“Jasmine Revolution”
Symbol of peace: Flowers placed on the barrel of a tank
in very much calmer protests than in recent days in Tunisia

'The Protester' - Time Person of the Year 2011

'The Protester' - Time Person of the Year 2011
Mannoubia Bouazizi, the mother of Tunisian street vendor Mohammed Bouazizi. "Mohammed suffered a lot. He worked hard. but when he set fire to himself, it wasn’t about his scales being confiscated. It was about his dignity." (Peter Hapak for TIME)

1 - TUNISIA Democratic Change / Freedom of Speech (In Transition)

How eyepatches became a symbol of Egypt's revolution - Graffiti depicting a high ranking army officer with an eye patch Photograph: Nasser Nasser/ASSOCIATED PRESS

2 - EGYPT Democratic Change / Freedom of Speech (In Transition)

''17 February Revolution"

3 - LIBYA Democratic Change / Freedom of Speech (In Transition)

5 - SYRIA Democratic Change / Freedom of Speech (In Transition)

"25 January Youth Revolution"
Muslim and Christian shoulder-to-shoulder in Tahrir Square
"A Summary" – Apr 2, 2011 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Religion, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Intelligent/Benevolent Design, EU, South America, 5 Currencies, Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Middle East, Internet, Israel, Dictators, Palestine, US, Japan (Quake/Tsunami Disasters , People, Society ...), Nuclear Power Revealed, Hydro Power, Geothermal Power, Moon, Financial Institutes (Recession, Realign integrity values ..) , China, North Korea, Global Unity,..... etc.) -
(Subjects: Egypt Uprising, Iran/Persia Uprising, Peace in Middle East without Israel actively involved, Muhammad, "Conceptual" Youth Revolution, "Conceptual" (without a manager hierarchy) managed Businesses, Internet, Social Media, News Media, Google, Bankers, Global Unity,..... etc.)
"The End of History" – Nov 20, 2010 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll)
(Subjects:Abraham, Isaac, Ishmael, Muhammad, Jesus, God, Jews, Arabs, EU, US, Israel, Iran, Russia, Africa, South America, Global Unity,..... etc.) (Text version)

"If an Arab and a Jew can look at one another and see the Akashic lineage and see the one family, there is hope. If they can see that their differences no longer require that they kill one another, then there is a beginning of a change in history. And that's what is happening now. All of humanity, no matter what the spiritual belief, has been guilty of falling into the historic trap of separating instead of unifying. Now it's starting to change. There's a shift happening."

“ … Here is another one. A change in what Human nature will allow for government. "Careful, Kryon, don't talk about politics. You'll get in trouble." I won't get in trouble. I'm going to tell you to watch for leadership that cares about you. "You mean politics is going to change?" It already has. It's beginning. Watch for it. You're going to see a total phase-out of old energy dictatorships eventually. The potential is that you're going to see that before 2013.

They're going to fall over, you know, because the energy of the population will not sustain an old energy leader ..."

African Union (AU)

African Union (AU)
African Heads of State pose for a group photo ahead of the start of the 28th African Union summit in Addis Ababa on January 30, 2017 (AFP Photo/ Zacharias ABUBEKER)

Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela
Few words can describe Nelson Mandela, so we let him speak for himself. Happy birthday, Madiba.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Syria lifts hated law, but protesters unimpressed

Associated Press, By ZEINA KARAM and ELIZABETH A. KENNEDY, Apr 19, 2011

In this citizen journalism image made on a mobile phone and acquired by
the AP, taken Monday April 18, 2011, Syrians pray in Clock Square in the
center of the city of Homs, Syria. Syrian security forces fired tear gas and
live ammunition Tuesday at hundreds of anti-government protesters who took
over a main square in the country's third-largest city of Homs, witnesses and
activists said. (AP Photo)

BEIRUT (AP) -- Syria did away with 50 years of emergency rule Tuesday, but emboldened and defiant crowds accused President Bashar Assad of simply trying to buy time while he clings to power in one of the most repressive regimes in the Middle East.

Repealing the state of emergency, which gives authorities almost boundless powers of surveillance and arrest, was once the key demand of the monthlong uprising. But the protest movement has crossed a significant threshold, with increasing numbers now seeking nothing less than the downfall of the regime.

"They don't want to admit there's a Syrian revolution," said one protester in the city of Banias, among thousands who took to the streets in several cities and towns across Syria. "The people are not interested in small changes here and there anymore," he said, asking that his name not be published out fear for his personal safety.

Instability in Syria has repercussions beyond its borders. Closed-off Syria punches above its weight in terms of regional influence because of its alliances with militant groups like Lebanon's Hezbollah and with Shiite powerhouse Iran. That has given Damascus a pivotal role in most of the flashpoint issues of the Middle East, from the Arab-Israeli peace process to Iran's widening influence.

If the regime in Syria wobbles, it could both weaken a major Arab foe of the West and exacerbate fearsome tendencies toward sectarianism and chaos in the Middle East. Instability in Syria also throws into disarray the U.S. push for engagement with Damascus, part of Washington's plan to peel the country away from its allegiance to Hamas, Hezbollah and Tehran.

