians, saying, “I've been consistent all across Africa on this. When you start treating people differently because they're different, that's the path whereby freedoms begin to erode. And bad things happen.”

During an interview with CNN in October 2015, Kenyatta underlined that what he meant when responding to Obama was not that gays have no rights. "I will not allow people to persecute any individuals, or beat and torture them," he said, adding that "we have to understand that these are processes and they take time ... and this is where I am saying we have to get synergies. You are not going to create the U.S., Great Britain, or Netherlands in Kenya, or in Nigeria or Senegal overnight."

President Kenyatta’s lack of leadership on LGBTIQ issues is of great concern. The unsupportive public statements have offered license to state officers who continue to harass and arrest gays and lesbians; political cover to those who deny LGBTIQ citizens access to medical, educational, and other social services; and a justification for hate crimes committed by the general public. The use of forced anal exams to “prove” homosexual activity stands out as a particularly brutal form of torture in this larger context.

From 2015 to March 2017, senior state officers in Kenya have been encouraging police to use forced anal examinations on suspected gay men and trans women to prove the crime of private consensual homosexual adult sex, which is punishable with 14 years imprisonment. The outdated practice, which has so far been perfomed on two of our clients and has been used as a threat on others, involves a doctor inserting fingers or objects inside the rectum of a detainee, measuring the anus to assess indications of penetration, or even simply spotlighting the anus to check for bruises or tears. This practice, which has been upheld as valid by the High Court of Kenya, only serves to degrade and humiliate suspected gay men, since no further medical analysis is performed to prove the penetration was the result of consensual sexual activity by another man. These tests serve no evidentiary value in proving the crime of private consensual homosexual adult sex, and they have been denounced by medical and forensic athorities around the world.

In Africa, forced anal examinations on suspected gay men and trans women have been reported in Tanzania, Egypt, Tunisia, Uganda, and Cameroon. The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights noted in 2016 that forced anal examination constitutes torture. It has asked African states to respect Resolution 275 of the commission, which forbids violence and discrimination on the basis of real or imputed sexual orientation and gender identity. It also should be noted that Kenya has robust antitorture legislation, which defines torture to include the insertion of objects into sexual organs, including the anus. Unfortunately, there is little political will to extend the equal protection and equal benefits of such laws to gay men and trans women, who are now at risk of these forced anal examinations.

In this context, where there is no political will to enforce the law equally and where court appeals against the use of forced anal examinations languish in Kenyan courts, and with cases of blackmail, extortion, and detention of gay men and trans women on the rise, the National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission of Kenya and the Council for Global Equality have asked the U.S. government to sanction those who are responsible for this barbaric practice. Together, we have lodged an application with the U.S. State Department under the Global Magnitsky Act to sanction senior Kenyan officers and medical professionals who are encouraging or performing forced anal examinations on suspected gay men and trans women, arguing that these practices amount to torture or cruel, inhumane, and degrading treatment. We hope the public discourse that the Global Magnitsky application brings will shine a spotlight on the cruelty of this procedure, highlighting the pointless and irreversible injury it causes to the dignity of the victim. 

This is just one human rights issue that will determine Kenya’s commitment to democracy and the rule of law. President Kenyatta will have to show leadership in ending this act of torture and many other forms of violence and discrimination against LGBTIQ citizens. He must also engage diplomatically to avoid sanctions against senior individual state officers and to uphold the international reputation of Kenya as a regional leader when it comes to democracy and equality.

ERIC GITARI is the executive director of the NGLHRC-Kenya and an LL.M. student at Harvard Law School.

          What is ISLAM ?        

                   Islam  is the name of a religion founded by Muhammad in ancient Arabia in the 7th century. People who follow Islam are called Muslims. They believe in only one God, That God is called Allah, which is the Arabic phrase for "the (only) God". There is no plural for Allah in the Arabic language. Muslims believe that Muhammad was the last prophet(or messenger) of God. Muslims read a holy book called the Qur'an, sometimes also spelled "Koran". Muslims also look to other writings, theSunnah and Hadith, as important guides. In Islam there is only one unforgivable sin, that is worshipping another god or giving gods qualities to a person, animal or drawing.

As well as having religious laws, Islam has laws on how the government should be run. These laws are called "Shariah Law". Lawyers have looked at Shariah, and interpreted it; these interpretations are called Fiqh.

Unlike Christianity and Judaism, Islam was not named after its founder,Muhammad, because Muhammad was not considered "holy." 


The most holy book in the religion of Islam is the Qur'an. The Qur'an is assumed to be the sayings of Allah. Islam teaches that the Qur'an was revealed by Allah, or God, to Muhammad with the help of an angel called Gabriel. It also teaches that the Qur'an is in heaven and that it is a perfect book. The Qur'an has a total of 114 chapters. In each chapter there are many verses. Many Muslims try to memorize the entire Qur'an and ones that do are generally called upon as Hafiz or Hafez.

Other important books are the Sunnah, or biographies of Muhammad and Hadith compilations, which are collections of sayings attributed to Muhammad.

The Five Pillars of Islam

There are five things that Muslims should do. They are called "The Five Pillars of Islam".

1. Faith: The Testimony (al-Shahada in Arabic) is the Muslim belief that there is no god but Allah Himself, and that Muhammad is His messenger.

2. Prayer: Muslims pray five times at special times of the day.

3. Charity: Muslims who have money must give alms (Zakah or Zakat in Arabic) to help poor Muslims in the local community .

4. Fasting: Muslims fast during Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic year. They do not eat or drink from sunrise till sunset for one lunar month. After Ramadan, there is a holiday called Eid al-Fitr (English: Festival of end-fast). Muslims usually have a party with families and friends and go to the mosque in the morning for a special service.

5. Hajj (Pilgrimage): During the Hajj season, many Muslims go to Makkah, the holiest city of Islam, which is in Saudi Arabia. Muslims must make the hajj at least once in their life if they can afford to do so. There is no need if a Muslim does not have the money to make the Hajj. At the end of Hajj season, there is a holiday called Eid al-Adha (English: Festival of Sacrifice). Muslims in general who can afford or who have made the Hajj must buy an animal, usually a goat, to sacrifice according to Islamic laws and cook as food or give away to the poor, if they have the money for it. Muslims believe that Abraham, one of Allah's earliest messengers, was told by Allah on the day of Eid al-Adha to sacrifice his son in Jerusalem. But the angel Gabriel congratulated Abraham's obedience to Allah and gave him a lamb instead.

Place of Worship

Muslims pray in a mosque, like this one in Jerusalem.

Muslims, the people who follow the religion of Islam, pray in a holy place called the mosque. Most mosques have at least one dome and some have one or more towers. But a mosque does not need to have a dome or tower. Muslims take their shoes off before entering the mosque to pray. Prayer is one of the most important things that a Muslim does.

Different movements and beliefs

Like with other religions, over the time different movements have developed in Islam. These movements are based on different interpretations of the scriptures.


Sunni Islam is the biggest movement in Islam. About 89% of Muslims are Sunni. [4]After Muhammad died, the Sunnis believed that Abu Bakr should lead Islam. This is because they believe leaders of Islam should be chosen by the consensus of the Ummah, the Muslim world. After he died Omar took his place then Othman then Ali. All of them were companions of Prophet Mohammed and lived in Medina. Sunni beliefs are usually based on the Qur'an and the Sunnah.


The Shia are the second largest movement in Islam. About 11% of Muslims are Shi'a. They believe that before Muhammad died, he chose his cousin Ali to come after him as the caliph, the leader of the Muslim world. Shia Muslims think Ali was the first Imam, a leader who was closer to Allah than others. The children of Ali were seen as the next Imams. Shi'a beliefs include the Qur'an and Sunnah, but also the beliefs of the Imam.


Kharijites were a movement during the early years of Islam. This movement has no followers today. At first they accepted the rule of Ali, but rejected him to later support the view that Abu Bakr, and his successors were the rightful Caliphs. The only group of Kharijites that still exists are the Ibadi. The Ibadi do not consider themselves to be Kharijite. Most Ibadis live in Oman. Smaller numbers live in Algeria, Tunisia, Libya andZanzibar.   Sometimes, the term Kharijite (or Neo-Kharijite) is also used for some islamic terrorist groups. Examples of such groups are the Groupe islamique armé in Algeria, or the Takfir wal-Hijra in Egypt.


The Sufi are not a movement like the Sunni or the Shia. They focus more on the spiritual and mysticelements of Islam. Some followers of Sufism are Sunni, others are Shia.

          Tunisian Prime Minister Chahed: 'Terror No Longer Has a Nationality'        
The suspect in the December terror attack in Berlin, which killed 12, came from Tunisia. SPIEGEL spoke to the country's prime minister, Youssef Chahed, 41, about terrorism in his country and the problems facing its fragile democracy.
          'I Wish I Could Die': Meeting the Man Who Helped Trigger the Arab Spring        
The Arab Spring began five years ago when two men set themselves on fire in Tunisia. One of them survived his self-immolation -- and now wishes he hadn't. This is his story.
          The True Cost of Terrorism: Tunisia's Tourism Industry Struggles to Survive        
At the end of June, 37 guests of a Tunisian resort hotel died in a hail of terrorist gunfire. Since then, tourists have stayed away, and the tragedy has only just begun.
          Echoes of Egypt: Secular-Islamist Tensions Rise in Tunisia        
Tunisia was the birthplace of the Arab Spring over two years ago. But growing frustration and violence have caused the chasm between secularists and Islamists to widen, leading many to fear political chaos like that gripping Egypt.
          Opposition Mobilizes: Politician's Murder Sparks Wave of Protest        
The murder of a leading opposition figure in Tunisia has sent thousands of Tunisians to the streets. They accuse the governing Islamists of being behind the killing, and many in the opposition hope to harness the outrage to drive them from power just as popular protest recently did in Egypt.
          Verdict in Tunisia: Femen Activist Surprised at Jail Sentence        
A German Femen activist and two fellow demonstrators were sentenced to four months in prison for a topless protest in Tunis. The 19-year-old was recently visited by the German government's human rights commissioner. He said the woman was completely surprised at the verdict.
          Tunisian Feminist Leader: 'Femen, Please Leave Us Alone'        
European Femen activists have been sentenced to four months in prison for their topless protest in the Tunisian capital last month. Now the country's opposition leader, herself a respected feminist, is asking Femen to leave, calling their actions counterproductive.
          Topless Protesters: Three Femen Activists Arrested in Tunisia        
Three European women with the feminist activist group Femen were arrested in Tunis on Wednesday after holding a topless protest in front of the Ministry of Justice. Staged against the imprisonment of a fellow activist, it was their first such stunt in the Arab world.
          Arab Spring at Risk: Belaïd Assassination Exposes Deep Rifts in Tunisia         
The murder of opposition politician Chokri Belaïd was also an assault on Tunisia's emerging democracy. It has exposed the chasm between Islamists and secularists, and threatens to plunge the nation at the forefront of the Arab Revolution into chaos.
          Islamist Intimidation: The Battle for the Future of Tunisia        
Almost two years after the Arab Spring got its start in Tunisia, Salafists are intimidating women, artists and intellectuals. Many fear that the government is tacitly supporting the radical Islamists in their efforts to turn the young democracy into a theocracy.
          Islamist vs. Secularists: The Post-Revolution Struggle for the Arab Soul         
The rise of political Islam following the Arab Spring has many worried that the democratic achievements of the revolution could be lost. In Egypt and Tunisia alike, citizens are once again taking to the streets. But this time they are opposing Islamism. Does secularism still stand a chance?
          Interview with Tunisia's Prime Minister: 'Military Intervention in Syria Would Be Pure Madness'        
Ahead of a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin on Wednesday, Tunisian Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali has warned against military intervention in Syria. In an interview with SPIEGEL ONLINE, Jebali also rejects the prospect of Syrian President Assad being exiled to his country.
          Women's Rights: Could Germany Learn from Tunisia?        
German Family Minister Kristina Schröder traveled on Wednesday to Tunisia, a country that until last year's revolution had some of the most progressive women's rights policies in the Arab world. But now women there are fighting against the imposition of Shariah law in their next constitution.
          The Streets of the Revolution: North Africa, One Year Later        
Twelve months ago, a young man in Tunisia ignited himself and triggered a revolution that spread across northern Africa. A year later, correspondent Alexander Smoltczyk set out in a new series on a journey to assess the changes the tumultuous Maghreb region has undergone -- from Morocco to Egypt.
          Freedoms at Risk: Arab Women Fight to Defend their Rights        
The Arab Spring seemed to herald a new era of emancipation for women in the Arab world. But Islamists are on the rise in Tunisia and Egypt, and there are worrying reports of sexual assaults on demonstrators in Cairo's Tahrir Square. Many women in the region fear a rollback of what rights they had under the dictators.
          Victory for Ennahda: Why Tunisians Voted for the Islamists        
In a major setback for Tunisia's elite, the Islamist Ennahda Party looks set to lead the country's first democratically elected government. They appealed to the common people who sought greater credibility in politics. But concerns the country might soon become a new theocracy are exaggerated, because Tunisian Islamists are looking to Turkey as their model.
          The World from Berlin: The Arab Spring 'Will Create Strong Islamist Parties'        
The strong showing by Islamists in Tunisia's elections has raised doubts about the Arab Spring. Will rule by dictators in North Africa be replaced by Sharia law? Islam will have to play a role, say German commentators, but it's not necessarily the end of the world -- and Tunisian secularists are also strong.
          Tui confirms it may return to selling UK trips to Tunisia        
Tourism group confirms if UK demand for holidays to Tunisia is strong it may put them back in brochures.
          Counterterrorism: Update: Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS        
Special Briefing
Brett McGurk
Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition To Counter ISIS, Office of the Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition To Counter ISIS
Press Briefing Room
Washington, DC
August 4, 2017

MS NAUERT: Hi, everybody. How are you all doing today? Good to see you --


MS NAUERT: Good to see you back. I know, it’s Friday late in the day, summertime. So you all get good camper awards for coming in today. Thank you so much for being here on this Friday. We have our Special Presidential Envoy to the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, Brett McGurk, who’s here with us. I know you heard from Brett just a couple weeks ago at the end of the ISIS – D-ISIS coalition meeting here in Washington. And so Brett wanted to come in today to provide you all with an update as to where things stand in the campaign.

So without further ado, Brett’s here with that.

MR MCGURK: Thank you. Okay, thanks everybody for coming. I thought what I’d do today – you heard from the Secretary for a kind of trip around the world six months in here since he arrived about everything going on in the world and the activity here at the State Department. And what I thought I’d do is drill in a little bit more on what he discussed about the very important – one of our key priorities here at the department, about the campaign against ISIS.

So I want to focus on the overall campaign, as a global campaign, but dive in a little bit to the so-called “caliphate” in Iraq and Syria and kind of bring you into what we’re doing every day and how it’s working interagency throughout our government, and particularly our diplomats here at the State Department.

A few topline points – I think this is important – if you go back to when ISIS really arrived on the international scene back in 2014, we had 40,000 foreign fighters from 110 countries around the world pouring into Syria and Iraq. They controlled what was effectively a quasi-state. They were able to mass and maneuver force all around Iraq and Syria, taking entire cities, controlling millions of people under their domain. Since that time, they have lost about 70,000 square kilometers of territory in Iraq and Syria. About 78 percent of the territory they used to hold in Iraq, they can no longer operate in, and about 58 percent of the territory they used to hold in Syria, they can no longer operate in.

Importantly, of all that territory that they have lost, they have not regained. When our coalition supports elements on the ground to retake territory from ISIS, they have never been able to reclaim that territory. So this is not a campaign in which you go and you clear, you can’t hold, and they come back. They have never been able to retake any of this ground and we’re going to make sure that that continues. Importantly – not just territory, but even more important, people. Five – almost 5 million people who had been living under ISIS are no longer living under ISIS. They have been liberated by coalition-enabled operations on the ground.

Also critically important, a few years ago you saw migrants and refugees pouring out of this part of the world. We have now reversed that flow. In Iraq alone, about 2 million people have returned to their homes in areas that have been cleared from ISIS. These are areas used to be under the control of this terrorist group. Now, you have people actually returning to their homes – 2 million people. That is almost unprecedented in a conflict like this in terms of getting returnees back, and it’s due to a lot of the work that the Secretary mentioned here at the podium the other day about our stabilization and humanitarian effort that goes in parallel with any military campaign.

The force we’re working with, the Iraqi Security Forces – we have trained as a coalition 100,000 members of the Iraqi Security Forces in total. They have never lost a battle. This was an Iraqi Security Force that had almost collapsed. Those forces, those units that we have trained as a coalition have never lost a battle. In Syria, when it comes to the campaign against ISIS, we are working primarily with the Syrian Democratic Forces. That’s a force of now about 50,000 – it’s about half Arab, half Kurd. They also have never lost a battle. Not only have they never lost a battle, the training courses – and I’ve been to Syria about six times now, three times over the past six months – our training courses on the ground in Syria are full. As we move into areas, particularly among the Arab – Sunni Arab population, our training classes are full because these people want to get back to their homes and kick ISIS out of their areas. So our training classes are full; they’ve never lost a battle.

Also very importantly, elements of what we call the vetted Syrian opposition have particularly in a part of Syria, which I’ll look to – point to on the map, supported by the Turkish forces an area known as the Euphrates Shield zone, also very effectively cleared ISIS out of key terrain that they had held.

Here’s what’s really important: Over the last six months, we have dramatically accelerated this campaign, and you heard about some of this from Secretary Tillerson. Nearly 30 percent of all the territory that has been retaken from ISIS – about 20,000 square kilometers – has actually happened in the last six months. As you know, the campaign against Mosul is now finished and in Raqqa, which I’ll talk to in more detail, about 45 percent of Raqqa is now cleared. This is due to some key changes that were put in place very early on – three changes – initiatives from President Trump, and I’ll just highlight four of them.

Number one, and very importantly, this makes a tremendous difference on the ground: the delegation of tactical authority from the White House, from Washington, down through the chain of command to our commanders on the ground. That has made a fairly tremendous difference in our ability to actually seize opportunities from ISIS, and I’ll talk about one of those in some detail.

Second, you’ve heard Secretary Mattis talk about it’s a campaign of annihilation. We make sure that before we do a military operation, we actually surround the enemy so that foreign fighters in particular cannot escape. Every foreign fighter that made its way into Syria and Iraq, we want to make sure that they can never make their way out of Syria and Iraq.

Third, from day one we look to how we can increase our burden-sharing from the coalition. And that is why, as the Secretary mentioned when he was here earlier this week, one of his first initiatives was to call on all members of our coalition. And it’s now 73 members of our coalition, 69 countries, four international organizations, one of the largest coalitions in history. And he had all of those members here in March to talk about this next accelerated phase of the campaign, and we raised in that session alone about $2 billion, which really came in critical needs, particularly for the post-Mosul phase and the humanitarian aspect of taking care of the IDPs from Mosul.

Finally, the whole-of-government effort to make sure that we’re working as a government hand-in-glove with our colleagues in Treasury, the Department of Defense, here at the State Department, and within in the NSC to make sure that we’re taking advantage of opportunities, working not just in Iraq and Syria, but also to sever the financial connections and propaganda networks that continue to fuel terrorist groups like this.

So let me go in some detail, and I’ll turn to the map. The map has about nine numbers on it, some of which I’ll spend a little more time on than others. But I’ll start with the yellow – little yellow circle, yellow gumball number one. That, of course, is Raqqa. About six months ago, ISIS was planning major attacks in Raqqa. They were planning major attacks against the United States, against our partners, and they were doing it in Raqqa using infrastructure of a major city. Today in Raqqa, ISIS is fighting for every last block, and trying to defend blocks that they are about to lose. They are fighting for their own survival. It is a fundamentally transformed situation. The Raqqa operation to seize Raqqa launched on June 6th, and as of today, as I mentioned, the SDF has seized about 45 percent of Raqqa. And there was a very detailed briefing at DOD yesterday from Colonel Dillon, who was on the ground in Iraq, talking about the details of this operation.

The two axes of advance from east to west are actually about to connect. They could connect now, but they have to clear some high-rise buildings before they join forces at a roadway. And that’ll really help accelerate the second phase of the operation to clear the rest of the city.

We estimate there’s about 2,000 ISIS fighters left in Raqqa. I’m always hesitant to give numbers like that, because it’s – this is an inexact science. We think there’s about 2,000 ISIS fighters left in Raqqa, and they will – they most likely will die in Raqqa. UN estimates now – there’s about 25,000 civilians on the ground in Raqqa. It could be higher, but that is a UN estimate. And what’s really happening in Raqqa – similar to what we saw in Mosul but on a smaller scale – the ISIS fighters on the ground are using these civilians as their own shields, as their own hostages. They are using snipers to kill civilians who are trying to escape. They’re trying to put suicide bombers in columns of displaced people as they try to get out – the similar tactics we’ve seen from this barbaric terrorist organization in other cities.

The campaign to seize Raqqa was enabled by an operation that came a few months ago in the city of Tabqa, and that’s just to the left of the west of the yellow gumball one. So Tabqa is right there just near Tabqa Dam, right on – where the Euphrates kind of curves. And I want to highlight Tabqa because it was critical to setting the conditions for the success we’re now seeing in Raqqa and to really basically tightening the noose around ISIS. And I don’t think it could’ve happened absent this delegation of authorities that I talked about.

So – and I saw – I happened to see this up close because I was in Syria in March, in the town of Ayn Issa, which is there on the map just north of Raqqa. And we met with some of the local commanders who were sensing what was happening with ISIS, and they told our military commander, General Steve Townsend, who’s done an extraordinary job over the last year, that they sense there’s an opportunity to catch ISIS by surprise in the city of Tabqa and at the Tabqa Dam, and there’s an airfield there called the Tabqa Airport. And they said, all we need is we need you to help us get across this body of water – it’s about an 8-kilometer body of water – at night, drop us behind ISIS lines, and then we can take it from there, basically catching ISIS by surprise and seizing these three very strategic areas.

This was very important to close the noose on ISIS because ISIS was using this area to get personnel and equipment in and out of Raqqa. It was pretty audacious. It required us to put these fighters on helicopters, crossing about eight kilometers of water at night. These fighters are incredibly brave. Most of them have never been on a helicopter. It was also very complicated because it was hard to tell exactly what was on the other side of the water because we had never really been that far south.

General Townsend and our commanders approved this operation really within a period of days. It launched. It took about six weeks to finish, but the forces that we were talking about were right. They actually know the local area. They caught ISIS by surprise. They were able to cease Tabqa, Tabqa Dam, and the airport, and we really saw ISIS go into a bit of a reeling effect after that. We saw a lot of their fighters trying to flee and their defenses in Raqqa begin to degrade a little bit. So it was a really critical operation, and it was done because authority's been delegated down to seize opportunities like that. It was a really important moment in this overall campaign.

We also have had to work very closely, as forces converge in this area as the Secretary mentioned, with – despite all of our tensions with Russia, we also look for areas where we have to find a way to work together, and I think Syria exemplifies that. This is particularly true in Tabqa because regime forces – Syrian regime forces are very close to the area that our forces are operating in, and we actually had an incident on June 18th in which our forces shot down a Syrian jet that violated an agreement that we had on the ground of where they could go and where they could not go.

Since then, we have drawn what we call a deconfliction line with the Russians to help accelerate the campaign in Raqqa and to basically make clear where their forces will be and where our forces will be. This has held extremely well. This is now in place. Our military personnel speak with the Russians every day, and we, of course, have diplomatic consultations on issues like this far less frequently but whenever we need to. And the Secretary, of course, is speaking with Foreign Minister Lavrov from time to time, and he'll see him soon at the ASEAN conference coming up later this weekend. So a very important deconfliction line with the Russians has helped us enable and accelerate the pressure on ISIS in Raqqa.

Now, what gets less attention – this is very non-glamorous work but very critical work, and the Secretary specifically mentioned some of what our diplomats are doing on the ground to make sure that in the wake of the military campaign we are doing all we can on the humanitarian and stabilization side as our forces move into Raqqa. So let me kind of describe that a little bit, and I’ll give you some facts. I don’t want to delve too much into facts, but it’s important to get a sense of really what’s going on, and I’ve gone in and have seen this with my own eyes a few times.

So as IDPs come out of areas that have been controlled by ISIS – these are people who have been living under ISIS for the last three years – we are seeing almost all of the IDPs flow north into the lines of the force we’re working with. They are not flowing west into regime areas; they are not leaving to go stay with ISIS in the east; they are not flowing south into the desert. They are all coming into the areas of the Syrian Democratic Forces. Total now IDPs from this environment, not just Raqqa city but the surroundings – about 324,000 IDPs. We track this every single day. As of this morning, about 146,000 are in prepared sites and camps, about 177 or so thousand in communities. And what we see in Syria, as the population comes out from areas where the fighting is ongoing, they sit in transit camps. And as the areas are cleared, as they’re de-mined, the population then returns. We have seen this now repeatedly this pattern, which is a pretty good pattern.

I was in Syria in March, again, near this town of Ayn Issa just north of Raqqa, and we frankly saw thousands of IDPs sleeping on the side of the road, living in dirt, in situations that were totally, totally unacceptable. This area at the time was really almost inaccessible to the UN. This was before the Tabqa operation had finished, so the UN really had no way to get in there and it was a really unacceptable situation.

So we accelerated the deployment of some of our experts and diplomats here from the State Department and from USAID to get key people on the ground who could help enable NGOs to address this situation. And when I returned to Syria in May, just a fundamentally different picture on the exact same road. Before and after pictures – I think I even put a tweet out about some of the before and after pictures. Two months earlier, thousands of people sleeping in dirt on the side of the road; two months later, very well-maintained camps, people in transit camps, and people being taken care of. That is due to the work that our diplomats and our military civil affairs people do on the ground every day, and they’re doing an extraordinary job.

So where are we today? Our experts working on the ground, we have finalized a day-after-liberation plan for Raqqa. It will plan for up to 50,000 people in Raqqa. As I mentioned, based on the UN estimates we think that figure is lower, but we’re going to plan for the very worst case. As I mentioned, the UN has now gained road access, so they’re delivering a fairly large number of supplies. World Food Program, ICRC, and a number of other NGOs are operating in these areas.

So I think the Secretary mentioned we’ve pre-positioned supplies so we’re ready for the day after ISIS in Raqqa. And just to give you what – to tell you what that means, we have food ready for about 447,000 people. We have tents and shelters for an additional 50,000 people. We have medical treatment facilities for about over 200,000 people. Water sanitation, hygiene – all these things are getting pre-positioned to be ready for the day after ISIS.

How are we doing this with so few people on the ground? Number one, we have the right people on the ground. So our humanitarian expert who’s in Syria, he was just back here in Washington for consultations. His name is Al Dwyer from USAID; he has led almost every major international response around the world, just an incredibly dedicated public servant. And he’s doing a great job, and he has connections with all of these NGOs on the ground.

We’re also working with the Raqqa Civilian Council, which is a group of civilians from the area. They’re based in Ayn Issa. This is a temporary structure. They are committed to having an election in Raqqa by May of next year. But it’s also a necessary structure because we need local people on the ground to help us deliver and facilitate aid. And the RCC alone has coordinated the delivery of 830 metric tons of humanitarian aid to areas all around Raqqa, and they’re very instrumental in planning the day-after activities.

In terms of stabilization, I just want to really emphasize what the Secretary said here from this podium earlier this week. We are committed to stabilization, and that word is very important. This is not reconstruction; it’s not nation building. Stabilization is demining. That means setting the conditions for people to return to their homes. ISIS leaves landmines everywhere so that people can’t return. We are committed to help to do all we can by training locals to help demine critical infrastructure sites in critical places to allow people to come home.

Stabilization also means rubble removal so that trucks and equipment can get into areas of need. It means basic electricity, sewage, water, the basic essentials to allow populations to come back to their home. And we have found – learning some lessons from Iraq which I’ll get to – that this focus on the basic elements of stabilization is a critical enabler for allowing people to come back to their home – to their homes.

Now, sometimes we meet with local councils and they say, “We really want you, the United States, to help us with the – you’re going to run the hospitals, aren’t you? You’re going to run our school system.” And no, we’re not – we’re not doing that. We’ve learned some lessons and we’re not very good at that, and also that is not our responsibility. We will do basic stabilization.

When it comes to things like schools, if a local council says to us, “There are five schools in the area and they’ve been totally wired with explosive devices and landmines. Will you please help us there?” Yes, that is something that we will do. If they need desks or chairs or chalkboards or something, we can usually help find contractors from the local area to do that.

And so I’ll give you an example in Tabqa. The Tabqa Civilian Council, which we’re also working with, these are local people from Tabqa. I met them. Not long ago, they were all living under ISIS, and now they are working very hard to try to restore life to their community. And they have told us about a number of schools that are actually wired to explode, so we are now helping to get deminers into the area to clear those schools. About five have already been finished. And we’re going to do all we possibly can to have as many schools as ready in Tabqa for the opening of the school year on September 15th. But again, in terms of school curriculums, teachers, all this, this is the responsibility of the Syrians on the ground and the Iraqis on the ground, not us.

In Raqqa we have about 400 of these critical infrastructure sites that we’ve identified for the day after for immediate demining. About 100 of these sites are really the priorities. We’re also getting contributions from our coalition. I think we announced here when we had the coalition conference two weeks ago two very unique and proactive funding mechanisms focused on Syria. One, the Syria Recovery Trust Fund, which is now operating – which is now able to operate in this area. And second, a donor consortium which is very project-specific. As we identify the projects for stabilization, we can match them with coalition contributors.

So that’s Raqqa. It’s ongoing. This will take time. This will be a very difficult battle. Just because 45 percent of the city is cleared in two months does not mean this will be finished in two – in another two months. That’s not how these things go. Sometimes they go faster. Sometimes they go a lot slower than you might anticipate. And I would anticipate in the center of the city ISIS will put up a very difficult fight with suicide vests and everything we’ve seen them do in other places.

Let me jump quickly to number two, the yellow gumball number two, and I’ll go a little faster with some of these. This is the area known as the Middle Euphrates Valley. A lot – some ISIS leaders, as they saw the writing on the wall in Raqqa, tried to flee before the noose was tightened and surrounded – before our forces really surrounded Raqqa, and they fled to some very small dusty towns in this area of the Euphrates River. A town called Mayadin is one of them and some other very small areas in this, what we call the Middle Euphrates Valley.

I would just say any ISIS leader in these little small towns needs to have a very good life insurance policy, because unlike when they’re living in a – what these guys used to do is they live in civilian apartment buildings with hundreds of people in the structure, which obviously makes it impossible for us to target them, because we’re not going to target a civilian structure.

When they’re living in small towns and dusty villages, not only is it very different for them – this is not the glamorous, so-called caliphate they expected to find – it’s also a lot easier for us to find them. So in the last six weeks alone, I think our DOD announced just yesterday about 13 key leaders and associates have been targeted and eliminated in this area, and that is only going to continue.

This area of the country also, I cannot emphasize enough, extremely complex. And that is why deconfliction arrangements with the Russians will also be increasingly important as we operate in this area. It’s a complex battle space. These deconfliction arrangements are important, and that is why we’re so focused on that.

Number three yellow gumball, this is a little garrison known as Tanf. We are training a force there to fight ISIS in the Middle Euphrates Valley, because the force we are training there is from the Middle Euphrates Valley. And that training continues, and that is a very important mission in terms of our overall counter-ISIS campaign.

This area also became fairly tense in mid-June with some – I don’t know if I’d call it misunderstandings, but some perhaps misunderstandings from forces operating in the area that led to some airstrikes from our military forces. Since then, the situation has calmed down considerably. We have worked out deconfliction arrangements which have been working quite well, and we’re going to try to make sure that those stay in place. This is a very important piece of Syria connected with our critical ally Jordan and our critical ally Iraq, and we want to make sure that ISIS cannot fill space in this area because it incorporates critical road networks, which I’ll talk to when I discuss Iraq briefly.

The fourth yellow gumball, that is the southwest. This is very important because, a little separate from the counter-ISIS campaign, but it’s a key enabler for trying to remove this little red blotch, which is ISIS. This is an ISIS cell right near the yellow circle number four. It’s an ISIS cell. They’re known as the Jaysh Khalid bin Al-Walid. They are an ISIS affiliate. When they move into an area and capture a village, which they did there a few months ago, they do what ISIS does: they capture locals, they do gruesome beheadings, and terrorize the local population. We are determined to remove that cell from the southwest.

And importantly, as you know, we concluded with the Jordanians – and the Jordanians were a critical driver of this process, our critical ally Jordan – a ceasefire in the southwest with Jordan and Russia. And that ceasefire was concluded on July 9th. It was finalized in Hamburg between President Trump and President Putin, and it went into effect on July 11th. So we’re well into the third week of it now, and the results have been quite promising thus far. The fighting has largely stopped.

There’s a couple reasons for this. Unlike some other ceasefires that have been tried in Syria, this ceasefire was a result of months of negotiation with the Jordanians, who really know the terrain, and with the Russians, who were there representing effectively the Syrian regime. Painstaking negotiation, what we call the line of contact, meter by meter throughout the southwest and throughout Dara’a City, so everybody understood where they could go and where they could not go. And that map was initialed by all three parties, and the ceasefire went into effect on July 11th.

We’re now seeing civilians beginning to return to this area, which is very promising, and beginning to see landmines being removed as the fighting has stopped. So we’re working very hard to make sure that that ceasefire remains in effect, and so far it’s promising.

We also, if you look at the last six months in Syria and you look at the data that the UN puts out, it’s actually interesting to just look at the trend data that the UN puts out in terms of IDPs and refugee flows. This is from UNHCR. In the last six months in this calendar year, about 440,000 IDPs in Syria have actually returned to their homes. That’s a statistic you normally don’t see in six-month increments. And 31,000 Syrian refugees, meaning Syrians who fled outside of Syria, have also now returned to their homes in the first six months of this year. So again, the reverse of the migrant refugee outflow – that’s an important indicator and something, obviously, we want to continue; very much in our interests and the interests of our critical partners in this part of the world, particularly Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey, and, of course, our partners in Europe.

Back up on Syria writ large – the Secretary spoke with this and I can delve into it a little bit more. If you think about really two phases in Syria, right now this is phase one. We want to defeat ISIS. We have to defeat ISIS because ISIS is trying to plan major attacks against us and our partners, as I mentioned, and they’re still trying to do that. So long as ISIS is holding territory, pretending to hold this caliphate with people under its domain, the long-term political settlement in Syria goes increasingly out of reach, and our first priority is to protect our homeland. So number one, defeat ISIS. In parallel in phase one, want to de-escalate the overall violence in Syria through a combination of de-escalation – deconfliction arrangements and de-escalation areas such as the ceasefire we’ve reached in the southwest. So we’re in phase one right now: defeat ISIS, de-escalate the overall situation.

In parallel in Geneva, very important talks about a future constitutional process, about a future internationally monitored elections in which all Syrians, including the diaspora, can vote. That is a condition that is enshrined in a UN Security Council resolution, 2254, and we are determined to getting to that point. So as the Secretary discussed, defeat ISIS, get de-escalation arrangements in place, quiet down the overall situation, which sets the conditions for an ultimate political solution, political settlement of the civil war. And at the end of that process – and we can’t put a timeline on it, but at the end of that process, we do not envision Bashar al-Assad being in control of Syria from Damascus. Whether that is through a constitutional process or an election or some combination, that is very important, and some people asked us, well, why do you say that?

Look, it’s just reality. Syria – by World Bank estimates, about – more than $200 billion to reconstruct Syria. It’s probably many multiples of that, and the international community is not going to come to the aid of Syria until there is a credible political horizon that can lead to a credible transition in Damascus. That is the reality. So we are working through this two-phase structure and are very committed to that roadmap that is outlined in UN Security Council Resolution 2254.

Let me just jump over to Iraq, and I’ll start with the yellow gumball number five. The number five is just to the west now of Tal Afar, and I have it there because Mosul – as you know, the battle of Mosul has now completed, but since the battle has completed, again, the less glamorous but just as important phase of stabilization and humanitarian support is very much underway. And again, this is very important. The reason we brought almost 70 countries here to the State Department in March was to make sure we had the resources necessary for the post-ISIS phase in Mosul. In total in Mosul, we saw 940,000 – the scale of Mosul compared to Raqqa is just – it’s really hardly – not even comparable. Raqqa, as I mentioned, we think there’s about 25,000 civilians in Raqqa; Mosul is a city of about 1.5 million people. Displaced from Mosul total – about 940,000 Moslawis were displaced from the fighting, but most importantly, all of them received aid. This is almost, again, unprecedented in terms of a humanitarian response. You did not see thousands of people stranded. All of them received aid and assistance, and this was because of the planning that went into the humanitarian response plan together with the military plan.

Of the $2 billion that was raised in March – that’s about 500 million or so from the U.S. – again, the ratio that we’ve mentioned before, we try to make sure that it’s about three or four to one in terms of coalition contributions to U.S. contributions when it comes to stabilization and humanitarian response, and that’s a ratio we are looking to grow over the coming weeks. Currently in Mosul about 838,000 people remain displaced. We’ve had returnees of about 240,000.

We’re working very hard now in west Mosul – when I say “we,” I mean the Government of Iraq, our coalition, the United Nations, and the people of Nineveh Province – on stabilization projects. So in west Mosul, where the damage is far more extensive than east Mosul, engineers – part of our stabilization program funded in part by our coalition – they’ve assessed about 200 schools, 20 electrical substations, seven sewage treatment plants, hospitals, police stations, again, de-mining, making sure they’re refurbished to set the conditions for people to return. The model is east Mosul, where the battle ended about six months ago, and we already have – about 350,000 children are back in school and the population has really returned. And if you talk to people who have walked the streets of east Mosul, I think they come back with that – with that story, seeing it with their own eyes. A lot of problems, to say the least, but we’re seeing people return to their homes and we’re seeing life return.

Long-term reconstruction, as the Secretary mentioned. We’re focused on the immediate stabilization. Long-term reconstruction is not – again, don’t look to the United States to fit the bill for long-term reconstruction. This is an international problem. ISIS is a challenge for the entire world. That is why we built a coalition of 74 partners, one of the largest coalitions in history, and I also give great credit to the Iraqi Government because they are looking to fund – how to fund their long-term reconstruction needs. They have a standby arrangement with the IMF, and they just passed a very difficult budget amendment through their parliament. This is the kind of the difficult stuff that doesn’t get much attention, but that really pays dividends down the road. That releases another nearly a billion dollars from the IMF.

They, the Iraqi Government, unveiled their – what they call 2030 vision to the World Bank a couple weeks ago about reforms that they are committed to to help fuel their international financing of their reconstruction. And Kuwait, His Highness, the Emir Sheikh Sabah, has announced that Kuwait will host a long-term reconstruction conference for Iraq probably in the early part of next year. So those are obviously efforts that we will support.

