The Irish Anti-War Movement

The Arab Spring – One Year On: Public Forum 4pm – 6pm, Saturday 28 January, Liberty Hall, Dublin.



The Arab Spring – One Year On: Public Forum

4pm – 6pm, Saturday 28 January, Liberty Hall, Dublin.



The Arab Spring – One Year On: Public Forum

4pm – 6pm, Saturday 28 January, Liberty Hall, Dublin.

Organised by the Islamic Foundation in Ireland, the Islamic Cultural Centre and the Irish Anti-War Movement

The Irish Anti War Movement (IAWM) announced today that it will be co-hosting a Forum on the first anniversary of the Arab Spring tomorrow Saturday 28 January at 4pm in Liberty Hall, with a panel of expert speakers including a live link up to Tahrir Square, Cairo.

The statement noted the importance of both celebrating and reflecting on the impact of the Arab Spring both in the Middle East region and throughout the world. When Mohamed Bouazizi set himself on fire in Tunisia on 17 December 2010 he launched a movement that changed his country, the region and the world. On 14 January 2011 the Tunisian dictator, Zinedine Ben Ali fled and on the 25 January the Egyptian Revolution began. Since then we have seen the fall of Mubarak and of Gaddafi and revolts in Bahrain, Syria and Yemen that continue to this day.

The statement noted further that the Arab Spring and the occupation of Tahrir Square in particular has been an inspiration and reference point for events as wide ranging as the Indignados Movement in Spain, the resistance against austerity in Greece and the Occupy Movement in the US and many other places.

The forum, timed to mark the first anniversary of the 25 January Egyptian Revolution, will reflect on the meaning of these momentous events for the peoples of the Middle East and for us all.

Jim Roche, PRO of the Irish Anti War Movement, who recently returned from Cairo, said:
“it is extremely important to analyse the intricacies and developments of the Arab Spring and their impact on movements for justice and equality across the world. Many might say that with the first sitting of the newly elected Egyptian Parliament earlier this week that democracy has now prevailed and there should be no further protests. This is blatantly untrue as was witnessed on the anniversary of the revolution two days ago – a day that saw massive demonstrations in cities across Egypt that totally eclipsed the planned celebrations by the SCAF in its continued efforts to hijack the revolution. Tens of thousands of the protesters were calling for the same rights that were being called for at the beginning of the revolution such as “Bread, freedom, human dignity”. They also called for justice for the fallen and badly injured heroes of the revolution, for the release of the 12,000 prisoners imprisoned by the SCAF since the revolution and for an immediate end to military rule.

He said further that:
“Egypt is not yet by any means on the way to democracy and freedom. Despite the trial of Mubarak, his sons and a few associates, the core of the tyrannical Mubarak regime is still in place. As blogger Maikel Nabila, recently released from prison, said on Wednesday: “we are under a political regime that is corrupt, tyrannical and bloodthirsty and which we cannot leave in power for one more day, as this would jeopardize our lives and those of our siblings and loved ones.”

Jim Roche continued:
“It is still unclear how much power the elected Egyptian parliament will have, what the role of the military will be and what deals will be done between the majority Muslim Brotherhood block and the military. What is clear is that a sizeable number of Egyptians want real, not cosmetic, change. We saw the horrible violence of the SCAF again before Christmas. The police and military are now deeply distrusted by young Egyptians. Tahrir Square is under the control of the protesters with not one policeman in sight. So the situation is in total flux and one could say the revolution is ongoing.”

He concluded by noting
“the situation in other Arab countries is equally contradictory. The news yesterday from Libya of the torture of prisoners in Masrata by the NATO backed government forces shows what can happen when a so-called ‘humanitarian intervention’ is made by western powers. Meanwhile oppression and resistance continues in other Arab countries. The case of Bahrain is crucial as it is the home of the US navy’s sixth fleet. This example more than any shows up the duplicity and hypocrisy of western leaders, who claim they support the calls of protesters for democracy, while signing massive armaments contracts with Saudi Arabia who helped crush the uprising in Bahrain last March. Western leaders support for the despotic regimes of the Arab World is ongoing while they ratchet up the warmongering against Iran.”

“This is why it is important to consider what is happening and it is why the IAWM have assembled a panel of expert speakers to analyse the Arab Spring this Saturday at Liberty Hall”

Anas Al-Tikriti, Founder and CEO of The Cordoba Foundation in London. He is former President of the Muslim Association of Britain who successfully negotiated the release of Western hostages in Iraq in 2005. He is a TV presenter, media commentator and journalist, and a vice-president of the Stop the War Coalition who helped organise the two million strong march against the Iraq War in London in 2003.

Dr Faheem Bukhatwa, BSc, MSc, PhD – a Libyan living in Dublin. He is a lecturer in Computer Science at Griffith College with specialist knowledge in computer communications and networks, and security. His nephew was killed in the early days of the uprising against Gaddafi and he played an active role in mobilising solidarity amongst the Libyan Community.

Philip Marfleet, Professor of Migration and Refugee Studies at the University of East London. A long-standing expert on Middle Eastern politics, he has lived and worked in Egypt and is the author of many books and articles including, Intifada: Zionism Imperialism and the Palestinian Resistance, Refugees in a Global Era and Egypt: the Moment of Change (with Rebab al-Mahdi). He has visited Egypt several times in the past year.

Judith Orr, member of Stop the War Coalition Steering Committee, writer and journalist. Judith is editor of Socialist Worker (UK) and reported on the Egyptian Revolution from Cairo as it was happening. She is also author of Sexism and the System. Judith is returning to Cairo and Tahrir Square for the first anniversary of the 25 January Revolution and will be flying directly from there to Dublin for this forum.

Richard Boyd Barrett, TD for Dun Laoghaire and Chair of the Irish Anti-War Movement will chair the forum.

For information contact:
John Molyneux, Steering Committee IAWM, 0857356424.
Jim Roche, PRO Steering Committee, IAWM, 087 6472737
Daryl Southern, Co-ordinator Steering Committee, 087 277 6505


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