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Interview: Frank Beuken tells Al Rasub about the Arab Spring

Original interview at Al Rasub

Frank Beuken is a Blogger   and a political analyst, he talks to Al-Rasub about his coming novel and changing political conditions of Arab world..

 

Al-Rasub:     Frank, can u  tell us briefly about your younger years and school College life .

Frank Beuken:  I was born in Baarn, The Netherlands. I have seen many schools as my parents moved quite a lot. Several places in the Netherlands, France and Belgium. High school was my highest grade. Due to severe problems at home I ran away and lived temporary in a shelter home. I first tasted freedom when I lived in a town called Nijmegen in the Netherlands. I became active in protests against government decisions which were undermining normal civil rights. As well against American weapons to be place in the Netherlands. I spent many of these years in the so called underground culture of the town. Evenings were filled with philosophical discussions with friends which lasted often till the next morning.

 

Al-Rasub:     You have a very close look on Arab Spring, will you explain the context of Arab Spring ?

Frank Beuken:    From the first moment in Tunisia when a boy set himself on fire out of pure frustration against the authorities, my attention for the Arab spring was born.

Of course I was always against suppression and followed the news in Romania 1989 when the dictator Ceausescu was captured and shot by a military tribunal. The people of that country suffered for many years just because one man “owned” the country and found he had the right to abuse the people. With fear for their lives, young people, supported by miners dared the stand up against this cruel man. With the fast that 1 of 5 men in Romania had served the Securitate (Secret services) they were never sure who to trust. But they won with the right spirit.

In Tunisia the young people found the strength to stand up as well and they succeeded. Egypt followed, then Libya, Bahrain, Yemen and many more countries. The young people just had enough of these cruel dictators. All they wanted was respect, jobs and a normal future without fear.

 

Al-Rasub:    How do you think Arab spring gets its targets ?

 

Frank Beuken:  The Arab spring was already very successful. Several dictators fled or were killed. The people took back what belongs to them. The country itself. It is now important to stay focused. A good example is Egypt now with Mursi, who wants to get more power than Mubarak had. Maybe his intentions are good and does he really wants to protect the revolution but it is unacceptable for the people on Tahrir square. Many of their friends died or are in prison. Mursi needs to listen to them. Not to Tantawi, who in my opinion is still very much in power. Often I wonder if Mursi is a puppet from the army and with this idea, a democracy is still far away. And the youngsters on Tahrir are aware of this.

 

Al-Rasub:     There is a common perception in many groups in Muslim world that Arab Spring is American funded moment, what are your observation and opinion ?

 

Frank Beuken:   Personally I think it is the biggest offence for all these young people who have given their lives for the revolution. The first real proof that America couldn’t be in control, when Obama mentioned the resign date of Mubarak. But it didn’t happen. Mubarak stayed in charge. Obama lost his face with this awkward moment. People who believe that foreign powers have set up the Arab spring, are conspiracy thinkers. People who always believe that higher powers are behind it. The Arab Spring is pure and started and finished by these brave young people.

 

Al-Rasub:    Some critics says that Arab spring divided Muslim world or specially Arab world in two groups, Liberal and Fundamentalist and they give the examples of Tunisia and Egypt what you think ?

 

Frank Beuken:  These critics are often people from the west, with a huge lack of knowledge of the Arab world. Remember that Ben Ali, Khadaffi, Mubarak and now Assad as well, always mentioned the danger of fundamentalists? They wanted to warn the nation for a fear what doesn’t really exist. I mean of course there are extremist groups but they do not have the power to set the revolution in their direction. Personally I believe Al Qaida is a myth. In a sense that it isn’t a worldwide terroristic group. Every extreme group uses the name Al Qaida to impress the world. Fear is a tool to make the nation to believe in their leader, to protect them against evil.

 

Al-Rasub:     What will be or should but the outcome of Arab spring like moments ?

 

Frank Beuken:    To my opinion this isn’t an issue what will be solved in one or two years. Of course the expectations of the western world are probably the same as the people in the Arab world. We all hope that democracy is installed within a short time. That is the ideal world but unfortunately, reality is otherwise. People lived for over 30 years under suppression. Most of the people, survived by adapting them to the system. And for most families, the basic things are important: A home, a job, to be able to feed your family. Now everything is turned upside down. Suddenly the oppressor is gone. Security forces fell apart and people feel liberated. But then, reality of all day life comes around: Homes, jobs, feed the family etc. To be honest, I think it will take up to 30 years to have a full stable country again. Don’t forget; most people think the same way: Freedom. But still there are many groups who are still either supporting the former dictator or groups who want to take over control. Also these people need to be given a place in the new society. They cannot be ignored, as they are there. It will take a full generation before the whole consensus is a fact.