When it comes to the next phase of the ISIS campaign in Tal Afar, that will probably be the next battle. It’ll happen at a time of the choosing of the Government of Iraq. We estimate there’s about 1,000 ISIS fighters or so in Tal Afar among 20 to 40,000 civilians. So somewhat similar to Raqqa; a little bit smaller, but it’ll be very difficult. This has been a hub for ISIS for three years, it has been the home for many of their leaders, it has been a place where terrible atrocities were committed against not only Sunni Muslims, Shia Muslims, Yezidis. In this terrible fulcrum of ISIS atrocities, many of them happened in Tal Afar. This will be very, very hard. The Iraqis are committed to liberating the people of Tal Afar, and we are committed to supporting them at a time of their choosing.

Yellow gumball number six – this is Hawija. We estimate about 1,000 ISIS fighters in there. Again, numbers are hard to – sometimes hard to go by. About 50,000 or so civilians in that pocket of territory – 50 to 80,000 if you kind of look at the environs. This will also be a very complex operation and this – similar to Mosul, this will have to involve cooperation between the Kurdish Peshmerga, Iraqi Security Forces, and forces local to the area. And Secretary Tillerson spoke actually over the last couple days with Prime Minister Abadi and with President Barzani of the Kurdistan region about some of these next steps and about our position on some very important issues that Iraq is confronting.

Go quickly to the number seven. That is al-Qaim. That has also been a heartland of ISIS. We will support the Iraqi Security Forces as they clear that and restore sovereignty to their border with legitimate Iraqi Security Forces, and we’re of course preparing for that. Number eight – I’ll just do eight and nine quickly. Eight and nine are important because this is kind of the phase after ISIS, and we’re asked a lot about what comes after ISIS. So number eight, this is the main border crossing between Iraq and Jordan. It’s about a billion dollars a month commerce route – very important for our key ally of Jordan, of course very important for Iraq, the Government of Iraq, and also Anbar province.

The Iraqis and the Jordanians have been working now to set the conditions to open that highway, and we hope that can happen fairly soon, and I give them great credit for what they’re putting in place. To get that open, that billion dollar a month commerce route, that’s very important for the future of this region and obviously something that we are supporting both governments, encouraging them to move forward on that.

And number nine, the Arar border crossing with Saudi Arabia, this is a border crossing that has been closed since 1990. Multiple U.S. administrations have encouraged an opening between Iraq and Saudi Arabia. Those doors have remained closed, really for decades, but we achieved a breakthrough. The Iraqis and the Saudis, an initiative that they really launched on their own, a breakthrough between Baghdad and Riyadh, which had now led to an – not only exchanges of visits, but exchanges of key ministers and talking now about opening that key border crossing for the first time since 1990. Again, a critical commerce route, and that’s how you can kind of see the post-ISIS situation come into shape. That’s very important, which is why I wanted to include the nine on the map.

Let me just say briefly, beyond Iraq and Syria, why is it so important? Because this is the so-called caliphate. The caliphate is what drew so many of these foreign fighters to join ISIS and what makes it a global network. They try to fund their so-called affiliates around the world from the resources that they pick up in Iraq and Syria. We have dramatically targeted and degraded their ability to resource themselves. We’ve dramatically degraded their ability to get foreign fighters into Syria. It’s almost impossible for them to do that now. And we are working to sever all of their financial connections.

I thought I’d highlight, just finally, a way that we work throughout our interagency, which again doesn’t get – sometimes doesn’t get as much attention. The Treasury Department has a very robust program for finding who in the organization of ISIS is a leader, who is handling money, and making sure we designate those people so that they can never have any access to the international financial system. And some of our colleagues, now recently confirmed officials at the Treasury Department – Sigal Mandelker, Marshall Billingslea – have done a great job in this.

And what’s really important, and when you see a ISIS list of designees, that means they’ll never have access to the financial system. Whatever we know of their finances are frozen. A lot of these guys living in the Euphrates Valley probably never expect to have access to the international financial system. But if their name – if you’re in ISIS and your name shows up on a Treasury designation list, you’re not just being targeted by the Treasury Department. So that is why there is a very close correlation between announcing a designee and then eliminating these people from the battlefield. And even since June of this year, three critical financial facilitators from ISIS have been killed in coalition airstrikes in that Euphrates Valley area.

I think you’re all fairly familiar with what we’re doing – counter-messaging, working with our partners in the region, counter-foreign fighters. We talked about that before when I was here a couple weeks ago, so I won’t go too deeply into that.

I would just conclude where I started on this map of the caliphate, rapidly shrinking – 30 percent of their territorial losses in the last six months alone, 20,000 square kilometers in the last six months alone. That is due to some changes we have made in the campaign, and we are going to continue to accelerate the pressure on ISIS until this entire organization collapses and they cannot hold any physical territory from which they can threaten us.

So with that, I think I have time for a few questions.

QUESTION: Thank you, Mr. McGurk. Just one question. You said that the United States is – don’t look at the United States for long-term reconstruction, you’ll be engaged in just stabilizing the areas that are retaken. So what does that mean for your partnership with the Peshmerga or with the Kurds? Does that mean your partnership is about to come to an end, because it seems to me that most of the areas that are predominantly Kurdish have been retaken and also kind of stabilized?

MR MCGURK: Let me be very clear of what I mean. So in terms of our military partnership, our training, our equipping relationships – the Iraqi Government has a budget and their military force is about $10 billion, and they actually look to the United States to be their primary supplier. They’re buying our F-16s. They’re buying our equipment. That’s something that we very much intend to continue. Our training relationship with the Peshmerga in coordination with the Government of Iraq is also something that is historic and that I think would intend to continue.

When it comes to the long-term reconstruction of these areas, that is not something the U.S. can do on its own, nor is it something we should do on our own. That is why we built an international coalition of 74 members to help, and that’s why the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and other international financial institutions – it’s very important for them to be engaged here and critically important for the future of Iraq for the GCC to be engaged. That’s why we’re very encouraged by the reconstruction conference that the Kuwaitis have announced that they will host.

So we have an important role. We recognize our role as the United States of America. But it is not the U.S. alone, because ISIS is a threat to the whole world.

QUESTION: Hi, Brett. Just a few questions. First of all, can you tell us whether the overall deterioration in Russian relations with America have had any impact on your coordination in Syria? I know the Secretary said you were still working on it, but have you felt any impact?

And then you said that you got this deconfliction line or ceasefire line in the south but deconfliction arrangements in other areas. Are there any other areas where that might shift to more of a – an agreement, or is that something that we – that you’d see after Raqqa is finished?

And then I have one other question, but I can come back to you after that.

MR MCGURK: So it’s a great question. So no, so far we’ve not seen an effect on our engagement with the Russians when it comes to Syria. And most of those engagements, as I mentioned, are professional military-to-military engagements, literally airmen talking to airmen to make sure we don’t – we avoid accidents.

The second part of your question is also very important. So the southwest, that is the one area where we’ve reached kind of a – it’s a political agreement about a ceasefire, and with that agreement is not just a deconfliction line with a ceasefire between the two sides, it also talks about political arrangements in the area, making sure opposition arrangements can actually remain intact. You’re kind of freezing everything in place. It’s a very detailed arrangement. So it’s an actual ceasefire arrangement with the Russians. That is the only part of the country that we have come to such an arrangement. If there are other opportunities – to build on the military-to-military talks that have gone very well, if there are other opportunities to reach those types of arrangements to help settle down Syria in an interim phase, we’re very much open to that. And so obviously, that’s something that we’ll be talking to the Russians about, but so far the southwest is really – is the only place that we have locked in place this ceasefire.

QUESTION: Just to follow up on that, the – there have been reports that the CIA has stopped funding for the – its program to fund the Syrian opposition that’s fighting Assad. Is that – you said the opposition was frozen in place. Does that mean that the people you’ve – I’m just wondering how the – what’s happening to them? Are they protected in this arrangement if you’re no longer supporting them?

MR MCGURK: Yeah, so I can’t – well, it’s – I’m not going to talk about any of that. I can just say the agreement that we reached with Russia has a very detailed ceasefire line. The Russians have put their monitors on the northern side of the line in Syrian regime territory to help monitor regime violations, and so far the fighting has entirely stopped. And as we begin to see people return to their homes, you begin to see an increase of humanitarian aid. That is when you can get into a self-sustaining – self-sustaining cycle, which is what we’re working towards.

QUESTION: As part of the post-ISIS political system, the kind of changes that all this fighting is bringing about politically, for the Kurds the key issue is the independence referendum. What’s your position on that? Are the Iraqi elections a factor in your considerations?

MR MCGURK: Again, I think we’ve spoken to this. We are – we do not believe this referendum is a good idea. It is ill-timed. It is not well-prepared, I mentioned Hawija alone where critical engagements against ISIS still have to take place with full cooperation from the Peshmerga and the Iraqi Security Forces, and it could have potentially catastrophic consequences. So obviously, we’re in very detailed discussions with the Iraqi leaders over this, and that’s one reason Secretary Tillerson made a couple of important calls over the last couple days.

QUESTION: Is the question – is the question a question of timing or of the referendum itself?

MR MCGURK: Look, we’re focused right now on this referendum that Kurdish authorities have said they want to hold on September 25th. It’s something the U.S. Government is – firmly, firmly opposes.


QUESTION: Did you say – when you talk about the numbers that are left in Iraq and Syria, how many of the ones that have left the area do you think are dead versus kind of fleed the region? Where do you see them – the bulk of them going? Are they going more to Libya, are they going to Europe, and how do you think that’s – once you consider ISIS kind of defeated in Raqqa and Iraq, what’s the benchmark for that and how do you see the next kind of iteration of the coalition in terms of once you consider ISIS quote/unquote “defeated?”

MR MCGURK: So it’s a great question and, look, until the – until we – and we worked very closely with Turkey to help seal the entire border. So there’s east of the Euphrates River where we did a lot on the Syrian side of the border, there’s west of the Euphrates River where the Turkish operation, Euphrates Shield, not only liberated Jarabulus and al-Rai, which were two key border crossings, but also retook the town of Dabiq, which was like the spiritual – the spiritual kind of – in ISIS propaganda, they believe the final battle would happen in Dabiq. It was this kind of calling for people from all around the world, and they actually changed their magazine after that operation from Dabiq to Rumiyah. In any event, that was a very important operation in Euphrates Shield.

Since the border has been sealed, ISIS fighters are not getting in and they’re also not getting out. I can’t guarantee that in ones and twosies they can’t find a smuggling route, but they were coming by the thousands and it’s down at least by 90 percent, and we are not finding ISIS fighters being able to leave Syria. Not too long ago, what they would do is plan a terrorist attack in Raqqa, they would train a unit – kind of a terrorist combat unit – they would then infiltrate out, they would hang out in Manbij, they would then infiltrate out and go conduct an attack such as in Paris or in the Brussels airport. That’s what they used to do, and they were developing that capacity. They cannot do that anymore.

So what are we doing? We’re building a database of who these people are as we find names on the battlefield, and we have a very robust, through our coalition intelligence gathering – we call it sensitive site exploitation – if we find a cell phone, an address book, we vet the names, we find out who they are, we share them with host nations. So if it’s a French name, we’ll share it with French authorities. And we’ve built a database now of almost 19,000 names which are now all in an INTERPOL database so that any member of our coalition, any member of INTERPOL has access to that database, so that if there’s somebody that fought in Syria and happened to have gotten out and in a routine border stop or routine search, routine traffic stop, they can actually be identified.

So the next phase of the coalition is obviously a little less emphasis on the ground operations in Iraq and Syria, because those ultimately will conclude. Although we have some time to go, they ultimately will conclude. It is information sharing – that is the critical enabler to helping us protect our homelands against these people.

And that’s one reason this coalition – we heard it when we all gathered here a couple weeks ago – it’s strong, will remain intact, and continues to grow. We just added four African countries to the coalition about three weeks ago, because this is a global network, and as we make – as we succeed against these networks, more and more countries want to come join and be part of this.

Yes, sir.

QUESTION: Mr. McGurk, I have a few questions. First of all, as you know, the Special Forces – U.S. Special Forces Commander General Thomas at Aspen talk said the U.S. urged YPG to rebrand itself to avoid Turkish concerns and give the group a voice in Syria’s future. And he added that, in a quote, that’s how “McGurk was able to keep them in the conversation.” So is this rebranding itself, is this your idea?

And secondly, any plan on going into Deir ez-Zor once Raqqa is cleared?

And lastly, is YPG going to return from the lands which belongs to Arabs once everything is settled down? Thank you.

MR MCGURK: Okay, so General Thomas has done an incredible job from day one of this campaign, going all the way back to the battle of Kobani, and you might remember Kobani surrounded by thousands of ISIS fighters. Had Kobani fallen, the whole border would have been gone to ISIS. And it was some of our friends in Iraq – our Kurdish friends in Iraq – who actually put us in touch with some of the Kurdish fighters in Kobani at the time to develop some contacts, allowed us to get some military equipment to them. And then we worked very closely with Turkey – I was a part of this; I was in Ankara – to open a corridor for the Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga to come into Kobani to help turn the tide of that battle. It was a historic moment, and over the course of the battle of Kobani, we killed 6,000 ISIS fighters. It was the first time they lost a battle and it really was the turning point.

So after that battle, when we met some of the fighters from Kobani and we said, look, how are we going to really take the fight to ISIS in some of these other areas? We have to recruit Arabs into the force. And so you have to have an umbrella that embraces the Arab component of the force, with the key principle being – it’s our key principle in Syria – as areas are liberated from ISIS, they should return to the local people from those areas. That’s first and foremost our priority. So therefore we had to have an umbrella that would bring in as many people as possible – Kurds, Arabs, Christians, Syriacs, all these guys – working together as a cohesive force, not working together as different units, which is not militarily effective. And so General Thomas was a part of that, and it’s actually been very effective. Again, as I said, all of our training classes are full. They’re full of Sunni Arabs, they’re full of Christians, they’re full of people from these areas who want to liberate their towns. So I think overall it has been successful.

Deir ez-Zor. Deir ez-Zor is on the map. It’s just to the northwest of yellow gumball number two. What makes Deir ez-Zor complicated, it is a – it’s a city with an airfield in which Syrian army forces have been surrounded and besieged by ISIS for almost three years. They have some thousands of their own fighters in there. Some of their best units are in there surrounded by ISIS. And Syrian army forces are determined to break the siege of Deir ez-Zor. I think just look at what the Russian – there was a Russian general who gave a briefing a few weeks ago, talked about that operation. They’re about 140 kilometers away now. They have a pretty long ways to go. I think it’s a decent assumption that over time – it’s going to take them some time – they will probably succeed in that mission, but how much further they go from there is something that remains to be seen and is why we’ll be in fairly detailed discussions with the Russians through military channels on that.

QUESTION: Thank you. After ISIS is defeated, do you think that Kurdistan will be a U.S. strategic ally?

MR MCGURK: So our strategic ally are our friends in Iraq. We support the Government of Iraq. We support a unified federal – a unified federal Iraq that is strong and that is prosperous and that is at peace with itself and with its neighbors. So obviously, we have deep relations in the Kurdistan Region – in Erbil, in Sulaymaniyah, with all the Kurdish parties – and I think that is something that goes back many, many decades and is something that will continue. But we’ll also continue working, of course, through the Government of Iraq, within the Iraqi constitutional system, to support a unified and federal Iraq.

QUESTION: A couple of questions. First, have you sorted out your differences with Turkey regarding last week’s panel? There was statements from the State Department. And in that panel, you kept mentioning Idlib as a safe haven for al-Qaida in Syria. And it’s not on this map, obviously, but when you are done with these nine points on this map, does the coalition have any plans for Idlib in the future?

And the last question is regarding Bashiqa in Iraq. As far as I know, when there was this problem about the Turkish presence in Bashiqa, and you guys brokered some sort of a deal between Baghdad and Ankara, and the condition was that Mosul will be liberated. Since we are there, can you confirm that Turkish presence is coming to an end, and are there still Turkish troops in that region? Thank you.

MR MCGURK: A lot of complex questions there – (laughter) – if you know these issues. Yeah. So I did a 90-minute panel and about 30 seconds of the panel got some attention. I think it was very badly mischaracterized. I think we’ve spoken to this, as I mentioned, and I mentioned in most of my public remarks we have worked very closely with Turkey to help seal the border. I mentioned in the battle of Kobani working with the Turks to open up that corridor for the Kurdish Peshmerga and the Euphrates Shield Operation. All these things are very important.

At the same time, this problem of foreign fighters is a problem for all of us. So 40,000 foreign fighters that came to join ISIS came from 110 countries all around the world. They came through Turkey. And that is a problem. This is very important. That’s not just a problem for Turkey. That’s a problem for these – what we call the source countries too. So if you have 4,000 people coming from Tunisia, 4,000 coming from Saudi Arabia, the Tunisians, the Saudis, all these countries have to do work to make sure that they do all they can to stop the people traveling. And through our coalition, through our coalition working group on foreign fighters, we’ve done an awful lot to help close down those routes. I give the Saudis tremendous credit. I give the Turks tremendous credit in working on this problem.

Idlib province is a serious problem. It is a haven now for al-Qaida. And I think what my remarks reflected is that this is a problem, as we’ve done when it comes to ISIS, that we have to work together with Turkey and with our other partners to deal with this problem. So – and I think over the coming weeks we’ll be having those conversations.

On the question of – you asked about Bashiqa. What was your second question in between?

QUESTION: It was Bashiqa.

MR MCGURK: Yeah. So Bashiqa is an issue between the Government of Iraq and the Government of Turkey. It is our position that we want the Government of Iraq and the Government to have very strong ties. I think Prime Minister Abadi has had a number of phone calls with Prime Minister Yildirim and with President Erdogan, very constructive calls, and I am confident that we can get this issue worked out in a way that helps improve the relations between both of these important allies and that therefore helps improve stability in this important part of the world.


MS NAUERT: Let’s do your last question.

MR MCGURK: Yeah, thanks.

MS NAUERT: Thanks, Brett. Let’s move on.

QUESTION: (Inaudible) today the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that negotiations are taking place between coalition force, U.S. forces, and a Syrian opposition force called Maghawir al-Thawra to create a national army in the southern side of Hasakah city. Can you comment on this? And if it’s the case, why did the U.S. withdraw arms from the Free Syrian Army?

Another question, please. Do you know the Lebanese army is about to launch an operation against ISIS? Does the coalition intends to lend air support to the Lebanese army in its fight against ISIS?

MR MCGURK: Many things there I just – I’m not going to comment on, including a report from the Syrian Observatory which I haven’t seen. And when it comes to Lebanon, we had a very successful visit from Prime Minister Hariri here. And he had public remarks with President Trump, and I think I’d let those remarks stand on their own. But Lebanon is a critical ally that we want to see succeed.

QUESTION: Can I – I had to leave for a second.


QUESTION: Can I – just you – someone probably already answered this. And if you have already answered it, then don’t bother; I’ll just look at the transcript. Did someone ask you about what the Secretary said about stabilization, rebuild the basic – or not rebuild but restore basic utilities and then --

MR MCGURK: Yeah, Matt. I went into that in some detail.

QUESTION: No, no, no. Then Iran. If that’s what you’re going to do, why are you confident that you’re not leaving a vacuum that the Iranians will exploit? If you’ve answered it, don’t --

MR MCGURK: So I didn’t get into an Iranian element, but I think our focus, don’t – don’t dismiss the importance of stabilization. What stabilization means is setting the conditions for people to return to their homes. It means water, electricity, sewage, rubble removal, demining. And what we find is that as people return to their homes – in Anbar province alone, for example, you have a million people who were displaced from ISIS who are now back in areas that used to be under control of ISIS. These are fairly sophisticated people in some of these areas. You see life return to the streets. You see the markets full. You see the schools open.

And so as you help with stabilization, you see the elements set in place for people to return. And I mean, all I can say is the numbers speak for themselves. Two million Iraqis who were displaced are back in areas that used to be controlled by ISIS. So --

QUESTION: I get that. But you’re seeing the Iranian influence vastly greater now, are you not?

MR MCGURK: You’re seeing the Iranians kind of flood the market with some of their products and things. And I think the long-term bet – and it’s something we’re talking with the Iraqis about – we have GE doing multibillion dollar – these are all private deals, not done by the U.S. Government – private deals about long-term electricity generation in Baghdad. That’s being done by General Electric. We have some of the best American oil firms helping to regenerate some of the fields in the south, helping to capture flare gas and export it to Kuwait – the kind of things that make a tremendous, tremendous difference. That’s being done by American firms.

QUESTION: And you see that in Syria, too?

MR MCGURK: Again, Syria long term – long-term reconstruction of Syria is really dependent upon getting a credible political horizon on the table. As I mentioned, Matt – I think you might have stepped out – until there is that credible political horizon, the international community is not just going to – will not be coming to the aid of – to reconstruct Syria. That’s just the reality.


MS NAUERT: Thanks, everybody. Have a great weekend.

MR MCGURK: Thank you.

          What The Oil Drum Meant        

The popular peak oil blog The Oil Drum (TOD) began in early 2005.  I joined as a contributor in mid 2005, later becoming an editor, and I left the site in early 2008.  TOD continued in the meantime, at least up until now when the current editors have decided to transition to an archival format.  They don't feel the quality and quantity of post submissions justify continuing.  They asked a number of us old-timers to comment on the significance of TOD, and these are my reflections.

I start with the chart above.  It shows, from 1950-2012, world oil production annually (red curve, left scale), and real oil prices annually (blue curve, right scale).  I show in green boxes two regions of major disruption, and between them two regions of relatively calm behavior (in white).

The orderly region from 1950 to 1973 was characterized by very rapid growth in oil production that was achieved at very modest oil prices (around $20/barrel in 2011 dollars).

Then in 1973 came the Arab oil embargo, followed in 1979 by the Iranian revolution and then the Iraq-Iran war.  These events caused a series of sharp but relatively short-lived contractions in the global oil supply.  The result was huge price increases, and a permanent change in the way the world used oil.

After the dust settled in the mid eighties, oil production resumed growing fairly steadily, but never again at the frenetic pace of before the seventies - from now on society was more concerned with fuel efficiency and grew oil consumption more slowly.  Prices fell into the $30 range, and remained there, give or take, for the next couple of decades.  This was the second period of stability in the oil markets since WWII.

Then, in late 2004, global oil production largely stopped growing and entered a rough plateau.  Prices began to shoot up, reaching well over $100/barrel within a few years, and largely staying there to this day (making allowance for a sharp downward fluctuation during the great recession).

There sprang up a large debate about the meaning of these events.  The Oil Drum in particular I believe came to function as a central node in this debate, and one of the best places to hear a range of views that were based on a close analysis of the available data.  The reason TOD is now coming to a close is that the need for this particular debate is over, at least for the time being.  The data have spoken.

One extreme in this debate was what came to be known as cornucopians, epitomized by Daniel Yergin of the consultancy CERA.  He made a long series of predictions that oil production would resume growing and prices would fall any day now.  This was most famously satirized in a graph by Glenn Morton:

Obviously, this didn't happen.  Oil production has not risen rapidly, and prices have not returned anywhere close to the pre-2004 idea of normal.

Another extreme in the debate were "doomers" who believed that global oil production would begin to fall very rapidly, very soon, because peak oil was upon us.  "We're all gonna die" was the logical implication.  One such forecaster was TOD contributor Ace who produced a series of forecasts like this one which showed oil production beginning a precipitous decline as of the date of the forecast:

The same piece forecast oil prices to rise rapidly and steadily and pass $200/barrel by the end of 2012. That didn't happen either.

I'm not sure anyone predicted the last eight years perfectly (including me).  Still, on the whole, the various "moderates" in the debate came closest.  What has actually occurred can best be seen in this graph which shows monthly oil production from a variety of data sources from 2002 onward:

The green curve is the EIA's estimate of the production of "crude and condensate" - C&C - which is a fairly narrow definition of oil that largely measures liquid hydrocarbons that flow out of the ground.  The other curves show various estimates of "all liquids", which adds things like biofuels and "natural gas liquids" - compounds like propane and butane removed from natural gas production.  These aren't really oil, but can substitute for it to varying degrees and so are often counted with it.

The crude-and-condensate curve is bumpy, but does slope upward slightly.  The all liquids curve slopes up more, reflecting the fact that global natural gas production has increased steadily.  High oil prices and government policies also induced a biofuel boom after 2005.

Thus we seem to live in a world in which, although traditional sources of oil are declining in many places, high oil prices (around $100-$120) are able to bring out enough low quality sources of hydrocarbon to offset this decline and just a bit more.  Examples include oil fracced from very tight rocks in North Dakota, and tar sands production in Canada.  These sources are difficult enough to bring on line that prices have not crashed, but are sufficient to prevent global oil production from actually declining.  Clearly, we have not passed peak oil yet, and it's not at all clear when we will.

In the meantime, the situation has gotten quite dull.  I compile graphs of oil production every month, and it's gotten somewhat akin to watching paint dry; every month, it's pretty much flat, and I tire of saying the same things over and over again.

On the other hand, we certainly don't live in the pre-2004 world any more.  Oil prices are high, and there seems little prospect that they will ever fall below $100/barrel for any sustained period.  If for no other reason, Saudi Arabia needs an oil price somewhere around there to balance its budget, and they are always in a position to force the price to stay above that threshold by modest decreases in their production.

Furthermore, the situation remains very vulnerable to disruption.  Whereas in the eighties and nineties there was large amounts of spare capacity in oil production, nowadays there is little, and perhaps almost none.  Any disruption in any sizeable oil producer will cause a large price spike - as we saw in 2011 when a revolution in Libya, which produced less than 2% of the world's oil, caused a sizeable price spike.

As I write, Libya, Tunisia, Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, and Iran are all subject to varying degrees of economic and political turmoil.  We in the west are apparently about to bomb the Syrian government, as an interesting experiment to see what that does to the stability of the Middle East.

I assume at some point a large oil producer will descend into turmoil and then there will be a large price spike, and that may kick the global oil market out of the current meta-stable state.  However, there is no telling when that might happen.  In the mean time, oil production slowly creeps upward, and oil prices are around $100-$120.

One final point worth making: while global oil production has not peaked, oil consumption by the developed OECD countries almost certainly has.  Since China, India, the Middle East, etc are all growing their production rapidly, and global supply is almost stagnant, OECD consumption must decline, and it has been:

I do not expect OECD consumption of oil to surpass its 2005 peak.
           Rich Kids of Tunisia flaunt their wealth on Instagram         
The Rich Kids of Tunisia Instagram account is filled with pictures where the children of the super wealthy parade their inherited fortunes for all to see.
          2002 World Cup team ratings        

An elimination tournament does not, by its nature, produce overall standings. You can construct a table by points, of course, but it will not take into account the differences in games played and opponents' strengths. I wanted, just for fun, to devise an objective (which doesn't mean meaningful) way to rate and rank the 32 teams in the World Cup. After several iterations, here's the scheme I came up with.

For each team I calculated a raw efficiency rating based on their points per game. At 3 points for a win, 1 for a tie and none for a loss, with 2 bonus points for making it to the elimination stage, I added up each team's points, divided by an expected point total of 4/3 * games-played (figuring an average result for three round-robin games would have been a win, a tie and a loss), and then added 1, anticipating later multiplication, so that the resulting ratings start at 1 instead of 0.

I then went back and used those ratings as a measure of opponent's strength, assigning each match for each team the product of the points gained (again 1-base (4/2/1) rather than 0-base (3/1/0)) and the opponent's raw rating. Add those values up and average them, and then add a 1-point bonus for making it to the elimination stage. This approach takes no account of goals for or against, and does not make any attempt at incorporating any information (like FIFA rankings) from outside the tournament. Nonetheless, it produces the following interesting set of adjusted ratings:

5South Korea7.45
19Costa Rica4.23
24South Africa3.78
31Saudi Arabia2.41

Since all that math was totally arbitrary, there is no reason to believe these numbers mean anything, but I'm surprised how well they seem to accord with my subjective intuition. And the table passes the obvious sanity checks: the top and bottom are right, South Korea is penalized a little bit for playing and losing an extra game, almost (but not quite) all the second-round teams come in ahead of the teams that were eliminated in the first, and France barely edges out the three teams that didn't gain any points.

So I'm going with it. As far as I'm concerned, the US is now temporarily the 7th best men's soccer nation on the planet.

          The World of Marketing is Changing – Three Types of Interconnected Marketing Revolutions        
The right-wing is growing in popularity in the United States, Ben Ali is finally kicked out of Tunisia. Greece, Ireland, Portugal and Iceland are leaning toward bankruptcy, Fidel Castro will die soon, Duvalier is back in Haiti, and India and China are continuing to embrace capitalism. It smells change! It smells revolution! But what about ...
          Life After Guantánamo: Yemeni Released in Serbia Struggles to Cope with Loneliness and Harassment        
Please support my work! I’m currently trying to raise $2500 (£2000) to support my writing and campaigning on Guantánamo and related issues over the first two months of the Trump administration.   Last week, I posted an article about Hedi Hammami, a Tunisian national held in Guantánamo for eight years, who was released in 2010, […]
          Hardship never lasts forever…        

In 2006 I concluded my review of Reem Kelani's debut album Sprinting Gazelle with the phrase “I believe it's a masterpiece.” That belief has subsequently matured into a certainty, and the disc has become one of my favourite albums in any genre. A full decade later Kelani's follow-up album Live at the Tabernacle, on Leon Rosselson's Fuse label, could easily have proved an anti-climax. Instead, it complements its predecessor admirably while also being a masterpiece on its own terms.

Kelani refers in the album booklet to “live concerts” as “the essence of what my musical journey is all about”. This journey has hitherto also entailed composing, teaching, musicology, and performing in works by classical western composers with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, so it is hardly surprising – if frustrating for her growing legion of fans – that she regards recording as something of a sideshow.

The performance recorded here took place at the 2012 Nour Festival of Arts in London (the Tabernacle, Notting Hill), and the double-album eventually materialised thanks to a Kickstarter campaign of which Kelani says: “In an age in which music is structured according to the laws of the market place, and political narratives are suppressed, nothing is more comforting and assuring than grassroots support which can be neither bought nor sold.”

Concerning Sprinting Gazelle, I wrote that Kelani “shuns political rhetoric, preferring to allow the music to speak for itself”. This is as true of the Palestinian material on the new album as it is of Kelani's comments both on stage and in the excellent booklet accompanying the recording (I really recommend buying the hard copy, as the whole thing is so beautifully produced). Of course Kelani is hardly apolitical. She is a member of the Anti Capitalist Roadshow, a "collective of singers and songwriters... opposed to the ideologically driven austerity programme imposed by this [UK] millionaire government". Some of the material on the second Tabernacle disc relates overtly to the 1919 Egyptian revolution and the 2011 Tunisian revolution. However, she seems content to allow Palestine's interminable trauma the status of an implicit if unmistakeable backdrop.

So has a political narrative been suppressed here after all? An informative and sympathetic Guardian interview from 2008 clarified that Kelani “initially struggled to get a record contract here [the UK] because of her [Palestinian] subject matter.” She admits that on the cover of Sprinting Gazelle “I was very careful...I did not say 'from Palestine'. I said 'from the motherland'. I'm walking on eggshells all the time.” Nonetheless, she asserted that “[t]here is a message that Palestinians don't exist, so my narrative is... my existence, both personally and collectively … As a human being, as a woman, as a Palestinian."

By now Reem Kelani's existence and hence her narrative is so firmly established that she could probably afford to kick aside the eggshells, although admittedly the defamatory energies of the Israel lobby are inexhaustible. In the CD booklet Alan Kirwan, curator of the Nour Festival in 2012, writes that “[a]t the heart of her work is the recurring image of Palestine”, and the album's epigraph – cited in English and Arabic – is a defiant quatrain from the jubilant traditional Palestinian song Il-Hamdillah:

                                                Praise God, that evil is no more

                                                We planted peppers in the heat

                                                Our foes said they wouldn't turn red

                                                Praise God, our peppers grew and turned red.

This song, which euphorically closes both this album and Sprinting Gazelle, contains lyrics “collected... from field recordings of Palestinian refugee women in Lebanon and Jordan”. The  opening track on Disc I, Let us in! (Hawwilouna!), was “recorded from a group of Palestinian refugee women, originally from the village of Sha'ab near Acre” (in present-day Israel).

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Top World News Now                 
March 3, 2013

United States
Obama Pardons 17 Felons, First in His Second Term
DHS built domestic surveillance tech into Predator drones
'Hundreds of thousands' of documents captured with Osama bin Laden, but only 17 released
Michigan governor moves to appoint emergency manager in Detroit
Pentagon Plans to Ask for Base Closures 
Thousands of Soldiers to Leave Europe
U.S. lawmakers question military aid to Egypt, citing concerns about Israel
US factory work is returning, but the industry has changed
'Anonymous' Hacker Explains Why He Fled The US
Among Most Polluted in US, NYC Area Awaits Cleanup
US Budget Cuts Force Yellowstone to Delay Opening
Obama signs sequester bill
Obama moves a step closer to approval of Keystone pipeline
Navy Building a Drone Base in Sunny Malibu

Ukrainian leader, fresh from EU talks, to meet Putin
Russian Arms Trade Czar Says "War" Declared on Weapon Supplies to Syria
Russian demonstrators rally in support of U.S. adoption ban
Moscow Police to Probe Alleged Rally Payment Scam
Moscow Mayor says no to more mosques in the city
Opposition’s ‘Social March’ Fizzles Out in Moscow
Uzbek National Shot Dead in Moscow
Putin, Obama stress cooperation, pledge to 'avoid deterioration' in relations
Russia presses for extradition of fugitive banker
Ukrainian President: Gas contract with Russia is killing us
Putin Signals Russia Can Be More Flexible on Syria
Putin says Russia should listen to French arguments on Syria, over vodka
Russians commend Putin's performance, believe he can keep election promises

Islands Dispute: China Warns Japan Ahead Of Legislative Session
A push for change in China as new leaders take the helm
China's reform roadmap gets clearer
China "fully prepared" for currency war
China divided on TV 'execution parade': judicial resolve or crude voyeurism
Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Kills 12 in Chinese Coal Mine
Spill in China Underlines Environmental Concerns
China's fourth space launch center to be in use in two years
Xi Jinping taking on corruption in China
Premier Li Keqiang, as Hu Jintao protege, may be outgunned on policy
China calls for decreased tension on Korean Peninsula
5 Tibetans, mostly Buddhist monks, arrested for inciting self-immolations
Darkness at noon as worst dust storm in months mixes with morning smog
China's First Aircraft Carrier on Way to Permanent Base at Qingdao in North

United Kingdom‎
Cameron: UK 'can transform Africa' with G8
Cameron Vows To Stay The Course
Cameron buries hatchet with Plebgate MP Andrew Mitchell - and offers him £250,000 EU job
Government fights Europe over air pollution reduction
EU banker pay cap 'threatens thousands of British jobs'
Revealed: One in four of UK's top companies pay no tax
Banker Andrei Borodin granted asylum in Britain after fleeing Russia
UK Explorer: Green Campaigning Has Failed
UK commits £88m to Chilean telescope 'as big as all existing ones put together'
Paedophile ring leader, Colin Peters, linked to Barnes scandal
Cameron vows to defend UK banks

European Union
Hundreds of thousands march against austerity in Portugal
Italy paralysed as Grillo plots exit route from euro
Italian newcomer Grillo predicts collapse in six months
Italy President Napolitano calls for realism after vote
Greek military prepares for mass repression
1000s hold anti-austerity demo in Greece
At least 22 people hurt in Macedonia ethnic protests over new defense minister
Mass layoffs at Caterpillar in Belgium
Dark Rumblings Of A Coup D'État In Spain
Spain Delays Catalunya Banc Auction
Spain overturns Islamic face veil ban
Thousands march in Portugal to protest austerity

Germany Blasted for Role in Europe's Crisis
German states rail against 'stupid' wealth transfers
Italian president says Germany must give EU recovery a boost
Germany Debates Fracking as Energy Costs Rise
Bitter feud divides family of Germany's reunification leader
Racism in German military mirrors society
Germany discovers toxin in animal fodder
Angela Merkel Wishes Bulgaria's Borissov Quick Recovery
Merkel cabinet lowers bars to German labor market
Kerry praises Germany's 'exemplary leadership' in Europe
Italian president scraps meeting with German opposition leader over "clown" remarks

Hollande leads tributes to 'a great figure' and resistance fighter
As France's Mali mission grows, so does terror threat from homegrown militants inside France
France considers marijuana-based drug
France will not reach 2015 disabled access target
Paris seeks alternative to 75% tax
France-Qatar tensions rise over Mali war, Tunisia
Hollande juggles trade, human rights in Moscow
Hollande to Talk Syria Settlement With Putin
Kerry holds talks on Mali with French leadership
War For Global Energy Supremacy-World War III
Al-Qaeda leader behind Algeria gas plant hostage massacre killed in Mali
US Seeks to Confirm Report of Terror Leader's Death
Syria: Fierce Clashes in Provincial Capital Raqqa
Assad Forces Take Aleppo Village, Reopening Supply Line
Syrian President Assad Blasts British Government
Iran Says Syria’s Assad to Run for 2014 Election
How Does the U.S. Mark Unidentified Men in Pakistan and Yemen as Drone Targets?
Syrian Rebels Angry Over US Aid: ‘Only Thing We Want Is Weapons’

Insight Into Today’s News
Billionaires Continue To Dump Stocks
G20 issues empty declaration against currency wars
Norway Enters The Currency Wars
The Second-Mortgage Shell Game
The Last Liberal Branch of Government
US/NATO occupation of Afghanistan unraveling
Goodbye? We’ve Lost Who We Are?
US Schools Go Into Full Prison Mode
Hornady Addresses Ammo Shortage: We’re working 24/7
US Media Yet Again Conceals Newsworthy Government Secrets

Netanyahu secretly visited Jordan to discuss peace with Palestinians
Netanyahu gets two more weeks to form Israel coalition
3 Syrian Mortars Land in Southern Golan Heights
Gaza Border: Senior Officer's Vehicle Hit by Gunshots
New coalition will have to freeze construction outside settlement blocs
Tissue tests planned for Israelis in Gaza who want to cross border
Palestinian PM evacuated from West Bank after Israeli soldiers fire teargas at protesters
Sequestration: Israel Could ‘Gradually’ Lose $500 Million in US Aid
Netanyahu blasts Erdogan's 'dark and libelous' criticism of Zionism

Scud Missile Fired in Syria Lands Near Iraqi Village
Bombs Kill at Least 22 in Iraqi Capital
Erdoğan: Islamophobia, anti-Semitism same
Turkey's Difficult Choice in Palestine, Israel
Erdogan Calls for More Support for Syrian Opposition
Kurdish leader 'outlines' Turkey peace plan
More Military Arrests in Turkey For 'Feb. 28 Process'
Turkey Provides Schools for Syrian Refugee Children
Iraq budget stalemate deepens over Kurd oil payments
Iraq continues to allow Iranian overflights to Syria

John Kerry visits Egypt as dozens injured in violent protests
Kerry urges Egypt to take difficult economic steps; opposition figures skip meetings
Protesters Demand Armed Forces Intervention in Cairo
Ex-member: Muslim Brotherhood has secret societies in 80 nations, including U.S.
Bahrain Activist Zainab Al-Khawaja Sentenced to Jail
176 Protesters Held in Saudi Arabia
Qatar's Influence in Egypt Runs Deeper Than Its Pockets
Morsi criticized for reaction to tragedy
Parties who boycotted Morsi's national dialogue invited to send suggestions
Opposition refuse to stand in Egypt's parliamentary elections

