Tunisia experiences the worst unrest in a decade after two young men, driven to 'desperation by unemployment', attempt suicide… sparking the flame of popular anger against Ben Ali's regime. Meanwhile the crackdown, according to Eltahawy, was 'predictably harsh'.
Her key point however is about the relative silence of the mainstream media, versus twitter – where the uprising has a 'hashtag'. Here's what she observes:
"I wager the majority of North Americans could not find Tunisia on a map and that for most Europeans it brings nothing more to mind than sunny beach vacations. Police state? Who knew!
Twitter taught me everything about the momentous events in Tunisia: the uprising has been hashtagged.
A stream of tweets, all including #Sidibouzid (Bouazizi’s hometown), flows through my Twitter feed every day in Arabic, English and French, carrying links to Tunisian blogs, video filmed by protestors (which provided much of Al Jazeera’s coverage) and live updates from solidarity demonstrations in other Arab cities."
"We are in a state of volatility" writes BLACK IRIS, in relation to recent riots, destruction of property and violence in Jordan. Though tribalism if often blamed he points to an underlying, deeper issue:
"It is this idleness that worries me the most. The missed opportunities that create it. Whether it is the education system or the bad economy, the lack of general prospects or what have you - what’s produced in this crucible is a group of people with nothing to lose, and a lot of time on their hands to violently express what they do not see fit to express in any other form, whether they are conscious of that expression or not."
Saudi Arabia: Why Too Many Marriages End in Divorce
AMERICAN BEDU asks why so many marriages end in divorce in Saudi, exploring attitudes to marriage, how partners are chosen, the wedding night, and the pressures on both the husband but especially the women to conform to societal expectations.
She argues that the couple should be allowed to spend more time together before marriage, or at the least attend classes on 'what to expect', as well as pointing out that suspicion of divorced or single women is widespread…
I am the free who knows no fear
I am the secrets that won’t disappear
I am the voice that does not bow
I’m in the midst of chaos
I’m the right of the oppressed
… My voice is free
By, Amel Mathlouthi, singing in La Bastille square, Tunisia, 2007
THE GULF BLOG reports that Al Jazeera are to open an office in Riyadh, despite the fact the Saudi ambassador was removed from Qatar in 2002 and 2008 due to the 'unfair' reporting of the news channel. GULF BLOG suggests the coverage of Saudi has since been 'reigned in'… and perhaps implies that, with the current move, this trend is to continue…
Layla tells the story of when her ugly sister - Nimrah, meaning Tiger was born. Nimrah never looked in the mirror, and was the laughing stock of the village and the family, until one day something nice happened. But once Layla learned what it was, she revealed the secret, hurting her sister and her best friend in the process…
MY TREASURE includes quotations from Jordan's JO Magazine on sexual harassment, reflecting a variety of ways to conceptualise and react to the verbal and sometimes even physical abuse of women on the streets of Amman.