Arab Spring Revisited (Pt 2)

The so-called Arab Spring has reshaped the lives of millions in the Middle East and North Africa. But the revolutions that were promised are still a long way from being delivered. From Libya to Tunis, from Egypt to Bahrain, from Syria to Yemen ... we're taking the pulse of the region not with the officials but with those regular citizens whose lives have been up-ended and sometimes up-lifted as they join their neighbours in trying to find a better way.

Part Three of The Current

Arab Spring Revisited (Pt 2) - Omar Al-Muqdad

The most brutal response to the uprisings that have swept across the Middle East and North Africa has been in Syria. The tape we started this segment with is from a BBC report from the beginning of August. Syria's President, Bashar al-Assad has cracked down ruthlessly on protesters. Soldiers have opened fire on crowds, tanks have occupied cities and army snipers have picked off civilians in the streets.

Omar Al-Muqdad is a Syrian human rights activist who fled Syria two months ago. He was in Turkey.

Arab Spring Revisited (Pt 2) - Atiaf Al Wazir

The protests in Sana'a, Yemen began in February, and continued for four months before President Ali Abdullah Saleh -- who had been in power for 33 years -- announced that he would resign. He later reneged on that promise, but after being injured in an attack on his compound, he fled to Saudi Arabia. He hasn't returned since, but he hasn't resigned either, leaving the country in an awkward limbo.

Atiaf Al Wazir is a Yemeni-American who went to live in Yemen two years ago. She lives in Sana'a, Yemen and she's keeping a record of the revolution there on her website --

Arab Spring Revisited (Pt 2) - Maryam Al-Khawaja

We started this segment with some sound from protesters in Bahrain, from a documentary produced by Al Jazeera called Shouting In The Dark. On February 23rd, more than a quarter of all of Bahrain's citizens poured into the streets, calling for sweeping social reform and an elected government. That same day, Bahrain's King traveled to Saudi Arabia to meet with the Saudi King. Shortly after that meeting, the Gulf Cooperation Council -- a six-nation political and economic union of the Gulf states -- sent more than a thousand troops and police officers. At the time, there were no foreign journalists left in the country as the Bahraini regime turned its sights on its own people.

The Current spoke several times to Batool Al-Khawaja, a young woman whose father, fiancé, and brother-in-law -- all human rights activists -- were jailed. When we last spoke to Batool her father's trial was imminent. She decided not to rejoin us this morning because her fiancé's appeal is in a few days and she does not want to jeopardize his chances.

Instead, we reached her sister Maryam Al-Khawaja. She is the head of the foreign relations office for the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, but she has left Bahrain. We're not disclosing her specific location for her safety. Her father Abdul Hadi Al-Khawaja is serving a life sentence for his activism against the Bahraini regime.

Last Word - Vibrator Promo

The last word this morning goes to The Current's Kathleen Goldhar who is working on a ... um ... stimulating story for tomorrow's program. It's part of a new project we're taking on this year called Game Changer ... all about the people and things and ideas that have shifted our thinking about the world in some significant way. Kathleen Goldhar got the last word this morning.

Other segments from today's show:

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