Ahmadinejad: National dialogue only way to end Syria crisis
Ahmadinejad: West's war against Iran media doomed to failure  
Ahmadinejad to Visit Pakistan This Month to Inaugurate IP Gas Pipeline Construction
Threatening Iran Won't Help in Nuclear Talks, Envoy Says
Seized Chinese Weapons Raise Concerns on Iran
Head Of Iran's Qods Force Suggests Assad Is Vulnerable
Sanction-Hit Iran Fears Unrest as New Elections Near
Khamenei tells Zardari pipeline must advance despite US opposition
Ahmadinejad Aide’s Candidacy a Challenge to Iran’s Theocratic Status Quo
Ahmadinejad, Zardari Stress Expansion of Iran-Pakistan Ties

Hugo Chavez undergoing chemotherapy
VP Maduro: Capriles Seeks Destabilization in Venezuela
Venezuela decries "absurd" rumors over Chavez death
Maduro: Chavez ‘battling’ for his life
Rumours swirl as Chavez stays out of sight
Former envoy claims Venezuela's Chavez is dead
Venezuela government denies rumours about Chavez
Venezuelans hold demo in support of Chavez
Student demonstration dispersed by authorities in Venezuela
FARC: Colombia government to blame for coffee strike

Brazil to get its first nuclear subs
Rousseff Meets Nigerian Leader for Trade Talks
Brazil's Unemployment Rises More Than Forecast in January
Prosecutors investigate spying charges against consortium building dam in Brazil
Brazil turns to Catholic Church to quash crack epidemic
Brazil Wind Developers May Be Required to Build New Power Lines
No one is safe from Argentina's drug war
Modern Slavery Rears its Ugly Head in Chile
Chilean Navy Saves 25 Stranded Whales, 20 Die
Peru says American couple found; family wants 'proof of life'

Nieto Says Justice Will Be Done in Union Boss’s Case
Six Bodies Found in Mexico, Including Teenage Boy Earlier Arrested for Murder
Mexican Daily Hit by Third Attack This Week
Army Kills 4 Gunmen in Northern Mexico
Two Police Gunned Down in Guatemala
Fire hits big Mexico City marketplace
Pena Nieto enacts major education reform
Powerful head of Mexico teachers union is arrested
Mexico to Launch New Police Force Later This Year

Cuba Dissident’s Daughter Says Dad’s Death Was No Accident
Cuban Dissidents Hope to Build Mass Organization
A post-Castro Cuba
Chavez Congratulates Raul Castro on Re-Election
Castro Retirement News Prompts Tepid Response In Miami
Transition now seen as underway in Cuba
Cooperatives Could Save Cuban Socialism
South African medical students in Cuba may be deported
No ease for Cuba from US state sponsor of terrorism list

United Nations
U.N. Security Council asks for report on possible Mali peacekeepers
Ban Tones Down Criticism of Rwanda Over Congo Claims
UN chief says Iran should gain world confidence over its disputed atomic plan
Libya to ask U.N. to lift arms embargo
UN Removes Osama bin Laden From Sanctions List

Top World News Now                 
February 26, 2013

United States
Obama To Tell Israelis of Plan for Iran War
Obama's Paycheck Exempt From 'Sequester'
White House Sells Meetings with Obama for $500k
Pentagon to Keep Gen. Allen Probe a Secret
Kerry: US to Hasten Syria Government Change
Kerry’s first overseas trip off to shaky start
Bill unveiled to legalize medical pot
Why Should Taxpayers Give Big Banks $83 Billion a Year?
Listen up ladies! Next time there's a draft, Uncle Sam might want you too
Homeland Security Chief Threatens Long TSA Lines From Sequester
TB outbreak: LAPD urges officers to wear masks
US Internet providers start spy program to stop file-sharing
Billions at stake: US and BP clash in court over Gulf oil spill
Nation of Islam asks for gang protection
New York City homelessness continues to set new records
Canadian Asteroid-Hunting Satellite Launched into Space

Putin's KGB/FSB Converging with New IMF Banking FSB
Putin signs radical anti-tobacco bill into law
In Putin's Russia, Shooting the Messenger
Medvedev: No Grounds for New ‘Cold War’
Deputy FM Ryabkov: Iran sanctions may be lifted
Zyuganov reelected Communist chief, vows reset in left-wing politics
China, Russia ink major energy deal
Moscow 'regrets' treatment of Russians abroad
Moscow Welcomes Release of 15 Russian Sailors in Nigeria
1kg meteorite piece found in Russian Urals, biggest chunk yet discovered
Moscow Police Seize Large Cache of ‘Black Market’ Weapons
At Least 17 Amur Tigers Dead in Russia's Far East in 2012
Protests in Ukraine as EU gives May ultimatum
Ukraine wields natural gas trump card in Brussels
As Medvedev is savaged, Putin silent
State Duma Backs Putin's Foreign Assets Bill

Xi vows peaceful path on Taiwan
Xi calls for cross-Strait cooperation in realizing "Chinese dream"
Xi rewards Chinese missile brigade for launching 100 missiles
Hu Jintao meets KMT honorary chairman
State councilor meets South Korea's new president
South Korea's Park Warns North Against Nuclear Pursuits
Foreign Ministry: All Japanese activities regarding Diaoyu Islands illegal
Min of Environmental Protection refuses to release data from soil contamination investigation
China to halt approvals for small coal mines
2 Tibetan Monks Self-Immolate as Anti-China Protests Continue
Tibet's Growing Tragedy: Self-Immolation Protests Reach 105
5.4-magnitude earthquake jolts Tibet
BBC World Service Shortwave Radio Blocked in China
Chinese transport "workhorses" extending military's reach

United Kingdom‎
David Cameron: I'll stop migrant benefits
John Kerry: US Won't Back UK on the Falklands
Britain's top cardinal resigns over allegations 'he behaved inappropriately with priests'
Family Targeted in North Belfast Blast Bomb Attack
Cameron to hold talks with Kerry
Head of Cameron's local Tory branch resigns over gay marriage
Clegg denies cover up of associate's misconduct
Tory threat to rival parties over libel law
UK Ratings Cut Puts Spotlight on Budget
Will Litvinenko-MI6 links be revealed?
UK onshore wind farms to create more carbon dioxide than they save
Tax Breaks Spur Record UK Offshore Oil & Gas Spend

European Union
Berlusconi revives political career in chaotic Italian election
Italian markets celebrate Berlusconi’s poor performance in election
Italy's center-left to win lower house, leads in Senate race
Initial results indicate stalemate in Italian election
Angry Italians deliver austerity warning
EU ministers discuss horse meat crisis
EU holds breath over crucial Italy election
Topless Femen protest against Berlusconi as he votes in election
Protest votes add to uncertainty in close Italy election
Spanish Police Nab 3 Suspected of Spying for Iran
Spain police arrest 45 in Madrid after protest

Merkel holds talks with Turkish leaders frustrated by slow-moving EU talks
Germany presses Turkey for progress in lifting embargo on Cyprus
German government backs ban on far-right party
German Intel Paid Neo-Nazi Informer $240,000
Bare-chested protesters take on Berlin
Merkel: China, Russia seeing Syrian president's time is up
Merkel Raises Turks' Hope Of European Union Entry
Merkel kicks off sensitive visit to Turkey
Merkel inspects German Patriot missiles in Turkey
Germany arms the Persian Gulf monarchies
Germany patient with France on deficit

Hollande's Sarkozy joke riles French opposition
Ayrault: Boko Haram Claiming to Hold French Family
France blasts 'cruelty' as Boko Haram displays kidnapped family
France to pause austerity, cut spending next year instead: Hollande
Hollande urges compulsory labeling amid horsemeat scandal
France's military operation in Mali in 'final phase'
France warns of kidnappings, attack risk in Benin
France is euro 'problem child', frets Angela Merkel's party official
War For Global Energy Supremacy-World War III
Syrian Opposition Pledges to Attend Rome Summit
Syria says ready to talk with armed opposition
Kerry Vows Not to Leave Syria Rebels 'Dangling in the Wind'
Car blast rocks central Damascus, casualties reported
Assad's Army Has Fled Entire Area Bordering Israel
Syrian Refugees Riot in Jordan Camp; 3 Hurt
Nearly 100 Rebels Are Reported Killed in Mali Battle
No sign of peace or reconciliation in Mali
West African Mali forces to cost €715m

Insight Into Today’s News
Billionaires Continue To Dump Stocks
G20 issues empty declaration against currency wars
Norway Enters The Currency Wars
The Second-Mortgage Shell Game
The Last Liberal Branch of Government
US/NATO occupation of Afghanistan unraveling
Goodbye? We’ve Lost Who We Are?
US Schools Go Into Full Prison Mode
Hornady Addresses Ammo Shortage: We’re working 24/7
US Media Yet Again Conceals Newsworthy Government Secrets

Netanyahu: Arrow will help us on peace, or defense
Netanyahu urges the PA to calm rioters and stone throwers
West Bank Streets 'Boiling' as Abbas Accuses Israel of Stoking Unrest
IDF and Palestinians clash following prisoner's funeral
West Bank Protests Grow, Fears of New Intifada
Israel, US successfully test anti-missile system
Palestinian officials accuse Israel of torturing inmate to death
Palestinian Detainee’s Death in Israel Sparks Unrest
Thousands of jailed Palestinians stage 1-day hunger strike

Erdogan holds joint press conference with Merkel
Kurdish Peace Process to Start After PKK Leave Turkey
Erdoğan: Assad a ‘mute devil’ for not defying Israel
Defense Minister Says 965 Suicides Among Soldiers in 10 Years
Turkey in Key Stage to Address Kurdish Issue
Turkey lists requests from Germany's Merkel
Turkey eyes Karabakh step from Armenia to open ways
Turkey Pressures Germany on EU Accession
Turkey says aid pledges for Syrian refugees 'unfulfilled'
Iraq shuts down 3 illegal tunnels to Syria

Bahrain Bans Import of Plastic Guy Fawkes Masks
ElBaradei Calls for Boycott of 'Sham' Parliamentary Election
Egyptian Brotherhood Hits Back at Opposition Leader
Stripped of 'Country of Origin' Label, US Agrees to Sell Tear Gas to Egypt
Bahraini Dies After Being Struck by Tear Gas Canister
Divided Egypt opposition attacks Morsi on election call
Morsi calls parliamentary elections in April
Thousands hold anti-government protests in Egypt
New death from SARS-like virus in Saudi

World Powers May Offer Iran Sanctions Relief at Nuclear Talks
UK claims General Shateri actually died in January bombing of Hezbollah-bound weapons convoy
World Powers Seek Compromise in Iranian Nuclear Talks
Ahmadinejad Admits to Economic Pain
Iran tests suicide drones in ongoing military drill
Iran denies downing foreign drone
Iran claims it has captured a foreign ‘enemy drone’ during military exercise
Iran announces new uranium deposits discovery
Iran selects 16 new sites for nuclear plants
Iran sentences 4 to death in biggest bank fraud case
Envoy: Iran to continue talks with IAEA on nuclear program

Chavez warns that Africa and South America Must Unite or face Western Interventions
Indigenous Venezuelans Hold Ritual for Chavez
Colombian Rebels Call on Santos to Save Peace Talks
Villegas: Condition of cancer-stricken Chavez not "favorable"
Prosecutor Accuses Former Colombian Governor of 2000 Massacre
Bolivia's Morales says was unable to see Chavez in Venezuela
Questions about political succession whirl in Venezuela after Chavez comes home
Poll: Maduro would win vote if Chavez goes
Chávez's return is obstacle for Venezuela's embattled opposition
Bolivia's Morales arrives in Venezuela to visit President Chávez

Falklands dispute: Argentina accuses UK of ‘defiance’ of anti-nuke treaty
Rousseff says extreme poverty almost eradicated
PM Medvedev begins visit to Brazil
Pro-Cuba Protesters Halt Dissident's Brazil Event
After Being Hounded by Protesters, Cuban Dissident Praises Brazil's Freedom of Expression
Brazil dockers end China ship protest; port strike threat
Argentina to renovate railways with Chinese trains in 2014
Union Leader Protests by Bringing Trucks to Argentine Labor Ministry
New tobacco law ignites controversy in Chile
Ex-leaders of German sect in Chile enter prison to begin sentences for sexual abuse of minors

Official Accuses CIA of 'Managing' Not 'Fighting' the Drug Trade
Nieto Meets with San Antonio Mayor
Government Says Over 27,000 People Missing in Mexico
Mexico Slaughters Nearly 500,000 Birds Infected with Avian Flu
Guatemala Moves Up Ex-Dictator’s Genocide Trial
Police Chief in Mexican Border City on Nuevo Laredo Missing
Suspect in General’s Murder Arrives in Mexico
Mexican Police Detain 81 Migrants
Vigilantes reportedly release captives in southern Mexico

Castro successor lacks charisma but is experienced manager
Raúl Castro Says His New 5-Year Term as Cuba's President Will Be His Last
Fidel Castro makes surprise parliament appearance amid leadership speculation
Cuban parliament gathers, president to be selected
Esteban Lazo Elected New President of the Cuban Parliament
Haitians Rage as UN Rejects Payout for Cholera Victims
Yoani Sanchez May Be Top Dissident in Cuba, but She Agrees US Embargo Must Go
Medvedev Discusses Meteorite Strike with Fidel Castro
Raul Castro Mentions Possible Retirement

United Nations
UN Removes Osama bin Laden From Sanctions List
Tunisia Arrests Suspect in Killing That Sparked Unrest
African leaders sign DR Congo peace deal
At least 53 killed in rival Arab militia clashes in North Darfur
Tunisia's New Premier Promises Inclusive Government
US blocks UN resolution condemning Damascus terror bombings
Tunisia: Party Names Premier Candidate
Tunisian PM steps down after crisis prompted by political assassination
Unesco agrees 5.6 million-euro plan to save Mali's
          HEADS UP 2/15        
Top World News Now                 
February 15, 2013

United States
Environmentalists Press Obama in Heated Oil Pipeline Debate
NRA exec accuses Obama of gun 'charade' at State of the Union
Kerry: Moves Against North Korea Would Scare Iran Off Nukes
Senate Republicans Block Hagel Nomination For Defense Secretary
Key US general backs keeping Afghan forces at peak strength
Missouri Democrats Introduce Legislation to Confiscate Firearms – Gives Gun Owners 90 Days to Turn in Weapons
Transocean to pay $400 million for 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill
High taxes force more Americans to renounce their citizenship
600 children living in Washington, DC homeless shelter
Conspiracy Theorists Leap at the Confusing Case of Dorner’s Multiple Wallets
Body in burned cabin ID'd as Christopher Dorner
Cruise ship nightmare nearing end for passengers after hellish trip
CDC Warns of Super-Gonorrhea

Russia activates ‘Operation Fortress’, 20,000 troops after air defense forces shoot down space object
Putin orders Russian security on high alert before Olympics
Putin Warns Foreign NGOs Against 'Meddling' In Russian Affairs
Putin Orders FSB to Set Up Anti-Hacker Defense
Putin: Russia will not tolerate foreign pressure
Foreign Ministry: Russia ‘Ready’ to Consider Further Nuclear Arms Cuts
Army Chief: Russia may be drawn into resource wars in future
Russian Army Commissions Bioengineered Liver for $17 Mln
Russia charges Georgian politician with plotting mass unrest
Constitutional Court: Authorities must not politically discriminate against protesters
Six Suspected Militants Killed in Dagestan Operation
Very strong earthquake in a sparsely populated Siberia area
Thousands of Russian convicts may go untracked if bracelet batteries die

Xi's Vows of Change in China Belie Private Warning
Xi Jinping Prepares to Deal With New 'Gang of Four'
Beijing ramps up propaganda war to bolster Diaoyus claim
China's environment unaffected by DPRK nuclear test so far
China's Netizens React Colorfully to N. Korean Nuke Test
Nuke test gives US excuse to boost its military
S. Korea stages large-scale drills following DPRK nuke test
South Korea flexes missile power after North test
The Real Japan-China Conflict
7 dead, 18 injured in China after man sets off bomb over child custody dispute
Depressing landmark reached, 100th Tibetan self-immolates
Tibetans commemorate centennial of 'Tibetan independence'
Clues to why most survived China's melamine scandal

Major warns Cameron's EU referendum is a 'gamble'
EU warns Tories that UK security opt-out 'doesn't make sense'
UK Military Flies Ghana Troops, Equipment to Mali
Britain warns of Syria jihadist threat to Europe
British MPs to receive on-the-job mental health aid
UK Lawmakers Say Credit Schemes Not Working
Another policeman held in UK graft probe
New SARS-like virus shows person-to-person transmission
Deaths, lies and the NHS: Shocking new healthcare scandals emerge in UK
UK Arrests Men in Horse-Meat Probe
Horsemeat: Bute Found In Carcasses In UK
UK soap opera star faces child sex charges

Europe Rejects Critics of 'Robin Hood' Tax
Austerity's children becoming Europe's "lost generation"
Economy in Europe Contracts More Than Expected
Pope rounds on rival cardinals and their 'sins against unity'
Man sets himself alight at Rome airport
Berlusconi defends need for bribery in winning contracts
Monte Paschi's former finance chief held in Italy
Italy unemployment crisis reaches alarming rate
Foreign investors set to sue Spain over energy reform
King Juan Carlos fights new pressures to abdicate
Greece: Alexis Tsipras raises the political stakes
Interior Ministry: Mafia plotting to crash Serbian Air Force One

Un-Natural Gas: Fracking Set to Shake Up German Campaign
Germany and Spain Move to Curb Green-Energy Supports
German airports security staff strike continues Friday
Germany to help Israelis stuck in unfriendly countries
Roma in Germany forced into abject poverty
Barbarians at the Gate
Reports Of 'Neo-Nazi' Guards At Amazon Warehouses In Germany Creates Fresh Scandal
Tempting PhDs lead politicians into plagiarism
Germany's Great Church Sell-Off
Swiss push reconciliation plan for Sri Lanka
Switzerland prepares to sit at G20 head table
Norway Ready to Use Rate Cuts to Cool Krone

Hollande Tiptoes Toward Raid on Pensions Under Pressure From EU
Hollande says France ok with India civil nuclear liability clause
Hollande in India to sell warplanes, nuclear power, metro construction
Tunisians denounce France interference
The European Slump: France Gives Up Lowering Its Budget Deficit
French Goodyear workers protest against closure of Amiens Nord plant
France moves step closer to legal euthanasia
French firm suspected as culprit in spreading horsemeat scandal
France to return 7 paintings looted during WWII
War For Global Energy Supremacy-World War III
Libya Braces for Unrest on Anniversary of Qaddafi Revolt
Syrian rebels down 2 government planes
Syria rebels capture oil field and military base
Saudis say Syria death toll may be 90000
As war in Syria continues, refugees in Turkey open a high school
Armenia tries to help as Christian Armenians flee Syria
In Mali town, counter-insurgency task ties down French
French incursion frees few slaves in Mali
Official Details French Role in Mali
US Pledges to Help Mali With Long-Term Stability
Insight Into Today’s News
US Media Yet Again Conceals Newsworthy Government Secrets
Now We Know: War Is Murder
It Can't Happen Here?
The Andromeda Strain, Yes. Jesus, No. Your Tax Dollars at Work.
Remember 1994
Morningland Dairy destroyed by feds, $250,000 inventory stolen by government thugs during armed raid
Department of Homeland Security Targets Gun Collector
CIA Adviser Warns of 'Financial Weapons of Mass Destruction'
Debtors Prisons In The US Are Rapidly Filling With People Who Can’t Pay Bills

Netanyahu threatened media over Prisoner X
'Prisoner X' took part in Mossad operation of killing Hamas operative in Dubai?
Lawyer: ‘Prisoner X’ negotiated plea bargain before suicide
Israeli Security Delegation Arrives for Talks in Cairo
Border area on alert as Israel carries out drills
Israel shells out almost a fifth of national budget on defense
Israel falls 20 places in World Press Freedom Index
Leading Rabbi Says Let Haredim Guard Their Own West Bank Cities
Israeli Siege Snuffing Out Gaza's Camel Industry


Morsi's Egypt Poised to Criminalize Protest
Morsi's graduate son snares plum Egypt job at 66 times lowest salary
Salafis open fire on Morsi
Ruling party aims for outright majority in new parliament
Egypt political forces call for symbolic funeral of slain boy potato seller
Egypt Military Offers Rare Apology for Child Death
Teenage protester shot dead amid clashes on Bahrain uprising anniversary
Saudi Minister Puts Young Royals in Succession Spotlight
Bahrain condemns Iran's statements

Ahmadinejad bluffed that Iran is now a 'nuclear state'
IAEA, Iran Fail to Reach Nuclear Deal
Kerry urges Iran to make "real offers" in nuclear talks
Gulf states reject Iranian suggestion that Syria, Bahrain be discussed at nuclear talks
Iran denies transferring arms to Somali militants
Iran Using China To Smuggle Nuclear Material? ISIS Report Raises Concerns
Iran Mourns Senior Commander Killed in Syria
Iran Begins Its Election-Season Web Crackdown a Few Months Early
Pak-Iran pipeline deal likely to be inked today

Venezuelan students protest outside Cuban Embassy as Chavez remains out of sight in Havana
Venezuela to Limit Medicine Prices After Chavez Devaluation
Maduro: Chavez Undergoing “Very Complex and Tough” Treatment
Venezuela's move to devalue is desperate
Chavez Devaluation Puts Venezuelans to Queue Before Price Raise
Capriles: Venezuela needs no devaluation, but stop handouts
US Imposes Sanctions on Venezuela's Cavim Arms Company
Farc rebels kill seven Colombian soldiers in blow to peace process
Eastern Colombia locked into neo-paramilitary war

Witnesses of Argentina major train accident fear for their lives
Woman in Argentina marries twin sister's convicted killer
Rousseff Stumbles on Energy
Brazil's Hydroelectric Dam Boom is Bringing Tensions
Brazil Papal Contender: Place of Birth Irrelevant
Argentina confirms quizzing of Iran suspects
Epic Glacier Collapse In Argentina: Ice Bridge Connected To Perito Moreno Thunders Into Lake
Argentina Continues Its Defiance of Ghana in the Courts
Chile's Mapuche Indians clash with police in Collipulli

A glimpse of Nieto's new crime fighting strategy
Mexico arrests six suspects for rape of
          By: Algerian Boualem Sansal and Tunisian Hédi Kaddour Take First French Literary Prize of the Season | Arabic Literature (in English)        
[…] Why Algerian Novelist Boualem Sansal’s ‘2084’ is a Sensation in France […]
          Adakah Anwar Ibrahim terlibat dgn Fahaman Sesat Islam Liberal?        
Liberalisme adalah satu faham yang berkembang di Barat.

Prinsip2 pemikiran fahaman sesat ini ialah:
 1.prinsip kebebasan individu mutlak.

2.prinsip kontrak sosial.

3.prinsip masyarakat pasaran bebas.

4.perinsip meyakini wujudnya Pluraliti Sosio - Cultural dan Politik Masyarakat.

Misi utama Islam Liberal adalah untuk menghalang @ menghancurkan gerakan Islam fundamental.

Kesamaan cita-cita mereka dengan cita-cita Amerika, iaitu menjadikan Turki sebagai model bagi seluruh negara Islam.

Prof. Dr. John L. Esposito menegaskan bahawa Amerika tidak akan rela mengiktiraf negara Islam sebelum seluruh negara-negara Islam tampil seperti Turki.

Dr. Greg Barton ialah seorang pengkaji & pendokong kpd fahaman sesat Islam Liberal yang merupakan profesor di Monash University, Australia bertindak memancarkan segala doktrin sesat Islam Liberal yg berpusat di Universiti Harvard,(The Pluralisme Project) ke Asia melalui Universiti Monash dan disalurkan ke negara-negara yang menjadi sasarannya.

Menurut Dr Greg Barton, kehebatan Islam Liberal bukan sekadar pada namanya "Liberal", tetapi lebih hebat kerana Islam Liberal berjaya memusnahkan akar-akar Islam termasuk persoalan akidah dan syariah.

Islam Liberal akan meruntuhkan prinsip2 asas Al Quran melalui methodologi dekonstruksi (kritik teks) dan memusnahkan akar syariah dengan methodologi ijtihad (penafsiran) terbuka.

Abu Saif al Mahshari, Setiausaha Persatuan Ulama Malaysia (PUM), Pulau Pinang dalam kertas kerjanya menyenaraikan beberapa tokoh pemula yang menjadi rujukan kpd fahaman sesat Islam Liberal iaitu John Locke, Immanuel Kant dan Voltaire.

Tokoh - tokoh ini dipanggil 'Religious Enlightenment' (Pencerahan agama). Kemudian dikuti oleh Adam Smith dan diperbaharuhi oleh Charles Kurzman dan lain-lain.

Fakta yg harus diketahui:

1. Ketika berucap di Forum New York Democracy Forum, Amerika Syarikat (Disember 2005) dan the Assembly of the World Movement for Democracy di Istanbul, Turki (April 2006) Anwar Ibrahim mengakui demokrasi dan kebebasan berasaskan pemikiran John Locke, yang mempengaruhi penggubalan undang-undang Amerika, turut menegaskan yg ianya juga sesuai di dunia Muslim untuk memenuhi keinginan manusia kepada kebebasan dan demokrasi.

2. Anwar Ibrahim menulis dalam Journal of Democracy (Oktober 2007) bertajuk "Anwar Ibrahim on freedom, democracy and the rule of law " memetik pendapat John Locke yang membenarkan individu menentang kerajaan sekiranya kerajaan menyekat hak kebebasan asasi. Dalam tulisan itu Anwar secara jujur mengakui gembira bersekutu bersama NED, sebuah Yayasan Demokrasi tajaan Amerika.

3. Ketika berforum dengan Emma Rothchild (keluarga Rothchild pemilik akhbar Liberation, Perancis ?) dalam 'Wacana Empat Tokoh di Florence, Italy' (2007) Anwar menggesa umat Islam agar memberi perhatian kepada pemikiran 'Adam Smith' yang telah diketengahkan oleh Emma Rothchild.

4. Anwar Ibrahim bersetuju dengan gesaan Muhammad Iqbal (salah seorang tokoh Islam Liberal) agar umat Islam membuka pintu ijtihad yang seakan-akan telah ditutup dan dengan pembukaan semula pintu ijtihad Anwar berpendapat umat Islam dapat menyesuaikan diri dengan keadaan semasa.

Tokoh kontemporari yang menjadi rujukan kpd kumpulan fahaman sesat Islam Liberal ini adalah Charles Kuzman, Professor Sosiologi di University of North Carolina, US.

Charles Kurzman turut menyenaraikan nama Anwar Ibrahim (Malaysia) sebagai salah seorang antara tokoh2 pendokong fahaman sesat Islam Liberal, sebaris dengan Abdurrahman Wahid (Indonesia), Asghar Ali Engineer (India), S.M. Zafar (Pakistan), Rachid Ghannouchi (Tunisia), Benazir Bhutto (Pakistan), Fatima Mernissi (Morocco), Ali Shari`ati (Iran), Muhammad Iqbal (India), Nurcholish Madjid (Indonesia) dan lain-lain.

          THE PYRES OF AUTUMN        
by Jean Baudrillard

from New Left Review 37, January-February 2006

Fifteen hundred cars had to burn in a single night and then, on a descending scale, nine hundred, five hundred, two hundred, for the daily ‘norm’ to be reached again, and people to realize that ninety cars on average are torched every night in this gentle France of ours. A sort of eternal flame, like that under the Arc de Triomphe, burning in honour of the Unknown Immigrant. Known now, after a lacerating process of revision—but still in trompe l’oeil.

The French exception is no more, the ‘French model’ collapsing before our eyes. But the French can reassure themselves that it is not just theirs but the whole Western model which is disintegrating; and not just under external assault—acts of terrorism, Africans storming the barbed wire at Melilla—but also from within. The first conclusion to be drawn from the autumn riots annuls all pious official homilies. A society which is itself disintegrating has no chance of integrating its immigrants, who are at once the products and savage analysts of its decay. The harsh reality is that the rest of us, too, are faced with a crisis of identity and disinheritance; the fissures of the banlieues are merely symptoms of the dissociation of a society at odds with itself. As Hélé Béji [1] has remarked, the social question of immigration is only a starker illustration of the European’s exile within his own society. Europe’s citizens are no longer integrated into ‘European’—or ‘French’—values, and can only try to palm them off on others.

‘Integration’ is the official line. But integration into what? The sorry spectacle of ‘successful’ integration—into a banalized, technized, upholstered way of life, carefully shielded from self-questioning—is that of we French ourselves. To talk of ‘integration’ in the name of some indefinable notion of France is merely to signal its lack.

It is French—more broadly, European—society which, by its very process of socialization, day by day secretes the relentless discrimination of which immigrants are the designated victims, though not the only ones. This is the change on the unequal bargain of ‘democracy’. This society faces a far harder test than any external threat: that of its own absence, its loss of reality. Soon it will be defined solely by the foreign bodies that haunt its periphery: those it has expelled, but who are now ejecting it from itself. It is their violent interpellation that reveals what has been coming apart, and so offers the possibility for awareness. If French—if European—society were to succeed in ‘integrating’ them, it would in its own eyes cease to exist.

Yet French or European discrimination is only the micro-model of a worldwide divide which, under the ironical sign of globalization, is bringing two irreconcilable universes face to face. The same analysis can be reprised at global level. International terrorism is but a symptom of the split personality of a world power at odds with itself. As to finding a solution, the same delusion applies at every level, from the banlieues to the House of Islam: the fantasy that raising the rest of the world to Western living standards will settle matters. The fracture is far deeper than that. Even if the assembled Western powers really wanted to close it—which there is every reason to doubt—they could not. The very mechanisms of their own survival and superiority would prevent them; mechanisms which, through all the pious talk of universal values, serve only to reinforce Western power and so to foment the threat of a coalition of forces that dream of destroying it.

But France, or Europe, no longer has the initiative. It no longer controls events, as it did for centuries, but is at the mercy of a succession of unforeseeable blow-backs. Those who deplore the ideological bankruptcy of the West should recall that ‘God smiles at those he sees denouncing evils of which they are the cause’. If the explosion of the banlieues is thus directly linked to the world situation, it is also—a fact which is strangely never discussed—connected to another recent episode, solicitously occluded and misrepresented in just the same way: the No in the eu Constitutional referendum. Those who voted No without really knowing why—perhaps simply because they did not wish to play the game into which they had so often been trapped; because they too refused to be integrated into the wondrous Yes of a ‘ready for occupancy’ Europe—their No was the voice of those jettisoned by the system of representation: exiles too, like the immigrants themselves, from the process of socialization. There was the same recklessness, the same irresponsibility in the act of scuppering the eu as in the young immigrants’ burning of their own neighbourhoods, their own schools; like the blacks in Watts and Detroit in the 1960s. Many now live, culturally and politically, as immigrants in a country which can no longer offer them a definition of national belonging. They are disaffiliated, as Robert Castel [2] has put it.

But it is a short step from disaffiliation to desafío—defiance. All the excluded, the disaffiliated, whether from the banlieues, immigrants or ‘native-born’, at one point or another turn their disaffiliation into defiance and go onto the offensive. It is their only way to stop being humiliated, discarded or taken in hand. In the wake of the November fires, mainstream political sociology spoke of integration, employment, security. I am not so sure that the rioters want to be reintegrated on these lines. Perhaps they consider the French way of life with the same condescension or indifference with which it views theirs. Perhaps they prefer to see cars burning than to dream of one day driving them. Perhaps their reaction to an over-calculated solicitude would instinctively be the same as to exclusion and repression.

The superiority of Western culture is sustained only by the desire of the rest of the world to join it. When there is the least sign of refusal, the slightest ebbing of that desire, the West loses its seductive appeal in its own eyes. Today it is precisely the ‘best’ it has to offer—cars, schools, shopping centres—that are torched and ransacked. Even nursery schools: the very tools through which the car-burners were to be integrated and mothered. ‘Screw your mother’ might be their organizing slogan. And the more there are attempts to ‘mother’ them, the more they will. Of course, nothing will prevent our enlightened politicians and intellectuals from considering the autumn riots as minor incidents on the road to a democratic reconciliation of all cultures. Everything indicates that on the contrary, they are successive phases of a revolt whose end is not in sight.

[1] [Tunisian writer, author of L’Imposture culturelle (1997).]

[2] [Sociologist, author of L’Insécurité sociale (2003).]
          HUMAN RIGHTS IN 2011: THE CIRI REPORT        
The CIRI Human Rights Data Project has released its ratings of government respect for 16 internationally-recognized human rights in almost every country in the world for the year 2011.  The CIRI Project’s data stretch back, annually, to 1981 and can be freely accessed at

The CIRI data are used by governments, scholars, international organizations, businesses, think tanks, and students the world over for a variety of purposes.  The project is co-directed by Dr. David L. Cingranelli (Binghamton University), Dr. David L. Richards (University of Connecticut), and Dr. K. Chad Clay (University of Georgia). 

This data release has also been accompanied by a number of changes at the CIRI Project.  A new country was added to the data for 2011 (South Sudan), and, reflecting the addition of a new co-director (K. Chad Clay) in Fall 2012, the project’s citation has changed.  Perhaps most importantly, CIRI’s release schedule has changed.  In the future, data updates will be issued annually in January to cover the year that began two years previous.  As such, the 2012 ratings will be released in January 2014.

Below, we present four stories from the 2011 data:


All 14 of CIRI’s individual indicators of particular human rights can be summed into an overall human rights score for each country in the world.  The best score a country can receive is 30, representing high respect for all 14 human rights; the worst score is 0, representing very low respect for all 14 human rights.  The world average was 17, and the USA scored 24 (tied for the 7th highest score, but still ranking behind 37 countries).  Below are the best and worst of 2011.

Top 9 Countries – Overall Respect
Luxembourg [30]
Netherlands [29]
New Zealand [29]
San Marino [29]
Andorra [28]
Australia [28]
Denmark [28]
Iceland [28]
Norway [28]

Bottom 9 Countries – Overall Respect
Iran [1]
Eritrea [2]
Saudi Arabia [2]
Burma [3]
China [3]
Libya [3]
Yemen [3]
Democratic People's Republic of Korea [4]
Syria [4]


The CIRI Physical Integrity Rights Index measures government respect for the freedoms from torture, extrajudicial killing, political imprisonment, and disappearance. It varies from 0 (no respect for physical integrity rights) to 8 (full respect for physical integrity rights).  Overall, government respect for physical integrity declined in 2011, as the mean score on the physical integrity rights index fell from 5.01 in 2010 to 4.82 in 2011.  In particular, respect for physical integrity rights saw the following dramatic changes in 2010-2011:

Largest Declines in Respect for Physical Integrity Rights
Bahrain [-5]
Djibouti [-3]
Egypt [-3]
Republic of Korea [-3]
Libya [-3]
Mauritania [-3]
Oman [-3]

Largest Improvements in Respect for Physical Integrity Rights
Panama [+4]
Croatia [+3]
Belarus [+2]
Nepal [+2]
Togo [+2]

Further, as these lists suggest, it would appear that changes in government respect for physical integrity rights in 2011 were not evenly distributed across the globe.  Indeed, as demonstrated below, South Asian states experienced a net improvement in average government respect for physical integrity, while some of the largest declines in government respect for physical integrity rights were concentrated in the Near East & North Africa:

Average Change in Respect for Physical Integrity Rights by Region
Africa [-0.04]
East Asia & the Pacific [-0.12]
Europe & Eurasia [0]
Near East & North Africa [-1.37]
South Asia [+0.25]
Western Hemisphere [-0.11]


Beginning in Tunisia in December 2010, the wave of demonstrations, protests, and conflicts known as the “Arab Spring” swept through the Arab world in 2011.  What effect did this have on respect for human rights in the Near East and North Africa (as defined by the US State Department)?  Table 1 displays the change in the overall human rights score, as well as in the CIRI Physical Integrity Rights Index, from 2010 to 2011. 

As can be seen, most states in the region demonstrated reduced respect for human rights in 2011, particularly those states that experienced some of the highest levels of unrest that year, e.g. Bahrain, Libya, and Egypt.  Of course, other states, like Syria, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, and Iran, already had extremely low scores on our indicators and thus, had little room to move down.  On the other hand, Tunisia experienced a large increase in its overall human rights score, owing to the overthrow of its government early in the year and the elections held in October.  However, this was not enough to overcome the high level of physical integrity rights abuse that accompanied the protests early in the year, which led to a decrease in respect for physical integrity rights from an already low score of 3 in 2010 to 2 in 2011.
CIRI also annually codes two measures of internationally-recognized women’s rights: women’s political rights and women’s economic rights.  The women’s political rights measure is aimed at capturing the degree to which government laws and practices ensure that women enjoy the rights to vote, to run for political office, to hold elected and appointed government positions, to join political parties, and to petition government officials.  The women’s economic rights measure captures the degree to which government laws and practices ensure that women enjoy equal pay for equal work, free choice of profession or employment, the right to gainful employment, equality in hiring and promotion, job security, freedom from discrimination by employers, freedom from sexual harassment, and the right to work in dangerous professions, including working at night and working in the military and police forces.
Our two measures of women’s rights moved in opposite directions in 2011.  While women’s political rights improved for the second straight year, women’s economic rights suffered a setback after two consecutive years of improvement.  Indeed, this is in keeping with these measures’ performance over time.  As shown in the graph below, respect for women’s economic rights has lagged behind respect for women’s political rights consistently since 1981.  However, that gap has widened with time, as respect for women’s political rights has consistently grown while respect for women’s economic rights has remained relatively flat.
Note: The shapefile used to construct the above map comes from Weidmann, Kuse, and Gleditsch’s cshapes, version 0.4-2.  The map was made using Pisati’s spmap package in Stata 12.1.  Another version of this post can be viewed at the The Quantitative Peace.

