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Death to the Dictator

Mother Jones Photo-journalist Mark Murrmann's account of getting up close to the former dictator of Haiti is an entertaining read. That's some nice shooting, Mark:

Baby Doc enters his hotel. Inexplicably, security allows photojournalists to trail him inside. Duvalier looks totally dazed. He's surrounded on all sides by TV and still cameras and reporters with recorders. He's being led into a small, empty banquet room. I see where he's headed, enter through another door, and perch myself against a wall. Finally, the photo hunt is over. I'm in a perfect position to shoot the dictator.

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This Lunar New Year, North Korean defectors to South Korea remember their families left behind.

Over 20,000 have escaped the totalitarian regime that starved and brutalized them.

There was a reason why they escaped from the Hermit Kingdom. One female refugee explains:

"It's not likely they'll make rice cake for the holiday. They only have one meal in a day. I guess they're just drinking water to withstand hunger while I'm eating well here. I wish I could send half of my food to the North. If I could, I would."

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Maikel Nabil Sana egyptian conscientious objector middle east politics israel revolution tunisian revoltThe Propagandist's Contributing Writer Niklas Anzinger interviews protester (and first Egyptian conscientious objector) Maikel Nabil Sanad, who faced the repression of a desperate police state clinging to power up close over the past few days.

Q. Maikel, you have just been released from the Egyptian intelligence. What happened and how are you right now?

They arrested me while I was heading to El-Tahrir square. They said that they were preventing anyone to go there to end these demonstrations. They took me in a military Jeep No.  440700. The officer in this jeep beat me a lot. Then they took me to an intelligence office at Rabaa El-Adawya in Nasr City were they beat me again and sexually harassed me.

I was hearing screaming voices of people being tortured all the time. These were the most horrible days of my life.

Q. It is not the first time you got the attention of the state apparatus. Tell us about why you are consistently faced with aggressive attention of...More >>

barry rubin interview middle east gloria muslim brotherhood meria egypt hosni mubarakThe Propagandist's Contributing Writer Stefan Frank interviewed Barry Rubin this week in a Q & A about the Egyptian revolution, the threat from the Muslim Brotherhood and implications for democracy and peace in the region. A leading expert on Middle East politics, Mr. Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. He is also the author of The Muslim Brotherhood: The Organization and Policies of a Global Islamist Movement

Q: You make two very interesting points in your writings. You argue that people are naïve when they think that a democratic Egypt is just around the corner, and that the size of the opposition may be overstated. Let's start with the latter: Could Mubarak's NDP win in free and fair elections?  

Rubin: Nobody knows. Now, it's very doubtful. The question is, will some kind of regime party survive and get a significant amount of votes? No one knows the answer. Mubarak...More >>

mr burns simpsons hosni mubarak egypt protests democracy middle east politicsIt all makes sense, now. Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak is taking his cues from The Simpsons' evil corporate totalitarian character, Mr. Burns.

First, he acts all polite and accommodating. "You want me out? Fine, fine. I'll leave in September. Come again."

Then, as soon as the bemused protesters have wandered back out into the street, the call comes down: "Smithers, release the hounds."

Naturally, this is code for "send in my trusted thugs on camels and beat the democracy out of those little bastards".

Watching the carnage ensue, Mubarak shrugs, quoting another apt Burns-ism: "I can't be responsible for what my goons are ordered to do."

Oh, you will, Mr. Bur... Mubarak. You will. Not much longer, now.

Jonathon Narvey is the Editor of The Propagandist...More >>

sharia law whip cane flog woman human rights egypt muslim brotherhood political revolutionThe Muslim Brotherhood may become a major political force in Egypt after this revolution is done. It may even become the dominant one. While Western commentators debate just how secular (not) or extreme (very) the Muslim Brotherhood is, there's no debating their commitment to Islamic sharia law as the blueprint for running society.

Sharia law based on (arbitrarily defined) religious injunctions is fundamentally opposed to the legal systems we have set up in the West. And while some will attempt to whitewash the practical consequences of sharia law wherever it has been imposed (eg. "This isn't real sharia. It's a cultural thing. It's being misrepresented), the examples of outrageous - some would say, barbaric - rulings by sharia-minded authorities around the world are too numerous to properly get one's head around.

For instance, in the latest example of sharia justice carried out this week in Bangladesh, a 14-year old rape victim was locked up and later tried for "immoral sexuality". She was sentenced to 200 lashes of the...More >>

The Propagandist marketing team was up all night thinking up this one. "What can we offer in solidarity with the Egyptian freedom-loving crowds chanting for their old pharaoh to finally get the boot?" we asked ourselves. "What's missing from those democracy demonstrations in Cairo and Alexandria?"

Skateboards, of course. Clearly, there aren't enough skateboards at these protests.

Doesn't the skater ethos of sticking it to the man and riding for freedom perfectly match this situation? We thought so, too.

Show how you feel by purchasing this eco-friendly, dictator-unfriendly skateboard emblazoned with the slogan, Hosni Can Suck My Mubarak

hosni mubarak egypt revolution politics middle east political sloganMore >>

cuba libre fidel castro dictator latin america politics human rightsWith a new monster winter storm moving around North America leaving citizens frozen and snow-bound in its wake, many folks will be considering taking refuge on some sunny beach. Cuba is one such popular destination for Canucks; a troubling tradition, as 24 Hours columnist Bill Tieleman points out:

Unfortunately for the Cuban people, their country is run by a repressive military dictatorship that rejects democracy and severely punishes those who speak out for change. 

Even leaving the country is close to impossible for most of its citizens, some of whom still take desperate measures to escape the island on dangerous rafts.

In those circumstances, I cannot in good conscience support Cuba’s government by being a Canadian tourist there.

Like Vaclav Havel – who fought a repressive regime in his own country and was jailed for five years – I am deeply troubled by the Cuban communist government of former President Fidel Castro and now his brother Raul’s flagrant and ongoing violations of basic human rights.

"We cannot pretend

...More >>

Egyptian President and soon-to-be deposed dictator Hosni Mubarak declares he "will die on the soil of Egypt".

Wait for it. Not much longer, now...More >>

egypt protests riots middle east politics dictator mubarak revolutionThe tempo changes almost hourly, the numbers by the minute. Each radio broadcast, each news flash, reflects higher numbers of the dead and the wounded, (now in the hundreds) as rioters continue to protest their lot in Suez, Alexandria and Cairo. Police brutality is mounting.

What started in Tunisia has spread across the Arab world, if not in deed, then in thought. Arab and Islamic leaders from Tehran to Istanbul to Rabat are nervously watching the situation. For Mr. Mubarak in Egypt, it’s too late. The Egyptian Government has heeded the calls of the rioters there, and has resigned. Mubarak himself is still clinging to power; who knows for how long? Perhaps just until the next flight out.

My friends Al & Robert from San Francisco had a great 10 days in Israel, and flew to Egypt on Wednesday for what was planned to be a two-week extension of their vacation, with a Nile cruise and more. Today I had a tense call from them as they waited in line at Cairo airport, desperate to board a flight to London....More >>

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