 

Al-Rasub:   What kind of lessons can be learned from Arab spring, especially in Muslim word.

 

Frank Beuken:   The revolutionaries must stay focused until the end. They have to stay alert until  a democratic constitution is established and protected.

 

Al-Rasub:    Tell us something about your Books and what inspires you to write a book ?

 

Frank Beuken:  With all the information and all the conversations I had with revolutionaries from Egypt, Tunisia and Libya I felt to do something. To write a book was a long time wish from my and what subject was better than the Arab Spring. What I did is I combined the protests in a novel. It is a story based on the Arab Spring. The reader will experience the protests in the streets, social behavior and to see a world which is so different than west Europe but so very much alike as well. After all, we are all human beings. This book is an ode to the young man, or the young girl in the middle of the freedom fights. The book is written in my language, Dutch, but soon it will be available in German and English. Inshallah soon in arab as well.

 

Al-Rasub:    What keep you busy during your free time?

 

Frank Beuken: Since August I started to write a new book. Again a novel in which east meets west. Still I talk a lot with people from “the arab spring” countries.

 

Al-Rasub:   What are your future projects on which you are working or you want to work?

 

Frank Beuken:   As said, my new book of course. Secondly, my wish for next year, is to meet the people I had contact with in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Bahrain, Yemen and Syria.

 

Al-Rasub:  Your message for our readers ?

 

Frank Beuken:  Believe in mankind. Stay focused and let’s unite because, we are in a far majority compare to small extremist groups who want to tell us how we have to live. So we can win and make this world a better place for all. Respect, dignity, peace and a future for all.

 

 

 

Frank Beuken can be reach at:

www.frankbeuken.com

info@frankbeuken.com

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Egypt’s Christians Fear Violence, Flee

CAIRO, October 3 (Shahira Amin for RIA Novosti)

Shahira Amin, Egyptian journalist, the former deputy head of Egyptian state-owned Nile TV and one of its senior anchors

Fearing sectarian violence at hands of the Muslim extremists, Christian Copts in the Egypt’s North Sinai town of Rafah are being forced to flee their homes.

At least a dozen Coptic families have already left the town bordering Gaza and Israel, seeking safety in the nearby town of Al Arish, a local priest told state-owned Al Ahram newspaper. The latest Coptic exodus was triggered by an armed attack on a shop owned by a Christian town-dweller, he said.

Two days earlier, fliers had been found outside Christian homes warning residents to “leave or face death.” While the attack by masked gunmen did not cause any injuries, it has succeeded in terrorizing the town’s small Christian community.

Christian families who met last week with the newly appointed North Sinai governor Sayed Harhour to express their grievances said the governor had promised to increase security in the town but stopped short of offering the Copts direct protection.

The violence is not the first of its kind in Rafah. The town’s only church, “The Holy Family Church,” has come under several attacks from militants since it was torched and looted in February 2011, as mass protests were taking place in Tahrir Square.

The Sinai Peninsula has witnessed a surge in violence since the January, 2011 uprising that toppled President Hosni Mubarak .

The subsequent rise of Islamists to power in Egypt has fuelled Christian concerns that their safety may be compromised and their freedom restricted under Islamist rule. Rights activists say the latest attack on Copts is a litmus test for Islamist President Mohamed Morsi who has promised an “inclusive Egypt” where all citizens enjoy equal rights.

Copts have experienced some of the worst violence since the January 2011 uprising, including the torching of churches, the violent military assault on Coptic protesters at Maspero last October and forced evacuations of Copts from the towns of Dahshur and Amreya. Tens of thousands of Copts have left Egypt to settle abroad since March 2011 out of concern for their safety, according to a report by the Egyptian Federation of Human Rights.

The recent anti-Islam video on Youtube has escalated fears of further attacks on Egypt’s Christians after the clip – reportedly produced by Egyptian Christians living in the United States – provoked angry protests in Cairo and other Muslim capitals.