          Jewish Agency Statement on Tunisia        
          L'uomo nuovo        
Marco Cedolin

Quando intorno alla metà del secolo scorso l'elite mondialista che di fatto gestisce le sorti del pianeta e dei suoi abitanti iniziò a strutturare le basi per la costruzione di un nuovo ordine mondiale (o comunque lo si voglia chiamare di una nuova società che potesse risultare funzionale ai propri interessi) comprese immediatamente come la globalizzazione fosse la strada migliore da percorrere per ottenere il risultato voluto. Le basi di un progetto di questo genere erano già state poste negli anni 30, quando il Council on Foreign Relations americano concepì strutture come la Banca Mondiale ed il Fondo Monetario internazionale che nacquero ufficialmente a Bretton Woods nel luglio 1944 ed ebbero senza dubbio modo di affinarsi quando a partire dal mese di maggio 1954 iniziarono le riunioni del gruppo Bilderberg, deputato a fare sintesi e delineare le strategie.......
Nello stesso periodo, ad ottobre del 1947 a Ginevra vide la luce il GATT (General Agreement on Tarifs and Trade) composto inizialmente da 18 paesi fra i quali l'Italia (che entrò a farne parte nel 1949) e destinato a comprenderne 37, che si proponeva l'obiettivo di eliminare tutto ciò che potesse in qualche misura ostacolare il commercio internazionale.
Il capitalismo fordista, inteso come modello basato sulla produzione ed il consumo, aveva ormai fatto il suo tempo, così come stavano diventando anacronistici i paletti imposti dalla presenza degli stati sovrani, delle politiche protezionistiche dei vari governi e di tutto un universo di peculiarità e differenze che di fatto ostacolava la creazione di un mercato unico globale. Nei decenni successivi sarebbe stato necessario smantellare in maniera certosina ogni ostacolo che potesse frapporsi alla costruzione di una società globalizzata, dove le merci e gli uomini (merce) potessero circolare senza alcun intralcio, per venire incontro alle esigenze di profitto e dove la finanza e le grandi banche di affari, a braccetto con le società multinazionali, acquistassero sempre più peso rispetto alla politica, fino ad arrivare a dirigerne e determinarne le scelte.
I cittadini occidentali da poco usciti dalla guerra mondiale vivevano il boom economico, lavoravano, risparmiavano, consumavano ed anelavano ad un futuro migliore. Abbandonavano le campagne per andare a lavorare in città, "modernizzavano" le propre usanze ed i propri costumi, sempre guardando all'America come al faro illuminante dal quale trarre ispirazione. Erano indirizzati sulla buona strada, ma avrebbero avuto ancora molto cammino da fare.
I cittadini del blocco sovietico vivevano racchiusi in un bozzolo, impermeabile a tutte le ingerenze esterne, fra le pieghe dell'economia pianificata. Di strada da fare ne avevano ancora tanta, ma un bel giorno sarebbero arrivati anche loro alla meta.
Quelli del "terzo mondo" vivevano soprattutto grazie all'autoproduzione, praticavano l'agricoltura e la pastorizia finalizzate alla propria sussistenza ed il loro peso sullo scacchiere del progresso, basato sulla società crescita e sviluppo risultava tutto sommato di poco conto. Al contrario di quello dei paesi in cui vivevano, spesso ricchi di risorse che per la crescita e lo sviluppo occidentale sarebbero diventate indispensabili. Comunque un giorno non così lontano anche loro avrebbero concorso alla formazione del villaggio globale.

Il processo di globalizzazione avrebbe necessitato di tempi lunghi, di strumenti tecnologici nuovi che permettessero la creazione di una non - cultura globale volta a sostituire la miriade di culture preesistenti, della collaborazione di tutti gli organismi di potere, in qualsiasi luogo ed a qualsiasi livello.

La fine del novecento

Nel gennaio del 1995, dopo 8 anni di negoziati fra i paesi aderenti al GATT, sempre a Ginevra nacque il WTO (World Trade Organisation), al quale attualmente aderiscono 161 paesi che rappresentano circa il 97% dell'intero commercio mondiale di beni e servizi. Lo scopo principale della nuova organizzazione era quello di perfezionare il lavoro fino a quel momento svolto dal GATT, nella creazione di un mercato unico globale che di fatto godesse di un potere sovranazionale e fosse in grado di determinare e gestire le politiche economiche su scala mondiale, di concerto con istituzioni come il Fondo Monetario Internazionale e la Banca Mondiale. Un altro passo importante sulla via della globalizzazione era stato compiuto, le nazioni avrebbero progressivamente ceduto sempre maggiori quote della propria sovranità, mentre gli "uomini merce" si sarebbero omologati sempre più gli uni con gli altri, abbandonando la propria identità e le proprie tradizioni, trasformandosi in soggetti interscambiali fra loro, da potere gestire e spostare a piacimento sullo scacchiere mondiale.
In Occidente la popolazione aveva raggiunto intorno alla metà degli anni 80 il maggior momento di "benessere economico", sull'asse del modello crescita e sviluppo. Le città erano densamente popolate, inquinate e vivaci, all'acme di una migrazione trentennale dalle campagne. Il livello di occupazione era alto, quello dei salari discretamente buono, i diritti dei lavoratori, dopo le "conquiste" dei decenni precedenti risultavano elevati. Ormai tutte le famiglie possedevano una o più auto, fiorivano le seconde case, le persone avevano tempo libero e risorse da dedicare ai viaggi e alle vacanze. I consumi erano estremamente elevati, l'impegno politico stava sparendo, sostituito dai nuovi modelli sociali ispirati dai media e dalla televisione. L'uomo della strada si considerava tutto sommato felice, attraverso i viaggi organizzati iniziava a sentirsi cosmopolita, lavorava, consumava ed andava a divertirsi, nella maniera in cui i nuovi modelli sociali gli suggerivano di fare.
La caduta del muro di Berlino, avvenuta nel 1989 ed il crollo dell'Unione Sovietica verificatosi a cavallo del 1990, seguito dalla disintegrazione della ex Jugoslavia, mandarono in frantumi quella sorta di bozzolo in cui vivevano i cittadini dell'Est, diventati improvvisamente permeabili e ricettivi al canto delle sirene occidentali. Entro breve tempo anche loro avrebbero potuto godere di tutti i benefici del modello crescita e sviluppo, mangiare al Mc Donald's, guardare i film americani e sentirsi cittadini del mondo.

In quegli stessi decenni, nei paesi del "terzo mondo", già pesantemente depredati delle proprie risorse durante il periodo coloniale, la Banca Mondiale ed il FMI, attraverso i vari organismi da essi controllati, hanno imposto una nuova forma di colonialismo declinata nel segno dello sviluppo.
I governi locali (spesso collusi con la stessa elite mondialista) sono stati convinti a svendere ulteriormente le proprie risorse e ad indebitarsi per cifre esorbitanti, al fine di poter costruire mega infrastrutture sul modello occidentale, il più delle volte destinate a rimanere sottoutilizzate, dopo avere determinato gravissimi danni agli equilibri ambientali. Le piccole industrie, che producevano beni di consumo semplici, destinati al consumo della popolazione locale, sono state sotituite da mega industrie inquinanti ed energivore, spesso di proprietà delle multinazionali occidentali impegnate a delocalizzare la propria produzione in paesi che potessero offrire legislazioni di comodo e manodopera a bassissimo costo.
Le colture di sussistenza che contribuivano a sfamare le polazioni locali, sono state estirpate per far posto alle monocolture intensive, in larghissima parte destinate all'esportazione. La cosidetta "rivoluzione verde", spacciata sotto le mentite spoglie della solidarietà pelosa, ha di fatto trasformato milioni di contadini che vivevano del proprio raccolto in milioni di "contadini poveri" dipendenti in tutto e per tutto dalle quotazioni della propria monocoltura di riferimento nelle borse internazionali. Dopo averli fatti indebitare per l'acquisto dei macchinari agricoli e dei pesticidi e in un secondo momento anche delle sementi ogm che erano state rese indispensabili.
La pesca tradizionale, praticata rispettando i pricipi ecologici che preservavano la riproduzione e proteggevano le riserve di pesce, finalizzata a sfamare le famiglie locali è stata sostituita dalla pesca moderna con reti a strascico (spesso finanziata da programmi di aiuto internazionali) assai più distruttiva e letale per le riserve di pesce. I pescatori tradizionali che attraverso il loro lavoro sfamavano le proprie famiglie, si sono così trasformati in pochi decenni in dipendenti sottopagati al soldo di compagnie di pesca straniere che avevano come unico scopo il profitto immediato, potendo trasferirsi altrove nel momento in cui le acque non sarebbero state più produttive. E questo sarebbe avvenuto molto presto, anche con la complicità dei pesticidi e degli scarichi velenosi determinati dalle industrie di "nuova generazione".
Le foreste tropicali, abitate dai popoli indigeni usi a praticare le coltivazioni a rotazione, sono state oggetto di una pesantissima deforestazione, conseguente all'abbattimento massiccio degli alberi da parte delle società transnazionali legate all'industria del legname e dei mobili o degli allevamenti intensivi destinati alle catene di fast foods americane. Basti pensare che solamente tra il 1900 ed il 1965 la metà della superficie occupata dalle foreste nei paesi "in via di sviluppo" è stata disboscata, mentre nei decenni successivi il ritmo della deforestazione è stato ancora superiore, con la conseguenza di aver privato milioni di persone dei propri strumenti di sussistenza, oltre ad avere causato danni ecologici incalcolabili.
Negli ultimi decenni del 900 i cittadini del terzo mondo, che per secoli avevano vissuto in comunità in gran parte autosufficienti, praticando la coltivazione e la pesca, con un'industria manifatturiera su piccola scala, basata sulle risorse locali ed in grado di rispondere alle esigenze ed ai bisogni di una società "semplice" in armonia con l'ambiente naturale, avevano visto il proprio ambiente stravolto in maniera tanto radicale quanto irreversibile. Avevano perso tutte le coordinate con le quali orientarsi, non possedevano le risorse per vivere e fare fronte ai nuovi bisogni indotti dalla propaganda dei paesi "sviluppati" ed iniziavano a sognare di trasferirsi nelle sfavillanti metropoli che vedevano in televisione.

I mass media, la TV ed internet

La creazione "dell'uomo nuovo" e più in generale l'intero processo di globalizzazione, non sarebbero stati possibili senza tutta una serie di strumenti che permettessero di superare le differenze culturali, le tradizioni, gli stili di vita, le peculiarità che ancora distinguevano profondamente gli uomini l'uno dall'altro, rendendoli un qualcosa di estremamente eterogeneo, difficilmente omologabile in uno standard globale come quello voluto.
Già subito dopo la fine della seconda guerra mondiale la musica ed il cinema "americani" iniziarono ad invadere l'Europa, contaminando culture profondamente estranee a quella statunitense, ma il vero strumento principe della globalizzazione fu senza dubbio la TV ed in un secondo tempo la TV satellitare.
La diffusione massiccia della televisione fu la vera chiave di volta che ampliò a dismisura gli orizzonti della popolazione, prima occidentale e poi mondiale, rendendo l'individuo cittadino di un mondo che fino a quel momento gli era estraneo. Attraverso la TV, a prescindere dal fatto che si trattasse di un telefilm americano, di pubblicità, di un festival della canzone, di un telegiornale, di un documentario o di un programma d'intrattenimento, le persone vennero vezzeggiate, coccolate ed istradate a nuovi usi e costumi, nuove realtà, nuovi modi di pensare, nuove mode (spesso di derivazione americana), nuove sensibilità, sempre declinati sul piano inclinato della modernità, necessaria ed uguale per tutti. Presente in ogni casa ed accesa per sempre più ore al giorno, la TV non ha tardato a manifestarsi come il migliore strumento di orientamento del pensiero, dei costumi, dei modelli sociali e delle sensibilità, consentendo a chi ne ha gestito i contenuti di plasmare prima milioni e poi miliardi di persone, prendendole per mano e portandole nella direzione voluta. Grazie a decenni di film e telefilm statunitensi per molti italiani, città come New York o Chicago risultano essere molto più "familiari" di quanto non lo siano Roma o Milano, feste come Halloween sono diventate patrimonio di culture alle quali non appartenevano, gli stravizi e le feste folli dei college americani sono riusciti a contaminare realtà scolastiche profondamente differenti rispetto a quella di oltre oceano. Per non parlare del linguaggio, ormai trasformatosi in una sorta di slang americanizzato, tanto nell'ambito dei rapporti sociali, quanto in quello professionale. Dove si organizzano
briefeng, si va a fare l'happy hour, si compra il ticket, si pubblicizza un brand, occorre fare la spending review, si scrive un abstract, si acquistano viaggi all inclusive, si crea audience, si curiosa nel backstage, si partecipa ad una convention,si usufruisce di un benefit, si fa un break, si valorizza il proprio core business, si paga cash, si prenota un catering, si va all'ospedale per un check up, si porta avnti una class actione via discorrendo. Ma la Tv non è solamente film, telefilm ed intrattenimento, bensì anche informazione, sempre più in tempo reale, destinata a portare "il mondo" in casa a tutte le ore della giornata, costruendo di fatto la realtà secondo i dettami di chi la gestisce per conto terzi, naturalmente di concerto con la carta stampata e le trasmissioni radiofoniche.
A cavallo degli anni 90 del secolo scorso la TV compie un passo decisivo, con l'avvento del satellitare che le permette di assumere una dimensione trasnazionale, raggiungendo tutti quei paesi del "terzo mondo" e dell'ex blocco sovietico dove gli abitanti, affamati di Occidente, non tardano a dotarsi degli apparecchi necessari a ricevere il segnale. Anche loro potranno gustare i telefilm americani e posare gli occhi sulle fantasmagoriche metropoli brulicanti di luce e di vita, vedere i loro connazionali giocare nei miliardari campionati di calcio europei, portare a casa qualche briciola di quel mondo "moderno", sfavillante, ricco di promesse e di prospettive come suggeriscono le immagini patinate della pubblicità. Anche loro potranno ottenere informazioni dal mondo e conoscere la realtà nella forma in cui è stato deciso che essa esista. Ma soprattutto anche loro potranno fare propri usi e costumi che gli erano completamente estranei ed assimilare una "non cultura" che possa sostituire la loro, ormai persa durante i decenni precedenti.
In concomitanza all'avvento del satellite la TV inizia a cambiare pelle anche nell'ambito dei contenuti, destinati a diventare sempre più globali e globalizzanti. Le trasmissioni d'intrattenimento vengono confezionate in format destinati ad essere venduti in decine e decine di paesi differenti, l'informazione si standardizza sempre più, non solo nel contenuto, ma anche nei tempi e nei modi in cui viene portata. La TV si fa sempre più globale, rivolgendosi ormai a miliardi di persone che ne seguono fedelmente il percorso, accettando supinamente di venire omologate.
Se la TV si è distinta come lo strumento principale della globalizzazione, non meno importante è stato l'apporto di internet alla "causa", a partire dai primi anni del nuovo secolo, in concomitanza con la diffusione sempre più massiccia del computer, non solo in Occidente, ma anche nei cosidetti "paesi in via di sviluppo". A differenza della televisione la rete è uno strumento interattivo, dove l'utente non si limita ad essere spettatore passivo, ma al contrario scrive e si rapporta con gli altri tramite il web. La creazione del mondo virtuale, senza confini ed omnicomprensivo, dove ciascuno di noi può scegliere un alias e ridisegnare un nuovo sé stesso attraverso il quale rapportarsi all'interno dei social network, sicuramente risulta essere funzionale ad una nuova visione del "mondo", deprivata dagli usi e costumi tradizionali e al tempo stesso molto vicina all'icona del villaggio globale tanto cara all'elite mondialista. Proprio i social network, con Facebook, Instagram e Twitter a tirare la cordata, incarnano meglio di ogni altro strumento lo spirito "dell'uomo nuovo", sempre connesso nel villaggio virtuale, dove non esistono confini e differenze, ma sempre più solo nel mondo reale, dove sta perdendo la propria identità, i legami familiari, la capacità di rapportarsi con gli altri in maniera costruttiva, la consapevolezza delle proprie origini e della propria umanità. Proprio sui social network sempre più spesso gli uomini politici ed i vip fanno i propri annunci, che verranno poi ripresi dalle TV e dai giornali, diventando a loro volta notizie di notizie, in un circolo vizioso dai ritmi sempre più sincopati.
Ma la rete non è solamente social network, bensì anche informazione, una valanga d'informazione di ogni genere e di ogni provenienza della quale si può fruire a proprio piacimento in qualsiasi momento della giornata. Dove accanto alla poca "buona informazione" costruita attraverso l'impegno e la fatica degli utenti, dilaga la tanta "cattiva informazione" dispensata da quegli stessi media che gestiscono le TV ed i giornali. Il risultato è quello di una massa d'individui costretti a gestire mentalmente una marea d'informazioni superficiali e spesso fuorvianti, ma totalmente incapaci di approfondire qualsiasi argomento, dal momento che proprio la superficialità e la fretta sono le parole d'ordine attraverso le quali navigare in internet. Anche in questo caso internet si presta a plasmare lo spirito "dell'uomo nuovo", forte del convincimento di essere iper informato su qualsiasi argomento e di conoscere tutto, ma totalmente incapace di comprendere come la propria onniscienza sia costituita esclusivamente da una massa di nozioni usate per costruire una realtà a suo uso e consumo che non è più reale di quanto possa esserlo un serial TV.

Le "guerre preventive", l'effetto disgregazione e le rivoluzioni colorate

La prima fu quella " del Golfo" nel 1990 contro l'Iraq di Saddam Hussein, l'ultima potrebbe essere (ma speriamo di no) quella contro la Siria di Assad, passando attraverso la guerra nella ex Jugoslavia, l'invasione dell'Afghanistan, la definitiva conquista dell'Iraq, la distruzione della Libia di Gheddafi. Tutte guerre "preventive" portate dall'elite mondialista occidentale, sotto la guida degli USA e di organismi internazionali di comodo come l'ONU e la NATO, contro stati sovrani dallo spiccato carattere nazionalista, poco propensi ad abbracciare il mito della globalizzazione. Tutti stati dagli equilibri interni particolarmente delicati a causa della convivenza di varie etnie e gruppi sociali che i governi esistenti erano riusciti a ricomporre non senza difficoltà. Tutti paesi che dopo i bombardamenti e l'invasione hanno perso ogni equilibrio, andando incontro alla completa disgregazione, degenerata in guerre tribali, terrorismo, sangue e distruzione, costituendo terreno fertile per la globalizzazione e l'emigrazione di massa della popolazione locale.
Ma non sempre per abbattere uno stato sovrano il cui governo si manifestava riluttante a collaborare con l'elite mondialista, disgregare il paese e gettarlo nel caos, prima di sostituire il leader poco collaborativo con un fantoccio di comodo, sono stati necessari bombardamenti ed invasioni. Molto spesso sono state sufficienti le "rivoluzioni colorate", inaugurate dalle rivoluzioni d'autunno nel 1989, quando Solidarnosc prese il potere in Polonia, Ceausescu fu prima deposto e poi ucciso in Romania, ed i governi preesistenti vennero rovesciati in maniera "pacifica" nella Germania Est, in Cecoslovaccia, Ungheria, Bulgaria, Estonia, Lettonia, Lituania. E poi proseguite nei decenni successivi, in Serbia nel 2000, in Georgia nel 2003, in Ucraina nel 2004, in Kirghizistan nel 2005. Per finire con la "Primavera araba" del 2011 che coinvolse fra gli altri la Tunisia, l'Egitto, la Libia di Gheddafi (poi ucciso durante l'invasione occidentale) e la Siria, dove Assad riuscì a resistere solamente grazie all'appoggio della Russia e allo stoicismo del suo popolo che si strinse intorno a lui. Ultima in ordine di tempo la rivoluzione ucraina del febbraio 2014, culminata con la cacciata del presidente in carica Yanukovich, colpevole di non avere mostrato sufficiente condiscendenza nei confronti della UE. Una rivoluzione che ha di fatto tagliato in due il paese, provocando forti attriti fra la UE, spalleggiata dagli Stati Uniti e la Russia, determinando una lunga scia di sangue tuttora in atto.
Attraverso una lunga serie di guerre preventive e rivoluzioni colorate, l'elite mondialista è riuscita dunque ad ottenere negli ultimi decenni la disgregazione di un gran numero di stati sovrani, imponendo di fatto con l'uso della forza o con il sotterfugio l'eliminazione di confini scomodi, di culture refrattarie al "cambiamento", di tradizioni in contrasto con il disegno globalizzatore e creando l'humus necessario affinché potesse realizzarsi nella sua completezza il disegno stesso.

Le crisi economiche e il fenomeno migratorio

Solamente con l'avvento del nuovo millennio, dopo tanto duro lavoro, i tempi erano maturi perché il processo di globalizzazione potesse entrare pienamente a regime, iniziando a dare i propri frutti.
Nei paesi occidentali una lunga serie di crisi economiche e finanziarie, create a tavolino, aveva privato le popolazioni di tutte le proprie certezze e anche di buona parte dei loro diritti e delle loro risorse. La disoccupazione era salita progressivamente a livelli sempre più alti, il potere di acquisto dei salari risultava in caduta libera, l'ambizione di "costruire un futuro migliore" stava lasciando il passo a quella di tentare di mantenere il proprio tenore di vita e ben presto sarebbe stata sostituita da quella di riuscire a sopravvivere con un minimo di dignità. I governi si erano ormai ridotti al ruolo di meri passacarte al servizio di banche e multinazionali e imponevano senza sosta le politiche di rigore imposte dall'elite mondialista. Tutti i punti fermi attraverso i quali le persone erano abituate ad orientarsi da sempre venivano smantellati, ad iniziare dall'istituzione della famiglia, del "posto di lavoro fisso", del rapporto di coppia uomo - donna e più in generale di tutti gli usi e costumi e le peculiarità che le differenziavano le une dalle altre.
Le metropoli e le grandi città avevano smesso di crescere, la chiusura delle industrie, molte delle quali delocalizzate nei paesi del "terzo mondo", trasformava vaste aree urbane (e talvolta perfino intere città come Detroit) in quartieri dormitorio degradati dove crollava il valore degli immobili, spesso bruciando senza pietà i risparmi di una vita. Sempre più persone "convinte" nei decenni precedenti a contrarre pesanti mutui per acquistare le proprie case si ritrovavano nell'impossibilità di fare fronte ai pagamenti. Il lavoro si trasformava sempre più da fisso a precario, allargando a dismisura la categoria dei "nuovi poveri" costretti ad arrabattarsi fra un'occupazione saltuaria e l'altra, senza alcuna ambizione che potesse prescindere dalla mera sopravvivenza.
L'uomo occidentale si scopriva sempre più solo, sempre più privo di coordinate atraverso le quali orientarsi, sempre più incapace di costruire il reddito necessario a soddisfare i bisogni indotti dai modelli di vita imposti dalla pubblicità, senza più un'identità, senza qualcosa in cui credere che non fosse il denaro e il successo, mentre anche il denaro ed il successo stavano diventando dei miraggi.
I cittadini dei paesi dell'ex blocco sovietico si sono ormai in larga parte omologati con quelli occidentali, molti di loro sono emigrati o emigrano verso ovest, molti altri hanno parzialmente migliorato il proprio tenore di vita lavorando nelle aziende delocalizzate in patria. Hanno realizzato il proprio "sogno occidentale" ma stanno anche rendendosi conto di come nei fatti si tratti di un'esperienza onirica di cartapesta.
Gli abitanti del terzo mondo hanno ormai rotto gli argini e inseguendo le promesse accattivanti portate dalla TV satellitare, decidono di emigrare in massa dentro al mondo rappresentato in quegli schermi. Con la complicità dei trafficanti di esseri umani, dei professionisti dell'accoglienza (nascosti sotto la bandiera della solidarietà pelosa) impegnati a gestire un traffico assai più redditizio di quello della droga e dell'elite mondialista che ha disperatamente bisogno di loro, si imbarcano a centinaia di migliaia su barconi fatiscenti o danno vita via terra ad un esodo disperato e disperante, durante il quale molti di loro perdono la vita.
Sono il "materiale umano" di cui la globalizzazione ha bisogno per livellare al ribasso i salari dell'Europa intera, per praticare l'eutanasia degli ultimi diritti che ancora sopravvivono, per sradicare definitivamente le identità, gli stati sovrani, le tradizioni e le differenze.

Secondo i dati forniti dall'Organizzazione internazionale per le migrazioni nei soli primi 9 mesi del 2015, sarebbero stati 432.000 i migranti arrivati in Europa dal Mediterraneo, più del doppio di quelli sbarcati nell'intero 2014. Stando ai numeri forniti da Amnesty international nella sola Grecia, nei primi 9 mesi del 2015 sarebbero sbarcati circa 200.000 migranti, con un rapporto di un migrante ogni 70 abitanti locali. Il vice-cancelliere tedesco Sigmar Gabriel ha dichiarato che nei prossimi anni la Germania dovrà farsi carico di almeno un milione di "profughi" richiedenti asilo.
Questi sono solo alcuni numeri, estrapolati dai giornali degli ultimi mesi, che dimostrano come l'esodo degli emigrati verso l'Europa stia diventando sempre più significativo, ma non ancora così significativo come l'elite mondialista vorrebbe.
Leonid Bershidsky, in un articolo pubblicato su Bloomberg, dove vuole arrivare l'elite mondialista (della quale senza dubbio è al servizio) dimostra di averlo capito perfettamente, quando dichiara candidamente che l'Europa avrebbe bisogno di accogliere (o forse sarebbe meglio dire deportare) almeno 250milioni di migranti entro il 2060, praticamente un terzo della sua intera popolazione attuale. Bershidsky attraverso complesse calcolazioni tanto care agli economisti tenta di dimostrare come un "sacrificio" di questo genere sarebbe necessario per "salvare" le pensioni future dei cittadini europei, nell'evidente intenzione di dare di un fenomeno come quello dell'immigrazione di massa una visione positiva e per alcuni versi quasi salvifica. Mente spudoratamente sulle reali ragioni per cui è stato innescato il fenomeno, ma si dimostra assai efficace nel descrivere le dimensioni e la portata globale dello stesso in quello che è il piano della globalizzazione.
Come non domandarsi con quali prospettive un continente in profonda crisi economica, che non riesce più a fornire gli strumenti per una sopravvivenza dignitosa alla propria popolazione potrebbe mai accogliere una simile marea di profughi, permettendo loro di vivere dignitosamente? E come non domandarsi che fine faranno nel prossimo futuro i paesi dai quali i migranti provengono, privati di larga parte della propria popolazione in età lavorativa, emigrata in Occidente in cerca di fortuna?

"L'uomo nuovo" è ormai una realtà

Al termine di tutto questo percorso l'uomo nuovo è ormai diventato una realtà concreta e risulta del tutto aderente al disegno che l'elite mondialista aveva in mente quando più di mezzo secolo fa iniziò a costruirlo con pazienza. Si tratta del cittadino del mondo, una figura apolide, priva di qualsiasi senso di appartenenza, senza alcuna cultura di riferimento, senza valori e senza tradizioni, con legami familiari e affettivi in via di dissolvimento, interscambiabile con gli altri come può esserlo un pezzo di ricambio, sopravvivente all'interno di una vita ad interim, senza diritti e coordinate con le quali orientarsi, alla perenne ricerca dei mezzi economici che possano permettergli di acquistare i beni di consumo imposti dalla pubblicità e altrettanto perennemente frustrato dall'impossibilità di poterlo fare.
L'uomo nuovo potrà essere spostato a piacimento all'interno del villaggio globale, laddove risulta essere più utile la sua presenza, dal momento che in mancanza di un'identità e di una famiglia non esiste alcun senso di radicamento. Potrà essere pagato il "meno possibile", poiché la sua interscambiabilità ha pregiudicato qualsiasi capacità di contrattare il proprio salario ed è impotente di fronte all'arma del ricatto occupazionale. Potrà essere manipolato a piacimento, grazie al fatto che una persona deprivata della cultura di riferimento e delle tradizioni è come un foglio bianco sul quale i media e l'orientamento del pensiero hanno modo d'imprimere qualsiasi cosa risulti funzionale ai progetti dell'elite mondialista. Non sarà in grado di fare valere i propri diritti, di protestare e di opporsi, dal momento che l'uomo merce è una figura atomizzata, totalmente incapace di aggregarsi con gli altri, eternamente in competizione con il proprio vicino e irrimediabilmente sola anche in mezzo alla calca.
Non si opporrà alle decisioni calate dall'alto, perché convinto che vengano prese per il suo bene, accetterà supinamente il proprio destino, così come lo fa una merce che deve essere costruita, venduta, usata e poi gettata via quando risulta non essere più utile. Si mostrerà sinceramente convinto di essere libero ed informato e si professerà felice di appartenere al villaggio globale, vero simbolo della modernità, senza confini, senza differenze, senza retaggi del passato, senza inutili tradizioni e discriminazioni di sorta, ma purtroppo anche senza più una briciola di umanità, dal momento che fra la merce e l'uomo che intendesse essere tale qualche differenza dovrebbe esserci per forza.

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          United Kingdom to lift electronics ban on Turkey flights        

Ankara: The UK will lift restrictions on large electronic devices being carried as cabin luggage on direct flights from Turkey, officials said here on Thursday.

A source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told state-run Anadolu news agency that British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson had phoned his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu over the issue.

The source said Johnson told Cavusoglu the UK authorities had decided to lift the ban, adding that the process to lift the restrictions was ongoing.

A ban on carrying such devices aboard US-bound passenger aircraft was ended for Turkish Airlines flights from Istanbul earlier this month.

The US had banned devices from 10 airports in eight Muslim-majority countries while the UK had banned them on all direct flights from Turkey, Lebanon, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Tunisia in March.

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          Intervju med Amina        
Amina, den 19-årig kvinnan i Tunisien som protesterade mot salafister. Snaphanen skrev om fallet här. Efter protesten ska hon ha drogats och hennes föräldrar fått henne inspärrad på ett mentalsjukhus. Ett upprop: Petitioning Tunisian Government : Amina must be safe.

(Någon som kan översätta/sammanfatta; min franska värdelös.)

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Caroline Fourest tycks ha farhågor. Twittrade: "Un bon reportage de Canal+ et une interview d'Amina sous contrôle. Qui confirme mes craintes et les réserves".

Uppdatering: Några sekunder av intervjun i franskt TV-reportage översatt:

          Cats Hd Wallpapers         
Cats Hd Wallpapers Biography
The HD Cat has two estrus periods, one in December–February and another in May–July.[59] Estrus lasts 5–9 days, with a gestation period lasting 60–68 days.[60] Ovulation is induced through copulation. Spermatogenesis occurs throughout the year. During the mating season, males fight viciously,[59] and may congregate around a single female. There are records of male and female wildcats becoming temporarily monogamous. Kittens usually appear in April–May, though some may be born from March–August. Litter size ranges from 1-7 kittens.[60]
Kittens are born blind and helpless, and are covered in a fuzzy coat.[59] At birth, the kittens weigh 65-163 grams, though kittens under 90 grams usually do not survive. They are born with pink paw pads, which blacken at the age of three months, and blue eyes, which turn amber after five months.[60] Their eyes open after 9–12 days, and their incisors erupt after 14–30 days. The kittens' milk teeth are replaced by their permanent dentition at the age of 160–240 days. The kittens start hunting with their mother at the age of 60 days, and will start moving independently after 140–150 days. Lactation lasts 3–4 months, though the kittens will eat meat as early as 1.5 months of age. Sexual maturity is attained at the age of 300 days.[59] Similarly to the housecat, the physical development of African wildcat kittens over the first two weeks of their lives is much faster than that of European wildcats.[47] The kittens are largely fully grown by 10 months, though skeletal growth continues for over 18–19 months. The family dissolves after roughly five months, and the kittens disperse to establish their own territories.[60] The species' maximum life span is 21 years, though it usually only lives up to 13–14 years.[59]
The Hdcat's distribution is very broad, encompassing most of Africa, Europe, and southwest and central Asia into India, China, and Mongolia.[2]
The northern African subspecies, F. s. lybica, occurs across northern Africa, extending around the Arabian Peninsula's periphery to the Caspian Sea, encompassing a wide range of habitats, with the exception of closed tropical forests. It occurs in small numbers in true deserts such as the Sahara, particularly in hilly and mountainous areas, such as the Hoggar. In North Africa, the subspecies occurs discontinuously from Morocco through Algeria, Tunisia, Libya and into Egypt. It occurs throughout the savannahs of West Africa, ranging from Mauritania on the Atlantic seaboard, eastwards to the Horn of Africa, Sudan and Ethiopia. In the south, F. s. lybica is replaced in all East and southern African countries the southern F. s. cafra. The border range between the two subspecies encompasses Tanzania and Mozambique. The Asiatic wildcat, F. s. ornata, ranges from the eastern Caspian into western India, and north to Kazakhstan and into western China and southern Mongolia. The Chinese F. s. bieti is indigenous to western China, and is particularly abundant in the Quinghai and possibly Sichuan provinces. The European subspecies, F. s. silvestris, was once very widely distributed in Europe, being absent only in Fennoscandia and Estonia. However, between the late 1700s and mid 1900s, the species underwent declines and local extirpations, resulting in a fragmentation of its range. It is now extinct in Holland, and possibly extinct in the Czech Republic. It is considered regionally extinct in Austria, though vagrants from Italy are spreading into Austrian territory. In the Pyrenees, the wildcat occurs from sea level to 2,250 m. It is possible that in some areas, including Scotland and Stromberg, Germany, pure wildcats have crossbred extensively with domestic cats. The only island in the Mediterranean to house wildcats is Sicily, with other populations in Sardinia, Corsica and possibly Crete possibly being descended from feral populations introduced there from Neolithic times.[2]The Hdcat is considered an icon of the Scottish wilderness, and has been used in clan heraldry since the 13th century.[82] The Picts venerated wildcats, having probably named Caithness (Land of the Cats) after them. According to the foundation myth of the Catti tribe, their ancestors were attacked by wildcats upon landing in Scotland. Their ferocity impressed the Catti so much, that the wildcat became their symbol.[84] A thousand years later, the progenitors of Clan Sutherland, equally impressed, adopted the wildcat on their family crest.[12][84] The Chief of Clan Sutherland bears the title Morair Chat (Great Man of the Cats). The Clan Chattan Association (also known as the Clan of Cats) is made up of 12 different clans, the majority of which display the wildcat on their badges.
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          Our Partner in Tunisia, joint winner of the Nobel Peace Prize: an inspiration for us to continue our work        

It's no minor task to follow the steps of Malala Yousafi and other great figures, however that is what the Quartet of Tunisian organizations have just accomplished by being awarded  the Nobel Peace Prize for its “decisive contribution to the establishment of a pluralist democracy in Tunisia. "

The Quartet includes the Tunisian General Labour Union (UGTT), the Tunisian League of Human Rights (LTDH), the Tunisian Union of Industry, Trade and Handicrafts (UTICA) and the Order Lawyers. As partners of the UGTT, Oxfam is convinced that the winners are worthy of this award. Through them, we greet and invite all the forces of Tunisia to continue in the same direction.

A tribute to civil society as a whole

Through dialogue, the Quartet enabled Tunisia to avoid a serious political crisis. At the end of discussions, a roadmap was adopted enabling the formation of a government of "national competencies", the adoption of a new constitution and the establishment of a calendar for elections

Oxfam welcomes this international recognition which pays tribute to Tunisian civil society at large for its role as an agent of change and recognizes all the efforts to make Tunisia a democratic country and  to promote dialogue as a means of conflict prevention and peaceful resolution.

Active citizenship and social justice

This award confirms Oxfam’s commitment to continue its programs, alongside Tunisians in the way they have taken to build the rule of law and a state which is accountable to its citizens. 

This distinction also shows our strategic choice in positioning ourselves as a partner and ally of Tunisian civil society, old and emerging, by investing in strengthening their capacities, supporting their influencing and advocacy efforts and being a convener of joint initiatives and exchange platforms which  jointly promote social and gender justice, active citizenship and  the expansion of public space of expression and the influence of civil society, which are the fundamental axes of our intervention in Tunisia.

Women on the front line

For two years, as part of the "Women on the Frontline" project, Oxfam has been working with the Women Commission of the UGTT. The participation of women in public and political space and the rights of women in the Middle East and North Africa are at the core of this project. Ambitious and unique, this initiative aims to create a women's leadership in the labour movement across all regions. Oxfam welcomes its partnership with the UGTT. Jointly, we are actively working to push the boundaries in a traditionally male environment.Oxfam is convinced of the extraordinary potential of the different components of Tunisian civil society and intends to continue to support it to become, more than ever, a key player in which women and young people are on the frontline

Article by the Oxfam in Tunisia team. 

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Najoua Makhlouf, President of the Women's Committee of the UGTT, an Oxfam partner marches alongside other women's rights activists at the demonstration for parity in the electoral law in Tunisia. Photo: LET
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Najoua Makhlouf, President of an Oxfam partner organisation, the Women's Committee of the UGTT, marches alongside other women's rights activists at the demonstration for parity in the electoral law in Tunisia. Photo: LET
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Nudie Jeans Mens Dude Dan Jeans, Dark Fuzz Straight Fit Organic Stretch Denim Dude Dan have a straight leg and regular waist Button fly Straight leg Slim leg opening Orange stitch detailing Logo stitched on the back pockets Material composition: Cotton, elastane Made in Tunisia

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Nudie Jeans Mens Grim Tim Jean, Bright Dawn Blue Organic Stretch Denim Grim Tim have a straight leg, slim fit with a normal rise Prewashed, mid blue denim Five pocket design with orange stitch detail Classic button and concealed zip-fly fastening Orange logo stitch on the back pockets Branded leather logo tab at the reverse waistband Copper branded hardware throughout Made from organic cotton, with a stretch comfort denim Material composition: 98% organic cotton, 2% elastane Made in Tunisia

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          Indonesia - A Model For Post-Election Sri Lanka?        
| by Ruwantissa Abeyratne

( January 20, 2015, Montreal, Sri Lanka Guardian) At the end of 2014, The Economist identified three countries which conducted themselves as models of progress during the recent past: Uruguay which made gay marriages legal; Tunisia which conducted fair and just elections which led to its first step toward democracy; and Indonesia, which broke away from the shackles of military rule, and family favouritism and elected a common but decent and ethical man to the presidency through democratic elections. As it is, Sri Lanka should follow as the first progressive country which followed suit in 2015 with elections comparable with that of the Indonesian elections by breaking away from a norm which the voters decided was for the betterment of the country.

When I met an ambassador of Sri Lanka to a country in the Western World just a few years ago and asked how Sri Lanka was doing, his only response was, “the only problem is rampant corruption”.
As things are, the Indonesian example seems to be a desirable model for Sri Lanka. The Globe and Mail of 16 January 2014 says of the Indonesia of President Joko Widodo (popularly known as "Jokowi", a hard working businessman identified with the common man): "Indonesia is experiencing a burst of unprecedented economic and political optimism. The world’s fourth most populous country, with some 250 million people, is emerging as a powerhouse of Southeast Asia, at the dawn of an awakening that many compare to pre-boom China three decades ago. After decades of dictatorship and corruption, the country is quickly shifting course with the election of a political outsider that many think will usher in a new era of sustainable economic growth... corruption has been a problem for years, bleeding away state revenues that could have been used to build infrastructure and pay for services. Indonesia’s Corruption Eradication Commission has been making headway, and Jokowi even had his cabinet vetted; financial institutions were approached for financial records and several potential cabinet ministers were excluded. He’s appointed technocrats to key economic portfolios".

The journal Foreign Affairs, in its November/December 2014 issue published an interview with Jokowi. One of the questions asked was: " You’re the first Indonesian president with no ties to the Suharto regime. You represent a new generation. What does that say about Indonesia and about the kind of president you’ll be? Jokowi's answer was: "The fact that someone like me could become president shows that our democracy is maturing. We have a lively and independent media. We used social media in our campaign and had more than 3,000 groups of volunteers. This is a new political system. We are taking a human-centric approach to win the trust of the people.

It is heartening that this is what the new Sri Lankan regime is claiming to do.

