arab spring


Great 6 min overview of why in Syria, it’s complicated.

SYRIA. Aleppo governorate. Aleppo. September 20, 2012. A wounded woman still in shock leaves Dar El Shifa hospital. Dozens of Syrian civilians were killed, four children among them, in artillery shelling by Syrian government forces in the northern Syrian town.

This picture was part of a larger portfolio of images from Syria by AP photographers that won the 2013 Pulitzer Prize.

Photograph: Manu Brabo/AP

The continent-shaking Arab Spring began with the public self-immolation of a despairing fruit vendor in the bitter winter of 2010. Within a few short years, dictators had been brought down by the masses in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and Yemen.

What flows from the deaths of as many as ONE HUNDRED AND FUCKING FIFTY PEOPLE in a tower block fire which was explicitly caused by external cladding installed to appease the wealthy residents of neighbouring mansions - when the current government minister for fire safety is one of 72 Tory slum landlord MPs who voted against a motion to make social housing ‘fit for human habitation’?

That’s for us to decide.

Asmaa Mahfouz (b. 1985) is an Egyptian activist, responsible for sparking the mass uprising that led to the 2011 Egyptian revolution. She is one of the founders of the April 6 Youth Movement.

After her video which encouraged Egyptians to stand up for their basic human rights and fight the Mubarak regime, over 50,000 protesters followed her lead in Tahrir Square, Cairo. She received the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought for her contributions to “historic changes in the Arab world”.


NEWSHOUR ART BEAT: Muslim political cartoonist fights oppression with pen

Sudanese cartoonist Khalid Albaih was lauded as “an artist of the revolution” during the Arab Spring, and now he’s pointing his pencil at other world events.

Albaih’s work is on display in an exhibit called “It’s Not Funny” at the Arab American National Museum in Dearborn, Michigan, until July 30. Art Beat interviewed him at Sankofa Video Books & Cafe in Washington, D.C., in May.

What do you believe is your role as a political cartoonist?

“It’s about education first. I want to tell people what’s going on. I read a lot and then hope to let people know what I think about what’s going on. The second thing is creating dialogue, asking questions. […]

The great thing about social media is people talk to each other. People from different parties talk to one another. A person from the Muslim brotherhood will engage with a communist, and down the thread they become friends. They talk to each other. This is what we need in the region, people to talk to each other rather than to talk with guns.”

Is there any amount of self-censorship before you deliver your message?

“I don’t think there is anything that is strictly off limits. I think you can talk about anything you want to talk about, but it depends how you talk about it.”

Do you think you’ve mastered that?

“Well, I’m not dead yet.”

SYRIA. Aleppo governorate. Aleppo. October 3, 2012. A Syrian man cries while holding the body of his son near Dar El Shifa hospital. The boy was killed by Syrian army shelling.

This picture was part of a larger portfolio of images from Syria by AP photographers that won the 2013 Pulitzer Prize.

Photograph: Manu Brabo/AP

Egypt’s January 25 Revolution in Photos

Inspired by The Jasmine Revolution in Tunisia, hundreds of thousands of anti-government protesters swept through the streets of Egypt on the 25th of January, 5 years ago, demanding an end to the corruption and Mubarak’s 30 year rule as President.

25 January 2011: An anti-government protester defaces a picture of Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak in Alexandria [Stringer]

26 January 2011: Riot police clash with protesters in Cairo as thousands of Egyptians defied a ban on protests by returning to Egypt’s streets and calling for President Hosni Mubarak to leave office [Goran Tomasevic]

A protester holds up a banner in front of a line of riot police in downtown Cairo.  [Unknown]

28 January 2011: A protester stands in front of a burning barricade as police and demonstrators fought running battles on the streets of Cairo in a fourth day of protests

28 January 2011: An Egyptian anti-government activist kisses a riot police officer following clashes in Cairo, Egypt [Lefteris Pitarakis]

28 January 2011: A man tries to protect himself with an Egyptian flag as police fire water cannons at protesters in Cairo

A masked protester throws a gas canister towards Egyptian riot police, not seen, near the Interior Ministry during clashes in downtown Cairo. [Tara Todras-Whitehill]

28 January 2011: A protester watches an Egyptian Army armoured vehicle burn in Cairo after President Hosni Mubarak ordered troops into Egyptian cities in an attempt to quell growing mass protests demanding an end to his 30-year rule

28 January 2011: Egyptians gather around the burning headquarters of the ruling National Democratic party (NDP) in Cairo [Khaled Desouki]

A graffitied smiley face on a wall constructed by the military to impede protesters. [Amru Salahuddien]

29 January 2011: The headquarters of the ruling National Democratic (NLD) party burns after it was set ablaze by protesters in Cairo [Yannis Behrakis]

Riot police use water cannons on protesters trying to cross the Kasr al-Nile bridge. [Peter Macdiarmid]  

30 January 2011: Protesters in Cairo hold a banner featuring a cartoon calling for Hosni Mubarak to step down [Asmaa Waguih]

31 January 2011: Egyptian film star Omar Sharif points to Tahrir, or Liberation, Square, in Cairo, Egypt [Lefteris Pitarakis]

31 January 2011: A protester holds a placard depicting Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak as Adolf Hitler in Cairo’s Tahrir Square [Yannis Behrakis]

1 February 2011: Tens of thousands of anti-government demonstrators march in Alexandria, Egypt [Ahmed Muhammed]

1 February 2011: An Egyptian man sits atop one of the lions at the entrance of Kasr El Nil Bridge, leading to Tahrir Square [Zeinab Mohamed]

2 February 2011: A pro-Mubarak rioter riding on a camel clashing with anti-government protesters in what became known as the Battle of the Camel [Chris Hondros]

