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Robin Yassin-Kassab

Archive for February 2011

Massacre in Benghazi

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An update from our freedom-loving friend in Tripoli.

Internet is restored in Libya after 6 hours offline. Kaddafi’s regime is circulating messages to people in Benghazi saying: ‘’Mercenaries in east Libya are killing people and water has been poisoned by unidentified source’’. Gaddafi is facing the fight of his life; not only he is violently responding to protesters, but he is taking advantages of those mercenaries coming from African poor countries – who barely understand or are aware of what’s going on inside Libya and tempt them with small amount of money to KILL Libyans. Around 100 martyrs were killed in 4 days only!

Today, I called my friend in Benghazi. She told me: ‘’We are hungry, no food supplies for us; people are dying more and more everyday, women and children are amongst the dead in the horrific Benghazi massacre, we are isolated from the media coverage.” She also told me that yesterday three tanks tried to roll in but the soldiers abandoned them and citizens burned them. And yesterday night, the hospitals announced 40 dead martyrs including children (one child died- 13 years old), and this morning saw the death of 15 martyrs. Hospitals are running out of medical supplies & are calling for urgent need of medical aid; gun shots barely stop, and helicopters are firing and throwing bombs on protestors. Yet beyond all this mess, she is proud that people in east Libya are doing their best to recover from the virus that has been ruling Libya for over 40 years.

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Written by Robin Yassin-Kassab

February 19, 2011 at 10:56 pm

Posted in Libya

Syria Speeding Up

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Three weeks ago I wrote that Syria was not about to experience a popular revolution. Although I’m no longer sure of anything after the events in Tunisia and Egypt (and Libya, Algeria, Jordan, Yemen and Bahrain) – and although it’s made me unpopular in certain quarters – I’m sticking to my original judgement. No revolution in Syria just yet.

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Written by Robin Yassin-Kassab

February 19, 2011 at 12:44 am

Latest from Libya

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Our friend in Tripoli reports:

It was only one day and it has already witnessed the burial service of 30 martyrs in Hawari cemetery in Benghazi. A source from al-Jalaa hospital in Benghazi confirmed that most of the dead people are between the ages of 13 to 36 years old, including 40 to 50 injured people. The number of martyrs and injured people are growing all around the cities of east Libya and hospitals in Benghazi issued urgent calls for all types of blood.

Today I believe things are getting worse, Gaddafi’s regime has cut all means of communication (land lines, cell phones, internet), water, electricity and gas services from Benghazi, Darna, Zentan, and several cities in east Libya, yet Benghazi is winning by keeping its highly increased courageous spirits and the determination to put an end to the 42 years of oppression.

Today some people from different corners of Tripoli (like Fashloom & Joumhouriya Street) are repeatedly trying to go on demonstrations against the regime but they were immediately oppressed by the backbones of Gaddafi’s regime, who are paid and armed to stop by all means any chance of peaceful demonstrations.

Not forget to mention that on the 16th of February, the night before the Day of Rage’ in Libya, the Libyana company, a Libyan mobile phone company owned by Saif El Islam (one of Geddafi‘s sons) circulated messages to people’s cell phones warning them against crossing ” The Four Red Lines”:

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Written by Robin Yassin-Kassab

February 18, 2011 at 10:30 pm

Posted in Libya

Blood in Libya

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A report from a friend in Tripoli. She must remain nameless.

bread, freedom, human dignity

I’m here and safe for now, al-hamdullah. There is no internet in Libya, and maybe there will be no electricity in the coming days. I uploaded software late at night to get the internet, and very few have access to this software.

The death toll in Benghazi is growing, almost 80 are dead just in 3 days. It’s getting dirty here and the media coverage is too little. We are not getting the international attention and I am afraid if the Libyan protesters are ignored, this murderer will seal Libya off from the world and ruthlessly kill any protest before they even have the chance to begin.

Yesterday, I left work and I went to Sahat el-Ghadra, where all his thugs were supporting him. They got all kids out of schools and forced them to carry posters of his pictures and everyone to hang the stupid Libyan flag inside their cars and … the number of flags around Tripoli are more than the number of bloody flags you can see in the US.