The key words here are "human-centric approach to win the trust of the people".

The first step in this process is incontrovertibly the establishment of a free and independent media, where the people of the country will have access to transparency and the assurance of an incorruptible system of governance. In other words, unfettered freedom of speech. Jeff Jacob Lourie said: “It [freedom of speech] is bedevilled by the evil intent, ignorance, and stupidity of literally millions of people. But it is the greatest protection against tyranny that there is. Witness the fall of the dictatorships of Serbia, Argentina, Greece, and Chile. Even in free countries freedom of speech is not something that is automatic. Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty. That's not just a cliché. We must guard against the rich, the powerful, the crazies, the haters and the fanatics. We need to maintain everyone's right to free speech, but we cannot let lies and libel go unanswered. On the whole we have done a pretty good job here in the U.S.A. and not only in the obvious ways. I do not think it accidental that our contributions to the technology of freedom are so significant: telephones, television, railroads, automobiles, computers and the internet have all increased our ability to communicate freely”.

The next evil to be attacked should be corruption. The Venerable Walpola Piyananda, in his article Sri Lanka...Independent but not Yet Free published in the Sri Lanka Guardian of 1 February 2012 says inter alia, “As a nation and a people we have not yet won our freedom from egotistical self-centeredness, collective irresponsibility, pettiness, arrogance, and an unbridled lack of discipline… not a day passes without the exposure of another corrupt government official. Bribery, extortion, obstacles to progress removed or kept in place by greasing palms – all have become common in our society. Right livelihood is ignored as greed trumps integrity. Can these self-centered practices exist in a truly free society where selfless government officials work for the benefit of all the people?”

Those in power cannot just wash their hands off from this scourge, by saying they have no control over actions of their fellow countrymen. One must note that the state's inability to implement tight monitoring systems is not the only cause of corruption. For the most part corruption reigns in the absence of an integrated system of internal supervision in the public sector. Corruption has both corrosive and toxic effects on a society. The Rport on Human Development in South Asia 1999 concluded:

“Corruption is one of the most damaging consequences of poor governance. It undermines investment and economic growth, decreases the resources available for human development goals, deepens the extent of poverty, subverts the judicial system, and undermines the legitimacy of the state. In fact, when corruption becomes entrenched, it can devastate the entire economic, political, and social fabric of a country…corruption breeds corruption – and a failure to combat it effectively can lead to an era of entrenched corruption”.

Maulana Wahiduddin Khan, said in The Times of India: “To eradicate corruption we require individuals who are incorruptible and, undoubtedly, what produces such individuals is spirituality. There is a saying that violence begins in the mind. This is true also of corruption: corruption begins in the mind. If we can alter our thinking, we can safely say that we shall have eradicated corruption by at least 50%.

J.S.T. Quah, in a paper Curbing Corruption in Asia: A comparative study of six countries, published in 2003 stated that that in Asian countries three patterns of corruption control have been identified :

1. There are anti-corruption laws but no specific agency that implement those laws (Mongolia which has instituted the Law on Anti-Corruption and three provisions restricting bribery in the Criminal Code).

2. The combination of anti-corruption laws and several anti-corruption agencies (Philippines, China and India).

3. The impartial implementation of comprehensive anti-corruption laws by a specific anti-corruption agency (Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Thailand and South Korea).

According to a study conducted in 2008 by Transparency International (TI), the global civil society organisation leading the fight against corruption, Sri Lanka occupied the 92nd position among 180 countries in the Corruption Perception Index (CPI) 2008. The study indicated that Sri Lanka’s score remained at a low 3.2, indicating a serious corruption problem in the public sector. Neighbouring countries except Bhutan, all scored below 3.5. Lack of transparency in political finance and poor parliamentary oversight were quoted as a key governance problem in Sri Lanka. Only India (3.4) and Sri Lanka are above a score of 3 with Maldives (2.8), Nepal (2.7), Pakistan (2.5) and Bangladesh (2.1) remaining with low scores. Analysts attributed India’s position to the implementation of the Right to Information Act.

Victor Ivan, a journalist did not mince his words when he said a few years ago: “The foundation of the political system of Sri Lanka is based on bribery or corruption. Power politics of Sri Lanka may be defined as the right to plunder public property. There is a competition among political parties to win that right for a limited period. The group that wins plunders public property to the maximum during its term of office. It distributes among its supporters some part of the wealth thus plundered. The system of institutions including the judiciary, also functions according to that inherent ideology. Such a system of institutions is required because of the necessity to pretend that the state is un-corrupt although the official ideology is corrupt. The system of institutions including the judiciary, which are built to counter bribery or corruption, also gives the necessary protection to the corrupt practices of the ruling party in power. At the same time, implementation of the law against the corrupt practices of the opponents of the ruling party helps to give the government an anti-corruption appearance”.

I can add my personal anecdote. When I met an ambassador of Sri Lanka to a country in the Western World just a few years ago and asked how Sri Lanka was doing, his only response was, “the only problem is rampant corruption”.

Perhaps it appropriate to conclude with the words of Jokowi to Foreign Affairs when he was asked how he was planning to implement his governance strategy for a better, uncorrupted Indonesia. He said: " I will work with everyone and talk to everyone".

Of course, those in power in Sri Lanka will have to watch the proven deceitful, disingenuous and self serving turncoats and spin doctors.

The author is a former United Nations official.

          This Week: Islamist Defeat in Tunisia, Increased Violence in Jerusalem, and Counter-Offensive in Kobani        
Significant Developments

          Ù‡Ø±ÙˆØ³Ø› سس پیاز و چیلی تونسی         

هروس (بر وزن عروس) یه سس تونسی متشکل از پیاز تخمیر شده و چیلی هست. شم کارآگاهی بنده هم این طور حکم می کنه که نامبرده با توجه به املا، با هریسه، اون سس فلفلی معروف، هم بی ارتباط نیست. فصل تابستون هست و نیاز مبرمی به سس های سرد که با کباب یا گوشت و یا سبزیجات گریل شده سرو می شن احساس می شه و اون هم  درست مثل نیاز مبرم در اون مقطع زمانی به این سس سبزی تازه قدیمی و محبوب!. این سس طعم بسیار جالبی داره و صرف اون با کباب آلات هم بسیار لذت بخش هست. برای تاسیس اون، از دستور این لینک سود جستم. در سعی اول احساس کردم نمک دستور اصلی زیاد هست و سس شوری تولید می کنه و لذا در سعی دوم از نمک کاستم و به دستور ترجمه شده زیرین رسیدم.         
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          Menunggu Kejadian yang akan datang di bulan Muharom        

Sulthan Awliya Mawlana Sheikh Nazim Adil Haqqani qs

Lefke Cyprus 12 November 2011

We Await Muharram

Kegelapan… kegelapan. Semua negara seakarang ini diliputi kegelapan, kegelapan. Semoga Allah (SWT) melindungimu dan melindungi anak-anakmu. Semoga Dia (SWT) melindungi umat Nabi Muhammad (saw) dari segala kejahatan dan segala penyakit di dunia ini dan di akhirat. Rahmat bagii Nabi Penghabisan, Muhammad (SAW). Aku ingin bertanya apakah para Ibu kita dahulu mereka pergi ke dokter untuk melahirkan?

Syaikh Nabil: Tidak, tidak pernah.

Mawlana Syaikh Nazim qs: Cukup Bidan saja yang datang ke rumah. Ketika ibu saya, semoga Allah (SWT) merahmati beliau, mulai merasakan kontraksi untuk melahirkan mereka bergegas pergi memanggil bidan, dan bidan itu bergegas pergi ke rumah kami, bukan kerumah sakit! Tetapi ketika dia datang, saya sudah lahir. Tidak ada yang menyentuh saya, tidak juga bidan. “Di mana, di mana dia?” kata bidan. “Dia di dalam sana”. Bidan itu masuk ke kamar dan melihat saya sudah lahir. SubhanAllah Al'Aliyil Al 'Azim.

Sekarang untuk setiap hal kecil saja mereka pergi ke dokter, untuk apa? Wahai Tuhanku, aku ingin berdoa, Yaa Rabbi, Yaa Allah, Wahai Tuhanku buatlah perkara-perkara kami menjadi mudah. Bukalah hati kami dan hilangkan kekhawatiran kami. Hancurkan musuh-musuh kami baik dari bangsa manusia dan jin. Wahai Tuhanku. Aman Ya Rabbi, tawbat Ya Rabbi, tawbat Ya Rabbi, tawbat astaghfirullah. Masalah tidak pernah ada akhirnya.

Syaikh Nabil: Benar.

Mawlana Syaiikh Nazim qs : Dunia adalah untuk dunia, dan karenanya saat ini saya menunggu datangnya bulan Muharram. Muharram, jika sesuatu terjadi (peperangan), maka dunia akan jadi seperti ini.

Murid: "Kun Fayakun" (36:82) (Jadilah, dan terjadilah!)

Mawlana Syaikh Nazim qs: Sayyidina Al Mahdi (as) akan datang. Dan tahun ini dia (Imam Mahdi, as) hadir di Arafah. Dia (Sayidina Mahdi as) ada di sana. Tapi dia berada disana satu hari sebelumnya, pada hari Jumat, ya, Jumat. Tahun ini adalah Hajj Al Akbar. Semua Awliya hadir di sana tapi mereka tidak mau orang-orang biasa tahu karena tajalinya sangat kuat tahun ini, dan orang biasa tidak akan mampu memikulnya.

Awalnya diputuskan (fatwa) bahwa hari Arafah untuk umum jatuh pada hari Jumat, tapi pada saat terakhir hal itu diubah jadi sehari sesudahnya, yakni hari Sabtu. Mereka menundanya jadi hari Sabtu agar mereka dapat berkumpul di sana (di Arafah). Ini pengetahuan yang kami miliki. Di luar ini kami tidak tahu. Ini yang kami tahu. Subhana Allah Al 'Aliyil Al Azim,

Nabi (saw) memberitahu kami bahwa akan ada banyak kesulitan dan perselisihan di antara orang-orang Arab.

Syaikh Nabil : Ya.

Mawlana Syaikh Nazim qs : Sekarang orang-orang Arab terpecah-belah dan turun kepada mereka kemarahan dan hukuman dari Surga. Semoga Allah (SWT) memaafkan kita dan melindungi kita dari Murka-Nya. Tapi masalah-masalah (di antara orang-orang Arab) akan berakhir pada bulan Muharram, karena Allah Azza wa Jalla akan memperkuat Islam selalu di bulan ini, di bulan Muharram Al Haram, BUlan MUharam yang suci. Kita akan lihat, kita akan lihat jika ada pergerakan (tentara perang) maka setiap orang harus tetap berada di tempatnya.

Tamu : Di rumah mereka?

Mawlana Syaikh Nazim qs: Mereka tidak boleh bepergian ke sana kemari, tidak! Tanggal 10 Muharram, jika ada sesuatu yang seharusnya terjadi, maka akan terjadi pada bulan Muharram dan Safar (Safar Al Khayyer) jutaan orang akan musnah.. akan binasa...


Tamu : Allahu Akbar!

Mawlana Syaikh Nazim qs : Zaman sekarang Orang-orang menjadi begitu dzalim, menjadi tiran.

S.N: Benar

Mawlana Syaikh Nazim qs : Para Tiran, mereka tidak mendengarkan kata-kata Allah (SWT) dam mereka tidak mengikuti kata-kata Nabi (SAW). Mereka hanya mau mengikuti orang-orang yang tidak beriman (kufur). Apa yang telah Allah (SWT) ungkapkan kepada Kekasih-Nya. Dia (SWT) memberikan Kitab Suci, Hukum Ilahiah (Syari'at Islam) ."Dan barang siapa yang tidak memutuskan hukum menurut apa yang telah diturunkan Allah swt, mereka adalah orang –orang yang kafir" (5:44).

Siapa yang berlari menjadi orang-orang yang tidak beriman dan mengikuti mereka, maka mereka akan tertimpa hukuman Allah (SWT) yang berat. Apa yang terjadi di Mesir adalah berasal dari hukuman Allah (SWT), hukuman yang berat.Hal yang sama terjadi di Lybia, di Yaman,di Tunisia, Aljazair dan di Syria dan disemua terjadi di negara-negara Muslim. Hal ini terjadi agar mereka selamat dengan peringatan Allah dan berpegang teguh pada Hukum Ilahiah. Siapa yang berpegang teguh pada Hukum Ilahiah (Syariat Islam), maka mereka akan selamat. Jika mereka tidak berpegang teguh pada Hukum Ilahiah, maka mereka akan dimusnahkan. Allah Allah... Allahumma La Hawla wa La quwwata... Allahumma La Hawla wa La quwwata...Fatiha

ampuni kami yg masih bermain2 dlm kubangan lumpur kelalaian ini ya Rabb,mhn angkatlah kami,dustuuur..madad ya sayyidi..Ya Sulthonil Awliya.. madad ya Rabb

Tawasalna binnabi muhammadin Rasulillahi wa bi Awliya wa masyayikhi fit thoriqotil Naqshbandi :
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          Bella Sicilia - Parte Due        
Buon giorno! Thanks for joining as we continue our journey through Bella Sicilia!

As I mentioned at the top of Part 1, a big reason for wanting to make this trip was to explore the land where my maternal ancestors hailed from. My mother had told me when I was young that her parents had emigrated to the US from Palermo, and that earlier ancestors had been dukes and duchesses in the Italian royal court. 

Prior to leaving for our trip, I researched the family name (Librizzi) in and also did a general search for the name in the Palermo area. I found the Ellis Island immigration records, but little else. I was disappointed but decided I would ask our trip leader once we got to Palermo to see if he could help. More about this later.

Caffe Macchiato
First, I have to tell you about the rest stops/gas stations in Sicily! You might think this is a strange entry, but these are not like US highway rest stops. No, no. Most of them have fabulous espresso and wonderful pastry, like the light & delicious vanilla creme stuffed bomboloni (doughnut) pictured above. And no matter what kind of coffee you order (cappuccino, caffe macchiato, or Americano), it is served in a real cup,  no paper cups for my Italian brethren. Just another custom we should adopt in the US (IMHO).

Pannettone with Oro di Manna
We spent a day visiting the beautiful seaside town of Cefalu, and the hill town of  Castelbuono (“good castle”), which is so charming that it looks like it was plucked directly from the MGM backlot. Besides the castle which overlooks the town and dates from the 1600s, the town’s main street is lined with ristorantes and shops, my favorite being Fiasconaro, a lovely pastry shop. One of the products they are best known for is their panettone. You are probably familiar with the stale, dried-out panettone sold in the US around Christmas. Forget all you know about supermarket panettone - this sourdough-based cake was amazing! Moist and redolent with fresh candied oranges and raisins, and moistened with Marsala, it was a revelation. To top it off, they served it with a dollop of the most decadent thing I think I ate the whole trip: Oro di Manna. A cocoa and hazelnut creme that I fell in love with (of course, I brought a jar home!). 

Pasta Verdura
Fresh Ricotta
The next day we said good-bye to the Palermo region and made our way to Mazara del Vallo, a town along the coast with a large Tunisian population. One of the highlights during our stay in this area, was hiking near the very well preserved ruins of  Segesta, a temple thought to have been built around 420 BC. We had lunch at an agritourismo where the hosts served fresh ricotta, and pasta with zucchini, eggplant, peppers, and pumpkin topped with ground pistachios. By law, everything served at an agritourismo must come from the farm and it must be organic. More on another one of these later.

Dancing Satyr
There is a small museum in Mazara that showcases the “Dancing Satyr,” a bronze statue brought up from the sea by Sicilian fishermen in 1998. Experts date the statue somewhere between the fourth and second century BC. Although the statue is missing both arms and one leg, it is remarkable to see. The head is thrown back, in what archeologists say, is a kind of orgiastic trance. In Greek mythology, these half-human figures, were the escorts to Baccho, the God of wine, which would explain the creature’s pose of delirium. Well worth a visit.

It made sense that our next stop was the Pellegrino Winery , a company specializing in Marsala wine. Like me, you probably associate Marsala wine with the very sweet, almost syrupy types we have in the US. Read on. 

As a quick primer on this subject, Marsala actually means “port of Allah,” Mars (port) and Ala (Allah). Marsala wine is “fortified,” which means that more alcohol is added at the end of the fermentation process, when the appropriate amount of residual sugar is reached. The English invented this process in the 1700s because they wanted to transport the wine home and it had to be stabilized for shipping. They had experience doing this with other wines such as port and Madeira, so this was a natural extension.
We sampled four different Marsala wines during our tour (the company produces twelve in all). The wines age at least one year in oak. Wines older than ten years are considered “aged,” and interestingly, only older Marsala wines have the year on the bottle. We tasted a 1980 vintage (19% alcohol)  that had been aged 25 years - it was delicious - very dry, and similar to cognac or sherry.

Before the next tasting, our host offered us “tarralles,” a hybrid cookie-cracker that I’ve enjoyed in the US. I think I might have to try to make these at home to use at aperitivo time (which my Italian friends have got down to a science). 

The last tasting was their “Rubino,” a dessert wine with 18% alcohol and goes wonderfully with dark chocolate (a specialty of the Modica region which we also visited). 

Pellegrino Winery, founded in 1880, is the largest family owned company in Sicily. 

In this general area, we next visited the salt flats of Trapani. This was a fascinating tour, discovering the process for extracting the delicate “fiore del sale,” which hasn’t changed much in centuries. We visited after harvest season, but a short video provided insight into the backbreaking work done by generations of men. As you approach the flats, you start to see what look like small mountains of snow, of course this is salt. An ancient windmill, no longer used, was built approximately 500 years ago to grind the salt. Inside the windmill, you can see the complicated machinery (including  an Archimedes screw, which would drive the grinding stone). 
Salt flats of Trapani

Vecchia Masseria
Vecchia Masseria
We spent the night at the gorgeous Agriturismo Vecchia Masseria in Piazza Amerina. This was my favorite hotel of the entire trip, sadly we only spent one night here. Definitely off the beaten path, but if you are in this area, I highly recommend staying here. The property has been lovingly restored and it is absolutely beautiful. Besides nice rooms (some with kitchens), there is a wonderful tavern and restaurant (the property owner and his son are the chefs). A lovely pool area is available for warm days, or you could visit the resident goats and horses, accompanied by “Frank,” the adorable and very friendly, Rottie, who we fell in love with. 

Mushroom Ravioli
We had a wonderful dinner at the hotel that evening, consisting of ravioli with fresh mushrooms, and veal in Sicilian orange sauce, accompanied by plenty of fabulous wine. We slept very well.

Tomorrow, we’re off to amazing Agrigento and the Valley of the Temples - spectacular!


Agrigento - Temple to Hercules


          Ultrafiltration of Tunisian Cactus Juice for Industrial Use        
Houssem Eddine Ben Messaoud and Jamel Mejri
          Validation of the Tunisian Version of the French Version of the Competitive State Anxiety Inventory2 Revised CSAI2R Including Frequency and Direction Scales        
Jamel Hajji, Ali Elloumi
          Middle East Today: Libya --- At Least 25 Killed in Clashes Between Protesters and Government-Backed Militia        

See also Syria Today: Opposition Repeats --- No Participation in International "Peace" Conference
Saturday's Syria Today: UN Appeal on "Record" Aid for Syrians --- Significant Step or Meaningless Gesture?

Turkey: Massive Istanbul Anti-Government Rally as PM Erdogan Addresses Supporters in Ankara

A visual story of the competing rallies for and against the Erdogan Government --- first, Sunday's large gathering in Istanbul's Taksim Square, where mass protests began nine days ago:

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan told supporters in Ankara tonight, "How can you attack my police?...We are going to show patience, but patience has a limit as well":

Yemen: 1 Dead in Fighting

One protester has been killed and 10 people injured, including four guards, in clashes with Houthi demonstrators who were demanding the release of political detainees.

An official said the Houthis, who have been demanding autonomy in the north of the country, fired at guards while trying to storm intelligence headquarters in Sanaa on Sunday. He claimed some protesters were arrested for smuggling weapons and drugs.

Meanwhile, hundreds of supporters of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh demonstrated in Sanaa against the release of 17 men who were detained in connection with a June 2011 explosion that injured Saleh in his palace mosque.

Saleh stepped down in early 2012 as a transitional Government was put in place.

Tunisia: IMF Approves Major Loan

The International Monetary Fund has approved a two-year, $1.74 billion loan for Tunisia, giving Tunis access to foreign currency urgently needed to help balance its budget.

The Tunisian Government has devoted 1/3 of its 2013 budget to infrastructure projects, which it says will create short-term job opportunities for youth as well as helping private businesses.

However, Tunisia is running a 6% budget deficit this year, and political tensions over a draft Constitution have prevented Parliament from debating legislation allowing the government to apply for Islamic finance instruments.

The IMF money, like most loans from the Washington-based organization, comes with strings

The IMF has set conditions on the loan, including restructuring of Tunisia’s banking sector. Analysts believe that non-performing loans on the books at state-owned banks amount to billions of dollars.

Turkey: Protests Continue, But PM Erdogan Defiant Over "Handful of Looters"

Moving through the country to gather support against nation-wide protests, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has refused to concede any ground. He told supporters who had greeted him at Adana airport:

We won't do what a handful of looters have done. They burn and destroy. ... They destroy the shops of civilians. They destroy the cars of civilians. They are low enough to insult the prime minister of this country.

He urged his supporters to avoid violence themselves and predicted that he would defeat his opponents during local elections in March: "As long as you walk with us, the Justice and Development Party administration will stand strong. As long as there is life in my body, your prime minister and your party chairman, God willing, will not be deterred by anything."

He then traveled to the city of Mersin to make a similar speech and to open new sports facilities.

Later Sunday, Erdogan will speak to his supporters in the capital Ankara.

On the 10th day of mass protests against the Government, demonstrators near Istanbul's Taksim Square yell to Erdogan, "Tayyip, Resign!"

Libya: Deadly Clashes in Benghazi

At least 25 people have been killed in Benghazi in eastern Libya in clashes during Saturday's protests outside the headquarters of the Libya Shield Brigade, which is working with the Ministry of Defence.

Dozens more were wounded, according to medical officials.

Demonstrators had gathered outside the headquarters of the Brigade demanding the disbanding of militias, including those which fought during the overthrow of Muammar Qaddafi in 2011. They specifically called for the Brigade t leave its premises.

One witness said he had seen around 200 protesters. While most of them were unarmed, a few had AK-47 rifles, although he said he did not see them used.

A spokesman for the Libyan's Army Chief of Staff, Ali al-Sheikhi, described the Libya Shield Brigade as "a reserve force under the Libyan army." He said an attack on the brigade "is considered an attack against a legal entity".

          Commenti su Non ho più paura. Tunisia. Diario di una rivoluzione di Festival Ottobre Africano 2011 « Grow in Africa        
[...] ed analizzerà, quest’anno, i meccanismi delle rivolte accadute nel mondo arabo, partendo dal desiderio di democrazia delle popolazioni africane. Si inizia con il film Shoot The messenger di Ngozi Onwurah alle 21.15 [...]
          Commenti su Non ho più paura. Tunisia. Diario di una rivoluzione di Il raduno dei blogger arabi si tiene a Tunisi « Grow in Africa        
[...] che ha risvegliato i popoli del Medio Oriente e del Nord Africa. E non a caso è proprio Tunisi, dove tutto è cominciato, a ospitare da oggi a giovedì 6 ottobre il ’3rd Arab Bloggers Meeting’: decine di [...]
          Commenti su Vulcano, Tzunami, primato all’Etna di rdroma        
Il Primato della mole di uno Tzunami resta però al Vulcano dell'Etna, 8.000 anni fà "Una frana staccatasi dal fianco orientale provocò una muraglia di acqua che raggiunse Grecia, Turchia, Siria , Israele ed Egitto Ottomila anni fa una colossale frana di 35 chilometri cubici di materiale lavico, circa un decimo del cono sommitale dell'Etna, si staccò dal fianco orientale del vulcano e si inabissò nel Mare Ionio, causando uno tsunami a confronto del quale quello del 2004 nel Sudest asiatico impallidisce. Probabilmente il più grande tsunami dalla comparsa dell'uomo sulla Terra. Durante i dieci minuti che la frana impiegò a fermarsi sui fondali dello Ionio, si sollevò in mare una muraglia di acqua a forma di anfiteatro alta fino a 50 metri. Poi l'ondata, viaggiando a velocità fra i 200 e i 700 km all'ora (più lenta nei fondali bassi e più veloce nel mare profondo), si propagò a Est, investendo, in rapida successione, Sicilia Orientale, Calabria, Puglia, Albania, Grecia, Creta, Turchia, Cipro, Siria e Israele; e a Sud, colpendo l'Africa Settentrionale, dalla Tunisia fino all'Egitto. Le prove di quell'antica catastrofe, che spazzò gli insediamenti preistorici costieri del Mediterraneo Orientale e Meridionale, sono state da poco scoperte dai ricercatori dell'Istituto nazionale di geofisica e vulcanologia (Ingv), grazie a una serie di prospezioni sottomarine e a un'analisi al computer della forma dei depositi abissali. Lo studio, appena pubblicato sull'autorevole rivista scientifica internazionale Geophysical research letters col suggestivo titolo di «Lost tsunami» (lo tsunami dimenticato), è stato finanziato dal Dipartimento di Protezione Civile e rappresenta anche un prezioso contributo per valutare il rischio di possibili maremoti nel Mediterraneo. «Non sappiamo quale fu la causa di quell'immane collasso: forse un'eruzione più abbondante del solito, forse un terremoto - spiega il professor Enzo Boschi, presidente dell'Ingv e autore dello studio assieme ai geofisici Maria Teresa Pareschi e Massimiliano Favalli-. Fatto sta che un'enorme quantità di depositi di lava che si erano accumulati per millenni sul ripido versante dell'Etna affacciato sul Mare Jonio, precipitò giù e finì in parte sulla costa ai piedi del vulcano, e per la maggior parte sul fondo del mare, fino a circa 20 km dalla costa stessa. Le prove del megatsunami e dell'epoca in cui esso avvenne le abbiamo raccolte lì e nei fondali del Mediterraneo, fra gli strati dei sedimenti sottomarini. Sull'Etna, quella che oggi chiamiamo la Valle del Bove, una grande concavità sul fianco orientale del vulcano che raccoglie gli attuali flussi di lava diretti verso Est, è la cicatrice residua di quel lontano evento, in gran parte colmata dalle successive eruzioni». Ma perché si parla di "tsunami dimenticato"? «Perché le tracce, sotto forma di depositi caotici scaraventati dalle onde del maremoto sulle coste del Mediterraneo, oggi non sono più visibili - aggiunge l'altro autore dello studio, la professoressa Maria Teresa Pareschi della sede Ingv di Pisa -. Infatti, negli ultimi 8000 anni, il livello del mare è ovunque salito di diversi metri a causa della deglaciazione. Quelle che erano le località costiere di allora, ora sono sommerse». Allo scopo di ricostruire gli effetti del cataclisma, spiega la Pareschi, sono stati necessari due tipi di ricerche: «Da un lato una campagna di prospezioni sismiche, con terremoti artificiali effettuati nel Mare Jonio di fronte all'Etna, che ci ha permesso di ricostruire i profili dei detriti franati giù e di concludere che i volumi del materiale oggi sommerso corrispondono a quel che si staccò dal monte, formando la Valle del Bove. Dall'altro una simulazione dello tsunami al computer, grazie alla quale abbiamo potuto ricostruire sia le modalità di propagazione delle onde di maremoto, sia le perturbazioni risentite fin negli abissi, dove i sedimenti che giacevano sul fondo del mare, furono violentemente sconvolti, assumendo un configurazione caratteristica. Analizzando poi le attuali carte batimetriche, cioè della topografia del fondo marino, abbiamo ritrovato proprio quel tipo di configurazione descritta dalla nostra simulazione al computer». Ma eccola la simulazione del «Lost tsunami», un'animazione tridimensionale a colori, che i ricercatori ci illustrano mentre le immagini scorrono su un grande schermo nei laboratori Ingv di Roma. Mostra, innanzitutto, la muraglia d'acqua che, pochi minuti dopo il grande "splash", si abbatte sulla costa orientale della Sicilia: Catania, Siracusa e Messina, senza passare praticamente nel Tirreno grazie allo sbarramento dello Stretto. Quindi, dopo un quarto d'ora, viaggiando nello Jonio, raggiunge la Calabria, dove le onde sono ancora alte 40 metri. Fra una e due ore dopo tocca alle zone costiere dell'Albania e della Grecia di essere sommerse da 10-15 metri d'acqua. Due-tre ore dopo è la volta della Libia, della Tunisia e dell'Egitto, raggiunte da ondate di 8-13 metri. Tre-quattro ore dopo, vengono inondate le spiagge del Libano, Israele e Siria, ma stavolta con altezze dell'onda più modeste (si fa per dire), attorno a 4 metri. A quei tempi la civilta' neolitica era fiorente nella Mesopotamia (fra il Tigri e l' Eufrate), con molti villaggi dediti all'agricoltura e all'allevamento del bestiame; ma ancora diradata nel Mediterraneo. Tuttavia, sulle sponde del Vicino Oriente e dell'Africa Settentrionale dovevano esistere diversi insediamenti costieri che furono spazzati via dalle ondate. «Proprio in Israele c'è, secondo noi, l'unica testimonianza tuttora emersa del disastroso impatto costiero dello tsunami: il villaggio neolitico di Atlit-Yam che, come risulta dagli scavi archeologici, fu abbandonato improvvisamente - riferisce la Pareschi, che ora sta estendendo l'appassionante ricerca ad alcuni aspetti paleoambientali -». Una ricaduta storica della nostra ricerca consiste nell'aver provato che alcuni depositi sottomarini del Mediterraneo Orientale, prima attribuiti a un'eruzione del vulcano Santorini, in Grecia, sono invece dovuti al collasso dell'Etna di 8000 anni fa. E perché no, lo stesso mito di Atlandide, la misteriosa isola inghiottita dalle onde di cui parla Platone, potrebbe essere nato dal megatsunami dell'Etna". Il passo successivo che i ricercatori dell'Ingv intendono compiere è di verificare se le mega-frane dell'Etna in grado di suscitare maremoti hanno, come si sospetta, una certa periodicità. La caccia alle tracce sotto forma di particolari depositi terrestri e sottomarini è aperta: «Con lo scopo di essere consapevoli di eventuali rischi ricorrenti e di allestire per tempo adeguate misure di controllo e di prevenzione», conclude il professor Boschi. ,, Articolo di Franco Foresta Martin del 2 dicembre 2006
          A Trans-Maghreb TGV ~ Feasibility Study        

The possibility of taking a train journey across the Maghreb is back on the table. A TGV link between Tunisia, Morocco and Algeria could become one of the great train trips

Nothing is certain, but the project to rehabilitate the Trans-Maghreb train is underway. The Arab Maghreb Union (AMU) is holding the 3rd ordinary session of the commission to oversee the feasibility study of this ambitious project.

The four day session will be devoted to the evaluation of the technical and financial offers presented by consulting firms that participated in the invitation to tender. The study is financed to the tune of $1.7 million by the African Development Bank (ADB).


          International Festival of the Amazigh Culture - Program Update        
logo fondation esprit de fès sais logoAF[2]

The International Festival of the Amazigh Culture

13th Edition

Merinides Hotel, Fès

International Festival of Amazigh Culture in Fez July 14-16
Douzi, Senhaji and Tiskat sing love and brotherhood
From 14 to 16 July, the city of Fez will host the thirteenth edition of the International Festival of Culture Amazigh under the theme "Amazighity and cultural diversity confronting extremism". Numerous Moroccan and European artists will take part in this edition, including  Abdelhafid Douzi, the star of classical Amazigh song Hadda Ouakki, Moroccan singer Ibtissam Tiskat, Saïd Senhaji, Aïcha Tachinouite, Hassan El Berkanai, Italian artist Laura Conti, in addition to the star of Flamenco dance Monica Arrabal and other musical and artistic activities.
The forum will provide an opportunity for experts, researchers and civil society actors to discuss current issues related to peace, dialogue and cultural diversity and its role in addressing all forms of extremism, and in the consolidation of democracy, coexistence, tolerance and the culture of solidarity.
At the same time, the festival will organize workshops on storytelling, painting, as well as poetry readings and art exhibitions, and book and carpet exhibits.
During the opening ceremony of the festival, which will take place on Friday 14 July afternoon, a vibrant tribute will be paid to Mr. Mohamed Kabbaj Founding President of the Fez-Sais Association and the Spirit of Fez Foundation, and a tribute will be paid to the thinker Ahmed El Khamlichi, director of Dar Al Hadith Al Hassania, and to the eminent Belgian-Moroccan writer Issa Aït Belize, in recognition of their many praiseworthy contributions to social and cultural development of Morocco. In the evening in Bab Makina, three concerts will be held, including that of Aicha Tachinouite, the Catalan group Monica Arrabal and Said Senhaji.
Many writers, thinkers, and researchers will participate in this great cultural event, namely Jean-Marie Simon, France, Saad Eddine Ibrahim of Egypt, Alfonso de Toro of Germany, Roberto Tonini of Italy, Hubert Haddad of France, Nizar Abdelkader (Lebanon), Michael Willis (Great Britain), Johan Goud (Netherlands), Ahmed Assid, Abdelkader Benali, Mohammed Taifi, Mohammed Nedali (Morocco) and many more!
All in all, this thirteenth edition of the Fez Festival of Amazigh culture will be rich and varied, and a good opportunity for all the young people and the inhabitants of the Fes-Meknes region, to enjoy the highlights of the Festival: debates and music concerts in the heart of the medina of Fez, an imperial and marvellous historical city.

Programme of the Forum

Amazighity and Cultural Diversity Confronting Extremisms

Friday, July 14

17:00:   Arrival of participants
17:30:   Opening of the Forum and the Festival  
             Opening remarks

19:00 Tribute to the Honourable:  Mohammed Kabbaj, Ahmed El Khamlichi, and
           Issa Ait Belize

18: 30   Keynote 1: «The Weaving of languages" (in French)
                                    Hubert Haddad (Writer)

19:20 Reception and a Tour of Expositions

Saturday, July 15

9:00 – 9:30
Room 1

              Keynote 2:   Criticism of Extreme Reason
                                       Maati  Kabbal (Institute of The Arab World, Paris)
                                         Moderator: Fatima Sadiqi
9 :30 – 10 :30
Room 1

First Session:      Insights on Some Apects of the Amazigh Culture in North Africa
                                  Moderator: Issa Aït Belize

Jilali Saib (Mohamed V University, Rabat)
Meryam Demnati (Amazigh Observatory of Rights and Freedoms, Rabat)
Madina Touré (Nouakchot University, Mauritania)
Slimane Douih (Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdellah University, Fez)

10:30 – 11:00 Debate

11:00 – 11:30

              Keynote 3: Enemies, Allies or Competitors? Islamist-Amazigh Movement Relations in Morocco and Algeria
                             Michael J. Willis (Oxford University, United Kingdom)
                               Moderator: Moha Ennaji

11 : 30 – 11 : 50   Coffee break

Room 1
11 : 50 – 12 :50

Second Session : Reflections on the Theories of Cultural Studies and                        
                                    Moderator:  Alfonso de Toro
Speakers :  
Mohamed Taifi (University of Virginia, USA)
Issa Aït Belize (Moroccan-Belgian Writer, Brussels)
Bouthaina Ben Kridis (University of Carthage, Tunisia)
Alberto Tonini (University of Florence, Italie)

12: 50 – 13: 15 Debate

15:30 – 16:15  

Room 1

Third Session:          Literature, Art and Cohabitation
Moderator: Mohamed Fousshi
Speakers :
Enza Palamara (François Rabelais University, Tours, France)
Ali Fertahi (Moulay Slimane University, Béni-Mellal)
Juliane Tauchnitz (University of Leipzig, Germany)

16:15 –16 :45  Debate

16 :45 – 17 :15

                              Keynote 4: Alfonso de Toro (University of Leipzig,  
                                           Culture as a Weapon against Extremism
      Moderator : Jilali Saib

17:15 – 18:05   Coffee break

18 :05- 19 :35  
Room 2

Parallel Session: Painting Workshop on "Fighting Extremism"
Hosted by Khadija Madani Alaoui and Tarek Sadki (University of Fez)

18 :05 - 18:50  
Room 1

Fourth Session:   Multiculturalism, Multilingualism and Extremism
                                  Moderator:   Juliane Tauchnitz

Nizar Abdelkader (Lebanon)
Fatima Sadiqi (International Institute for Langues and Cultures, Fez)
Belkacem Boumedini (Mustapha STAMBOULI University, Mascara, Algeria)
Nebia Dadoua Hadria (CRASC. Oran, Algeria)

18:50 -19:20 Debate

Sunday, July 16th

9 :00 – 12 :00

Room 2

Parallel Session: Story-telling Workshop on "Fighting Extremism"
Facilitated by: Jean-Marie Simon (Stories lighter, France and Mohammed El Alami, University of Fez)

Room 1
9 :00 – 10 :00

Fifth Session:   Amazigh, Religion and Democracy
                               Moderator: Meryam Demnati
Johan Goud  (University of Utrecht, Holland)
Yahya Belaskri (France)
Moha Ennaji (International Institute for Langues and Cultures, Fez)

10 :00 – 10:30  Debate

10 :30  - 11 :00

                     Keynote 5: Equality values in Amazigh Culture
                 Ahmed Assid (Amazigh Observatory of Rights and Freedoms, Rabat)
Moderator: Mohamed Nedali

11 :00 – 11:20  Coffee break
11 :20 – 12:35

Sixth Session:     Radicalization of Youth and Extremism
                                Moderator : Nizar Abdelkader

Abdelkader Benali (Moroccan-Dutch writer)
Bruce Maddy-Weitzman (Senior Research Fellow)
Jean-Marie Simon (France)

12:35 - 13: 05   Debate

13: 05 – 13:35   Programmed speech: Saad Eddine Ibrahim (Ibn Khaldoun
          Allah is Al-Malik (King or Owner)        

Allah is the True Owner (Malik) (of everything and everyone). Allah said,

[هُوَ اللَّهُ الَّذِى لاَ إِلَـهَ إِلاَّ هُوَ الْمَلِكُ الْقُدُّوسُ السَّلَـمُ]

(He is Allah, beside Whom La ilaha illa Huwa, the King, the Holy, the One free from all defects) (59:23).

Also, the Two Sahihs recorded Abu Hurayrah saying that the Prophet said,

«أَخْنَعُ اسْمٍ عِنْدَ اللهِ رَجُلٌ تَسَمَّى بِمَلِكِ الْأَمْلَاكِ وَلَا مَالِكَ إِلَّا اللهُ»

(The most despicable name to Allah is a person who calls himself the king of kings, while there are no owners except Allah.)

