Posts Tagged ‘Arab Spring’

Costa Salafists

November 12, 2012
Salafyo Costa

Salafyo Costa

People didn’t accept the idea that Salafi guys could sit and drink in Costa Coffee. Everybody was unfriendly. It’s because they have a perception that Salafis don’t go for coffee in such places. — Mohamed Tolba, co-founder of Salafyo Costa

Through our Facebook page and our videos we are trying to tell them: Hear from us rather not about us. — Ahmed Samir, co-founder of the Facebook group

Do you guys sit in Costa? People would look at us in bafflement because they had a perception that Salafis don’t drink coffee in such places. It’s what I call visual abuse. It’s sad but funny. — Mohamed Tolba, co-founder of Salafyo Costa

Costa Salafists are quite literally, Salafists who meet in Costa coffee shops.

The Arab Spring kicked off in Tunisia, then spread to Egypt.

If you watched closely, as I did, you would have seen people on the streets, in Tahrir Square, many ages, but many young people, many young females, young females who were treated as equals, small groups forming, engaging in articulate, animated, but above all informed discussion and debate.

Move forward, the toppling of dictators, then elections.

All then seemed to have been lost, in Tunisia what could be called a soft Muslim party took power, in Egypt a harder Muslim Party the Muslim Brotherhood took power and behind them the hard line Salafists.

It seemed as though all had been lost, lives sacrificed for nothing. But all may not be as it seems from a superficial glance.

To topple a dictator is to question power. Power is usually toppled at the top, to be replaced by the same for example as we see in Animal Farm.

Tahrir Square was grass roots, question from the bottom. Once that genie is out of the bottle it is impossible to squeeze back in. Something Putin need to understand with his imprisonment of Pussy Riot and clampdown on opposition.

Girls who were not allowed out of the house, took to the streets. They now question. They are no longer prisoners in their own house.

Students question their teachers. Bribes are no longer paid to policemen.

We take reading for granted. If you cannot tread, how can you travel around, how do you know which street to find, how can you catch a bus if you cannot read the number?

The Taliban tried to silence Malawa, they failed.

The first word of the Koran is read.

Costa Salafists are so named because they quite literally meet in Costa coffee shops. A pity they cannot find local indie coffee shops in which to meet.

Costa Salafists would appear to be an oxymoron. Are Salafists not hard line intolerant bigots and Islamic fundamentalists, is not Costa a Western imposed coffee chain, the last place Salafists would meet? It is exactly because of that perception why they meet in Costa coffee shops. They even count Coptic Christians among their core supporters.

Nada Zohdy:

When I met Mohammed Tolba, the founder of this initiative, many of my own assumptions of Salafis were fundamentally challenged; to be frank, I didn’t realize Salafis could be so light-hearted and tolerant. Mohammed emphasised some basic struggles that the group faces: reminding themselves and other Salafis that they do not have an absolute monopoly on religious truth, and encouraging Salafis to have regular and meaningful interactions with other Egyptians rather than isolating themselves as they have for many years (which in part was a result of the discrimination they faced under former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak).

They believe in the authority of the Koran, but in a living interpretation of the Koran, an interpretation that your heart tells you is correct.

The Prophet warned, only heed a fatwa if your heart tells you it is correct.

The Old Testament was never meant to be written down as to do so would be to set it in stone. It was a living document that was interpreted to suit the present day. Later prophets constantly reinterpreted that which went before.

During Occupy St Paul’s, there often seemed as many clergy as there were occupiers at St Paul’s in-the-Camp. They were going back to original teachings of Jesus.

A cultural shift is taking part. At Occupy it was to question what was happening, the way our economy and financial systems function. In Greece and Spain that shift is of necessity as there are no jobs or at least no jobs in the formal economy.

When Super Storm Sandy struck New York, Mitt Romney saw it as a photo opportunity. Occupy New York got their hands dirty, Occupy Sandy was born, they were out helping people, feeding people.

People who were in Tahrir Square took their inspiration from Occupy, Occupy took their inspiration from Tahrir Square. Cross fertilisation.

The cultural shift that is taking place is being networked.

The Arab Spring was organised through social media. The Costa Salafists are no exception, making extensive use of Facebook.

Protest the dominant theme of 2011

December 30, 2011
St Paul's in-the-camp Time Out picture of the year 2011

St Paul's in-the-camp Time Out picture of the year 2011

here to stay

here to stay

root out usury

root out usury

Christmas Bishop of London at St Paul's in-the-Camp

Christmas Bishop of London at St Paul's in-the-Camp

As 2011 draws to a close, Occupy and Arab Spring were the defining moments. Historians will note the date when one world changed to another, no longer were ordinary people prepared to be kicked around by corrupt politicians in the pocket of Big Businesses.