Despite Coptic Christians joining the Cairo demonstrations to express their solidarity with the Muslim protesters, many Christians are fearful of a backlash from radical Muslims.

The recent arrest and detention of Alber Saber, a young Christian -turned-atheist, on a charge of insulting religion after he posted the inflammatory video on Facebook has only fuelled such fears. Rights activists have decried Saber’s arrest, questioning why a Salafist TV presenter who showed parts of the video on his show (sparking the violent protests in Cairo and Alexandria ) had not been detained despite several lawsuits filed against him.

Another Christian, Michel Bishoy, was sentenced to six years in prison last week for blasphemy after posting pictures on Facebook deemed offensive to Islam’s revered Prophet Muhammad.

President Morsi has condemned the latest violence in Rafah saying he “categorically rejects the displacement of any citizen from any part of the country.”

Presidential spokesman Yasser Ali affirmed that “forced evacuations are unacceptable and all Egyptians are entitled to protection.” He repeated earlier statements by the President that there would be no discrimination of any kind -“neither against women nor Copts,” he said.

Prime Minister Hisham Qandil has meanwhile denied that Copts have been forcibly evacuated from Rafah, saying that only one Coptic family had decided to relocate. In statements to the state-run Middle East News Agency, he affirmed that President Morsi had given directives to the North Sinai governor to provide protection for Coptic residents in the town.

Despite such assurances, many Copts remain skeptical. Rights groups have said they are closely monitoring the situation in Sinai. The National Council for Human Rights has warned of “dire consequences if Christians’ lives are at risk,” adding that it would be “a dangerous precedent in Egypt, taking the country back to the dark ages.”

In the meantime, Egypt’s Coptic Christians who were subjected to discrimination and marginalization under Mubarak’s rule now face an uncertain future.

“It is up to the new Islamist government to show it is serious about ending the discriminatory policies of the past. We have heard a lot of promises, ” said Bassant Moussa of the “Copts United” public group. “Only action will allay our fears.”

Shahira Amin is an Egyptian journalist, the former deputy head of Egyptian state-owned Nile TV and one of its senior anchors.

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The End of the World

In December 2012 the Mayan Calendar comes to an end. After 12.000 years there is no next day. The end of the world as many say.  Since many years, scientists are searching for the right place to be at on the last month of this year. The safest place on earth. Some say it is Africa, others say it is in Asia. We are doomed. December 2011 was the last new years eve. The last Christmas. There is no 2013. Is this really the case?  Or do we have certain doom thinkers in our midst. People who feel the need to give us fear.

Who are these people to tell about the complete destruction of our planet?  What moves these men to convince us from the bad times we are going to meet. Based on what knowledge? Does it mean that all the uprisings and revolutions in the Arab world are of no use? Or the Slavic Spring, which is happening today as well. Russia, Hungary, Slovenia and Romania. All people united to take back what was stolen from us. Freedom and Dignity. Is it a waste of time or the beginning of a new era?

With the millennium we entered the Aquarius Era. After more than 2100 years we arrived in a time of consciousness. Combined with the end of a 12.000 year old era we are definitely going to see total change. A time to stand up and to realise we let our leaders controlling us way too long. We followed like dependent sheep. Like slaves. The last convulsions of these policy makers are sending fear among us. Climate disasters and Global terrorist attacks. Governments are using their last efforts to get us back in line.

The uprising in the Middle East, Africa and Asia. The occupy movements all over America and Europe.  Never in history it was on such a large-scale as it is today. Never ever so many nations are united to show their leaders that we don’t take it anymore.  The time has come. To give back the world to its people.

A turning point: Welcome to a new world. Welcome to our world.

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The Revolution of Romania

Since Monday January 16, 2012 Romanians took the streets of Bucharest and several other cities across the nation. TheyJanuary 16 2012 Romania demand the resignation of the president Traian Basescu and his coalition of PM Emil Boc. This government took hard measures to meet the International Monetary Fund standards. The last controversial act is the privatisation of the healthcare system. Which force more Romanians into poverty. After the first protests the deputy health minister quit and the government withdrew the healthcare plan. According to the protestors it is too late and they demand the resignation of the complete government.

