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Full Quarter Storms By Sonny Melencio 2010, Transform Asia Inc. transform.asia1@gmail.com Veteran Filipino socialist activist Sonny Melencio’s political autobiography, Full Quarter Storms, covers a lot of history. The book tells the story of the “First Quarter Storm”, the student uprising in 1970 (from which the book draws its title), and the driving of this powerful movement underground by the declaration of martial law by then-president Ferdinand Marcos in 1972.
Popular uprisings in the Arab world have challenged a political landscape dominated by undemocratic regimes and fronted by dictators, a panel of academics and journalists said at a Sydney University forum on February 15. Speakers discussed the regional and international ramifications of the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt as part of the forum on people's power and change in the Arab world.
About 200 people rallied in Brisbane's King George Square on February 25 to show solidarity with the people of Libya resisting the oppressive regime of Muammar Gaddafi. A banner proclaiming "Free Libya" was fixed to a wall, together with photos of victims of the Libyan military and police. Placards carried by members of the Libyan community, many of them students, read "Stop using mercenaries to kill our people" and "Please help our country".
WikiLeaks has announced it will pursue legal action against disgruntled former employee Daniel Domscheit-Berg, whose recently released book, Inside WikiLeaks, slams Julian Assange's leadership and character in a series of allegations. Some of the allegations appear serious. Others are hopelessly trivial.
Ahlem Belhadj is a Tunisian revolutionary socialist and member of the Ligue de la Gauche Ouvriers (Left Workers’ League). It is a part of the January 14 Front, which unites left-wing groups seeking to push Tunisia’s revolution forward by creating a new government free from members of the former ruling party, and supports policies reversing neoliberalism. Belhadj spoke with Green Left Weekly’s Tony Iltis on February 12 about the Tunisian revolution. * * *
In 1987, I visited Libya as a journalist for the left-wing newspaper Direct Action. I visited Gaddafi’s bombed-out home — attacked by the United States one year earlier. In the 1980s, the Gaddafi regime came under attack from the US government because it took an anti-imperialist line and gave financial and material aid to many national liberation movements at the time.
On February 22, Muammar Gaddafi boasted on state TV that the Libyan people were with him and that he was the Libyan revolution. His comments came as his dwindling army of special guards and hired mercenaries tried to drown the popular revolution in blood. AlJazeera.net reported on February 21 that civilians were strafed and bombed from helicopters and planes. Snipers with high-powered rifles fired into unarmed crowds.
Forty-five pro-democracy activists, students and trade unionists were arrested in Harare on February 19 at a meeting to discuss the uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia. On February 23, the activists were charged with treason, which risks the death penalty. It is believed that security forces loyal to President Robert Mugabe’s ZANU-PF infiltrated the meeting at the Labour Law Centre in Harare, which was themed “Revolt in Egypt and Tunisia: What lessons can be learnt by Zimbabwe and Africa?”
More than 100,000 protesters packed Pearl Roundabout in Bahrain's capital, Manama, on February 22, demanding an end to the regime of King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa. Protester Muhammad Abdullah told The New York Times: “This is the first time in the history of Bahrain that the majority of people, of Bahraini people, got together with one message: this regime must fall.” If the Khalifa family — which has ruled the tiny island nation for 200 years — falls, it could have major implications for the region and world politics.
About 200 members of the Libyan community and supporters held an angry protest at Sydney's Town Hall on February 22 to condemn the brutal massacres against pro-democracy protesters carried out by the regime of Muammar Gaddafi. Protesters chanted "Down, down Gaddafi!" and (in Arabic) "The people's voice must be heard!" The rally was told the death toll in the crackdown, which has included military airplanes attacking protesters, had killed at least 500 people and injured more than 3000.

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