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November 07 2011

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Passacaglia by Alessandro Piccinini 1566-1638

yt-video uploaded by BaroqueMusicOnly on Dec 21, 2010

// Alessandro Piccinini (December 30, 1566 -- ca. 1638), was an Italian lutenist and composer.

Piccinini was born in Bologna into a musical family: his father Leonardo Maria Piccinini taught lute playing to Alessandro as well as his brothers Girolamo (d. 1615) and Filippo (d. 1648). He held appointments at the Este court in Ferrara (from 1582 to 1597) and with Cardinal Pietro Aldobrandini, papal legate at Bologna and Ferrara. Piccinini died around 1638, probably in Bologna.

He is best known for his two volumes of lute music: Intavolatura di Liuto et di Chitarrone, libro primo (Bologna, 1623) and Intavolaturo di Liuto (Bologna, 1639), the latter published posthumusly by his son Leonardo Maria Piccinini. The 1623 collection is of particular importance because of Piccinini's lengthy preface, which includes a detailed manual on performance, as well as claims to have invented the archlute (Piccinini also made important modifications to the chitarrone). Piccinini concentrated on toccatas, courantes and galliards, as well as different kinds of variations. No other works by Piccinini are known; his music for La selva sin amor, the first opera performed in Spain, composed by his brother Filippo Piccinini is lost.

Passacaglias for lute have been composed by figures such as Alessandro Piccinini, G. H. Kapsberger, Sylvius Leopold Weiss, Esaias Reusner, Count Logy, Robert de Visée, Jacob Bittner, Philipp Franz Lesage De Richee, Gleitsmann, Dufaut, Gallot, Denis Gaultier, Ennemond Gaultier, and Roman Turovsky-Savchuk, a passacaglia for bandura by Julian Kytasty, and for baroque guitar by Paulo Galvão, Santiago de Murcia, Francisco Guerau, Gaspar Sanz, and Marcello Vitale. //

quote from the yt-video text

November 06 2011

Egypt: Military Court Refuses Alaa Abdel Fattah's Appeal

An appeal filed by Egypt’s veteran blogger Alaa Abdel Fattah for his release pending investigation has been denied (Nov. 3) by a Cairo military court. Abdel Fattah was detained on October 30 for 15 days after refusing to be interrogated by a military court, and insisting on his right to be investigated before a civilian court.

Abdel Fattah’s lawyers argued, among other things, that he was a no-flight risk since he was originally in San Francisco when the court summoned him, and he returned a few days later to appear before the court the next day.

It is therefore evident that he is not trying to escape trial. Instead, he insists on his civilian right to being tried before a civilian court, especially that the military is itself accused in the Maspero case for which he is being investigated.

Following the denial of appeal, Abdel Fattah was transferred to Tora prison, which has much better living conditions than the appeals prison he was originally in. He had published an article in Al Shorouk newspaper [in Arabic] and the Guardian [in English] in which he explained that the conditions at the appeals prison are simply inhumane, and declared that his imprisonment is a return to the post-revolution Mubarak days. Abdel Fattah had previously been detained under Mubarak for 45 days in 2006 after participating in a protest in support of an independent judiciary.

A second blog post by Abdel Fattah [a translation of which is available here] was published on the award-winning blog Manal and Alaa Bit Bucket (, which is maintained by the blogger and his wife as one of the first and most popular blogs in Egypt and the Arab world. In his second post from behind bars, Alaa said he was offered and refused a deal to be released if he stops attacking Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, the head of the Supreme Council of Armed Forces, Egypt’s current ruling authority.

On a more personal note, Alaa reveals a graceful self-embarrassment at having asked to be transferred to a more humane prison, thus having to leave other cell mates behind. He tells his readers that although he was brave enough to face imprisonment, he wasn’t brave enough to hear the opinion of his nine-month pregnant wife, Manal, in his decision to remain silent before the military prosecutor, which they knew would probably lead to detention. He knew she would support him anyway, he says. He ends his blog on a note of gratitude, crediting any bit of courage that he has to the influence of his mother, his younger sisters, and his wife, whose being separated from is the hardest part of detention.

