Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Arab Spring Photo Ops

Every weekend seems to bring a new group of demonstrators to Civic Center Plaza, usually as part of a photo opportunity for television cameras or online sites.

Two weeks ago there was a group with Libya signage, along with flags from various other "Arab Spring" countries who are in the process of trying to overthrow corrupt old regimes.

It's hard keeping track of what's happened over the last six months in the Mideast, particularly since the focus of much American journalism is "how does this affect the United States and its ally Israel?" Plus, there is so much misinformation it's hard to know what to trust. For example, there was the spectacular recent con job of the "Gay Girl in Damascus" blog turning out to be written by a "Straight Man in Scotland" (click here for that story at aljazeera).

Though the British are historically responsible for many of the disasters currently unfolding in the Mideast, they are also The Great Explainers, so click here for The Guardian's interactive timeline from December 19, 2010 to the present. It's a beautiful visual presentation of a library database with links to every story they have published on the Arab Spring for the last six months, breaking each one down by country and type of article.

Last weekend it was the turn of a small group of Moroccans to demonstrate in Civic Center Plaza for a KGO television camera.

They were showing their support of Moroccan King Mohammed VI, who announced a set of constitutional reforms on Saturday (click here for an article at another English paper, The Independent).

This crowd looked a bit older and more prosperous than the previous weekend, and the lady above kept breaking into infectious laughter.

According to an aljazeera article (click here), most of Morocco also celebrated after the King gave up some of his constitutional powers to other entities, but as his detractors point out, he's still in complete charge of the army which is what counts in Morocco as elsewhere.

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