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Written by Robin Yassin-Kassab

February 18, 2011 at 12:43 pm

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The Autumn of the Patriarch

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Brother Leader

Muammar al-Qaddafi is neither a president nor a king (although he did call himself ‘King of Kings’ at one Arab summit). No, what he is, as well as Colonel, is the Brother Leader, and the Guide of the First of September Great Revolution of the Socialist People’s Libyan Arab State-of-the-Masses (he invented the Arabic word jamahiriyya for the last chunk). I’ll refer to him here as Qaddafi.

Qaddafi is famous for grandstanding – his female bodyguards, his tent, his flamboyant dress. In interviews he growls and flicks his hands. At Arab League meetings he puts his feet on the desk, smokes cigarettes, gets into shouting matches, dramatically swans out. Sometimes he says things worth saying, and he’s often provided a laugh for Arabs who don’t live in Libya.

Qaddafi thinks he’s a lady-killing revolutionary of Guevara proportions and a tyrant of the stature of Mao; hence his Green Book (not to forget his fiction). At the same time, he thinks the people, not he, are in control of Libya’s destiny. And perhaps – we can hope after Tunisia and Egypt – he’s right.

Ideologically he’s swung from Arabism to Islamic socialism to pan-Africanism, but it’s all been hot air. His hosting of a diversity of ‘revolutionary’ groups, including religious cults, reinforced the impression that he was either stupid or insane.

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Written by Robin Yassin-Kassab

February 17, 2011 at 1:10 am

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Bahrain Rising

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On the tiny island state of Bahrain an intelligent, highly politicised Shia majority is ruled by an actively sectarian Sunni ‘king’ and his mercenary police force. To ensure minimum fraternisation, and to shrink the Shia majority, Sunni Arabs from such countries as Syria, Jordan and Yemen are awarded citizenship after loyal service in the police.

Bahrain was known to Sumerians as Dilmun, a possible location for the Garden of Eden. Today it’s known to Americans as the home of the Fifth Fleet, one of the more essential bases for guarding the Gulf. It’s linked by causeway to Saudi Arabia, which provides it with security and thousands of drunk young men on Thursday nights. It is likely that Saudi Arabia would intervene if Bahrain went the way of Egypt.

Unlike other Gulf countries, Bahrain has always been notable for its angry mass demonstrations against assaults on Iraq, Lebanon and Palestine. Not surprising, then, that February 14th’s Day of Anger attracted a wide section of Bahraini society, including Sunnis. There’s nothing sectarian about the protestors’ democratic demands – one of their chants is Not Sunni Not Shii Just Bahraini – but we can expect sectarian mobilisation by the regime and Saudi-owned media if protests continue, as they doubtless will. The Bahraini people will be described as an unwitting front for Shii-Persian assault. For this reason, the Iranian leadership would do well to remain silent as events unfurl (Iran’s comments on the Tunisian and Egyptian revolutions, after all, have been inaccurate and propagandistic.)

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Written by Robin Yassin-Kassab

February 15, 2011 at 8:19 pm

Posted in Bahrain

Hossam el-Hamalawy on The Workers and The Military

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Egypt’s revolution could go in any direction in the months and years to come. It could end up in a tame army-supervised semi-democracy under the presidency of Amr Moussa, with the army running foreign policy. More likely, the result will be far more interesting than that.

The Supreme Military Council has decided not to lift the state of emergency. The core of the old system remains in place. And Communique Number Five calls for an end to industrial action. But oil and gas workers continue to strike, as well as transport, textiles and media workers. More significantly, workers are refusing the authority of Mubarak-era union officials, and are organising to represent themselves. Another instance of spreading revolutionary fervour: state TV workers chased the head of the news department out of the building.

Writing for Jadaliyya, Egyptian blogger Hossam el-Hamalawy examines the role of the working class in the revolution. He concludes: “We have to take Tahrir to the factories now. As the revolution proceeds an inevitable class polarization is to happen. We have to be vigilant. We shouldn’t stop here.”

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Written by Robin Yassin-Kassab

February 15, 2011 at 12:51 am

Posted in Egypt

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