Also the Two Sahihs recorded that the Messenger of Allah said,

«يَقْبِضُ اللهُ الْأَرْضَ وَيَطْوِي السَّمَاءَ بِيَمِينِهِ ثُمَّ يَقُولُ: أَنَا الْمَلِكُ، أَيْنَ مُلُوكُ الْأَرْضِ؟ أَيْنَ الْجَبَّارُونَ؟ أَيْنَ الْمُتَكَبِّرُونَ؟»

((On the Day of Judgement) Allah will grasp the earth and fold up the heavens with His Right Hand and proclaim, 'I Am the King! Where are the kings of the earth Where are the tyrants Where are the arrogant')

Also, in the the Glorious Qur'an;

[لِّمَنِ الْمُلْكُ الْيَوْمَ لِلَّهِ الْوَحِدِ الْقَهَّارِ]

(Whose is the kingdom this Day Allah's, the One, the Irresistible.)(40:16).

As for calling someone other than Allah a king in this life, 3-24). :23NNA

r-Rahman (the Most Gracious), Ar-Rahim (the Most Merciful)) We explained these Names in the Basmalah. Al-Qurtubi said, "Allah has described Himself by `Ar-Rahman, Ar-Rahim' after saying `the Lord of the Alamin', so His statement here includes a warning, and then an encouragement. Similarly, Allah said, Ø­RNA ? Allah is Al-Malik (King or Owner)

Allah is the True Owner (Malik) (of everything and everyone). Allah said,

[هُوَ اللَّهُ الَّذِى لاَ إِلَـهَ إِلاَّ هُوَ الْمَلِكُ الْقُدُّوسُ السَّلَـمُ]

(He is Allah, beside Whom La ilaha illa Huwa, the King, the Holy, the One free from all defects) (59:23).

Also, the Two Sahihs recorded Abu Hurayrah saying that the Prophet said,

«أَخْنَعُ اسْمٍ عِنْدَ اللهِ رَجُلٌ تَسَمَّى بِمَلِكِ الْأَمْلَاكِ وَلَا مَالِكَ إِلَّا اللهُ»

(The most despicable name to Allah is a person who calls himself the king of kings, while there are no owners except Allah.)

Also the Two Sahihs recorded that the Messenger of Allah said,

«يَقْبِضُ اللهُ الْأَرْضَ وَيَطْوِي السَّمَاءَ بِيَمِينِهِ ثُمَّ يَقُولُ: أَنَا الْمَلِكُ، أَيْنَ مُلُوكُ الْأَرْضِ؟ أَيْنَ الْجَبَّارُونَ؟ أَيْنَ الْمُتَكَبِّرُونَ؟»

((On the Day of Judgement) Allah will grasp the earth and fold up the heavens with His Right Hand and proclaim, 'I Am the King! Where are the kings of the earth Where are the tyrants Where are the arrogant')

Also, in the the Glorious Qur'an;

[لِّمَنِ الْمُلْكُ الْيَوْمَ لِلَّهِ الْوَحِدِ الْقَهَّارِ]

(Whose is the kingdom this Day Allah's, the One, the Irresistible.)(40:16).

As for calling someone other than Allah a king in this life, then it is done as a figure of speech. For instance, Allah said,

[إِنَّ اللَّهَ قَدْ بَعَثَ لَكُمْ طَالُوتَ مَلِكًا]

(Indeed Allah appointed Talut (Saul) as a king over you.) (2:247),

[وَكَانَ وَرَآءَهُم مَّلِكٌ]

(As there was a king behind them)(18:79), and,

[إِذْ جَعَلَ فِيكُمْ أَنْبِيَآءَ وَجَعَلَكُمْ مُّلُوكاً]

When He made Prophets among you, and made you kings )5:20(.

Also, the Two Sahihs recorded,

«مِثْلُ الْمُلُوكِ عَلَى الْأَسِرَّةِ»

(Just like kings reclining on their thrones)

The Meaning of Ad-Din

Ad-Din means the reckoning, the reward or punishment. Similarly, Allah said,

[يَوْمَئِذٍ يُوَفِّيهِمُ اللَّهُ دِينَهُمُ الْحَقَّ]

(On that Day Allah will pay them the (Dinahum) recompense (of their deeds) in full) (24:25), and,

[أَءِنَّا لَمَدِينُونَ]

(Shall we indeed (be raised up) to receive reward or punishment (according to our deeds)) (37:53). A Hadith stated,

«الْكَيِّسُ مَنْ دَانَ نَفْسَهُ وَعَمِلَ لِمَا بَعْدَ الْمَوتِ»

(The wise person is he who reckons himself and works for (his life) after death.) meaning, he holds himself accountable. Also, `Umar said, "Hold yourself accountable before you are held accountable, weigh yourselves before you are weighed, and be prepared for the biggest gathering before He Whose knowledge encompasses your deeds,

[يَوْمَئِذٍ تُعْرَضُونَ لاَ تَخْفَى مِنكُمْ خَافِيَةٌ ]

(That Day shall you be brought to Judgement, not a secret of yours will be hidden) (69:18).''

[إِيَّاكَ نَعْبُدُ وَإِيَّاكَ نَسْتَعِينُ ]

(5. You we worship, and You we ask for help.) (1:5)

The Linguistic and Religious Meaning of `Ibadah

Linguistically, `Ibadah means subdued. For instance, a road is described as Mu`abbadah, meaning, `paved'. In religious terminology, `Ibadah implies the utmost love, humility and fear.

he Merit of stating the Object of the Action before the Doer of the Act, and the Merit of these Negations

"You...'', means, we worship You alone and none else, and rely on You alone and none else. This is the perfect form of obedience and the entire religion is implied by these two ideas. Some of the Salaf said, Al-Fatihah is the secret of the Qur'an, while these words are the secret of Al-Fatihah,

[إِيَّاكَ نَعْبُدُ وَإِيَّاكَ نَسْتَعِينُ ]

(5. You we worship, and You we ask for help from.)

The first part is a declaration of innocence from Shirk (polytheism), while the second negates having any power or strength, displaying the recognition that all affairs are controlled by Allah alone. This meaning is reiterated in various instances in the Qur'an. For instance, Allah said,

[فَاعْبُدْهُ وَتَوَكَّلْ عَلَيْهِ وَمَا رَبُّكَ بِغَـفِلٍ عَمَّا تَعْمَلُونَ]

(So worship Him (O Muhammad ) and put your trust in Him. And your Lord is not unaware of what you (people) do.) (11:123),

[قُلْ هُوَ الرَّحْمَـنُ ءَامَنَّا بِهِ وَعَلَيْهِ تَوَكَّلْنَا]

(Say: "He is the Most Gracious (Allah), in Him we believe, and in Him we put our trust.'') (67:29),

[رَّبُّ الْمَشْرِقِ وَالْمَغْرِبِ لاَ إِلَـهَ إِلاَّ هُوَ فَاتَّخِذْهُ وَكِيلاً ]

((He alone is) the Lord of the east and the west; La ilaha illa Huwa (none has the right to be worshipped but He).

So take Him alone as Wakil (Disposer of your affairs)), (73:9), and,

[إِيَّاكَ نَعْبُدُ وَإِيَّاكَ نَسْتَعِينُ ]

(You we worship, and You we ask for help from).

We should mention that in this Ayah, the type of speech here changes from the third person to direct speech by using the Kaf in the statement Iyyaka (You). This is because after the servant praised and thanked Allah, he stands before Him, addressing Him directly;

[إِيَّاكَ نَعْبُدُ وَإِيَّاكَ نَسْتَعِينُ ]

(You we worship, and You we ask for help from).

So take Him alone as Wakil (Disposer of your affairs)), (73:9), and,

[إِيَّاكَ نَعْبُدُ وَإِيَّاكَ نَسْتَعِينُ ]

(You we worship, and You we ask for help from).

We should mention that in this Ayah, the type of speech here changes from the third person to direct speech by using the Kaf in the statement Iyyaka (You). This is because after the servant praised and thanked Allah, he stands before Him, addressing Him directly;

[إِيَّاكَ نَعْبُدُ وَإِيَّاكَ نَسْتَعِينُ ]

(You we worship, and You we ask for help from).

Majlis Haul (Memperingati) Imam Habib Abdullah Alwi al-Haddad

Imam Habib Abdullah Alwi al-Haddad merupakan ulama ulung di Hadhramaut (Yaman) pada abad ke-19. Beliau telah meninggalkan jasanya yang tidak terhingga kepada umat. Antara karya beliau yang terkenal dan dipelajari serta dihayati dan memberi kesan hingga kini ialah 'Nasihat Agama dan Iman' yang masih ditatap oleh masyarakat. Moga Allah sentiasa merahmati beliau. Dan marilah kita bersama-sama para alim ulamak mengenang ajaran dan sumbangan beliau melalui majlis-majlis yang diadakan. Mudah-mudahan beroleh rahmat Tuhan dan cinta kepada Rasul-Nya, dan mengenang jasa orang-orang yang berjasa kepada kita yang asbab mereka kita dirantaikan kepada Allah dan Rasul.

Sila klik pada gambar untuk mendapatkan gambaran yang lebih jelas.

Jadual Majlis di seluruh negara:

Berjasa Kepada Masyarakat

NOTA: Majlis di Sarawak akan diadakan di Masjid Wan Alwi, Tabuan; Kuching (31 Oktober, 5.30 petang) dan Masjid an-Nur, Pujut Padang Kerbau; Miri (30 Oktober, 5.30 petang)

Wacana Pemikiran Sayyid Muhammad ibn Alawi al-Maliki Siri Ke-2

Pada 12 Syawal 1429H bersamaan dengan 12 Oktober 2008M tahun lepas, sebuah wacana khas untuk memperkenalkan dan menghargai pemikiran Al-Muhaddith Prof. Dr. Sayyid Muhammad ibn 'Alawi al-Maliki telah berjaya dilangsungkan bertempat di Dewan Seminar, Masjid Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur. Menginsafi bahawa keluasan ufuk pemikiran Prof. Dr. Sayyid Muhammad ibn 'Alawi al-Maliki perlu diteroka dengan lebih lanjut dan berterusan, Yayasan Sofa Negeri Sembilan bersama dengan Yayasan Al-Bukhari, berazam untuk meneruskan siri Wacana Pemikiran Prof. Dr. Sayyid Muhammad ibn Alawi al-Maliki dengan menganjurkan siri ke-2 Wacana Pemikiran Al-Muhaddith Prof. Dr. Sayyid Muhammad ibn Alawi al-Maliki dengan kali ini menumpukan kepada pemikiran dan Manhaj Prof. Dr. Sayyid Muhammad ibn Alawi al-Maliki dalam aspek Aqidah.

Dengan penuh takzimnya, dijemput semua muslimin dan muslimat menghadirkan diri.

Majlis Haul

Dengan segala hormatnya, mempersilakan semua muslimin dan muslimat untuk menghadiri Majlis Hawl sempena memperingati Al-Muhaddith Prof. Dr. Sayyid Muhammad ibn Alawi al-Maliki al-Hasani. Sila klik pada gambar poster untuk mendapatkan maklumat lanjut.


Dengan nama Allah yang Maha Pemurah, Maha Penyayang. Segala lafaz pujian dirafa’kan ke hadrat Allah Subhanahu wa ta’ala di atas limpahan nikmat-Nya yang tidak terhingga. Selawat dan salam ke atas junjungan agung kita, Sayyiduna Rasulullah sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, serta kepada ahli keluarga baginda yang mulia serta para sahabat baginda yang terpuji.

Nama Al-‘Allamah Al-Muhaddith Professor Dr. Sayyid Muhammad ibn ‘Alawi ibn ‘Abbas al-Maliki al-Hasani bukanlah suatu nama asing dalam dunia Islam masa kini. Beliau adalah merupakan seorang ulama yang tersohor, yang sangat dikagumi keilmuannya sama ada oleh lawan mahupun kawan. Cuma mungkin, disebabkan ramai umat Islam pada hari ini sudah jauh daripada tradisi Islam dan lebih terhimbau dengan budaya dan aliran pemikiran Barat – sama ada mereka sedar ataupun tidak – maka ramai juga di kalangan umat pada hari ini tidak mengenali nama-nama besar seperti Al-‘Allamah Al-Muhaddith Professor Dr. Sayyid Muhammad ibn ‘Alawi ibn ‘Abbas al-Maliki al-Hasani. Beliau yang mesra di kalangan anak muridnya dengan gelaran Abuya – kerana sifat kebapaannya yang begitu mencintai anak-anak murid beliau – merupakan seorang ulama yang lahir daripada keturunan para ulama, daripada ketuurunan suci dan mulia, keturunan Sayyiduna Hassan ‘alayhissalam cucu kepada Sayyiduna Rasulullah sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam.

Dalam suasana di mana umat Islam pada hari ini berada dalam kecelaruan pemikiran, maka adalah perlu untuk kita kembali merujuk dan berpegang teguh dengan para ulama Ahli Sunnah wal Jama’ah yang muktabar dan yang diiktiraf agar kita sentiasa berada di atas landasan kebenaran dengan izin dan Rahmat daripada Allah Subhanahu wa ta’ala. Maka, di sini saya tampilkan biografi ringkas Abuya Al-Maliki untuk kita lebih mengenali tokoh ulama yang begitu besar jasanya kepada kita ini, mudah-mudahan dapat memberikan manfaat kepada semua pembaca yang berhasrat mengenali beliau, dan mudah-mudahan dengan usaha ini dapatlah saya dikira sebagai salah seorang pencinta beliau. Biarpun secara hakikatnya amalan dan perbuatan saya tidaklah menjadikan saya layak untuk berhimpun bersama beliau, tetapi mudah-mudahan sumbangan yang begitu kecil dan kerdil ini dapat menjadi hujah dan bukti kecintaan saya kepada beliau. Saya berpegang kepada hadith Sayyiduna Rasulullah sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam bahawa, “Setiap seorang itu akan dihimpunkan bersama orang yang dicintainya. ”

Di samping itu, adalah diharapkan dengan kita berusaha untuk mengenali tokoh besar ini, akan dapat memberikan kefahaman dan keyakinan kepada kita untuk berpegang kepada pandangan para ulama yang hebat seperti beliau. Dalam suasana di mana sudah mula muncul kumpulan-kumpulan di kalangan umat ini yang tidak menghormati para ulama, tidak menghormati autoriti dalam agama, dan mula memandai-mandai dalam urusan agama, maka adalah sangat perlu untuk kita benar-benar mengenali tokoh-tokoh kita agar dapat memberikan kita keyakinan bahawa pentingnya kita berpegang kepada mereka; kerana apalah sangat ilmu yang ada pada kita jika hendak dibandingkan dengan keluasan ilmu dan keberkatan yang ada pada mereka. Golongan yang saya maksudkan ini adalah kumpulan-kumpulan seperti Sisters in Islam (SIS) dan kumpulan Wahabiyah yang banyak mengkafirkan dan membid’ahkan amalan umat Islam. Keputusan mahkahmah syariah, pandangan para ulama dan para ilmuan Islam dengan sewenang-wenangnya ditentang dan dilemparkan dengan tuduhan-tuduhan yang negatif seperti ‘zalim’, ‘melanggar hak asasi’ dan sebagainya. Begitu juga, amalan-amalan tradisi yang sudah sedia berakar dengan baik dalam masyarakat seperti amalan membaca surah Yasin, berzikir beramai-ramai, membaca talqin, menyedekahkan surah Al-Fatihah bagi si mati, dan sebagainya dituduh sebagai amalan bid’ah yang menyesatkan lantas dianjur agar amalan-amalan tersebut dilupuskan, lalu kebingunganlah masyarakat. Inilah fenomena yang berlaku di negara kita pada hari ini.

Maka, di sini saya rakamkan sedikit biografi Abuya Al-Maliki untuk kita jadikan sebagai pedoman kita. Mudah-mudahan, dengan kita lebih mengenali beliau akan menguatkan kecintaan kita kepada beliau, seterusnya menyampaikan kita kepada kecintaan kepada Sayyiduna Rasulullah sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam dan kecintaan yang hakiki yakni cinta kepada Allah ‘azza wa jalla. Biografi ini saya petik daripada laman blog al-Faqir Abu Zahrah (al-Fanshuri), semoga Allah Subhanahu wa ta’ala merahmati beliau sehingga dihimpunkan bersama Sayyidul Mursalin.

Biarpun telah ramai yang menulis dan memaparkan biografi beliau (Abuya Al-Maliki radhiyallahu ‘anh) di dada internet, namun al-Faqir berhasrat untuk mencoretkan juga walaupun secara ringkas biografi beliau radhiyallahu ‘anh demi kerana kecintaan al-Faqir kepada beliau radhiyallahu ‘anh. Coretan yang al-Faqir kutip dari pelbagai sumber dan al-Faqir kongsikan sebahagian dari koleksi foto al-Faqir yang berkaitan dengan beliau.

Beliau radhiyallahu ‘anh, seorang ulama yang semerbak harum namanya di serata dunia, terutama di kalangan para pencinta ilmu dan ulama. Kewibawaan dan keilmuan beliau radhiyallahu ‘anh diakui dan dihormati oleh para ulama semasa juga oleh mereka yang menentangnya. Kitab karangannya menjadi rujukan. Beliau radhiyallahu ‘anh adalah jurucakap kepada golongan ahlus sunnah wal jamaah di dalam menghadapi fahaman-fahaman yang melampau, yang ekstrim … (yang menolak bahkan mencerca ulama silam). Beliau radhiyallahu ‘anh adalah imam ahlus sunnah wal jama’ah abad ke-21. Beliau radhiyallahu ‘anh, ulama rabbani di abad ini. Beliau radhiyallahu ‘anh ulama yang meneruskan kegemilangan ayahnya, datuknya dan moyang-moyang beliau di dalam dunia keilmuan dan pentarbiyahan. Beliau radhiyallahu ‘anh seorang ulama yang teguh dengan pendirian, tidak goyah dengan pelbagai cabaran dan rintangan serta tohmahan yang dihadapi. Beliau radhiyallahu ‘anh menjaga adab ketika berbeda pendapat serta menjauhi sifat melampau di dalam tindakan atau perkataan dalam menghadapi golongan yang tidak sependapat dengannya.

Al-Habib Muhammad bin ‘Aydrus al-Haddad menyifatkan keteguhan beliau radhiyallahu ‘anh di dalam syairnya:

Sungguh beliau telah mampu mematahkan hujjah orang yang menentangnya.
Sedikitpun beliau tidak terlukai
Bahkan beliau bersedia untuk dipenggal lehernya,
namun beliau tetap tidak akan berundur dari pendiriannya
Pendirian yang telah dipegang teguh oleh para ulama yang besar-besar,
yang telah memimpin umat ini di masa silam

Tatkala melihat kehebatan penguasaan ilmu beliau radhiyallahu ‘anh pada usianya yang masih muda, seorang guru beliau, iaitu al-‘Allamah Syaikh Muhammad Nur Saif pernah berkata kepada ayahanda beliau: Wahai Sayyid ‘Alawi, jangan marah jika perkataanku mengecilkan hatimu, apabila aku katakan bahwa anakmu ini merupakan ranting yang melebihi batangnya. Mendengarkan perkataan itu ayahandanya ketawa lalu menjawab: Tidak, aku tidak berkecil hati, tetapi sebaliknya ini adalah kebanggaan bagiku.

Itulah, sosok ulama besar di abad ini, al-‘Allamah al-Muhaddits al-‘Arifbillah Professor Dr. Sayyid Muhammad al-Hasan bin Sayyid ‘Alawi bin Sayyid Abbas bin Sayyid ‘Abdul ‘Aziz bin Sayyid ‘Abbas bin ‘Abdul ‘Aziz al-Maiki al-Idrisi al-Hasani. Di kalangan murid-murid dan pencintanya, beliau lebih dekat dengan panggilan Abuya Maliki @ Buya Maliki.

Kelahiran dan keturunan: Beliau radhiyallahu ‘anh dilahirkan di rumah ayahandanya yang terletak berhampiran Masjidilharam, Babus Salam Makkah al-Mukarramah pada tahun 1365H bersamaan dengan 1946M.

Beliau radhiyallahu ‘anh bernasabkan kepada keturunan yang mulia iaitu dari keturunan Idris al-Azhar bin Idris al-Akbar bin ‘Abdullah al-Kamil bin Hasan al-Mutsanna bin Hasan, putera kepada Sayyidina ‘Ali bin Abi Thalib dan Sayyidah Fathimah al-Zahra’ binti Rasulullah sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam. Keturunan beliau terdiri daripada para ulama. Ayahandanya, nendanya dan seterusnya ke atas. Beliau radhiyallahu ‘anh berkata di dalam menzahirkan nikmat karunia itu: “Dari ayahandaku, kemudian datukku dan seterusnya sampai kepada Rasul Yang Terpilih sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, adalah penghulu dan orang ‘alim. ”

Beliau radhiyallahu ‘anh berkata lagi: Nendanya yang pertama - Sayyid ‘Abbas, kedua - Sayyid ‘Abdul Aziz, ketiga – Sayyid ‘Abbas, keempat – Sayyid ‘Abdul ‘Aziz, kelima – Sayyid Muhammad al-Maliki dan keenam – Sayyid ‘Abdul ‘Aziz, kesemuanya adalah orang ‘alim dan menjawat jawatan Imam dan Khatib al-Masjidilharam. Dapat dipastikan dengan bukti yang jelas, bahwa sepanjang enam keturunan tersebut sebelum beliau terdiri daripada ulama besar. Sebelum itu ada juga yang menjawat jawatan Imam dan Khatib serta menjadi mudarris di Masjidilharam, namun tidak dirakamkan di dalam daftar rasmi Masjidilharam.

Keluarga beliau radhiyallahu ‘anh lebih dikenali dengan dengan gelaran al-Maliki dari al-Hasani kerana salah seorang daripada nenda beliau dilantik menjadi Mufti Mazhab Maliki di Makkah al-Mukarramah pada zaman pemerintahan Syarif ‘Aun. Oleh kerana itulah keluarga beliau lebih dikenali dengan gelaran al-Maliki.

Pendidikan: Beliau radhiyallahu ‘anh mendapat pendidikan formal di Madrasah al-Falah dan Madrasah Tahfiz al-Quran di Makkah. Manakala pengajian tidak formal pula beliau dapati dari halaqah-halaqah ilmu di Masjidilharam. Beliau radhiyallahu ‘anh dikatakan sudah menghafal al-Quran di usia 7 tahun, manakala menghafal kitab Muwattho’ ketika berusia 15 tahun. Dan mendapat jolokan ‘Muwattho Yang Berjalan’ kerana penguasaan dan kepakaran beliau mengenai kitab tersebut.

Setelah itu beliau radhiyallahu ‘anh mengembara ke banyak negara untuk menuntut ilmu daripada para ulama tersohor seperti di India, Libya, Mesir, Maghribi, Pakistan dan Indonesia. Beliau juga menuntut di Universiti al-Azhar diperingkat ijazah sarjana dan ijazah kedoktoran (PhD). Beliau berjaya meraih ijazah kedoktoran dalam bidang hadits di Universiti al-Azhar dengan taqdir Mumtaz (cemerlang) ketika berusia 25 tahun.

Guru-guru beliau: Beliau mempunyai guru yang tidak terkira banyaknya. Antaranya:

Ulama Mekah dan Madinah

  • Sayyid ‘Alawi bin Sayyid ‘Abbas al-Maliki al-Hasani (ayahnya, wafat 1391H)
  • Syaikh Muhammad Yahya Aman al-Makki al-Hanafi (1387H)
  • Syaikh Muhammad al-‘Arabi at-Tabbani (wafat 1390H)
  • Syaikh Hasan bin Said al-Yamani (wafat 1391H)
  • Syaikh Hasan bin Muhammad al-Masyaath (wafat 1399H)
  • Sayyid Muhammad bin Amin al-Kutbi (wafat 1404)
  • Syaikh ‘Abdullah Said al-Lahji (wafat 1410H)
  • Syaikh Muhammad Nur Saif bin Hilal (wafat 1403H)
  • Syaikh Muhammad Yasin bin ‘Isa al-Fadani al-Makki (wafat 1410H)
  • Syaikh ‘Abdullah bin Ahmad Dardum (1407H)
  • Syaikh Ishaq bin Hasyim ‘Azuz al-Makki
  • Al-Habib Hasan bin Muhammad Fad’aq
  • Al-Habib ‘Abdul Qadir bin ‘Aydrus al-Bar
  • Syaikh Muhammad Kholil bin ‘Abdul Qadir Toibah al-Makki
  • Syaikh Ahmad bin Yaasiin bin Ahmad al-Khiyari asy-Syafie al-Madani, Syaikh al-Qurra di Madinah al-Munawwarah
  • Syaikh Hasan bin Ibrahim asy-Syair, Syaikh al-Qurra di Madinah al-Munawwarah
  • Syaikh Muhammad bin Ibrahim al-Mubarak al-Ihsaai
  • Syaikh Muhammad bin Abu Bakar al-Mulla al-Ihsaai
  • Syaikh Muhammad al-Musthofa ibn al-Imam ibn ‘Abdul al-Qadir al-‘Alawi asy-Syanqiti
  • Syaikh Muhammad al-Mujtaba bin Mukhtar bin Mujtaba asy-Syanqiti
  • Syaikh al-Mu’ammar Dhiyauddin Ahmad ibn asy-Syaikh ‘Abdul ‘Azim al-Qaadiri al-Madani (berumur lebih daripada 100 tahun)
  • Syaikh ‘Abdul Ghafur bin Syah al-‘Abbasi al-Madani an-Naqsyabandi

Ulama Hadramaut/Yaman

  • Al-Habib ‘Umar bin Ahmad bin Sumaith
  • Al-Habib ‘Alwi ibn ‘Abdullah bin Aydrus bin Syihab at-tarimi
  • Al-Habib Muhammad bin ‘Alwi bin Syihab
  • Al-Habib ‘Abdur Rahman ibn Shohib ‘Sabil al-Muhtadin’ al-Habib ‘Abdullah bin ‘Alwi al-Atthos
  • Al-Habib 'Abdul Qadir bin Ahmad as-Seggaf @ as-Saqqaf
  • Al-Habib Ahmad Masyhur bin Thoha al-Haddad
  • Al-Habib ‘Alwi bin ‘Abdullah as-Saqqaf Aal al-Qaadhi
  • Al-Habib Muhammad bin Salim bin Hafidz bin ‘Abdullah bin Syaikh Abi Bakar bin Salim
  • Al-Habib ‘Ali bin Salim bin Ahmad bin Hasan al-‘Atthos
  • Sayyid Hasan bin Ahmad bin ‘Abdul Baari al-Ahdal al-Yamani
  • Sayyid Muthohhar bin Mahdi al-Ghurbani,
  • Sayyid Ismail bin Mahdi al-Ghurbani, pengarang kitab Nafasul Rahman.
  • Syaikh Fadhl ibn Muhammad bin ‘Awadh BaFadhal at-Tarimi
  • Sayyid Ahmad bin Muhammad Zubaarah, Mufti Yaman
  • Sayyid Muhammad Yahya Dum al-Ahdal al-Yamani
  • Al-Mu’ammar Buhaanuddin Abu Muhammad as-Sayyid Ibrahim bin Umar bin ‘Aqiil Ba’alawi al-Husaini al-Hadhrami, Mufti Ta`iz

Ulama Mesir

  • Syaikh Muhammad al-Hafidz bin ‘Abdul Lathif at-Tijani al-Mishri, Syaihul Hadits di Mesir (wafat 1398H)
  • Syaikh Hasanain bin Muhammad Makhluf, Mufti Mesir (wafat 1411H)
  • Syaikh Sholeh bin Muhammad al-Ja’fari, Imam dan tenaga pengajar di Jami’ al-Azhar
  • Syaikh Amin bin Mahmud Khottob al-Subki al-Mishri
  • Al-Mu’ammar Syaikh Muhammad bin ‘Abdullah bin Ibrahim al-‘Aquuri, murid kepada al-Amir ash-Shoghir, Syaikh Ibrahim al-Baajuuri dan al-Mu’ammar Abi ‘Ali Hasan al-‘Adawi – mereka semua adalah belajar dari al-Amir al-Kabir
  • Syaikh asy-Syarif Muhammad bin Ibrahim Abu al-‘Uyuun al-Azhari al-Khalwati

Ulama Indonesia

  • Al-Habib al-Mu’ammar ‘Ali bin ‘Abdurramhan bin ‘Abdullah al-Habsyi – Habib Ali Kwitang
  • Al-Habib ‘Ali bin Hussin bin Muhammad al-Atthos – Habib ‘Ali Bungur
  • Al-Habib Hamid bin Muhammad bin Salim as-Sari
  • Al-Habib Muhammad bin Ahmad bin Zein al-Haddad
  • Al-Habib Syaikh bin Salim bin ‘Umar al-‘Atthos
  • Al-Habib Salim bin Ahmad bin Jindan ibn asy-Syaikh Abu Bakar bin Salim
  • Al-Habib Muhammad bin Salim bin Ahmad bin Hassan al-‘Atthos
  • Al-Habib al-Mu’ammar ‘Abdur Rahman bin ‘Abdullah al-Habsyi al-Falimbani – murid kepada Habib ‘Ali bin Muhammad bin Hussin al-Habsyi, pengarang Simtud Durar
  • Al-Habib Ahmad bin Hasan al-‘Atthos
  • Al-Habib Muhammad bin Ahmad bin Hasan al-‘Atthos
  • Al-Habib Muhammad bin Ahmad bin Hasan al-Kaf - murid kepada al-Habib Ahmad bin Hasan al-‘Atthos

Ulama Syam

  • Asy-Sayyid asy-Syarif Muhammad al-Makki bin Muhammad bin Ja’far al-Kattani, Mufti Mazhab Maliki di Dimasyq
  • Syaikh Hasan bin Muhammad Marzuq Hanabakah al-Maidani al-Dimasyqi
  • Syaikh ‘Abdul ‘Aziz bin Muhammad ‘Ali bin ‘Abdul Ghani ‘Uyun al-Sud al-Hims, Syaikh al-Qurra`
  • Syaikh Muhammad Sholeh bin ‘Abdullah al-Farfur al-Hasani ad-Dimasyqi
  • Syaikh Muhammad As’ad al-‘Abaji, Mufti Mazhab Syafie di Halab
  • Abu Ahmad Syaikh Muhammad Sa’id bin Ahmad al-Idlibi ar-Rafie al-Halabi asy-Syafie
  • At-Thobib (Dr. – perubatan) asy-Syaikh Muhammad Abu al-Yusr bin Muhammad Abi al-Khair bin Ahmad ‘Aabidin al-Husaini ad-Dimasyqi al-Hanafi, Mufti Negara Syam

Ulama Maghribi, Tunisia dan al-Jazaair (Algeria)

  • Syaikh asy-Syarif ‘Abdul Kabiir bin Muhammad as-Soqili al-Maahi al-Husaini al-Maghribi
  • Sayyid ‘Abdullah bin Muhammad bin Siddiq al-Ghumari al-Maghribi
  • Sayyid ‘Abdul ‘Aziz bin Muhammad bin Siddiq al-Ghumari al-Maghribi
  • Syarif Muhammad Munthasir Muhammad az-Zamzami bin Muhammad bin Ja’far al-Kattani
  • Sayyid ‘Abdullah bin Muhammad Qanun al-Hasani al-Maghribi
  • Syaikh al-Faaruaqi bin ar-Rahaali al-Marakeshi
  • Syaikh Muhammad at-Thohir ibn ‘Asyuur at-Tunisi
  • Syaikh at-Thoyyib bin al-Maulud bin Musthofa al-Mahaaji al-Jazaairi

Ulama Hind (India) dan Pakistan

  • Syaikh Muhammad Zakariyya bin Muhammad Yahya al-Kandahlawi tsumma al-Madani, Syaikhul Hadits di Sahaaranpuur
  • Syaikh Habibur Rahman ibn Muhammad Shoobir bin ‘InayatuLlah al-A’azomi, Syaikhul Hadits di Madzhar al-Ulum, Madras
  • Syaikh as-Sayyid Muhammad Yusuf ibn Muhammad Zakaria al-Banuuri, Syaikhul Hadits di Karachi
  • Syaikh Muhammad Syafii’ bin Muhammad Yaasiin al-Utsmaani ad-Deobandi, Mufti Pakistan
  • Syaikh Zafar Ahmad al-Utsmaani at-Tahaanawi al-Hind
  • Syaikh Muhammad Ibrahim al-Balyawi
  • Syaikh as-Sayyid Fakhruddin Ahmad al-Murad Abadi, Syaikhul Hadits di Deoband
  • Syaikh al-Mufti as-Sayyid Mahdi Hasan Syahjahanburi
  • Syaikh al-Mufti Mahmud bin Syaikh Muhammad Siddiq al-Multani
  • Syaikh Muhammad Yusuf bin Muhammad Ilyas al-Kandahlawi, Amir (Ketua) Jemaah Tabligh
  • Syaikh In’amul Hasan, Naib Ketua Jemaah Tabligh
  • Syaikh Muhammad Anzor Syah bin Muhammad Anwar Syah al-Kasymiri
  • Syaikh al-Mufti Musthofa bin al-Imam Ahmad Redho Khan al-Barilawi al-Hind
  • Syaikh Abu al-Wafa al-Afghaani al-Haidaraabaad

Selain dari seorang yang mahir di dalam selok-belok ilmu hadits, beliau juga adalah seorang yang mahir di dalam ilmu fiqih 4 mazhab. Dan beliau radhiyallahu ‘anh pernah mengatakan: “Aku anak kepada empat mazhab.” Yakni, beliau radhiyallahu ‘anh menguasai keempat-empat mazhab iaitu Hanafi, Maliki, Syafie dan Hanbali.

Mengajar: 3 hari selepas kewafatan ayahanda beliau, ulama Makkah telah berkumpul dan memberi tanggungjawab kepada beliau untuk mengajar di tempat ayahanda beliau di Masjidilharam. Sewaktu majlis pengajian beliau yang pertama di tempat ayahandanya di Masjidilharam, ianya bukan sahaja dihadiri oleh penuntut ilmu, bahkan dihadiri oleh ulama besar Makkah, iaitu:

  • Syaikh Hasan bin Muhammad al-Masyaath
  • Syaikh ‘Abdullah Sa’id al-Lahji
  • Syaikh ‘Abdullah Dardum
  • Syaikh Zakaria Bila
  • Sayyid Muhammad Amin al-Kutbi
  • Syaikh Muhammad Nur Saif
  • Syaikh Ismail Utsman Zain dan
  • Syaikh Ibrahim al-Fathoni

Tempat beliau mengajar di Masjidilharam yang diwarisi dari ayahnya, Sayyid 'Alawi.

Beliau juga pernah berkhidmat sebagai pensyarah kuliyyah syariah di Universiti Malik ‘Abdul ‘Aziz di Jeddah dan kemudian Universiti Ummul Qura di Makkah dari tahun 1390H – 1399H. Kemudian beliau meminta untuk berhenti menjadi pensyarah untuk bermusafir berdakwah dan menubuhkan madrasah beliau sendiri.

Membuka madrasah: Sewaktu beliau bermusafir ke Indonesia pada tahun 1394H, beliau telah berkumpul dan berbincang dengan para ulama disana, khususnya para habaib, antaranya dengan Habib ‘Ali Bungur. Seterusnya mereka meminta Sayyid Muhammad untuk membuka sebuah madrasah untuk anak-anak mereka di Makkah dengan menghidupakan pengajaran dan amalan para masyaikh terdahulu yang berlandaskan ahlus sunnah wal jama’ah, kerana mereka tidak dapat menghantarkan anak-anak mereka ke Hadramaut disebabkan cengkaman komunis di Yaman.

Dan akhirnya madrasah ditubahkan di rumah beliau di Utaibiah yang mana kemudiannya berpindah ke Rusaifah. Disinilah beliau radhiyallahu ‘anh mencetak penerus kepada kesinambungan ulama silam. Di dalam penerimaan murid, beliau radhiyallahu ‘anh tidak menerimanya sembarangan, semuanya adalah dengan isyarat.

Menghasilkan karya: Beliau radhiyallahu ‘anh menghasilkan banyak karya di dalam pelbagai disiplin ilmu seperti aqidah, tafsir, hadits, ushul fiqih, fiqih, tasawwuf, sirah nabawiyyah dan lain-lain, antaranya:

Di bidang aqidah:

  • مفاهيم يجب أن تصحح
  • منهج السلف في فهم النصوص بين النظرية و التطبيق
  • هو الله
  • قل هذه سبيلي
  • التحذير من المجازفة في التكفير
  • الغلووأثره في الإرهاب وإفساد المجتمع
  • تحقيق الآمال فيما ينفع الميت من اللأعمال
  • شرح عقيدة العوام – Perhatian! Kitab ini bukan karya beliau tetapi dihimpun oleh murid beliau KH Muhammad Ihya Ulumiddin, Mudir Ma’had Nurul Haramain, Pujun, Malang, Indonesia. Kitab ini merupakan himpunan syarh oleh Abuya Maliki keatas Mundzumah ‘Aqidah al-‘Awwam. Al-Faqir memasukkannya kedalam senarai ini kerana ianya mencerminkan pemikiran Abuya Maliki di dalam aqidah ahlus sunnah wal jamaah.

Di bidang tafsir:

  • وهو بالأفق الأعلى
  • زبدة الإتقان
  • القواعد الأساسية في علوم القران

Di bidang hadits, mustholah hadits dan sanad:

  • أنوار المسالك إلى روايات موطأ مالك
  • تحقيق موطإ الإمام مالك – رواية ابن قاسم
  • المنهل اللطيف في أصول الحديث الشريف
  • القواعد الأساسية في علم مصطلح الحديث
  • الطالع السعيد المنتخب من المسلسلات والأسانيد
  • العقد الفريد المختصر من الأثبات والأسانيد
  • العقود اللؤلؤية بالأسانيد العلوية (kitab beliau himpunkan sanad-sanad ayahnya, Sayyid ‘Alawi)

Di bidang ushul fiqih:

  • القواعد الأساسية في أصول الفقه
  • شرح منطومة الورقات

Mengenai ibadat haji dan sejarah kota Makkah:

  • الحج – فضائل وأحكام
  • في رحاب البيت الحرام
  • لبيك اللهم لبيك

Di bidang Sirah Nabawiyyah:

  • محمد الإنسان الكامل
  • الذخائر المحمدية
  • خصائص الأمة المحمدية
  • تاريخ الحوادث والأحوال النبوية
  • الزيارة النبوية بين الشرعية والبدعة
  • المدح النبوي بين الغلو والإنصاف
  • شفاء الفؤاد بزيارة خير العباد
  • حول الإحتفال بذكرى المولد النبوي الشريف
  • الأنوار البهية من إسراء ومعراج خير البرية
  • م

Today in Tablet Magazine, Michael J. Totten checks in on the birthplace of the Arab Spring, Tunisia, which against all odds seems to be staying true to the revolution.

Forecast for Tunisia

Continue reading "" at...

          African Players with 10+ Goals in European Leagues - 2013/2014        
African players that scored 10 or more goals in top division European leagues in the 2013/2014 season.

