Painting over history in Tahrir Square


Cairo, Egypt – In Cairo’s Tahrir Square, ground zero of the democratic uprising which overthrew the brutal 42-year dictatorship of Hosni Mubarak, the history of the 2011 revolution is literally drawn on the walls. Down Mohamed Mahmoud Street, along the sides of the American University of Cairo (AUC) compound and all around the Square there are stunning and oft-emotional testaments to the historic events which led to the fall of the Mubarak regime and which galvanised the attention of the world.

Pharaohnic imagery, written messages of inspiration, artistic depictions of soldiers, politicians, protestors and the ordinary Egyptians from all walks of life who came into the streets to finally lift the heavy weight of dictatorship from their nation – all these are painted on the walls around Tahrir in recognition of the transcendent events which took place there only so recently. In addition, what are painted are tributes to those young and old who gave their lives to the cause of bringing freedom to Egypt. Depictions of the martyrs of Tahrir Square with angel wings and words of commemoration adorn the walls, and it is these historic images, among others, that the Egyptian military came this week to wipe away.

Continue reading at Al Jazeera…


Pakistan’s legal fight to end the drone war

“You cannot call me lucky,” said Sadaullah Wazir as he recounted the events of a drone strike two years ago on his home in North Waziristan.

The strike killed his two young cousins and an elderly wheelchair-bound uncle. It also severed both of then-15-year-old Sadaullah’s legs and cost him the use of an eye, turning a normal family dinner into an otherworldly nightmare and radically altering the path of his young life.

“I had a dream to be a doctor,” he says. “But now I can’t even walk to school.”

Today, Sadaullah is one of an increasing number of Pakistanis who are seeking justice in the courtroom against the orchestrators of a drone campaign which is believed to have killed thousands of their fellow citizens; a huge number of whom recent studies have shown to be innocent civilians.Over the past three years, the steady buzzing of Predator drones overhead has become a grim and terrifying fact of life for many residents of Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province (KP). So pervasive is the sense of fear that doctors there report a huge upsurge in the usage of tranquilisers and sleeping pills among the civilian population. Drone strikes are believed to have been responsible for the deaths of a conservatively estimated 2,283 individuals over this period, and the injuries of thousands more, including Sadaullah.

Continued at Al Jazeera