Reuters blog archive
from The Great Debate:
The Arab world may be in turmoil, but its leaders actually need an enduring peace—now in Gaza and long-term with Israel—because regimes across the region are vulnerable as never before.
Whether they like it or not, that’s true for newly elected Islamists. And old-order autocrats need resolution to prevent protests at home from turning against them.
The challenge for Washington is taking advantage of the vulnerability to work with the new political roster -- including players it doesn’t know all that well. The tectonic political shift over the past two years offers a dynamic opportunity.
Committed U.S. diplomacy could not only spur meaningful movement on the 64-year conflict. It could enhance Israel’s security and prevent a whole new type of tension with the region’s new governments.
from John Lloyd:
The Tunisian Foreign Minister, Rafik Abdesslem, visited Gaza last week to give a speech. Abdesslem, who spent many years in exile studying international relations at the University of Westminster in London, is an intellectual with little adult experience of the rougher side of the Middle East.
His speech condemned Israel, of course, while not mentioning that the Gazans had launched many rockets over the past few days - a few of them, for the first time, hitting the major centers of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. As foreign policy intellectuals do, he sought to put events into a geopolitical framework. He pointed to what he believes is the underlying truth of the time: "Israel should understand,” he said, “that many things have changed and that lots of water has run in the Arab river.”
from The Human Impact:
Tunisian human rights activist Amira Yahyaoui recalls how, at the age of 17, she narrowly missed being shoved under a subway train. This is just one example of the threats and pressures her family faced for their opposition to the country’s then president Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, who was ousted last year in a popular uprising.
During Ben Ali’s 23-year rule, Yahyaoui’s father, one of the North African country’s most distinguished judges, lost his job after sending an open letter to the president decrying corruption and the state of the justice system. Her cousin was arrested for publishing satirical articles about the former leader, and died from the torture he underwent.
from Anya Schiffrin:
We visited Tunisia last week, during a scorching heat wave. The women we met were wearing sleeveless summer dresses, but a couple of them said that when they go out, their neighbors now tell them off for wearing revealing clothes. With the religious Nahda party now in power, uncovered women worry that their daughters won’t be able to wear bikinis and wonder which countries their daughters can move to if things get worse.
Tunisia is where the Arab Spring began, but the stories we heard reflect the larger sense of uncertainty and debate about how to have a democracy in a place where the word means something different for everyone. Another sign of tension was the Tunisian court decision last week to uphold the seven-year sentence given to a Tunisian who posted a cartoon on Facebook depicting the Prophet Mohammad in the nude. This small country faces stresses and strains as it continues on its path away from the dictatorship of Ben Ali.
from The Human Impact:
In early 2011 Tunisians hung a handwritten banner over the main street of the market town of Tataouine reading: “Welcome to our Libyan brothers”.
Their support was just as well, as Libyans pouring across the border soon doubled the town’s population from 40,000 to 80,000.
from Global Investing:
Serving wine instead of beer at its annual rooftop soiree? Is this some kind of subliminal message specialist broker Auerbach Grayson is trying to send, ie: that emerging markets are mature and here’s the vino to prove it?
Or, is the message not in a bottle but in a case? Don’t limit your exposure to emerging markets but increase it for growth. Only a slight problem here in that emerging market stocks are underperforming developed markets so far this year. They underperformed in 2011 as well.
from David Rohde:
TUNIS – Like it or not, this is the year of the Islamist.
Fourteen months after popular uprisings toppled dictators in Tunisia and Egypt, Islamist political parties – religiously conservative groups that oppose the use of violence – have swept interim elections, started rewriting constitutions and become the odds-on favorites to win general elections.
Western hopes that more liberal parties would fare well have been dashed. Secular Arab groups are divided, perceived as elitist or enjoy tepid popular support.
from David Rohde:
Update: At Leila Charfi's request, I added a paragraph below and shortened her quote to give it more context. She was concerned that the original version highlighted the role of the Internet in Tunisia's revolution but did not credit street protesters. At least 219 protesters died during the uprising, according to the UN.
TUNIS -- Last November, dozens of young Arabs lined up for the chance to meet him. When he spoke of his struggles and triumphs, they hung on his every word. And when only one of the 50 attendees was chosen for training, some of the young Arabs grew frustrated and complained of being excluded.
from The Human Impact:
The “Arab Spring” was fuelled in part by popular desire to weed out corruption. But could graft in fact be on the rise in Egypt and Tunisia?
It could indeed be rising massively, according to Nicola Ehlermann-Cache, a senior policy analyst at the Paris-based think-tank, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
from Full Focus:
Born in Algiers in 1968, Zohra was recruited as a stringer photographer for Reuters by Mallory Langsdon in 1997 during the last years of the conflict in Algeria. In 2000, Zohra was sent on her first assignment abroad for Reuters to Macedonia where ethnic Albanians were taking refuge from Serbian forces. In 2003 she went to Iraq while Saddam was still on the run. In Najaf, Iraq, in 2004 Zohra was made staff photographer from Reuters.
Zohra won the European Union prize for the best African press photographer in 2005. Still based in Algiers she continues to cover some African and Middle East countries. Last year she documented Sudan’s referendum, Tunisia’s uprising and Libya’s revolution. In the following showcase, Zohra recounts her experience as an Arab woman photographer.