16 - El Arbi Hillel Soudani (Dinamo Zagreb: Croatia)

13 - Igor Vetokele (København: Denmark)

16 - Vincent Aboubakar (Lorient: France)
13 - Leandre Tawamba Kana (MFK Ružomberok: Slovakia)
11 - Mbilla Etame (Khazar Lankaran FK: Azerbaijan)
11 - Leonard Kweuke (Rizespor: Turkey)
10 - Maxim Choupo-Moting (Mainz: Germany)

Cape Verde Islands
11 - Garry Rodrigues (Levski Sofia: Bulgaria)
10 - Héldon (Sporting CP: Portugal)

Central African Republic
13 - Mouhamadou Habibou (KAA Gent: Belgium)

15 - El Fardou Ben Nabouhane (Veria: Greece)

14 - Francis Litsingi (FK Teplice: Czech Republic)
10 - Prince Oniangué (Reims: France)

Côte d'Ivoire
20 - Yaya Touré (Manchester City: England)
18 - Seydou Doumbia (CSKA Moscow: Russia)
17 - Wilfried Bony (Swansea City: England)
16 - Salomon Kalou (Lille: France)
15 - Serge Deblé (FC Shirak: Armenia)
12 - Yannick Boli (Zorya Luhansk: Ukraine)
10 - Didier Drogba (Galatasaray: Turkey)

DR Congo
13 - Dieumerci Mbokani (Dynamo Kyiv: Ukraine)

13 - Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Borussia Dortmund: Germany)

11 - Demba Savage (HJK: Finland)

10 - David Accam (Helsingborg: Sweden)

10 - Anicet Andrianantenaina (FK Botev Plovdiv: Bulgaria)

12 - Cheick Diabaté (Bordeaux: France)
11 - Mustapha Yatabaré (Guingamp: France)

17 - Aatif Chahechouhe (Sivasspor: Turkey)
15 - Abderrazak Hamdallah (Aalesund: Norway)
13 - Omar Er Rafik (Differdange: Luxembourg)
12 - Youssef El-Arabi (Granada: Morocco)

15 - Stanley Ohawuchi (Sliema: Malta)
14 - Ikechukwu Uche (Villarreal: Spain)
14 - Kennedy Igboananike (AIK: Sweden)
13 - Marco Tagbajumi (Ermis FC: Cyprus)
12 - Emmanuel Emenike (Fenerbahçe: Turkey)
11 - Alfred Effiong (Qormi: Malta)
11 - Obinna Obiefule (Hibernians: Malta)
11 - Abiola Dauda (Crvena Zvezda: Serbia)
10 - Imoh Ezekiel (Standard Liege: Belgium)
10 - Sylvester Igboun (Midtjylland: Denmark)
10 - Adeshina Lawal (B36 Tórshavn: Faroe Islands)
10 - Shola Shodiya (Birkirkara: Malta)
10 - Leke James (Aalesund: Norway)

15 - Moussa Sow (Fenerbahçe: Turkey)
13 - Sadio Mané (FC Red Bull Salzburg: Austria)
13 - Dame N'Doye (Lokomotiv Moscow: Russia)
12 - Baye Omar Niasse (Akhisar Belediyespor: Turkey)
10 - Ibrahim Sidibé (Debrecen: Hungary)
10 - Malek Mane (Sogndal: Norway)
10 - Lamine Diarra (Antalyaspor: Turkey)

11 - Emmanuel Adebayor (Tottenham Hotspur: England)

17 - Hamdi Harbaoui (KSC Lokeren: Belgium)

Stats from European 'Summer' leagues in Scandinavia and elsewhere are from the completed 2013 season.

          2014 World Cup: Player Representation by League         
League systems with players represented at the 2014 World Cup.


6 - England
4 - Brazil
3 - Italy
3 - Spain
2 - France
2 - Germany
1 - Russia
1 - Ukraine
1 - United States (1: Canada)

7 - France
6 - Turkey
3 - Spain
2 - Cameroon
2 - England
2 - Germany
1 - Belgium

4 - Ukraine
3 - Croatia
3 - Germany
3 - Italy
3 - Spain
2 - England
2 - Greece
2 - Russia
1 - France (1: Monaco)

15 - Mexico
3 - Spain
2 - Portugal
1 - England
1 - France
1 - Germany


6 - Australia
3 - England
3 - Germany
2 - Netherlands
2 - Switzerland
1 - Austria
1 - Belgium
1 - China
1 - Italy
1 - Qatar
1 - South Korea
1 - United States

5 - Chile
5 - Spain
4 - Italy
3 - Brazil
3 - England (1: Wales)
1 - Netherlands
1 - Sweden
1 - Switzerland

10 - Netherlands
6 - England (2: Wales)
3 - Germany
2 - Turkey
1 - Italy
1 - Ukraine

14 - Spain
6 - England
2 - Italy
1 - Germany


6 - Italy
3 - Argentina
3 - Colombia
3 - France (1: Monaco)
2 - Portugal
2 - Spain
1 - England
1 - Germany
1 - Mexico
1 - Netherlands

9 - Greece
6 - Italy
2 - England
2 - Spain
2 - Turkey
1 - Germany
1 - Scotland

Cote d'Ivoire
5 - France
4 - Germany
4 - Turkey
4 - England (1: Wales)
2 - Switzerland
1 - Belgium
1 - Cote d'Ivoire
1 - Italy
1 - Norway

11 - Japan
7 - Germany
2 - England
2 - Italy
1 - Belgium


Costa Rica
9 - Costa Rica
3 - Norway
3 - United States
1 - Belgium
1 - Denmark
1 - Germany
1 - Greece
1 - Netherlands
1 - Russia
1 - Spain
1 - Sweden

22 - England
1 - Scotland

20 - Italy
3 - France

5 - Italy
4 - Spain
3 - Brazil
3 - England
2 - Portugal
1 - France
1 - Japan
1 - Mexico
1 - Paraguay
1 - Turkey
1 - Uruguay


8 - Ecuador
7 - Mexico
1 - Brazil
1 - Colombia
1 - England
1 - Germany
1 - Netherlands
1 - Russia
1 - Saudi Arabia
1 - UAE

9 - England
8 - France
3 - Spain
1 - Germany
1 - Italy
1 - Portugal

11 - Honduras
4 - England
4 - United States
1 - Belgium
1 - China
1 - Costa Rica
1 - Scotland

9 - Germany
7 - Switzerland
5 - Italy
2 - Spain


7 - Italy
4 - Spain
3 - Argentina
3 - England
3 - Portugal
2 - France
1 - Mexico

Bosnia and Herzegovina
7 - Germany
5 - Turkey
2 - Croatia
2 - England
2 - Italy
1 - Austria
1 - Bosnia and Herzegovina
1 - China
1 - Hungary
1 - Ukraine

14 - Iran
2 - England
1 - Germany
1 - Kuwait
1 - Netherlands
1 - Portugal
1 - Qatar
1 - Spain
1 - United States (1: Canada)

6 - England
3 - Nigeria
2 - Belgium
2 - France
2 - Israel
2 - Turkey
1 - Italy
1 - Netherlands
1 - Russia
1 - Scotland
1 - Spain
1 - Ukraine


17 - Germany
4 - England
1 - Italy
1 - Spain

5 - Italy
5 - France
2 - Russia
2 - South Africa
1 - Belgium
1 - England
1 - Germany
1 - Ghana
1 - Greece
1 - Netherlands
1 - Norway
1 - Tunisia
1 - UAE

8 - Portugal
6 - Spain
3 - Turkey
1 - England
1 - France
1 - Germany
1 - Italy
1 - Russia
1 - Ukraine

United States
10 - United States (1: Canada)
4 - England
4 - Germany
1 - France
1 - Mexico
1 - Netherlands
1 - Norway
1 - Turkey


4 - Italy
4 - Spain
3 - England
3 - France
3 - Portugal
2 - Algeria
1 - Bulgaria
1 - Croatia
1 - Qatar
1 - Tunisia

11 - England
3 - Belgium
2 - Germany
2 - Russia
2 - Spain
1 - France
1 - Italy
1 - Portugal

23 - Russia

South Korea
6 - South Korea
6 - Germany
4 - England
3 - Japan
3 - China
1 - Saudi Arabia

Player Representation by League System

119 - England (4: Wales)
82 - Italy
79 - Germany
65 - Spain
46 - France (2: Monaco)
34 - Russia
26 - Mexico
26 - Turkey
22 - Portugal
21 - United States (3: Canada)
20 - Netherlands

15 - Japan
14 - Iran
13 - Greece
12 - Belgium
12 - Switzerland
11 - Brazil
11 - Honduras
10 - Costa Rica
9 - Ukraine
8 - Ecuador

7 - South Korea
6 - Argentina
6 - Australia
6 - China
6 - Croatia
6 - Norway
5 - Chile
4 - Colombia
4 - Scotland
3 - Qatar

2 - Algeria
2 - Austria
2 - Cameroon
2 - Saudi Arabia
2 - Sweden
2 - Tunisia
2 - UAE

1 - Bosnia and Herzegovina
1 - Bulgaria
1 - Cote d'Ivoire
1 - Denmark
1 - Hungary
1 - Kuwait
1 - Paraguay
1 - Uruguay

          All-Time Asian World Cup Wins        
Japan - Cameroon (1:0, 2010)
Japan - Tunisia (2:0, 2002)
Saudi Arabia - Morocco (2:1, 1994)
South Korea - Togo (2:1, 2006)

Iran - USA (2:1, 1998)

Australia - Serbia (2:1, 2010)
Japan - Denmark (3:1, 2010)
Japan - Russia (1:0, 2002)
North Korea - Italy (1:0, 1966)
Saudi Arabia - Belgium (1:0, 1994)
South Korea - Greece (2:0, 2010)
South Korea - Italy (2:1, 2002)
South Korea - Poland (2:0, 2002)
South Korea - Portugal (1:0, 2002)


          All-Time African World Cup Wins        
All-time World Cup wins by African nations.

Cameroon - Saudi Arabia (1:0, 2002)
Cote d'Ivoire - North Korea (3:0, 2010)

Ghana - USA (2:1, 2006)
Ghana - USA (2:1, 2010)
Tunisia - Mexico (3:1, 1978)

Algeria - Germany (2:1, 1982)
Cameroon - Romania (2:1, 1990)
Cote d'Ivoire - Serbia & Montenegro (3:2, 2006)
Ghana - Czech Republic (2:0, 2006)
Ghana - Serbia (1:0, 2010)
Morocco - Portugal (3:1, 1986)
Morocco - Scotland (3:0, 1998)
Nigeria - Bulgaria (3:0, 1994)
Nigeria - Bulgaria (1:0, 1998)
Nigeria - Greece (2:0, 1994)
Nigeria - Spain (3:2, 1998)
Senegal - France (1:0, 2002)
Senegal - Sweden (2:1, 2002)
South Africa - France (2:1, 2010)
South Africa - Slovenia (1:0, 2002)

Algeria - Chile (3:2, 1982)
Cameroon - Argentina (1:0, 1990)
Cameroon - Colombia (2:1, 1990)

          Northeastern Quartersphere - Wikipedia        

Northeastern Quartersphere

This is the Wikipedia article for "Northeastern Quartersphere" as it appeared on January 26, 2012, shortly prior to its expected deletion as original research.

The terms Northeastern Quarter or Northeastern Quadrant or simply Northeast are sometimes applied to the portion of the Northern Hemisphere in the Eastern Hemisphere or vice versa. If it's lateral boundaries are based on the Prime Meridian, this region includes most of Asia and Europe, a large portion of Africa and some islands in Oceania. The Northeast covers about two fifths of the Earth's land surface area and hosts 75-80% of the world's population. It is the only quarter bounded by the Prime Meridian and Equator that is mostly land. The Northeast hosts about two fifths of the world's economic activity.
Eastern portion of Earth's Northern Hemisphere


* Europe
o If the Prime Meridian is used as the Western boundary, all except Portugal, most of the United Kingdom, much of Spain and France. If the 20th meridian west, then all of Europe.

* Africa
o If the Prime Meridian is the lateral boundary, then all of Egypt, Sudan, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Djibouti, most of Somalia, most of Kenya, most of Uganda, Southern Sudan, part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Central African Republic, parts of Gabon, parts of Equatorial Guinea, parts of Rio Muni, parts of Sao Tome and Principe, Cameroon, Nigeria, Benin, Chad, most of Niger, part of Mali, most of Algeria, Libya and Tunisia are in this region. If the 20th meridian west is used, then all of Africa North of the Equator.

* Asia
o all except some portions of Indonesia.

* Oceania
o If Prime Meridian is used as the lateral boundary, then Palau, Guam, the Marianas Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, the Marshall Islands, part of Kiribati and Wake Island. If the 20th meridian west is used as the boundary in the West and the 160th meridian east in the East, then only Palau, Guam, the Marianas, and the Federated States of Micronesia.

Bodies of water

* The Arctic Ocean in the Eastern Hemisphere,
* The Western portion of the North Sea, most of the Mediterranean Sea, and all of the Baltic Sea and Black Sea of the Atlantic Ocean,
* The Red Sea, Persian Gulf, Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal in the Indian Ocean,
* The Eastern Bering Sea, the Sea of Okhotsk, the Sea of Japan/East Sea, the Yellow Sea, East China Sea the South China Sea, the Philippine Sea, Sulu Sea, Celebes Sea, Gulf of Thailand and open ocean in the Eastern Pacific Ocean.
          'Taranta on the road': musica, viaggio, accoglienza, se la Tunisia incontra la Puglia        

In sala il 24 agosto il film di Salvatore Allocca racconta l'incontro tra due giovani profughi e un gruppo di musicisti salentini in tournée. Musiche di...

          Lời tiên tri Mỹ sẽ chìm trong biển lá»­a vào năm 2014?        

Mới đây nhất, "nữ hoàng chiêm tinh" người Ai Cập, Joy Ayad lại đưa ra một lời "tiên tri sấm sét", nước Mỹ sẽ bị nhấn chìm bởi một siêu núi lửa và diệt vong vào năm 2014!

Những nhà tiên tri nổi tiếng thế giới từng đưa ra rất nhiều dá»± đoán về vận mệnh của thế giới trong tÆ°Æ¡ng lai. Không ít kịch bản về "ngày tận thế" đã được dá»±ng lên khiến cộng đồng dân cÆ° toàn cầu nÆ¡m nớp lo sợ, thế nhÆ°ng đến nay vẫn chÆ°a tiên đoán nào thá»±c sá»± ứng nghiệm.
Joy Ayad là ai, khả năng "trên thông thiên văn, dưới tường địa lý" của cô đáng tin đến mức nào?
Tiên đoán rợn người của "nữ hoàng chiêm tinh"
Không có nhiều người tin vào tiên đoán của những nhà tiên tri. Tuy nhiên, người ta không thể làm ngơ khi những tiên đoán đó thành hiện thực. Thế giới hẳn không quên những tiên đoán "thần thánh" của nhà tiên tri Vanga về những thảm họa toàn cầu. Bà từng tiên đoán về vụ tấn công khủng bố ngày 11/9 ở Mỹ, khi nói rằng "người Mỹ sẽ ngã xuống dưới sự tấn công của những con chim sắt". Nhà tiên tri cũng dự đoán chính xác sự bùng nổ Đại chiến thế giới thứ 2, cải tổ kinh tế chính trị ở Liên bang Xô Viết (cũ), cái chết của công nương Diana và thậm chí vụ chìm tàu ngầm nguyên tử Kursk (ở Liên bang Nga).
Độ chính xác của những lời tiên tri này khiến loài người giật mình hoài nghi: Liệu có thực sự tồn tại một thế lực siêu nhiên? Biết bao giấy mực đã cất công nghiên cứu để giải đáp về "bí ẩn Vanga" thế nhưng câu trả lời vẫn là một ẩn số. Khoa học dường như vẫn "bó tay" trước sức mạnh siêu nhiên của những nhà chiêm tinh học. Thế giới tiên tri vẫn là một lãnh địa siêu hình mà con người chưa chạm tới được.

"Nữ hoàng chiêm tinh" Joy Ayad đưa ra những dự đoán rợn người về nước Mỹ.
Joy Ayad thuộc hàng sinh sau đẻ muộn. Sinh ra và lớn lên ở đất nước của những huyền thoại và kim tá»± tháp, Joy tiếp cận chiêm tinh theo một con đường hoàn toàn khác. Tiên tri dưới góc nhìn của ánh sáng khoa học. Cô gái xinh đẹp này có bằng cá»­ nhân nghệ thuật Pháp, đồng thời là chuyên gia về khoa học số. Thế nhÆ°ng, sá»± nổi tiếng chỉ thá»±c sá»± đến với Joy khi cô dá»± đoán chính xác đến kinh ngạc về sá»± kiện lật đổ Tổng thống Mohamed Morsi (Ai Cập) mà cô coi là không thể tránh khỏi.
Đúng như lời tiên đoán, ngày 30/6, một cuộc biểu tình chống đối chính quyền của Tổng thống Morsi nổ ra với sự tham gia của hàng triệu người. Yêu sách của họ là ông Morsi phải từ chức. Ngay sau đó, quân đội Ai Cập đưa ra tối hậu thư buộc ông Morsi phải "đáp ứng yêu sách" của người biểu tình. Đồng thời, một số quan chức trong Chính phủ Ai Cập đã từ chức gây thêm khó khăn cho ông Morsi. Dù vậy, ông này vẫn kiên quyết không từ bỏ vị trí Tổng thống dẫn tới việc ông bị lật đổ.
Chưa dừng lại ở đó, Joy Ayad cũng dự đoán chính xác về cuộc tấn công khủng bố vào nhà thờ Al-Qiddissin ở Alexandria, cái chết của Phó tổng thống Ai Cập Omar Suleiman, trận động đất ở Iran và cơn bão ở Mỹ. Tất cả được ghi lại trên trang Facebook của cô.
Trước đó, trong một cuộc phỏng vấn, Ayad nói rằng, sẽ có một cuộc cách mạng ở Tunisia và sự thay đổi quyền lực ở Libya. Ngoài ra, sẽ có tai biến thời tiết như tuyết rơi ở Ai Cập, một trận lụt ở Saudi Arabia. "Năm 2014 sắp tới sẽ mang lại nhiều thay đổi trên thế giới. Nga cũng sẽ phải chiến đấu chống lại một cuộc tấn công khủng bố lớn", Joy Ayad cho biết.
Mới đây nhất, vào ngày 13/12, một cơn mưa tuyết chưa từng có sau 120 năm đã đổ xuống Thủ đô Cairo của Ai Cập. Một lần nữa người ta giật mình khi người duy nhất dự đoán chính xác thảm họa này từ cách đây 10 năm là nhà chiêm tinh trẻ Joy Ayad. Nhiều dự đoán đã được đưa ra nhưng chẳng ai có thể lý giải được sự tiên đoán chính xác đến mức tuyệt đối của Joy. Cũng từ đây, mỹ danh "nữ hoàng chiêm tinh" đã được dành cho cô gái trẻ Joy Ayad.
Lời tiên tri Mỹ sẽ chìm trong biển lửa vào năm 2014? - Ảnh 2
Siêu núi lửa Yellowstone sẽ hủy diệt Trái đất nếu "bừng tỉnh".
Nước Mỹ sẽ chìm trong biển lửa?
Cũng theo lời tiên đoán của Joy, năm 2014 sẽ không dễ dàng đối với cư dân Hoa Kỳ. Trong năm tới, tại nước Mỹ có thể xảy ra thiên tai nghiêm trọng. Chưa dừng lại ở đó, nước Mỹ sẽ xảy ra sự chia rẽ lớn trong xã hội. Đây có thể là khởi đầu cho sự kết thúc của đất nước Hoa Kỳ.
Lời tiên tri của Joy Ayad được đưa ra đúng thời điểm nước Mỹ đang phải vật lộn để thoát khỏi những cơn khủng hoảng đang đổ xuống. Không ít người đã bày tỏ quan ngại về khả năng Chính phủ Mỹ có thể sẽ bị đóng cửa từ trung tuần tháng 1/2014. Thêm vào đó, sự biến đổi khí hậu đang diễn biến phức tạp cũng đặt "kinh đô của thế giới" vào thảm họa được báo trước.
Mới đây, các nhà khoa học đã phát hiện ra rằng, siêu núi lửa Yellowstone nằm tại công viên quốc gia Hoa Kỳ ở bang Wyoming có thể là mối đe dọa đối với thế giới. Siêu núi lửa nguy hiểm nhất thế giới này có thể làm "nổ tung" nước Mỹ khi nó "thức giấc", thảm khốc hơn so với những gì họ nghĩ. Liệu có liên quan giữa những chứng cứ khoa học này với lời tiên đoán của nhà chiêm tinh trẻ Joy Ayad? Nếu núi lửa này thực sự phun trào, không chỉ nước Mỹ mà rất nhiều quốc gia trên thế giới sẽ bị trùm trong biển lửa? Năm 2014 liệu đã là đoạn kết cho đất nước hùng mạnh nhất thế giới này?
Theo dự đoán của các nhà khoa học, nếu Yellowstone phát nổ thì toàn bộ khí quyển trên Trái đất sẽ bị bao phủ bởi axit sulfuric, khói, bụi. Cả hành tinh sẽ rơi vào mùa đông lạnh giá, nền văn minh của con người sẽ quay trở lại điểm xuất phát. Nghiên cứu của các nhà khoa học cũng cho thấy, chu kỳ phun trào của núi lửa này từ 600 - 700 ngàn năm. Núi lửa này đã phun trào ít nhất 100 lần, trong đó 3 lần dữ dội có thể gây thảm họa cho một nửa Trái đất. Lần phun trào gần đây nhất vào 640 ngàn năm trước. Nếu chiếu theo đúng chu kỳ đó thì hành tinh xanh đang đợi chờ một trận bùng nổ tiếp theo.
Lời tiên đoán của "nữ hoàng chiêm tinh" Joy Ayad càng có thêm căn cứ khi các nhà khoa học thuộc Nasa vừa phát hiện một điểm nóng - ổ dung nham có kích thước to bằng Tokyo nằm dưới núi lửa Yellowstone đang chực bùng nổ. Theo chuyên gia của Nasa, các tín hiệu cho thấy, núi lửa sắp bùng nổ chính là ổ dung nham tăng khoảng 0,75m kể từ 1992. Đây là một con số cực lớn trong thước đo thời gian địa chất chỉ khoảng mm/thế kỷ. Ổ dung nham này nằm cách mặt đất 20km, chỉ bằng 1/10 so với độ sâu của các ổ dung nham khác. Nếu một nhóm khủng bố đặt quả bom hạt nhân ở núi lửa này có thể kích hoạt sự phun trào.
Cũng theo ghi nhận của giới chức trách, sự hoạt động của ổ dung nham mạnh đến mức làm chao đảo cả hồ Yellowstone ở trên nó về phía Nam khiến cho nước trong hồ trào ra ngoài làm ngập cây cối ở vùng xung quanh. Mặc dù siêu núi lửa Yellowstone "ngủ yên" từ hàng trăm ngàn năm qua nhưng ngày ngày nó vẫn đun nóng hồ nước nằm trên miệng núi lửa. Các nhà khoa học dự đoán rằng, với chiều dài 88km, chiều rộng 48km và chiều sâu 14.4km, nếu siêu núi lửa này phun trào thì sức ảnh hưởng của nó lan tới 1.000 dặm (1,600km), đủ sức "xóa sổ" nước Mỹ và làm biến đổi địa chất toàn cầu.
Dự đoán không vô căn cứ?
Giáo sÆ° Bob Smith, người đứng đầu chÆ°Æ¡ng trình nghiên cứu thuộc đại học Utah (Mỹ) cho biết: "Chúng tôi đã làm việc ở công viên quốc gia Yellowstone trong một thời gian dài. Chúng tôi luôn nghÄ© túi mắc ma sẽ lớn hÆ¡n các ước tính trước đó nhÆ°ng phát hiện mới này thá»±c sá»± nằm ngoài sức tưởng tượng". Vị giáo sÆ° này cÅ©ng nhận định, với lượng mắc ma khổng lồ nhÆ° vậy, siêu núi lá»­a Yellowstone sẽ là cÆ¡n ác mộng của nhân loại khi nó thức giấc. "Hẳn lời dá»± đoán về nước Mỹ diệt vong năm 2014  là không vô căn cứ", ông này nói.
Xuân Hoàng (Theo Voice of Russia, Aljazeera, Telegraph)

Ultimele minute de emoţii... Joi, 21.06.2012, au susţinut examenul de absolvire al Cursurilor de limbă română şi orientare socio-culturală pentru resortisanţii ţărilor terţe peste 100 de adulţi din Tunisia, Maroc, China, Arabia Saudită, Siria, Iordania, Irak, Croaţia, Filipine, Kenya, India, Algeria, Africa de Sud, Gana ş.a., la Timişoara. Cursurile au fost finanţate de Oficiul Român pentru Imigrări, structură din cadrul Ministerului Administraţiei şi Internelor, cursuri coordonate de Institutul Intercultural Timişoara, în parteneriat cu Ministerul Educaţiei, Cercetării, Tineretului şi Sportului, Universitatea de Vest din Timişoara, Inspectoratul Şcolar al Judeţului Timiş, Organizaţia Femeilor Refugiate în România şi Centrul Cultural Româno-Arab din Timişoara. Deşi proiectul şi-a propus, iniţial, un număr de aproximativ 550 de cursanţi străini (300 de adulţi şi 250 de copii), la nivel naţional, şi un număr de 96 de ore de activitate (educaţie formală şi non-formală), pentru fiecare grupă, numărul lor a fost cu mult mai mare...atât al cursanţilor, cât şi al orelor petrecute ...
          A Solution From Hell        

The following essay is excerpted from the latest issue of n+1 magazine. It is available online only in Slate. To read the complete version, click here to purchase n+1 in print.

The current age is uncommonly preoccupied with human rights. The story of how we got here can be traced from various points, whether from the Enlightenment and its great American spokesman Thomas Jefferson, or from the interventions and non-interventions following the European upheavals of 1848, or from the founding of the United Nations after World War II and the Holocaust, or from 1977, the year when post-'60s dismay, Jimmy Carter, and the Cold War intersected to place a commitment to "human rights" at the center of Western consciousness. Whichever way, for whatever reason, or for half a dozen reasons, human rights have at least rhetorically come to the fore of American and European foreign policy, with the result that it is now possible for the U.S. to wage war for humanitarian purposes in campaigns that seem otherwise irrelevant to the national interest. In this telling of the story of the "rights revolution," as the philosopher and Iraq war proponent Michael Ignatieff has called it, the end of the Cold War has opened up new vistas for the enforcement of human rights across the globe.

There is another way to tell the story, however. In this telling, the march of rights took a wrong turn as early as 1948, when the U.N. adopted its Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The U.N. Charter had established state sovereignty as the basis for international law. This meant that weaker states would be protected against stronger states by the international community—and for all its flaws, the U.N. was instrumental in helping postwar, post-colonial states get on their feet. At the same time, the Universal Declaration promoted the principle of human rights in general, independent of sovereignty. Writing in the wake of World War II and the founding of the U.N., Hannah Arendt in The Origins of Totalitarianism echoed Edmund Burke's famous critique of the French revolutionaries' Declaration of the Rights of Man. "The calamity of the rightless," wrote Arendt, "is not that they are deprived of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, or of equality before the law and freedom of opinion—formulas which were designed to solve problems within given communities—but that they no longer belong to any community whatsoever. Their plight is not that they are not equal before the law, but that no law exists for them." Surveying the history of refugees and other stateless people over the prior 30 years, Arendt found that "not only did the loss of national rights in all instances entail the loss of human rights; the restoration of human rights, as the recent example of the State of Israel proves, has been achieved so far only through the restoration of national rights." There could be no rights without belonging to a sovereign jurisdiction; the U.N., by enshrining sovereignty on the one hand and "universal rights" on the other, had tried to solve the problems revealed in the interwar period, but ended up simply restating them.

The contradiction in the U.N. founding documents between inviolable human rights and inviolable state sovereignty remained essentially obscured throughout the Cold War, when neither the Americans nor the Soviets could seriously claim to believe in either. Even when the U.S. championed human rights under Carter, it retained its priorities: Forced to choose between socialists (or just serious land reformers) and human rights abusers, the U.S. always sided with the abusers. Suddenly in 1991, the choice became unnecessary. You no longer had to decide between leftists and rightists, since everywhere you looked there were only capitalists. And by the end of the Cold War, aerial weapons systems had advanced to the point where the military could conduct basically gratuitous wars, with little risk to soldiers' lives, at comparatively low cost—and without raining explosives indiscriminately on foreign populations. The new precision-guided weaponry offered the hope of truly distinguishing the good guys from the bad guys, as long as they stayed far enough apart.

In the '90s, the language of human rights came into its own. The people of Kuwait, when a U.S.-led, U.N.-approved coalition drove Iraq out of their country, were the citizens of a sovereign state invaded by Saddam Hussein—but not so the Iraqi Kurds, who were Saddam's own citizens when he invaded their lands. Nevertheless the U.S., Britain, and France established a no-fly zone to protect the Iraqi Kurds from their internationally recognized head of state. Likewise, the Tutsis of Rwanda and the Albanians in Yugoslav Kosovo were victims of the state in which they lived, and their rights, insofar as they had any, could only be defended by an international community. In one case those rights were defended, in the other they were not. What were the U.S.'s principles, and what was its practice, when it came to human rights? Neither seemed clear, and the debate about them was equally confusing and confused.

The only people who seemed consistent about intervention were too far right or left to get much of a hearing. Throughout the 1990s, the right opposed intervention from a "realist" perspective, arguing that it was not in the national interest to go on humanitarian adventures abroad. The left, which was in the process of forming a powerful movement against the "structural adjustment" policies of the giant international financial institutions, and also promoting a humane globalization (carelessly labeled "anti-globalization" by the mainstream press), opposed the interventions on anti-imperialist grounds. In the end, neither view had much effect, as a strong hawkish core emerged: Bob Dole, the Republican leader in the Senate and 1996 presidential candidate, was a strong proponent of intervention in Bosnia; so too, eventually, was Bill Clinton. Among respectable pundits, the right-leaning hawks were neoconservative, the left-leaning hawks neoliberal. If there was a real distinction it was in their attitudes toward international institutions like the U.N. Neoconservatives loathed the U.N.; neoliberals liked it. But it was the Kosovo intervention, which most egregiously circumvented international institutions (in the name of a good cause), that was the final Clinton intervention. Thus at the end of the '90s neoconservatives and neoliberals had reached the same place, disdainful of seeking "multilateral" permission for their wars.

Perhaps the liberals would soon have returned to their more traditional interest in international institutions; perhaps the conservatives would have gotten out of the human rights business altogether; perhaps not. In any case the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 altered—or scrambled—people's thinking. The next American war was an unusual operation: a mission to overthrow a government (the Taliban) that almost nobody recognized as legitimate, in order to deprive a belligerent non-state actor (al-Qaida) of a staging ground. Realists on the left—few remained on the right—argued for a narrowly defined police action to root out al-Qaida. Supporters of all-out war, soon the only respectable position, invoked the liberation of Afghan women as a bonus legitimation. And a year and a half later came Iraq. The war was sold to the public under many pretexts, but for liberal hawks the dominant reason to invade was Saddam Hussein's former crimes (and potential future crimes) against his people. There was no question that from a humanitarian perspective a world without Saddam would be a better world. And we were going to take him out.

In retrospect, it's easy to see that the argument over humanitarian intervention that should have taken place in the years after Kosovo was replaced and muddled by an argument over the Bush doctrine of pre-emptive war. In 2000–01, a high-powered international commission convened to discuss what the international community should do in the event of a human rights crisis in a failing state; one of their recommendations was that the concept of "humanitarian intervention" be scrapped, as being needlessly prejudicial (like "pro-life"), and replaced with the more capacious, less necessarily violent "responsibility to protect." The group's report was humane and intelligent, though not without problems; it was also presented before the U.N. Security Council in December 2001, at which point it had been "OBE," as they say in Washington—overtaken by events. The same happened with Samantha Power's "A Problem From Hell": America and the Age of Genocide, the summa theologica of liberal interventionist historiography, which was published in 2002. The book immediately became part of the debate over Iraq, with George W. Bush famously scribbling NOMW ("not on my watch") in a memo outlining its arguments. Not long after, he launched Operation Iraqi Freedom.

The argument over pre-emptive war was decided, resoundingly, against, though not because Stephen Holmes wrote essays in the London Review of Books or Jacques Rancière contributed an elegant elaboration of Hannah Arendt's argument about rights in the South Atlantic Quarterly (subscription required). The argument was decided by the 126,000 or so Iraqis killed during the U.S. invasion and in the civil war that followed. No one will be invading a terrible but stable regime to hang its leader anytime soon; at least we won't. Now, in 2011, we are bringing the troops gradually home from Afghanistan and Iraq, the results mixed. Neither war was waged for human rights, and it seems clear that humanitarianism shouldn't have been part of the discussion, not in the way it was. How humanitarian is it to unleash one civil war and reignite another?

In Libya, we find ourselves faced with a more classic, '90s-style intervention. The background could not be more stark: A courageous rebellion against a brutal and unbalanced 40-year dictatorship was inspired by the nearby uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia. Unlike the dictators of those countries, Muammar Qaddafi gave no thought to stepping down. The rebels armed themselves and began to march toward Tripoli, capturing several towns on the way. They carried Kalashnikovs and RPGs. Qaddafi's days were numbered! But his army had jets, and tanks, and heavy artillery. Once it began a counteroffensive, the rebels proved powerless. They retreated and retreated, until Qaddafi's forces reached the outskirts of Benghazi, the largest city in the Libyan east and the heart of the rebellion. Qaddafi took to the radio. "It's over," he told the rebels. "We are coming tonight. Prepare yourselves. We will find you in your closets. We will show no mercy and no pity." People on the ground began to predict the massacre of Benghazi. They even used the word genocide, if only to disclaim it: "Not a slaughter amounting to genocide," clarified the New York Review of Books, "but almost certainly a bloodbath." (And what was the exact word these exquisite splitters of hairs had in mind for the killing resulting from NATO bombardment?) TheNew Yorker's understated Jon Lee Anderson was in Benghazi as Qaddafi's army approached. He had been watching the hapless rebels for weeks, growing increasingly alarmed at their inadequate arms and training. Now artillery could be heard on the edge of town; in the city's lone functioning Internet cafe the young people updated their Facebook profiles. Social media weren't going to help them now. "The war was finally coming to Benghazi," Anderson wrote.

And then it didn't. NATO jets swooped in, forcing Qaddafi's army back. Benghazi was saved. Nor was it a unilateral mission. The Arab League had sought the intervention; none other than Lebanon, home of Hezbollah (still furious at Qaddafi for the "disappearing" of a Lebanese Shiite chief in the late '70s), sponsored the resolution in the U.N. Security Council. The White House had the finesse to "lead from behind," as they put it. And the rebels, having taken several cities in the first weeks of the uprising, had established what international law calls "belligerent rights"—they were a force that could claim some legitimacy both inside and outside the country. Many of the arguments that should have given pause to American policymakers before the Iraq war, and to some extent during the Kosovo bombing, were moot here. This intervention was U.N.-approved, and seemed to emerge from a genuine concern for the casualties that would have ensued had Qaddafi's forces been allowed to proceed into Benghazi. (A more realpolitik consideration was to place the U.S., belatedly, on the side of the Arab Spring; we would be less resented as the old enabler of Mubarak if we were also the newfoe of Qaddafi.) Ryan Lizza's New Yorker article describing the days leading up to Obama's decision for war singled out Samantha Power, senior director for multilateral affairs on Obama's National Security Council, as one of the motors for the intervention. America was finally choosing values over money.

And yet somehow it gave one a toothache—like the toothache Vronsky had at the end of Anna Karenina, when he went off to Belgrade to humanitarianly aid the Orthodox Christians in their uprising against the Turks. Wars waged by the U.S. are inevitably imperialist; that is part of the toothache. But are they also irredeemably so? Can the local good—the protection of these people or that city—never outweigh the global problem that human rights are, at best, invoked inconsistently and hypocritically, and at worst to excuse any and every war? Humanitarian warfare, clearly bad in principle, often looks good from the standpoint of a particular people at a particular moment, when they are threatened with death. And so the temperamental opponent of intervention can come to feel that while in general he opposes this kind of thing, well, in this case he guesses he supports it—and in that case too, and the next one. He can come to feel like somebody who has principles only for the sake of suspending them. This was the real cause of the toothache—it was déjà vu all over again. In general, you reject humanitarian war—but have you ever met one you didn't initially like? For liberals or leftists who neither automatically support nor automatically oppose all interventions, the Libya war has prompted something paradoxical: mixed feelings in especially pure form. Here the humanitarian motive for intervening has seemed more genuine and decisive than in any prior case. And the chances of doing real good looked favorable. Yet we've got to stop doing these things!

What has been the result? NATO almost immediately expanded the concept of "civilian protection" granted in the U.N. resolution to include regime change—what safety could there be for the rebels if Qaddafi stayed in power? Again, it was hard to argue: Qaddafi was a maniac and a murderer. But Qaddafi held on. One of his residences was bombed, killing a son and several grandchildren, and still he held on. The rebels, while increasing in number and confidence, did not suddenly transform themselves into a well-armed, well-trained fighting force, and militarily a stalemate ensued. Here we were again: An idea that on the face of it was reasonable, and in a certain way "humane," was leading to further deaths, further damage to a country's infrastructure, and a political situation in which the rebels, emboldened by the NATO jets (and, eventually, attack helicopters), refused to negotiate until Qaddafi was gone. Meanwhile the International Criminal Court, the pride and joy of the liberal interventionists, filed suit against Qaddafi for crimes against humanity, thereby putting him beyond the pale. How could you negotiate with someone with nothing to lose? So a nonmilitary solution to a conflict that, Obama said, would be a matter of "days, not weeks," is, as of this writing, further away than ever, even after five months of bombing.

All this could simply be regretted as a well-intentioned plan not working well enough. But that issue of abrogated sovereignty cuts both ways—the American people are supposed to be sovereign, too. The Obama White House's attitude in this has been telling. Not only has Obama failed to seek congressional approval; his lawyers filed a laughable legal brief that argued that America was not even at war. As congressional Republicans correctly pointed out, the administration could not be serious! What could explain this fealty to the letter of international law, and utter contempt for the president's duty to get his wars through Congress?

The answer, it seems to us, can be found in the work of the humanitarian hawks; they have turned the world into a morality play, a ceaseless battle of good versus evil. In Power and the Idealists, his ambivalent farewell to the moralism of the generation of 1968, Paul Berman traced this worldview to the 1960s student left. Born too late to fight Nazis the way their parents did, idealistic young leftists in the prosperous countries of the West looked for Nazis where they could: in university administrations, in American carpet bombers, in the colonialist Israeli state. Even as they grew older and wiser, the hunt for Nazis continued, and continued; in 1999, it led them into Kosovo, and in 2003 it led some of them into the catastrophic invasion of Iraq. Berman was the most perceptive analyst of the humanitarian hawk mindset; Samantha Power was its most compelling exemplar. There are only three kinds of people in her A Problem From Hell: evildoers (Hitler, Pol Pot, Milosevic); saints (Raphael Lemkin, Jan Karski, George McGovern, Peter Galbraith); and cowards (everyone else). You're either with Power or with Pol Pot. The word evil is sprinkled liberally throughout the text (35 appearances), as are slaughter (65), mass murder (25), bloodbath (13), and massacre (99). The function of these words—as well as the word genocide, to whose propagation the book is partly devoted—is to place the evil people beyond the pale of politics, of negotiation, of human intercourse. Would you shake hands with a mass murderer? With the invocation of the word genocide, we move into some other sphere of human relations. Thought, strategy, negotiation shut down; there is only right and wrong, only fight or flight. Which is precisely, in fact, the point.

