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(c) Greenpeace
Greenpeace activists mobilizing people
peacefully against a polluting waste
incinerator in the southern suburbs of Beirut,
Lebanon, in 1997. In was later shut down.

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The end of Arab Dictators

A look at the political situation in the Arab region in usually an unpleasant exercise. Before 2011, Arab experts at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) wrote reports describing the main obstacles to development in this region: gender inequality and the need to empower women, constraints on freedom that impede good governance, the desperate state of education systems and the lack of knowledge.

The Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network, the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and others regularly publish damning reports about the human rights situation in Arab states.

The overall picture, before the "Arab Spring" was bleak and hopeless until the Tunisian people on January 14, 2011 overthrew dictator Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali ("Zaba, Degage!") and put their country on the path of freedom. A month later it was the turn of Egyptian dictator Hosny Mubarak ("Ir7al!"). Ben Ali fled to Saudi Arabia; Mubarak faced trial and was humiliated. In March 2011 the Syrian people rose up against the dictatorship of the Assad regime. In August 2011, Libyan dictator Moammar Gaddafi was toppled after more than six months of fighting, the dictator was caught and killed weeks later. Who could have predicted this in 2010? All sparked by the self-immolation of one desperate Tunisian man, Mohamed Bouazizi, whose vegetable cart was confiscated by police.

The walls of fear collapsed in the Arab region, 21 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Finally. But the revolutions turned sour. The Syrian people are facing a de facto occupation by Iran, Hezbollah Lebanon and Russia. In Bahrain, Gulf Arab troops intervened and crushed peaceful protests in Spring 2011. Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Libya today are in a mess, other Arab states are anything but stable. In Lebanon, people have been demanding an end of the corrupt sectarian system - in vain.

Secular and progressive Arab non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and individual activists have been at the forefront of the fight for freedom. Despite hardships and violent oppression they have been fighting with peaceful means to ensure that the
Universal Human Rights Declaration is respected in their countries. The price is high: Many are killed, end in jail, disapear or forced into exile. The fight goes on. Thawra mustamira.

Attached are speeches, articles and position papers I wrote about the role of civil society in the Arab region. There are also interviews and articles written about how
Greenpeace in Lebanon, which I founded in 1994, strengthened civil society there and how non-violent activists can push for changes. You will also read articles I wrote as a journalist in the 1980s and 1990s.


Publications  
"Spring in Tunis", article (in GERMAN) by Joerg Spaniol in GEO Saison, May 2012, with quotes from me about the political situation in Tunisia.  PDF
   
"Assad Reformer Myth Finally Dead" (LONG VERSION in ENGLISH), published in my blog12 January 2012, updated 7 March 2012. Paper has 9 sections: myth and reality, Asma Assad, the failed Baath economy, crimes in Syria, abuses in Lebanon and against the Palestinians, the Syrian Intifada, humor of the intifada, the end. 

Related paper: Asma Assad interview in the US magazine Vogue in Feb 2011 and reactions to it. The article was removed from the Vogue website, but you can download it HERE.
 Blog
   

Tunisian Election Season Kicks Off: Personal integrity and credibility of candidates likely to be more important than ideology.
Article in ENGLISH, published 6.10.2011 in www.ipwr.net

 Blog
   
Tunisia road to democracy unstoppable - despite many obstacles  Blog
Analysis about the political situation ahead of the planned elections for a Constitutional assembly on October 23, 2011 (In English). Publihsed in International War and Peace Reporting.  
   