Egypt: All Set for Parliamentary Elections 2011

With the parliamentary elections in Egypt around the corner, it is hard to find any discussion where the elections is not a part of it. Beside it being the first parliament to be elected after the fall of Hosni Mubarak, this parliament will also be responsible for appointing the committee that will draft the country's new constitution which in turn will pave the way to the presidential elections later on.

The Elections Law

The People Council's (Lower House) elections will start on Monday, November 28, and will be on three stages - each for a number of the Egyptian governorates, with dates for second rounds of voting in case none of the candidates in a certain district receives the required number of votes. The three stages and their second rounds will end on January 10, 2012, as shown in the table below and the results are expected to be out on January 13. Meanwhile, the Shura (consultative) Council (Upper House) elections (Upper House) will start on January 29.

Egyptian elections time table

Egyptian Elections Time Table

The distribution of the seats in the parliament are a bit tricky and that's why on the official website of the parliamentary elections, they added a special FAQ page in order to help people understand the complex elections system they are about to participate in.

The site notes [ar]:

يتم انتخاب ثلثي أعضاء مجلسي الشعب والشورى بنظام القوائم الحزبية المغلقة والثلث الآخر بنظام الانتخاب الفردي إذ يجب أن يكون عدد الممثلين لكل محافظة عن طريق القوائم الحزبية المغلقة ضعف عدد الأعضاء الممثلين لها عن طريق الانتخاب الفردي.
و تقسم الجمهورية لانتخابات مجلس الشعب إلى ٨٣ دائرة تخصص للانتخاب بالنظام الفردي ينتخب عن كل دائرة منها عضوان يكون احدهما على الأقل من العمال والفلاحين و ٤٦ دائرة أخرى تخصص للانتخاب بنظام القوائم.
وتقسم جمهورية مصر العربية لانتخابات مجلس الشورى إلى ٣٠ دائرة تخصص للانتخاب بالنظام الفردي، ينتخب عن كل دائرة منها عضوان يكون أحدهما على الأقل من العمال والفلاحين. كما تقسم الجمهورية إلى ٣٠ دائرة أخرى تخصص للانتخاب بنظام القوائم ويمثل كل دائرة ٤ أعضاء
Two thirds of the seats of the People's Assembly (Lower House) and the Shura Council (Upper House) will be elected using closed party-list proportional representation and the other third will be chosen using individual or single-winners voting system. I.e. the seats elected in each governorate using the closed party-lists are double of those of the single-winner seats.
For the People's Assembly, the country will be divided into 83 electoral districts for individuals, and two seats will be assigned to each district where one of them at least should be a worker or peasant, while 46 districts will be for the lists.
And for the Shura Councils, the country will be divided into 30 districts for individuals, and two seats will be assigned to each district where one of them at least should be a worker or peasant, while 30 districts will be for the lists with 4 seats in each.

During the previous decades, dictatorship and the centralization of the government in Egypt prevented the MP's (Members of Parliament) from fulfilling their actual role in the political system and created a huge confusion among many Egyptians who cannot really differentiate between the role of an MP and that of a member of a local council. Alex News tried to clarify such difference here.

عضو مجلس الشعب هو من يقوم باصدار التشريعات ووضع القوانيين ومراقبة الاداء الحكومى ومناقشة الميزانية والمشاريع الكبرى للدولة وليس دورة الاهتمام بالجانب العمرانى كرصف الطرق و التى يختص بها “عضو المجلس المحلى”.
The MP is the one responsible for issuing legalisation and laws, monitoring the government performance and discussing its budget and major projects taking place in the country. And his role is not taking care of urban development such as street pavements which is the role of the local council members.

According to a poll made by the Center for Socialist Studies, some Egyptians do not trust the election results. However, they are still going to vote. Meanwhile, some others are calling for boycotting the elections in disagreement with the way the Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF) is handling the transitional period in the country.

Egyptians Abroad

With an estimate of 8 million Egyptians living abroad, there has been many discussions about their right to vote. The current transnational regime has been claiming that have no problem with the Egyptian diaspora voting. However, they do not have the appropriate facilities and means to achieve this. Recently, an Egyptian court ruled that Egyptians living abroad should be allowed to vote at embassies in upcoming parliamentary and presidential elections. Since then, it is not clear whether they will finally be allowed to vote or not.