A politics this morally coercive may explain why a president who is a former law professor, and who came to power with the mandate to restore the rule of law, would so brazenly ignore the Constitution. But a politics this morally coercive is not a politics at all.

What has happened to human rights in the last 20 years is a hijacking, of the sort Napoleon managed with the Declaration of the Rights of Man when he turned Europe into a bloodbath, as Power would put it, under its banner. The search around the globe for genocides to eradicate is the ultimate rights perversion, for it reduces human rights to the right not to be brutally murdered in a particular way that fits the definition of genocide given in the Genocide Convention. This cannot be anyone's idea of a robust human rights. If human rights are to be reclaimed they need first of all to be restored to the realm of politics. Not the realm of morality, which is always and ever a discussion of good versus evil, but politics, a discussion and argument over competing legitimate aims—e.g., the aim of honoring sovereignty and not waging war, versus the aim of protecting the defenseless and ensuring their rights. Morally, it would clearly be better to be a democracy liberated by George W. Bush than a tyranny under Saddam Hussein. Politically, it may be better to bide your time under Saddam than be plunged into a civil war that will kill 100,000 or twice that many. A political rather than moral discussion of human rights might even lead us to acknowledge that a mass murderer like Muammar Qaddafi or George W. Bush has a legitimate constituency whose rights must also be kept in mind.

Meantime the historical record grows long enough for us to ask: Has there ever been a truly successful, truly humanitarian humanitarian intervention? Not of the Vietnamese in Cambodia, who deposed the Khmer Rouge for their own reasons (the Khmer kept crossing the border, and also murdered their entire Vietnamese population), and then replaced them with Hun Sen, who has been ruling Cambodia with an iron fist for more than 30 years. Not the Indian intervention in Bangladesh, under whose cover the Indian government arrested all student protesters in India. And not NATO in Kosovo, which, while it stopped Milosevic and ensured the safety of Kosovo, could not make it a viable state (it is now a failing state likely to be swallowed by Albania), and also led to the ethnic cleansing of the Serb population. Too bad for the Serbs, to be sure; but the creation of a safe space for the expulsion of a civilian population cannot be what anyone had in mind when they launched the planes. That there has never been a successful humanitarian intervention does not mean that there cannot be one in the future. But the evidence is piling up.

Sidi Bouazid, Tunisia - Masyarakat Sidi Bouzid mengatasi sensor berat dan penindasan polis untuk memastikan bahawa pemberontakan mereka tidak luput dari perhatian dalam keheningan.

Para pengunjuk rasa turun ke jalan dengan "batu di satu tangan, sebuah telefon di yang lain," menurut Rochdi Horchani - sebuah relatif Mohamed Bouazizi - yang membantu menerobos pemadaman media.

Sejak hari yang sama dengan pengorbanan-diri dari PKL 26 tahun yang mencetuskan rusuhan menyebabkan kepimpinan Tunisia untuk meninggalkan negara, ahli keluarga dan rakan-rakan menggunakan media sosial untuk berkongsi berita tentang apa yang terjadi di Sidi Bouzid dengan antarabangsa media.

Melanggar melalui media blackout

Mohamed Bouazizi bukan Tunisia pertama untuk menetapkan dirinya sendiri turun dalam aksi protes awam.

Abdesslem Trimech, untuk nama salah satu daripada banyak kes terjadi tanpa adanya perhatian media yang signifikan, menetapkan dirinya dibakar di bandar Monastir pada tarikh 3 Mac selepas menghadapi halangan birokrasi dalam karyanya sendiri sebagai penjual jalanan.

Bukan menjadi jelas bahawa protes yang bermula di Sidi Bouzid akan menyebar ke kota-kota lain. Telah terjadi pertengkaran yang sama antara polis dan penunjuk perasaan di bandar Ben Guerdane, dekat sempadan dengan Libya, pada bulan Ogos.

Perbezaan utama di Sidi Bouzid adalah bahawa penduduk tempatan berjuang untuk mendapatkan berita tentang apa yang terjadi di luar, dan berjaya.

"Kita boleh protes selama dua tahun di sini, tapi tanpa video tidak ada akan mengambil pemberitahuan dari kami," kata Horchani.

Pada tarikh 17 Disember ia dan Ali Bouazizi, sepupu Mohamed Bouazizi, posted a video dari protes damai yang dipimpin oleh ibu pemuda itu di luar bangunan bandar.

Malam itu, video itu ditayangkan pada saluran Mubasher Al Jazeera. baru Al-Jazeera media pasukan, yang trawl web mencari video dari seluruh dunia Arab, telah mengambil rakaman melalui Facebook.

media Tunisia, sebaliknya, mengabaikan pemberontakan berkembang hingga Nessma TV memecah kesunyian pada tarikh 29 Disember.

Dan selain dari inti padat aktivis, Tunisia kebanyakan tidak berani mengumumkan kembali video di Facebook atau bahkan untuk "seperti" mereka, sampai jam terakhir Presiden Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

Namun bahkan jika majoriti diredam tidak aktif berkongsi berita dari protes online sampai pertengahan Januari, 3,6 juta Tunisia pengguna internet - satu pertiga dari penduduk, salah satu tingkat penetrasi tertinggi di benua Afrika, menurut Internet World Stats - adalah mampu mengikuti berita tentang pemberontakan pada berkat media sosial untuk inti solid dari aktivis.

Sepanjang pemberontakan tersebut, pengunjuk rasa Tunisia bergantung agar dapat berkomunikasi antara satu sama lain. Facebook, tidak seperti kebanyakan situs berbagi video, tidak termasuk dalam sensor talian Tunisia.

Non-internet pengguna terus mengikuti aksi protes melalui saluran berita satelit termasuk Al Jazeera, Perancis 24 dan, bermain catch-up pada pesaingnya, Al-Arabiya.

The hashtags di Twitter menceritakan kisah tentang bagaimana pemberontakan berubah dari tempatan ke kebangsaan dalam lingkup: # bouazizi menjadi # sidibouzid, kemudian # tunisia.

perang Media mendapatkan fizikal

Pihak berkuasa Tunisia di kawasan-kawasan tersebut cuba segala cara untuk menggagalkan aliran video. Ada internet dan elektrik padam di Sidi Bouzid dan bandar-bandar jiran.

Pada tarikh 3 Januari, string aktivis web dikejutkan oleh sebuah, sistematik kerajaan menyelenggarakan operasi "phishing" yang bertujuan memusnahkan perbezaan pendapat online mereka.

aktivis web Blogger, dan seorang rapper yang telah menerbitkan sebuah lagu mengkritik kerajaan di YouTube ditangkap pada tarikh 7 Januari.

Terlepas dari usaha untuk membungkam mereka, orang-orang pergi ke panjang ekstrim untuk memastikan video mereka yang diposting di web.

Ali Bouazizi masih memiliki mata hitam di mana polis memukul pembalasan atas video-nya.

Dari ruang sidang ke Facebook

Dhafer Salhi, seorang peguam tempatan yang menyaksikan tindakan Mohamed Bouazizi tentang bakar diri, mengatakan ia meminta ketua polis untuk bertemu dengan keluarga pemuda hari itu untuk cuba meredakan kemarahan di jalan.

"Saya katakan [ketua polis] bahawa jika anda tidak mendapatkan [para Bouazizi keluarga] di, negara akan dibakar," kata Salhi. "Dia menolak, oleh arogansi dan ketidaktahuan."

Frustrasi dengan kurangnya akauntabiliti oleh pegawai, Salhi menjadi peserta aktif dalam protes.

Peguam yang digunakan untuk dapat mengatur protes, menghantar jemputan kepada rakan-rakannya.

Dia adalah salah satu aktivis web yang disasarkan oleh kerajaan Tunisia dalam operasi phishing. Mereka berjaya merampas nya akaun Facebook, tetapi Salhi hanya membuat sebuah account baru.

Pengunjuk rasa menetapkan diri

Protes yang meletus di Sidi Bouzid memang spontan, namun mereka ditandai dengan tahap organisasi dan kecanggihan yang muncul didasarkan pada penentuan semata-mata mereka yang menyertai di dalamnya.

The Sidi Bouzid cabang UGTT terlibat dalam pemberontakan daripada satu hari.

Sementara kepimpinan nasional dari Tunisia Umum Syarikat Pekerja (UGTT) umumnya dipandang sebagai kurang kemerdekaan politik dari kelas pemerintah, wakil serantau mempunyai reputasi untuk penglibatan berani.

"Kekuatan pendorong utama di balik pengunjuk rasa ini adalah Sidi Bouzid kesatuan pekerja, yang sangat kuat," kata Affi Fethi, yang mengajar fizik di sebuah sekolah tinggi tempatan.

Untuk Fethi, itu adalah ketika polis membunuh para penunjuk perasaan di bandar-bandar di dekatnya termasuk Menzel Bouziane dan Regueb bahawa protes daerah menjadi pemberontakan kebangsaan.

"Orang yang membantu pemberontakan ini yang paling hangat ialah Ben Ali sendiri," katanya. "Kenapa dia tidak membuat [polis] peluru menggunakan getah?"

Semua orang yang diwawancara untuk artikel ini sepakat bahawa tidak ada parti pembangkang - apabila ada pihak bebas di bawah kuasa Ben Ali - yang terlibat dalam menyelaraskan protes awal, atau bahkan dalam menawarkan sokongan moral.

Akar Rumput dari beberapa ahli gerakan pembangkang itu, bagaimanapun, memainkan peranan aktif sebagai aktivis individu (Ali Bouazizi, misalnya, adalah anggota Parti Demokratik Progresif).

Melihat dari jauh teater politik

Pelajar, guru, pengangguran dan peguam bergabung di Sidi Bouzid dan bandar-bandar jiran, mencabar penyeksaan dan penangkapan.

Nacer Beyaou, mahasiswa, mengatakan pemberontakan itu tentang kebebasan dan kesempatan kerja.

Orang-orang Sidi Bouzid wilayah mereka merasa diabaikan, katanya, dan menderita daripada "kemiskinan hina".

Namun sekarang bahawa momentum politik telah pindah ke ibukota, ramai penduduk tempatan ketakutan bahawa daerah mereka sekali lagi telah dikesampingkan.

"Mereka sudah lupa tentang kami sepenuhnya. Tidak ada seorang menteri tunggal dari Sidi Bouzid," kata mahasiswa.

Menyimpulkan kombinasi dari kemiskinan dan penghinaan bahawa banyak orang di Sidi Bouzid mengatakan mendorong mereka untuk bangkit sebagai protes, orang lain begini:

"Setiap hari saya meminta ayah saya untuk memberikan satu dinar [70 sen], dan aku tiga puluh tahun."

Sebuah tanda ketidakpastian yang banyak merasa di sini, orang itu terus terang dalam pandangan politiknya, namun mengatakan ia lebih suka untuk tidak memberikan namanya "dalam kes Ben Ali kembali".

Sekarang para ahli politik di Tunisia telah mengambil alih, katanya itu seperti duduk kembali dan menonton teater.

Dengan euforia awal yang datang ketika Ben Ali melarikan diri cepat memudar, soalan di sini adalah apakah atau tidak akan ada keuntungan politik dan ekonomi yang nyata bagi Sidi Bouzid dalam "baru" Tunisia.

Kesimpulan dari beberapa siri dua bahagian. Lihat juga: "Kehidupan tragis dari PKL," cerita Muhammad Bouazizi.

Kemarahan rakyat akan meletup bila kerajaan terus menekan dan melakukan kezaliman..Kemarahan tadi akan bergabung dan menjadi suatu kuasa yang amat kuat dan mampu untuk memusnahkan apa sahaj...

Di Tunisia rakyat sudah tidak mampu lagi untuk melayan nafsu gajah isteri seorang Presiden lalu bangun dan bergabung untuk menuntut hak yang sepatutnya adalah milik mereka....

Di Mesir puluhan ribu rakyat bangun membantah tindakan Presiden yang tamak dan gila kuasa sehingga sanggup melihat rakyat hidup dalam penderitaan kerana kenaikan harga barang...

Di Malaysia ? ayuh rakyat kita bangun menentang pemimpin yang hidup dalam kemewahan melampau diatas keringat dan kepayahan rakyat,,,,,Bangkit...Bangkitttt...Rakyat Bangkitt..
          "Portraits" from a movement Inspiration for Oakland Standard project stretches back to '1968'         

According to artist Lucy Raven, the roots of Occupy Oakland run deep.

"Oakland has a progressive radical history," Raven told me as she
and her partner, journalist Alex Abramovich, made their way back to the
Bay Area after interviewing retired Oakland Police Chief Anthony
Batts about recent Occupy actions. "The seeds sown in 1968 are flowering
now," Raven said.

The pair should know. They spent several months capturing the
stories of people, including Batts, whose lives have been directly
touched by Occupy Oakland, which is arguably the most well-known branch
of an international protest movement sparked by recent revolutions and
demonstrations in Tunisia, Algeria, Egypt and other countries.

couple's resulting project, "Portraits from the Occupation," is a
showcase of 16 filmed vignettes ranging from three to twelve minutes in
length that explores the movement unfolding in a historically
progressive city. The project, which was commissioned by OMCA's Oakland Standard is online on the Standard's website at

The East Coast transplants said the idea for their work arose from The 1968 Exhibit, which neither had seen before they started filming.
The project got its start when Abramovich and Raven began wondering what
it might have been like to be around in 1968.

"We knew there was a lot of footage that had been shot of Black
Panthers," the journalist said, musing on the Oakland-based group. But
everything the pair came across covering events of that year "had zoomed
in on one side."
"We didn't see anything that was a totally objective 360 degree
view of everything that happened," Abramovich remembered, and drew a
parallel to what he described as partisan approaches
to documenting Occupy.

So he and Raven decided to create a series that
focused as neutrally as possible on people involved with or impacted by
the movement.
They began with a handful of videotaped interviews that quickly
swelled to a dozen and culminated in the 16 that debuted at the Oakland
Museum of California on May Day.

Raven handled the camera and sound while Abramovich asked subjects four basic questions about Occupy Oakland.
Filmed in locations such as homes, offices and the street, the
videos paint unbiased portraits of distinct, yet intertwined lives.
The couple drew inspiration from Andy Warhol's mid-Sixties screen
tests, a series of brief, silent films in which the famed artist
observed friends and acquaintances in front of stark, empty backgrounds.

Like those screen test, "Portraits" is not one cohesive film. "It's
a time capsule," Abramovich explained. "They're not made to be seen all
together. People can make the connections themselves."

Ultimately, the pair's greatest achievement may be the creation of a
visual record where viewers can get an honest look at one of the 21st
century's most dynamic social movements, as well as some of its players. YouTube footage and other sources give no real sense of participants and bystanders, Abramovich added.
"We wanted to be able to attach names to faces," he said, "and humanize them."

          Comment on The Eye of the Storm by TS Update-(Eye of the Storm) « Tunisia Security Update        
[...] “the eye of a storm is a place suspended in time and space, caught between the past and in a... [...]
          Return Of The Star Wars Film Crew: Star Wars VII To Go Back To U.K.        
When I think of Star Wars, I think of fabulous space mystics with swords that go “whoosh.” And when I think of Star Wars locations, I think Tunisia, Death Valley, and Elstree Studios, one of several studios in Elstree and Borehamwood, England. So does Kathleen Kennedy, George Lucas’ heir to the Lucasfilm throne. Kennedy and company have announced they’ll be returning to the studio where most of Lucasfilm’s movies were shot.
          Inside the Middle East Q&A: Dr. Moncef Marzouki on Tunisia, Democracy and Human Rights        

Excerpt from an April 3rd installment of the “Inside the Middle East" Q&A Series, with Dr. Moncef Marzouki, former President of Tunisia from 2011 to 2014, on Tunisia's Arab Spring uprising, transition to democracy, and ongoing struggle for human rights and economic and social development, including his own role in Tunisia's historic transition.

          A “bite” of Tunisia        

Here I am back from lovely Tunisia! Lovely, lovely…

Lovely landscapes…

Lovely monuments and ruins…

Remember I told you I went to visit a friend? What I didn’t tell you is that my friend works as a head chef in a 5 star hotel in Tunis.

This is Walid, the hotel's pastry chef. I had vip access to the pastry kitchen and got to taste some yummy stuff. Oh yes, lucky me!

I also ate a lot of local food! Gotta love that Coke in arabiac …

And tea… I drank a lot of tea! This one is green tea with pine nuts. Amazing stuff!

They love tea, this is where locals drink theirs. It was inside a market.

And this was the market itself, such a fun place to visit...

... or to buy food. I have no idea what this guy was selling but it must have been good since everyone was buying it. It looked like a huge thick pancake.

Instead of the funny looking pancake I bought some traditional sweets. I bought sweets, what a surprise!...

One of my favorite parts of the vacations was having dinner at Walid’s house (the pastry chef) with his family. Homey traditional tunisian food! And how cool is their living room?

And when I say food, I mean lots of it! Salad, fish, cannelloni with harissa, couscous…

And because I was not tired of local food, the next day I went to a local market. Don't you just love to visit markets when you're abroad?

But besides all they food, I loved their doors. I have tons of pictures of doors.

I really loved their doors! So much in fact, I wanted to bring this one home with me. Unfortunately it didn’t fit my suitcase…

Good thing the traditional sweets were small and did fit my bags. Hummm let’s see, how many of each will I take?

Aren't they gorgeous? And how much patience do you have to have to place each pistachio and pine nuts like that?

I’m not sure if I’ll recreate these at home but I did buy some specific ingredients, I can’t wait to give them a go! But now I'll have to go back to real life...

          Sponge cake waffles        

What to do when your cake batter doesn’t fit all in the cake pan?

Of course, the most logical thing would be to do some cupcakes or even a mini cake in a smaller pan. That’s what I usually do anyway. But this time, when left with some sponge cake batter, my waffle iron started calling me. I’m not rude, so I answered.

This is a very easy and basic recipe for sponge cake. To tell you the truth I usually use my grandma’s sponge cake recipe but this is the one I used for the cake I was making, and so for the waffles. It actually worked pretty well.

  • 3 eggs
  • 90 gr (3 oz) sugar
  • 90 gr (3 oz) flour

Whip the eggs and sugar until they double their volume and are very foamy. Add the flour and mix delicately. Bake in a 180ºC (350ºF) pre heated oven.

To make the waffles, just dump the batter into the hot waffle iron. Make sure to spray it or brush it with some oil or butter, since there’s no fat in the batter (except for the yolks).

This was probably the end of my “leftover cake batter cupcakes”, I rather have “leftover cake batter waffles” instead! They were good! I enjoyed mine with honey and even made a wee sandwich with jam that was quite nice! And I don’t even like jam that much…

I’m pretty much sure they don’t eat much waffles in Tunisia, but I’ll let you know what they do eat, since that’s where I’m heading tomorrow. I’m going to spend a few days in Tunis with a friend that lives there. Couscous here I go!

          Comment on Kitesurf destinations by month – part 1 by Brightmen        
July Cabarete, Fuerteventura, Tenerife, Mauritius, Naxos-Greece, Raratonga, Leucate-France, The gorge-USA, Pirlanta-Turkey, Bol-Croatia, Foddini-Italy, Seychelles*, solomon Islands, Maui-USA, fiji, Tahiti, Essaouira-Morocco, Guincho-Portugal, el yaque-venezuela, rhodes-greece, levkada-greece, dakhla - morocco, Corsica, paros-Greece, porto pollo-Sardinia, Lanzarote, El Gouna-Egypt, Safaga-Egypt, Sinai, eilat-Israel, Paramali-Cyprus, Sri Lanka**, Maui-USA, Aruba-Carib, Puclaro-Chile, Mancora-Peru August Cabarete, El Gouna-Egypt, Fuerteventura, Tenerife, Brazil, Mauritius, cape verde, Naxos-Greece, Raratonga, The gorge-USA, Bol-Croatia, Pirlanta-Turkey, Foddini-Italy, Zanzibar-Tanzania, Guincho-Portugal, Seychelles*, solomon Islands, Rangiroa-F.polynesia, Maui-USA, fiji, Tahiti, Essaouira-Morocco, Corsica, Rhodes-Greece, Paramali-Cyprus paros-Greece, Lanzarote, Safaga-Egypt, Eilat-Israel, Sinai, Sri Lanka**, Maui-USA, Aruba-Carib, Puclaro-Chile, Mancora-Peru September El Gouna-Egypt, Tucus-Brazil, Mauritius, Pirlanta-Turkey, Zanzibar-Tanzania, Seychelles*, solomon Islands, Rangiroa-F.polynesia, Sumbawa-indonesia, Maui-USA, Madagascar, UK, Corsica, rosslare-Ireland, Canada, Germany, Israel, Sinai, Noordwijk ann Zee-Netherlands, Puclaro-Chile, Mancora-Peru, Cumbuco Brazil October Tucus-Brazil, Western Oz, Sumbawa-indonesia, Madagascar, New Caledonia, Chile, Watergate-UK, Esbjerg-Denmark, rosslare-Ireland, Buenos aires-Argentina, Carmelo-Uruguay, Noordwijk ann Zee-Netherlands, Cape Hatteras-USA, Tarifa, Puclaro-Chile, Mancora-Peru, Cumbuco Brazil November Melbourne, Tucus-Brazil, Western Oz, Namibia, Sumbawa-indonesia, Auckland-NZ, Madagascar, New Caledonia, Buenos aires-Argentina, Carmelo-Uruguay, Hong Kong, Leucate-France, Noordwijk ann Zee-Netherlands, Tarifa, Puclaro-Chile, Cumbuco Brazil December Melbourne, Tucus-Brazil, Western Oz, cape town-South Africa La ventana-mexico, Namibia, Copal-Costa Rica, Mui Ne Bay-Vietnam, Auckland-NZ, Nashiro-Japan, Baja, New Caledonia, Boracay-philipines, Buenos aires-Argentina, Carmelo-Uruguay, Monastir-Tunisia, Hong Kong, Leucate-France, Cape Hatteras-USA, Tarifa, Puclaro-Chile, Yemen-Red Sea
          Pencegahan dan Penanggulangan Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV)         
Pengenalan MERS-CoV

—  Novel Corona Virus (virus Corona baru) yang menyebabkan penyakit pernapasan pada manusia berjangkit di Saudi Arabia sejak bulan Maret 2012, sebelumnya virus ini tidak pernah ditemukan.
—  The Corona Virus Study Group of The International Committee on Taxonomy of viruses(Komite International Taxonomy Virus) 28 Mei 2013 sepakat Virus corona baru bernama Middle East Respiratory Syndrome-Corona Virus (MERS-CoV) baik dalam komunikasi publik maupun komunikasi ilmiah.
—  Virus SARS tahun 2003 juga merupakan kelompok virus Corona dan dapat menimbulkan pneumonia berat akan tetapi berbeda dari virus MERS-CoV.
—  MERS-CoV adalah penyakit sindrom pernapasan yang disebabkan oleh virus Corona yang menyerang saluran pernapasan mulai dari yg ringan sampai berat.
—  Gejalanya klinis pada umumnya demam, batuk, gangguan pernafasan akut, timbul gambaran pneumonia, kadang-kadang terdapat gejala saluran pencernaan misalnya diare.

Jumlah kasus di dunia dan Kondisi Indonesia saat ini

—  Berdasarkan laporan WHO, sejak September 2012 sampai September 2013, telah ditemukan 130 kasus konfirmasi MERS-CoV dengan 58 meninggal (CFR: 44,6%). Sejak September 2012 sampai dengan Juni 2016, terdapat 1.399 kasus MERS pada manusia dimana 594 meninggal (CFR: 42,5%).
—  Hingga saat ini belum ada laporan kasus MERS-CoV di Indonesia.
—  Kelompok risiko tinggi mencakup usia lanjut (lebih dari 60 tahun), anak anak, wanita hamil dan penderita penyakit kronis (diabetes mellitus, Hipertensi, Penyakit Jantung dan ginjal pernafasan, dan defisiensi immunitas. 
—  Belum terdapat pengobatan spesifik dan belum terdapat vaksin untuk manusia

Masa Inkubasi

Masa inkubasi untuk MERS (waktu antara ketika seseorang terkena MERS-CoV dan ketika mereka mulai memiliki gejala) biasanya sekitar 5 atau 6 hari, tetapi dapat berkisar antara 2 sampai 14 hari.

Cara penularan MERS-CoV

—  Virus ini dapat menular antar manusia secara terbatas, dan tidak terdapat penularan penularan antar manusia secara luas dan bekelanjutan. Mekanisme penularan belum diketahui.
—  Kemungkinan penularannya dapat melalui :  (a) Langsung : melalui percikan dahak (droplet) pada saat pasien batuk atau bersin. (b)Tidak Langsung: melalui kontak dengan benda yang terkontaminasi virus.

Klasifikasi Virus
Group               :
Group IV
((+) ssRNA)
Order                :
Family              :
Subfamily         :
Genus               :
Species              :

Coronavirus merupakan virus berbentuk bulat dengan diameter sekitar 100-120 nm.

Kelelawar diduga berpotensi sebagai sumber spillover MERS-CoV dari hewan ke manusia

Ekspresi dipeptidyl peptidase 4 (DPP4) / CD26 pada permukaan sel berfungsi sebagai reseptor pada sel kelelawar terhadap Infeksi MERS-CoV.
MERS-CoV dapat tumbuh di dalam sel kelelawar.
Analisis filogenetik gen replikase dari coronavirus bahwa Mers-CoV terkait erat dengan Bat coronavirus Tylonycteris HKU4 dan Bat coronavirus Pipistrellus HKU5, yang merupakan prototipe dua spesies dalam garis keturunan C dari genus Betacoronavirus.

Bukti Unta terinfeksi MERS-CoV

—  Agustus tahun 2013, unta dromedary pertama kalinya diduga sebagai sumber infeksi pada manusia karena telah  diketahui terdapat antibodi Mers-CoV pada dromedary dari Spanyol (Canary Islands) dan Oman.
—  Terbukti bahwa:
(a)  Genom MERS-CoV terdeteksi pada swab hidung dari dromedary di Mesir, Iran, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, Pakistan dan Qatar;
(b)Virus MERS-CoV diisolasi dari dromedary di Mesir, Saudi Arabia dan Qatar.

Tiga spesies CoV terdeteksi pada unta dromedaris (unta berponok satu)

                   1.MERS-CoV (betacoronavirus, kelompok C);
                   2.Betacoronavirus 1 (betacoronavirus, kelompok A); 
                   3. Human CoV 229E (alphacoronavirus).
—  Meskipun CoV terdeteksi hampir sepanjang tahun pada hewan tersebut, prevalensi yang relatif lebih tinggi adalah MERS-CoV dan Camelid α-CoV (diamati dari Desember 2014 hingga April 2015 di Saudi Arabia).
—  Unta muda (berusia 0,5-1 tahun) menderita infeksi pernapasan tertinggi baik oleh MERS-CoV maupun Camelid α-CoV.
—  Unta muda tampaknya memainkan peran epidemiologi yang lebih penting dalam memelihara kedua virus tsb.

Penularan dari Hewan ke Manusia

—  Coronavirus (CoVs) mampu menginfeksi manusia muncul melalui penularan lintas-induk semang dari hewan.
—  Ada bukti substansial terdapat kejadian MERS-CoV pada manusia dimana penularanannya berasal dari unta dromedari (unta berponok satu).
—  Sebagian besar didasarkan pada fakta bahwa virus yang terkait erat dengan MERS-CoV telah diisolasi dari unta berponok satu. 
—  Unta berponok satu yang seropositif Mers-CoV distribusi geografisnya cukup luas, maka masih memungkinkan terjadi penularan lanjutan pada waktu mendatang. 
—  Pemahaman lebih lanjut tentang penularan MERS-CoV lintas induk semang diperlukan untuk menurunkan risiko penularan virus ini kepada manusia.
—  Jalur penularan dari hewan ke manusia belum sepenuhnya dipahami
—  Unta cenderung menjadi induk semang reservoir utama Mers-COV dan menjadi sumber infeksinya dari hewan ke manusia.
—  MERS-CoV telah diisolasi dari unta di Mesir, Oman, Qatar, dan Arab Saudi. Mers-CoV tersebut identik dengan strain manusia.
—  Banyak spesies dan strain Coronavirus yang memiliki karakteristik yang berbeda, yang menyebabkan berbagai tanda penyakit dari ringan sampai berat, baik pada manusia maupun hewan.

Penyebaran Mers-CoV di beberapa negara

Sampai saat ini wabah sporadis MERS-CoV yang terjadi pada kasus manusia telah dideteksi di 17 negara :
          Timur Tengah : Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Uni Emirat Arab, dan Yaman
          Eropa : Perancis, Jerman, Yunani, Italia, dan Inggris
          Afrika : Tunisia dan Mesir
          Asia: Malaysia dan Philipina
          Amerika : Amerika Serikat

Penularan MERS-CoV
—  Modus utama dari virus shedding dari MERS- dan Camelid α-CoVs adalah dari saluran pernapasan unta dromedaris.
—  Lebih dari setengah dari swab hidung Mers-COV-positif (56,6%) juga positif untuk camelid α-CoVs, menunjukkan sering infeksi campuran dari virus ini.
—  Dalam survei dari swab hidung ditemukan dua hewan berisi semua tiga spesies CoVs.
—  Prevalensi tinggi virus ini menunjukkan bahwa mereka enzootic di unta dromedaris.
—  Untuk menguji keragaman genetik dan evolusi CoVs unta, sequencing metagenomic dilakukan dengan menggunakan bahan swab asli yang positif dalam screening RT-PCR awal.
—  Tiga puluh delapan sampel ini terdapat infeksi campuran dari MERS-CoV dengan satu atau kedua dari dua spesies lain CoV, tetapi hanya 14 sampel yang dihasilkan dua genom lengkap.
—  β1-HKU23-CoVs telah terdeteksi pada unta di Dubai, dan camelid α-CoVs berhubungan erat dengan virus yang diisolasi dari alpacas di California pada tahun 2007.
—  Camelid α-CoVs sekelompok dengan humam CoV 229E, agen penyebab pilek umum pada manusia.
—  Prevalensi tinggi infeksi tanpa gejala dengan camelid α-CoVs di unta Arab Saudi menekankan peran penting bahwa spesies ini berperan dalam ekologi CoV.

Vaksinasi MERS-CoV pada hewan

—  Vaksin MERS-CoV dapat mengurangi jumlah virus yang diproduksi di unta yang terinfeksi, hal ini berpotensi menurunkan risiko bagi manusia. Mengurangi jumlah virus pada ekskresi setelah vaksinasi pada unta sehingga berpotensi mengurangi penularan ke manusia.
—  Vaksin (strain lemah virus MERS) secara signifikan dapat menurunkan keberadaan virus MERS dalam ingus dan air liur unta (Bart Haagmans, Science, Januari 2016).
—  Penularan MERS ke manusia terjadi terutama melalui ekskresi hidung unta dromedaris.
—  MERS pertama kali diidentifikasi di Arab Saudi pada 2012 dan telah mempengaruhi sekitar 1.400 unta dromedaris, menurut sebuah tulisan ilmiah yang terpisah pada kehadiran virus dan menyebar di negara itu (Science, Januari 2016). Penelitian ini menegaskan ingus unta sebagai pembawa utama virus.
—  Wabah besar MERS manusia dimulai Mei 2014. Virus menyebabkan demam, batuk dan sesak napas, dan juga dapat menyebabkan gagal ginjal dan pembekuan darah. Menyebabkan kematian sekitar sepertiga dari kasus manusia yang dilaporkan (Vaccine / scientific paper).
—  Untuk menguji mutu vaksin, 8 ekor unta ditantang dengan MERS-CoV.  Empat ekor telah divaksinasi melalui tetes hidung dan suntikan. Empat unta lainnya tidak divaksinasi sebagai kelompok kontrol.
—  Unta yang divaksinasi mengembangkan antibodi terhadap MERS dan tidak menunjukkan gejala infeksi. Tapi hewan pada kelompok kontrol memperlihatkan gejala klinis termasuk keluar ingus.
—  Terdapat tiga strain (MERS-CoV, Betacoronavirus 1, Human CoV 229E) yang berbeda, sehingga satu vaksin tidak mungkin efektif digunakan untuk semua kasus.
—  Hal ini tidak mungkin untuk mengembangkan vaksin tunggal untuk mencegah tiga atau lebih spesies coronavirus (Huachen Zhu, Universitas Hong Kong, Cina).
—  Belum diketahui berapa lama kekebalan protektif yang diinduksi oleh vaksin akan bertahan (Haagmans, Erasmus MC, Belanda)

Uji Lab MERS-CoV

—  Spesimen untuk pemeriksaan virus MERS-CoV adalah spesimen yang berasal dari saluran nafas bawah seperti dahak, aspirat trakea dan bilasan bronkoalveolar. Spesimen saluran pernafasan atas (nasofaring dan orofaring) tetap diambil terutama bila spesimen saluran pernafasan bawah tidak memungkinkan dan pasien tidak memiliki tanda-tanda atau gejala infeksi pada saluran pernapasan bawah.
—  Virus MERS-CoV juga dapat ditemukan di dalam cairan tubuh lainnya  seperti darah, urin, dan feses tetapi kegunaan sampel tersebut di dalam mendiagnosa infeksi MERS-COV belum pasti. Pemeriksaan diagnosis laboratorium kasus infeksi MERS-CoV dilakukan dengan metoda RT-PCR dan dikonfirmasi dengan teknik sekuensing.

Diagnostic Kit untuk Hewan Diregistrasi OIE

§  Disease: Middle East Respiratory Syndrome
§  Name of the Diagnostic kit: BIONOTE® Rapid MERS-CoV Ag Test;
§  Name of the Manufacturer: BioNote, Inc
§  Contact:
§  Type of kit: Immuno Chromatographic Assay
§  Purpose(s) validated: Resolution No 15 adopted in May 2016 by the World Assembly of the OIE Delegates
§  Date and Number of registration: May 2016
§  Registration Number: 20160212
§  Validation studies Abstract Sheet: AS Rapid MERS-CoV Test
§  Kit insert: User's manual.

Pencegahan Penularan MERS-CoV

—  Masyarakat yang akan berpergian ke negara-negara yang terdapat MERS-CoV menderita demam dan gejala sakit saluran pernapasan bagian bawah (batuk, atau sesak napas ) dalam kurun waktu 14 hari sesudah perjalanan, segera periksakan ke dokter.
—  Belum ada vaksin khusus yang dapat mencegah terjadinya penyakit ini.
—  Pencegahan tetap dapat dilakukan dengan memperkuat imunitas tubuh.
—  Tutuplah hidung dan mulut dengan tisu ketika batuk ataupun bersin dan segera buang tisu tersebut ke tempat sampah.
—  Hindari menyentuh mata, hidung dan mulut dengan tangan yang belum dicuci.
—  Menghindari kontak erat dengan penderita, menggunakan masker, menjaga kebersihan tangan dengan sering mencuci tangan dengan sabun dan menerapkan etika batuk ketika sakit.
—  Gunakan masker dan jaga sanitasi tubuh dan lingkungan. Bila diperlukan bagi penderita penyakit kronik, di kerumunan orang, badan tidak fit dan lain lain gunakan masker.

The 2012 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to the European Union (EU) "for over six decades contributed to the advancement of peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights in Europe". In other words, for not killing each other for six decades. What an achievement of civilization! European countries successfully managed to export war to other countries and keep their home clean of massacres. This has got to be celebrated! Almost a third (31%) of the world's weapon exports between 2004 and 2008 belonged to the EU: Germany (10%), France (8%), United Kingdom (4%), Netherlands (3%), Spain (2%), Italy (2%) and Schweden (2%), according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). In its comment on the award, the institute consequently noted:

‘To be relevant for its citizens and to become a significant global player, the European Union must achieve peace and prosperity abroad as well as at home.’

In other words, the award is disregarding the EU's involvement in recent NATO wars and its often slavish following of the USA's hegemonic, aggressive, failed foreign politics. Let's not forget that among Bush's "coalition of the willing" (nations to invade Iraq) there were several EU countries (see Bush's White House Press Release, March 27, 2003). SIPRI's hint at "prosperity abroad" is also worth noting. Wasn't the EU and its citizens an essential part of the oppressive systems ruling in Tunisia, Egypt and Lybia until the "Arab Spring"? (See e.g. Smart Villages and the City of the Dead).

Moreover, with similar arguments as given below, one could justify that the US warlords deserve the Nobel Peace Prize much more than the EU: there was no war on American soil since the American Civil War, 1861. (I don't count the conflicts concerning Hawai or Alaska because these US-controlled territories became official US-states only after these conflicts).

Wouldn't it be time to think of awarding people or organizations doing a real essential job in preventing or avoiding war? Isn't the international arms trade one of the most serious threats to peace? Isn't the uncontrolled and unpunished warmongering (of mass-media) one of the most serious threats to peace as well? Why aren't people and organisations awarded which successfully fight against international arms trade and warmongering? Because there are none?

"The Nobel Peace Prize for 2012
The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided that the Nobel Peace Prize for 2012 is to be awarded to the European Union (EU). The union and its forerunners have for over six decades contributed to the advancement of peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights in Europe.
In the inter-war years, the Norwegian Nobel Committee made several awards to persons who were seeking reconciliation between Germany and France. Since 1945, that reconciliation has become a reality. The dreadful suffering in World War II demonstrated the need for a new Europe. Over a seventy-year period, Germany and France had fought three wars. Today war between Germany and France is unthinkable. This shows how, through well-aimed efforts and by building up mutual confidence, historical enemies can become close partners.
In the 1980s, Greece, Spain and Portugal joined the EU. The introduction of democracy was a condition for their membership. The fall of the Berlin Wall made EU membership possible for several Central and Eastern European countries, thereby opening a new era in European history. The division between East and West has to a large extent been brought to an end; democracy has been strengthened; many ethnically-based national conflicts have been settled.
The admission of Croatia as a member next year, the opening of membership negotiations with Montenegro, and the granting of candidate status to Serbia all strengthen the process of reconciliation in the Balkans. In the past decade, the possibility of EU membership for Turkey has also advanced democracy and human rights in that country.
The EU is currently undergoing grave economic difficulties and considerable social unrest. The Norwegian Nobel Committee wishes to focus on what it sees as the EU's most important result: the successful struggle for peace and reconciliation and for democracy and human rights. The stabilizing part played by the EU has helped to transform most of Europe from a continent of war to a continent of peace.
The work of the EU represents "fraternity between nations", and amounts to a form of the "peace congresses" to which Alfred Nobel refers as criteria for the Peace Prize in his 1895 will.
Oslo, 12 October 2012"