Strictly speaking the Arab Spring started in Tunisia as 2010 drew to a close, but it really took off in Tahrir Square at the beginning of the year. Mubarak has gone but the job is not yet finished, the ruling military elite has yet to be toppled. In Libya a job well done, but unfortunately much blood was shed. In Syria, work in progress, Assad has a simple choice, hand himself over to the ICC or leave with a bullet in the head. In Yemen, unfinished businesses. In Saudi Arabia the corrupt House of Saud has yet to be toppled or the Mullahs and Ayatollahs in Iran.

Syria troops ‘clash with Damascus activists’

Occupy started in Spain when the young unemployed occupied the centre of Madrid. It quickly spread to New York, then around the world. Brutal crackdowns in the US. In the UK St Paul’s in-the-Camp has spread to an estimated 60 camps around the country. Contrary to the smear stories in the media, it never was the camp v St Paul’s and the clergy are working closely with the camp. St Paul’s in-the-Camp has revitalised the church, made them recognise the core values of Christianity. Contrary to smears in the media, church attendance up not down.

Freedom to protest
St Paul’s plans for lasting legacy of Occupy protest
Archbishop of Wales urges church to ‘get hands dirty’ in the fight against poverty and injustice
The origins of Christmas
The Nativity of Our Lord
Attendances prove Christmas surprise

On Christmas day the Bishop of London delivered a box of chocolates to the camp outside St Paul’s. The year will end with a reading of Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol at 6pm this evening on the steps of St Paul’s.

Protesters celebrate Christmas, as judge postpones decision
An Occupy reading of Charles Dickens’ ‘A Christmas Carol’
Occupy London presents a reading of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol – 6pm Friday 30 December at the steps of St. Paul’s Cathedral
Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol especially adapted for Occupy London
New Year’s Eve Weekend at Occupy London – Make it count!

As Dickens’ bicentennial approaches, it seems only fitting for Occupy London to stage a public reading of A Christmas Carol at St Paul’s Cathedral. Dickens was compelled to write A Christmas Carol out of a strong desire to comment on the enormous gap between the rich and poor in Victorian Britain. It is a similar strength of conviction that has motivated the growth of the Occupy movement to work to transform the growing social, economic and political injustices of our time. As Giles Fraser, former Canon Chancellor of St Paul’s Cathedral said:

Christmas is the most political of the Church’s festivals … all politics is about people, and without a fundamental sympathy for the plight of other human beings, and in particular for the dispossessed, no political movement for social change is ever going to capture the heart. For Dickens, Christmas was the emotional centre of the big society. Peace on earth and goodwill to all.

Arab Spring and Occupy have become key words and phrases of 2011. St Paul’s in-the-Camp picture of the year for Time Out. Time Magazine proclaimed this year’s Person of the Year to be “the Protester”. Five of the Top 10 Most Commented Stories this year in the New York Times were about Occupy wall Street!

New words: the official* glossary of 2011
Best of 2011: pictures of the year – Occupy London camp
The Protester

In Leeds, when the unaccountable town council announced £90 million cuts protesters stormed the council chamber, then Occupy Leeds arrived.

2011: when year of global protests became local in Leeds
Quiet in the August troubles; but Occupy looks here to stay

UK Uncut has forced tax dodging up the political agenda. A damning report on HMRC by a House of Commons Select Committee. The Head of HMRC forced to resign, with effect next year. UK Uncut and Occupy London Stock Exchange have exposed the City of London as one of the few remaining Rotten Boroughs.

The tax haven in the heart of Britain

Who would have thought Russians would have taken to the streets in their tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands to call for democratic accountability and to call upon Vladimir Putin to go?

Not all good news.

There has been coups in Greece and Italy. Italy no longer has a democratically elected government, it has a government put in place by EU and German bankers. A government to serve the banks and EU not the people of Italy. In Greece the government is acting for the EU and bankers not the Greek people.

Ryanair refused to allow a passenger on his way home for Christmas to board a flight to Malaga. Hints of terrorism. Yet one more reason to boycott Ryanair.

Occupy protester ‘banned’ from flight home for Christmas

Iraq is descending into Hell.

The Truth as Iraq descends into Hell

Occupy has inspired poetry.

Jesus was born in an empty building
Oh St Pauls, why?