6 February 2011: A Muslim holding the Quran (left) and a Coptic Christian holding a cross are carried through opposition supporters in Tahrir Square in Cairo [Dylan Martinez]

8 February 2011: Egyptian anti-government protesters perform the evening prayers as they gather at Cairo’s Tahrir square [Patrick Baz]

10 February 2011: Anti-government bloggers work on their laptops from Cairo’s Tahrir square on the 17th day of consecutive protests calling for the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak [Patrick Baz]

10 February 2011: Anti-government protesters raise their shoes after a speech by Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak saying that he had given some powers to his vice president but would not resign or leave the country [Chris Hondros]

11 February 2011: Egyptian women celebrate the news of the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak, who handed control of the country to the military, at night in Tahrir Square in downtown Cairo, Egypt [Tara Todras-Whitehill]

11 February 2011: Celebrating the announcement of Hosni Mubarak’s resignation in Tahrir Square [Jonathan Rashad]

18 February 2011: A girl attends Friday prayers in front of an army tank in Tahrir Square in Cairo a week after Mubarak resigned [Suhaib Salem]

18 February 2011: A woman waves an Egyptian flag on a balcony overlooking Cairo’s Tahrir Square as hundreds of thousands of people gather to celebrate the revolt that forced president Hosni Mubarak to step down [Mohammed Abed]  

Manal al-Sharif (b. 1979) is the woman responsible for the campaign aimed at giving women the right to drive in Saudi Arabia. To initiate this movement, she filmed herself driving in the country, where it is illegal for women to do so; she was detained and released on bail on the condition of ceasing activity and not talking to media. Still, she remained an active voice pushing for women’s rights in the Middle East.

She is still campaigning heavily on social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook for the loosening of Saudi Arabia’s strict legislation, despite the risk associated with these activities. She was awarded the Vaclav Havel Prize for Creative Dissent by the Oslo Freedom Forum in 2012.


Reading Time:  2 minutes

Author: Himanshu Kapoor

Sun is the source of our existence. Human behavior, emotions and longevity are governed by energy obtained from the Sun. In 1922, a young Belarusian scientist, Alexander Chizhevsky established correlation between the eleven year solar cycle and human behavior. The geomagnetic storms on the surface of sun during the period of appearance of maximum sunspots affect excitability in humans. The ionization of earth atmosphere due to these storms strongly affects human behavior. He proposed that 75% of important historical events including wars, revolutions, mass extinctions, riots and political turmoil occurred during the period of solar maximum. Chizhevsky examined records of unrest and upheaval and compared them with sunspot activity of last two thousand years in seventy one countries. Chizhevsky spent most part of his life in exile under communist regime of Stalin in erstwhile Soviet Union. Chizhevsky refused to retract on his findings which were in opposition to communist philosophy.

The Russian Revolution, the rise of Ayatollah in Iran, the Arab Spring and many such revolutions bear dates that coincide with release of solar flares from the surface of the Sun

The following points can help you decipher the effect of Sun in your life and the things you can do to benefit from energy obtained from the Sun

  1. You can observe your own life and spot instances of personal unrest with eleven year cycle of sunspot activity. This can help you tread cautiously in years to come. I personally evaluated this and found instances of mental unrest and periods of adversity during the years of solar maximum. I found revealing instances of change in health, relationships and other affairs in my life in the year 1998 and 2013. These years coincided with breach of earth’s magnetic field by solar storms.

  2. You can spend your time in calming activities like meditation, gardening creative art, music, relaxation and pilgrimage during years of solar maximum.

  3. Apart from taking special care in the year of solar maximum, you can benefit from the energy of the Sun by synchronizing your biorhythms with sunrise and sunset.

  4. The old adage of early to bed and early to rise still holds true. Waking up early and exposing yourself to morning sun helps in absorption of radiation necessary for processing of Vitamin D.

  5. Rising early and sleeping early corrects your metabolism and protects you from metabolic disorders.

  6. Exposure to sunlight uplifts the mood and induces positivity in behavior.

  7. Spending prolonged time playing, running and walking in open sunlit spaces enhances your perspective of life. It is a remedy for the depression induced by living in closed spaces, being glued to devices and consuming toxic news from various mediums.

  8. Yogic sequences like Sun Salutation were formulated to keep physical and mental health in shape. Sun Salutations keep lymphatic system in good health. This helps in regulating human behavior.

  9. Observe absolute fast during Solar Eclipse. The radiation that reaches the earth during Solar Eclipse is harmful. It is advised to garbage any cooked food that is lying in your refrigerator during the Solar Eclipse. The expecting couples should lie on bed in relaxed pose and ensure that they are not wearing any clothes tightened by zippers and strings during total solar eclipse. This is necessary for safety of fetus. I have seen several cases where activity by parents have caused grievous impact on health of unborn child during the total Solar Eclipse. In one instance, the ear of the new born child was deformed as her mother was cleaning her ears with earbuds during Solar Eclipse. It also applies to expecting fathers. So be careful even if you do not believe in what I have mentioned. Every child born during an instance of Solar Eclipse has a small or large birth mark. This clearly illustrates the power of solar radiation during the Solar Eclipse.  It is also advised to abstain from sex or any laborious activity during Solar Eclipse. Finally, never watch Sun with naked eyes during a Solar Eclipse. It will cause permanent damage to the retina.   

Learn more about Alexander Chizhevsky at 

SYRIA. Aleppo governorate. Aleppo. 2012. A rebel sniper aims at a Syrian army position in the Jedida district.

This picture was part of a larger portfolio of images from Syria by AP photographers that won the 2013 Pulitzer Prize.

Photograph: Narciso Contreras/AP