Elections Monitoring

Meanwhile, may non-governmental initiatives are being formed in order to monitor the elections. U-shahid, or You Witness, is an Ushahidi-based interactive map for monitoring any violations regarding the electoral process. They have previous experiences in monitoring the previous parliamentary elections in 2010 and the the referendum the took place in March as well. Another initiative is called Haraket Morakba (Monitoring Movement), who are looking for volunteers to join them:

@FouadZayed: If you are interested in volunteering to monitor the upcoming elections kindly check out this account @moorakpa #Egypt #EgyElections #EgElec


And finally, most of the candidates now have started their campaigns all over the country, and according to the law a campaign can go on for until two days before voting starts. Since then, we have witnessed controversial and funny banners, like the one of El-Nour (The Light) Salafi Party that decided to replace the photographs of women in their banners with a flower.

Sameh Hanafy mocked the banner here.

Also, another banner featured one of the candidates talking to himself.

November 04 2011

Palestine: Israeli Commandos Intercept Gaza-bound Flotilla and Arrests Activists

Israeli soldiers boarded two ships heading to Gaza earlier today. The Canadian ship Tahrir (Liberation) and Irish Saoirse (Freedom) were en route to Gaza in an attempt to break the Israeli siege on it. Journalists reported on Twitter that naval Israeli commandos intercepted the vessels in international waters, off the Gaza coast, arresting the activists and journalists on board and taking them to the Ashdod port in Israel.

On YouTube, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) has released a video entitled IDF Soldiers board the vessels en-route to the Gaza Strip.

The flotilla, named Freedom Waves, was kept under wraps until just before it set off from a Turkish port on its way to Gaza, two days ago. In addition to activists, the two boats which carry humanitarian aid, also has journalists on board.

Journalist Alan Fisher reports:

@AlanFisher: Israeli naval forces board 2 boats heading for #gaza foiling the latest attempt to break the four-year Israeli blockade of the territory.

Fisher continues:

@AlanFisher: The Israeli boarding of the two vessels took place in international waters

Support is also pouring in for Egyptian journalist Lina Attalah, who was on board the Tahrir. Egyptian Amr Gharbeia tweets:

@gharbeia: Thinking of @Linaattalah and all those detained on #freedomwaves boats, now detained by Israel

Mohamed Abdelffath adds:

@mfatta7: Egyptian journalist @Linaattalah who is managing editor of @AlMasryAlYoum_E was on boat Tahrir and now detained by Israel at Asdod port

Salma Said asks:

@salmasaid: What is the egyptian gov going to do about #freelina?

And Tunisian Slim Amamou continues:

@slim404: My friend @linaattalah has been arrested by Israelis during #freedomwaves she's using @alaa avatar in support to #freealaa #freelina

Jordanian Shaden Abu Al-Haijaa appeals to Brazilian cartoonist Carlos Latuff, who has drawn cartoons to support the Palestinian cause and Arab revolutions, for a drawing:

@Shad84: @CarlosLatuff please draw something about #FreedomWaves and detaining activists who were on board! @Linaattalah

Meanwhile, Israeli journalist Joseph Dana sums up today's operation as follows:

@ibnezra: The simple facts of the matter reveal that the Israeli army has illegally taken #FreedomWaves activists to Israel against their will.

He also notes:

@ibnezra: Imagine you wanted to go to Canada & the US navy stopped you, arrested you & then charged you with illegal entry into the US #FreedomWaves

And continues:

: The Israeli army will take #FreedomWaves activists directly to jail inside Israel, likely to be charged with ‘illegal entry to Israel'

And needless to say, Israel's continuation of its siege on Gaza is not sitting well with Arab netizens.

Roqayah complains:

@iRevolt: The #Gaza Strip is the worlds largest open air prison; Israel has deprived 1.6 million people of their liberty and basic human rights.

For more reactions on the story, check out the hash tag #Freedomwaves on Twitter.

Egypt: Men Should Wear the Veil!

This post is part of our special coverage Egypt Revolution 2011.

