Stories about Middle East & North Africa from August, 2012
Are tomatoes Christian? Check out Angie Nassar's blog post on Now Lebanon Blog, where she comments on news that a Salafist group in Egypt has posted reservations on tomatoes on Facebook.
A court in Rabat has sentenced a young man to serve three months in jail for failing to fast in public during the holy Muslim month of Ramadan. “[Individual freedom,] a right we are not likely to see protected anytime soon,” laments Yabiladi [fr], who reports the news.
Deborah Brautigam from China in Africa provided more background information about the importation of Chinese Weapons in African countries and explained the incentive of arms sale is from private sector: As we saw in the notorious Libya case, it appears that Chinese companies with their own balance sheets are “going...
Alongside the mounting death toll, a massacre is being perpetrated against Syria's heritage. Little is being said about this issue in both mainstream and social media, writes Thalia Rahme.
One study on the quality of life in cities across the world reports that, of the ten least liveable cities, six are situated in Africa. However, another finds that the populations of certain African cities are happier than those of several European counterparts. So what exactly is the reality of quality of life in Africa's cities?
Palestinian poet and author Mourid Al Barghouti tweets [ar]: “By God, how can governments which fear the Internet scare their enemies?”
'Over 150 sites in Jordan are going black, including the country's top new sites, to protest laws that restrict internet freedom #blackoutjo.' - On August 29, websites went offline to draw attention to the dangers of the impending legislation.
Internet activists have reported that Bahrain’s Minister of Justice and Islamic Affairs Sheikh Khaled bin Ali al-Khalifa has ordered the immediate transfer of Sunni cleric Dr Adel Hassan AlHamad from one of the grand mosques in Riffa to another mosque in Tubli. Following the news, various campaigns started on Twitter in support of the cleric, attributing the transfer to his last Friday sermon in which he openly criticized the building of a new Roman Catholic Church in Awali, on a land donated by the monarch.
Recent political upheavals in the region and kidnappings in Lebanon have made tourists, mainly Gulf nationals, flee the country. Lebanese and Gulf netizens react to the development.
As of September 3rd, smoking will be prohibited in public transportation, work places and closed public places, including coffee shops and restaurants. Mohammad Hijazi explains that the law is unrealistic and that its enforcement will;
Generate a drop of roughly $282 million in revenues, representing 7.1% of GDP in the hospitality sector and lead to a loss of about 2600 full-time jobs.
Bahrain’s local twittersphere is experiencing the sudden disappearance of two of the most prominent anonymous pro-government Twitter accounts that were extremely active during the unrest of last year. Both @7areghum and @alfarooo8 haven’t tweeted in little over two weeks, setting off a hunt for the two.
The Facebook page Tradition in Palestine shares a picture which reflects Eid celebration in Jaffa in 1920 with the following comment: as in my parents description to Eid: magic lantern, rope swing and ice cream and juice vendors
Yasser Ali, the spokesperson of the Egyptian presidency announced Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi's presidential team. Zeinobia introduces us to the team – so did Julia Lugovska. It consists of 4 assistants and 17 consultants.
The 16th Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement started amid heavy security presence in Tehran, August 26, 2012. The 120-nation Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), a holdover from the Cold War's pull between East and West, is also seen by Iran and others as an alternative forum for current world discussions. Iran says it has planned talks on a peace plan to end Syria's civil war, but no rebel factions will attend because of Tehran's close bonds with Bashar Assad's regime.
Hossein Ronaghi Maleki, an Iranian blogger, his father and several volunteers who had gone to East Azarbaijan province to help earthquake‘s victims were arrested [fa] by security forces last week. Hossein Ronaghi Maleki was previously released on a $500,000 bail in July 2012.
Tunisian anonymous political cartoonist _Z_ has been using his blog to express himself since 2007. His caricatures, which did not please the country's former autocratic ruler Ben Ali, do not seem to please Tunisia’s Islamists either.
An Air France flight from Paris to Beirut on August 15, turned into a 20-hour nightmare for its passengers, including the French Ambassador to Lebanon. After diverting to Damascus, Syria, for fuel and security reasons, the crew then had to ask around for money to pay for the kerosene after their credit card was refused.
According to [fa] social media and news sites, leading Iranian opposition figure Mir Hossein Mousavi, returned home from hospital on Friday, August 24, 2012.
The Arabist shares statistics on Twitter users in the Arab world, where the overall number of active Twitter users across the entire region numbers 1.3 million. The largest number of active Twitter users live in Saudi Arabia.