The rejection by protesters of the lifting of emergency rule could pose a make-or-break moment for Assad, a British-trained eye doctor who took power 11 years ago but has failed to fulfill early promises of reform. He has said that after this concession, there would be no further "excuse" for demonstrations. That could mean that the uprising - in which more than 200 have already been killed - could take an even bloodier turn.

The announcement signaling the end of the emergency rule Tuesday came just hours after a violent show of strength by authorities. Security forces raided a sit-in in Homs, Syria's third-largest city, where organizers hoped to create the mood of Cairo's Tahrir Square during the Egyptian revolution.

At least one person was killed, witnesses said.

Authorities then issued a stern warning on national TV for the protesters to back down.

The window for reconciliation in Syria is rapidly shrinking, said Bilal Saab, a Middle East expert from the University of Maryland at College Park who regularly briefs U.S. officials on Syria. He raised the potential for an insurgency - hauntingly familiar in Syria from the bloody scenes in neighboring Iraq.

"Insurgency is highly likely in Syria due to the country's low per-capita income, the Syrian government's weak capacity, the existence of foreign sanctuaries in Iraq, Lebanon, and Jordan, and deep grievances on the part a growing number of the Syrian public," Saab told The Associated Press.

Most of Syria's 23 million people were born or grew up under the strict control of the state of emergency, which gives the regime a free hand to arrest people without charge, control on the media and eavesdrop on telecommunications.

But repealing the law will not change much because Syria is not governed by the rule of law. Power begins and ends with Assad and a small coterie of his family and advisers. Other laws maintain Assad's dominance as well, including measures that guarantee immunity for the secret police for crimes committed in the line of duty.

A prominent Syrian writer, Yassin Haj Saleh, who spent 16 years in jail for his links to a pro-democracy group, claimed Assad was looking for a "maneuver to gain time" by removing emergency rule.

"They are basically telling the people, 'We have fulfilled your demands, so go home and if you don't we will break your head,'" he told The Associated Press by telephone from Damascus. "But in reality nothing will change."

So far, Assad's strategy has been to couple dry promises of reform with a relentless crackdown. In addition ending the state of emergency, he fulfilled a decades-old demand by granting citizenship to thousands among Syria's long-ostracized Kurdish minority, fired local officials, released detainees and formed a new government.

Protesters say Assad has unleashed his security forces along with shadowy, pro-government thugs known as "shabiha" to brutalize and intimidate them. Authorities have also played on fears of sectarian strife - so clearly destructive in neighboring Iraq and Lebanon - trying to persuade the broader public that the protests by tens of thousands will bring nothing but chaos.

Syria has multiple sectarian divisions, largely kept in check under Assad's heavy hand and his regime's secular ideology. Most significantly, the majority of the population is Sunni Muslim, but Assad and the ruling elite belong to the minority Alawite sect, an offshoot of Shiism.

Assad's actions have only emboldened the protesters.

"The people know that once you hit the streets you cannot go back, or it's finished," said David Schenker, director of the Program on Arab Politics at The Washington Institute.

Assad's regime has labeled the protest movement as an "armed insurrection" and a power grab by Islamic extremists - descriptions that could give authorities the cover to continue the crackdown.

Syria's official news agency SANA said Tuesday the Cabinet also approved abolishing the state security court, which handled the trials of political prisoners, and approved a new law allowing the right to stage peaceful protests with the permission of the Interior Ministry.

The changes need parliament approval, but no objections are expected at its next session planned for May 2.

U.S. State Department spokesman Mark Toner expressed skepticism about Assad's claims of reform.

"He has cast himself for a while now as a reformer," Toner said. "We've seen a lot of words and not a lot of action. But ultimately it's really for the Syrian people to decide if he said enough, or if he's done enough."

Syria's descent is an astonishing turn because it has been one of the region's most tightly controlled nations for decades, under Assad and under his father and predecessor, Hafez Assad.

As uprisings swept across the Arab world in January, Bashar Assad told the Wall Street Journal that his country was immune to such unrest because he is in tune with his people's needs.

Assad has indeed maintained a level of popular support during his 11 years in power, in no small part because of his anti-Israel policies, which resonate with his countrymen. And unlike leaders in Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen and Jordan, Assad is not allied with the United States, so he has been spared the accusation that he caters to American demands.

But the mood over the past four weeks has changed markedly.

Enraged by a mounting death toll, Syrians are joining the protest movement in growing numbers and from a broader cross-section of society. Assad is now dealing with a cycle driven by rage and vengeance that has all but eclipsed the political aspirations of the original calls for reform.

The crackdown also has altered a view held by many people - in Syria and abroad - that Assad is a reformer at heart who was constrained by members of his late father's old guard who are clinging to power, fearing an end to their privileges.

Despite the range of opinions about Assad's motivations, his road to power followed a path taken by dictators the world over: He inherited power from his father after winning a sham election.

Assad gave up an ophthalmology practice in Britain to enter Syrian politics when his brother Basil, widely regarded as his father's chosen heir, died in a 1994 car crash. To mesh into the military-dominated power structure, he brushed up on military training and became an army colonel.

After his father's death, Parliament quickly lowered the presidential age requirement from 40 to 34 so that the ruling Baath party could nominate him. His appointment was sealed by a nationwide referendum, in which he was the only candidate.

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