If one country in Europe know how to get rid of their oppressors it is Romania for sure. In December 1989 the people overthrew the dictatorship of Nicolae Ceausescu and his wife Elena. They achieved to liberate the country within a short time. A country which soaked from Securitate. One on each 5 men served in this government secret services. A lot of freedom fighters had to take huge risks. Nobody was sure about his neighbour. Was he on the wrong or right site?

On December 16,1989  mass protests  in Timişoara and other cities started when the government tried to evict, pastor László Tőkés. A dissident on the border with Hungary. On the morning of December 21st, Ceausescu speeches for a 100.000 workers to show his ongoing popularity. Only eight minutes after he had begun, people in the back rowes started chanting: Timişoara! Timişoara! Within minutes the 100.000 people were chanting all together and took control of the Revolution Square in the centre of Bucharest. In a last attempt, Ceausescu promised the workers a pay raise but it was too late.

On December 22, 1989 in the early morning, the Ceausescus were fleeing by helicopter but the pilot faked engine trouble and they landed in a field outside the capital. They were captured and brought back to the city. A quickly arranged tribunal accused the dictator of mass murder and other severe verdicts and sentenced him to death. On first christmas day Nicolae and Elena Ceausescu were shot by a firing squad. Until December 25 over 1100 people were killed.

The new protests of 2012 are a clear sign to the government. Either meet the demands of the people or resign. No compromising. Any oppression will be answered with huge protests in a country who has proven their strength. If the protestors can overthrow Ceausescu they can for sure take back the country at any time.

 

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Who is to Blame?

Still many people around the world have a problem with Germany due to the Second World War. Young generations in Germany blamed for something their grandparents did. How many jokes do exist all over the world about germans? Especially in West Europe. How often, young germans need to defend themselves in discussions about an era of horror? A discussion they don’t even want be  involved at but unfortunately they have no choice or else they are accused of Nazism.

From 1933 till 1945 the Nazis of Germany aimed for a totalitarian system and an empire that covers the world. The Third Reich (Realm or Empire). Adolf Hitler wanted to follow the footsteps of the Holy Roman Empire leaders from Germany, the First Reich. Not to confuse with the ancient Roman Empire. The Second Reich was the Hohenzollern Germany, installed after the Franco – Prussian war of 1870 till 1871. It was Arthur Muller van den Bruck who mentioned the Third Reich already in one of his books in 1923. Muller was probably a great example to Hitler. The Nazis brought an end to the Weimar Republic, a parliamentary democracy established in Germany after the First World War.

The Second World War became hell on earth. Hitler knew how to deal with the misery in Germany after World War I. He promised the nation jobs, a great economy and a powerful country with an important role in the world. This is exactly what he did but not as many had expected. Hitler wanted his Third Reich at all costs. He blamed the jews for the poverty of many germans. He had a strong frustration against these people for their successes in business. Jews always knew how to make money from nothing. They knew how to survive and how to take care of their families. For Hitler this was a good opportunity to put the blame on them and this made him popular by all these Germans living in a hopeless situation. After having his war machinery at a high level he conquered Europe in no time with his Blitzkrieg (Lighting war). The  European people suffered for five years long. Six million jews murdered as well over a million people of other groups like gipsies, polish but as well people with another beliefs. In these five years 47 million civilians died before the allied forces from the West and the East ended the bloodiest war the world has ever experienced.

The first postwar Chancellor of Germany, Konrad Adenauer realised in what situation Germany was in after the Third Reich collapsed. It was his duty to bring Germany back. To find a way to pay the debts and at the same time to increase the economy. The toughest job ever for a politician. He knew well what Hitler did in Europe and how many people suffered under this regime. It was the  4th Chancellor Willy Brandt who showed the pain and quilt from the German people and kneeled on december 7th 1970 for a monument in Poland for all the victims and cried. A turning point for many polish people. They believed the good intentions of this man. A new relation was born and thanks to the Marshall Plan,an aid program by the USA, to build a new Europe, people could start to look forward and to see future opportunities for them and their families.

The system of Germany was to work hard to build up the country and to understand what they have caused in Europe. New generations learned in schools what happened exactly in World War II and they learned to deal with it. They also learned to deal with the discriminatory feelings of other nations against them but they worked hard and since the millennium they are proud being German again. They wave their flags at big sports events and believe in what their country stands for. They have learned from the past and dealt with the guilt for many decades. Something many countries still didn’t do.