For Brazilian writer Paulo Coelho 2011 was a very good year, his latest book, the biographical Aleph released last year in Brazil, shot straight to No 1 in every country published. The noticeable exception was in the UK thanks to High Street bookshop chain Waterstone’s deliberately choosing not to put Aleph on display.

What a year!

As 2011 draws to a close there is still much unfinished business. The list is long, libraries closures, cuts in public services, Welfare to Work programmes, privatisation of the health service …

How to help disabled people fight the welfare reform bill

I will give but one example.

Lincoln City Council has decided to put a heritage site, The Lawn, up for sale. Set in a 8 acre site, this museum complex was a pioneering mental hospital, it now houses the Sir Joseph Banks Conservatory. Sir Joseph Banks was chief scientific officer on the Endeavour, established Kew gardens, President of the Royal Society. The Lawn is the ideal site for Occupy Lincoln.

Not for Sale! Hands off our Lawn!

As we head into 2012, the fight goes on …

Happy New Year!

Egypt: Four walls divide the ruled from the rulers

December 20, 2011
Wall number three leading to Tahrir  Sheikh Rihan St

Wall number three leading to Tahrir Sheikh Rihan St

walls with burnt Egyptian Institute in between

walls with burnt Egyptian Institute in between

Great question by @sameratrush about attacks on journalists and destruction of equipment. — Sharif Kouddous

SCAF responds by saying they have no information on attacks on journalists, will investigate … m’ok. — Sharif Kouddous

Clashes have largely ended. At least 14 killed, over 700 wounded, close to 200 arrested in four days. — Sharif Kouddous

Four walls have been built to keep the people away from parliament. The military junta deny all knowledge of violence against protesters

When you watch the video of unarmed protesters beaten by thugs remember they are armed, trained, backed, military hardware and security apparatus supplied by the United States of America.

Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, SCAF, denies any of this violence took place.

None of the revolutionary demands from 25 January have been met. No security or army thugs have been put on trial. We simply have a military junta without Mubarak.

Freedom to protest
Egypt: Army thugs attack protesters
A third day of violence in Tahrir Square
Image of unknown woman beaten by Egypt’s military echoes around world
Egyptian Military Kills 14 Protesters, Attacks Journalists in Brutal Crackdown in Tahrir Square

A third day of violence in Tahrir Square

December 19, 2011
wall now separates people from parliament

wall now separates people from parliament

street fighting centered on Sheikh Rihan street

street fighting centered on Sheikh Rihan street

students march from Cairo University to Tahrir

students march from Cairo University to Tahrir

motorcycle rider with blood-stained jacket waits to ferry more wounded to field hospital

motorcycle rider with blood-stained jacket waits to ferry more wounded to field hospital

Clashes continue on front lines. Surreal scene. Rocks, Molotov cocktails, water hoses, green laser pointers, chanting. — Sharif Kouddous

For a third day Egyptian army and security thugs have been engaged in violent running street battles with peaceful protesters.

A wall now separates the people from their parliament.

Egypt: Army thugs attack protesters

The revolution has started

November 17, 2011
has the Lord Mayor got the message? - Lewis Whyld

has the Lord Mayor got the message? - Lewis Whyld

The Arab Spring, the Spanish youth movement, now Occupy the World.

The people have spoken and their voice is growing stronger.

Violence will not supress the voice of the people.

It was tried in Tahrir Square. The people resisted, a dictator was toppled.

It was tried in Portland. The people are back.

It was tried in New York. The people are back.

It was tried in Libya. Col Gadhaffi was dragged like a rat out of a drain and a bullet put through hs head.

In Syria Assad has resorted to violence. He has a simple choice, hand himself over to the International Criminal Court or be removed from power with a bullet through the head.

This is not a revoultion of left or right, such terms lack meaning.

It is a revolution on the ground and in cyber space and the people are winning.

This is not people against people, one country pitted against another. It is people united across country, across race, across colour, across ethnicity, across religion.

It is the people pitted against corrupt politicians and their paymasters.

It is the people pitted against those who exploit the poor and marginalised, against those who exploit the earth for their own greed.

We are the revolution
Bankers love Boris
Only Nazis destroy books
NYPD police brutality against Occupy Wall Street
Occupy Wall Street Protesters Return to Zuccotti Park After 200 Arrested, Camping Barred
Arundhati Roy: Occupy Wall Street is “So Important Because It is in the Heart of Empire”
Tahrir Square in NYC
It is time for Twitter and its citizens to take back #OccupyWallStreet

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