Tunisia in May 2011 - Revolution Reloaded?
Observations and analysis about the birth pangs of an Arab democracy in the making. In my blog, and in English
 Blog
   
A Bus, the civil war and Lebanon`s lost memory
An analysis about Lebanon, 31 years after the start of the civil war on April 13, 1975. In my blog, and in English.
 Blog
   
To War of not to war in Libya?
Analysys about why the war on dictator Moammar Gaddafi is a necessary evil. In My blog. In English.
 Blog
   
Strategy to end sectarianism in Lebanon
Article in the Lebanese Daily Daily Star (in English), March 2011
 PDF
   

Zest for change in the Arab region
Article in the Bahraini economics magazine The Gulf (in ENGLISH) about the role of the Arab Human Rights Fund (AHRF) and the link between the respect of human rights and the rule of law with sustainable economic development, December 2008

 PDF
   

No more crawling anymore
Interview with the German newspaper "Neues Deutschland" about why an Arab human rights fund is needed in the Arab region (in GERMAN), August 2008

 PDF
   
Arab Human Rights Fund supports NGOs
Interview for the German international radio "Deutsche Welle" about the Arab Human Rights Fund (AHRF) (in GERMAN), September 2008
 PDF
   

Human rights and sustainable energy in the Arab region
Article linking human rights with the need to phase out oil and invest heavily in sustainable energy technologies like solar and wind power in the Arab region, and saying that Saudi Arabia could and should lead this energy revolution (in ENGLISH). The Gulf magazine, Bahrain, June 2008

 PDF
   

Saudi Arabia can lead sustainable policies in the Arab region
Paper presented at the Jeddah Economic Forum, Saudi Arabia, in February 2008 (in ARABIC).

 PDF
   
Saudi Arabia can lead sustainable policies in the Arab region
Paper presented at the Jeddah Economic Forum, Saudi Arabia, in February 2008 (in ENGLISH).
 PDF
   

Lebanese democracy growing
"The belated bliss of Lebanese freedom". Opinion article (in ENGLISH) in the Daily Star newspaper, May 2006

 PDF
   

Lebanese democracy growing
Opinion article (in ARABIC) in the an-Nahar newspaper, May 2006

 PDF
   

Greenpeace as a promoter of democracy in Lebanon
PowerPoint presented at the McPlanet.com conference (in GERMAN) about the impact Greenpeace Lebanon had on strengthening civil society there. Berlin, June 2003

 PDF
   
The link between democracy and environmental protection in Lebanon
Speech I held after receiving the award of "Man of the Year 1998" for achievements in the environmental field (in ARABIC) while working for Greenpeace Lebanon, March 1999
 PDF
   

Greenpeace promotes democracy in Lebanon
A report about the work of Greenpeace Lebanon and its influence in strengthening democracy there (in GERMAN). Greenpeace Germany, 2004

 PDF
   
US report linking toxic waste imports and human rights in Lebanon
The University of San Francisco submitted a report to the UN Human Rights Commission linking human rights with the import of toxic waste in Lebanon, quoting Greenpeace (in ENGLISH). Year unknown.
 PDF
   
13 articles and interviews about the role of Greenpeace Lebanon
They are in ARABIC and ENGLISH, and they were published between 1996 and 1999.
 PDF
   
14 more articles and interviews about the role of Greenpeace Lebanon
They are in also in ARABIC and ENGLISH, and they were published between 1998 and 1998.
 PDF
   
6 articles and interviews about the role of Greenpeace Lebanon
They were published in GERMAN between 1996 and 1998.
 PDF
   
Greenpeace in Lebanese schoolbooks
New, post civil war schoolbooks on civic education mention Greenpeace activities in Lebanon and show photos of peaceful demonstrations when elaborating on issues like non-violence, the right to demonstrate, the role of non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and environmental protection. 1999.
 PDF
   
Environmental protection between front lines
Article (in GERMAN) about NGOs and their role in the societies of developing nations, including Greenpeace in Lebanon. Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, April 1998
 PDF
   
12 articles about human rights issues in Arab states
I wrote these articles when I was a journalist and correspondent (in ENGLISH and GERMAN) between 1986-1990: Arab caricaturists under pressure, education in the Gulf region, theater in the Arab world, impact of the fall of communism on Arab regimes, women in Oman, married minors in Egypt, democracy in Kuwait, censorship in Egyptian cinema, a portrait of the Palestinian painter Burhan Carcutli in the German Diaspora, the life of Palestinians in Germany.
 PDF