Two years after WWII, the Netherlands murdered many opponents in Indonesia, a colony until 1949 to reinstall the dutch monarchy after the Japanese left in 1945. Until today this history is still not mentioned in schoolbooks and the official apologies from the government came in 2011. Many generations in the Netherlands don’t know anything about this genocide. In England, children learn about the once so powerful United Kingdom and its pride but what do they know exactly about the cruelties the army caused in Ireland, Scotland and many countries overseas? Or Austria, a country what finds it hard to talk about their dictatorial era from 1933 till 1938. The chancellor Engelbert Dolfuss ruled the nation as a dictator until it was annexed by Nazi Germany. What about Italy? About ten years ago I drove down to Naples and at a gas station you could buy busts of Mussolini, a war criminal and friend of Hitler. We have many more examples about countries who are afraid until today to deal with the horrors their grandparents caused to millions of innocent people.

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The Contradiction of Kazakhstan

Until the 17th of December the riots in Kazakhstan only took place in the city of Zhanaozon but spread slowly all over the country. It is now Shetpe, not far from Zhanaozon where fights broke out. The police ordered to shoot the protestors to keep up the peace. Since Friday the first oil workers protested against mass releases of workers and labour circumstances for many others. The death toll is 12 after 2 days of protests.

In the 16th century Kazakhstan inhabited by several ethnic groups of nomads. In fact nobody noticed this country until the Soviet Union annexed the area with the size of West Europe. Joseph Stalin, the paranoia leader of the USSR (Union of Soviet Socialists Republic) from 1941 till 1953 decided to move complete ethnic groups from the far east to the west of the Soviet Union  and vice versa. Kazakhstan became a home for Kazakhs, Russians,Uyghur,Ukrainians,Uzbeks,Tatars and Germans. 63 percent of the inhabitants are from Kazakhs origin. Now Kazakhstan has a great diversity of ethnic groups. In 1991 the country declared itself independent from the Soviet Union. The country ranked the 72nd place of the world economy.The capital moved from Alma-Ata in 1998 to Astana, the second largest city of Kazakhstan.

In 1999 the new government managed to make the country an important oil and gas exporter. Unfortunately the benefits are only for a small group of people. The majority of the nation still lives in poverty. It is Astana only what we see from Kazakhstan. The great new buildings, the huge sports complexes  and luxury cars. It is the élite group of friends of the president who profit from the economic boost.

The president Nursultan Nazarbayev ordered a three-week state of emergency to unleash extreme police force on the protestors. Internet and mobile phone traffic is unavailable since last Friday to prevent the young people to call for a nationwide protest via social networks like Facebook and Twitter. This action of the authorities is probably a turning point in the history of Kazakhstan. The bold action of the government challenges the people for harder reactions. It is only a matter of time before the majority of the nation awakens by the few protestors  nearby Astana. The first steps to freedom, dignity and a future are set. The freedom fights spread to Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

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Free Human Rights Defender Zainab Al-Khawaja

Zainab Al-Khawaja is a 28-years-old member of Bahrain Centre for Human Rights, famous human rights blogger as @angryarabia and a mother of 2-years-old girl from Bahrain.

On 15 December 2011, Zainab was arrested by Bahraini security forces from a roundabout on Budaiya highway, west of capital city Manama where she was taking part in a peaceful-sit-in-protest. The security forces responded with firing tear gas and stun grenades to disperse the protest, while Zainab continued the sit-in before the police moved in to rough her up.  She was arrested, handcuffed, assaulted and punched in her back by the police officer as she was forcibly dragged off into custody.  She, as well as another woman Masooma Al-Sayed were then taken to the police station.

Zainab is a mother of a two-year-old child, whose husband Wafi Al-Majed is in prison along with her father, Bahrain’s most prominent political activist and human rights defender, Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja who was imprisoned for life in June by special military court.
Zainab faces grave danger and is at risk of being tortured, as the regime has systematically attacked human rights defenders, health workers and professionals who are speaking up against the repression and human rights abuses.
We condemn ill-treatment of Zainab Al-Khawaja in public in the strongest possible terms, and arbitrary detention and demand the authorities to release her and Masooma Al-Sayed immediately and unconditionally.
We ask all concerned people to take immediate and urgent action in support of Zainab Al-Khawaja and Masooma Al-Sayed.

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