With Islamists rising in post-revolution Egypt, fear of religious oppression is growing among youth, minorities, and women. Recently, a group of Egyptian women started a Facebook page in Arabic called “Echoing Screams” pointing out sexism in their society and the oppression that might be coming with the expected arrival of Islamists in power. The group has also started an event “Wearing Hijab in solidarity with women” [ar] that had the following description:

إذا كان الحجاب حرية شخصية و ليس رمزا للعبودية يرضونه للمرأة التي ينظرون لها كأداة جنسية و سلعة و عورة و لا يرضونه للرجال الذين إذا أرادوا إهانتهم قالوا “الرجالة لبسوا طرح”, فلن يهاجم دعاة تحجيب المرأة الرجال إذا إختاروا إرتداء الحجاب
They say the veil (Hijab) is a personal freedom and not a sign of enslaving women whom they look at as a sex object, a commodity, an Awrah, yet they use Hijab as a reference of disrespect when saying “men who wear hijabs” as to insult their manhood. Thus, those who call on women to wear Hijab should not attack men if they chose to wear Hijab.

The group posted several pictures of men wearing Hijab in the event page, one of which was taken from the campaign that Iranians launched online two years ago in support of a male student who was arrested for dressing up as a woman to escape Tehran, as authorities claimed. Tunisian netizens have also taken part in this event and have commented with laughter on the event's wall, leaving sarcastic comments against the Ennahda party, which won a majority in Tunisia's constituent elections last month, and its head Rached Ghannouchi.

Abdelhadi Ben Seghir commented [fr] on the event with criticism to Ghannouchi:

je suis pour le droit des frérots de porter le hijab.solidarité avec ghanoucha qui préfère le tchadri

I support my brothers who want to wear Hijab in solidarity with Ghannouchi who prefers the Chador!

Ines Ben Hamida was not optimistic about the event in her comment [fr]:

Les hommes est ce que vous pouvez mettre le voile pour nous je défie que vous seriez minorité minimine malheureusement :(

Men who will wear Hijab in solidarity will unfortunately be a small minority.

Facebook user Emad Basta wrote in disagreement on the event's wall:

I cannot agree to this, women should not cover up either, women are not a disgrace they are as equal in rights to any man if not even needing more rights as they are the ones responsible for the reproduction of the human race they are the queens of our world.
People calling for women to cover up are discriminatory and bigoted and should be persecuted, if women were a disgrace, then why were they created this way, this cover up issue is some men's idea of control. A women’s hair is not 3awra, it is beauty, people who want women to cover, are basically unable to control their sexual needs and should be prosecuted as menace to societies.

An Egyptian user called لا للرجعية والتطرف (no to backwardness and extremism) wrote [ar] he was against abusing religion in the name of politics:

لا لاستخدام شعارات دينية ولتسيس الدين، فالدين من المقدسات والمسلمات الدينية المطلقة، والسياسة من المتغيرات التى تقبل الخلاف والإختلاف
No to using religious signs and no to politicizing religion. Religion is sacred and religious beliefs are agreed upon while political changes are open to interpretation and disagreement.

Another Egyptian Amre El-Abyad wrote a comment about the role the Arab Spring should play in empowering women:

Arab Spring should not be about toppling dictators. Democracy starts at the mind level. We have to topple the taboos that are holding back our innovative potentials: patriarchy, misplaced religiosity and sexual obsessions. Hijab is an ancient Semitic custom- experienced at one time by so many cultures. Although it had seemed to be on its way of vanishing in the 20th century, it persisted and has gained wide currency all over the Arab world in our present time. Clearly, an indicator of our dire need to take the revolution up the cultural and mind levels.

The only male to have posted his picture was Magdy Abdelraheem saying he is showing solidarity:

Sa Neb went to discuss [ar] whether Hijab is a religious obligation or not:

إذا إرتدي الرجال الحجاب تضامنا مع النساء أصبح ذلك إعتراف منهم أن الحجاب جزء من أنثوية المرأة ، وأنا لا أراه فرضاً إسلامياً أصلاً
If men wore Hijab in solidarity with women that will be a confession that Hijab is part of a woman's femininity and I do not see it as an Islamic must.

This post is part of our special coverage Egypt Revolution 2011.

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