Teachers and the Arab Spring
Eyewitness reports from Tunisia, Egypt and Bahrain
Monday 12 November, 7.30pm
Committee Room 8, House of Commons, SW1A 2TT
Mohamed Sghaier Saihi: UGTT union federation, teachers’ spokesman in the Kasserine region
Mary Compton: NUT activist and editor of Teachersolidarity website, recently returned from a delegation to Egypt
Ali Alaswad: Resigned MP from al Wefaq Party, Bahrain
Anne Alexander: MENA Solidarity Network
Katy Clark, MP and Nick Grant, National Executive member, NUT
Teachers are playing a key role in the revolutionary struggles across the Arab world. Strikes by teachers in Tunisia paved the way for the January 2011 uprising, they were among the founders of the first independent unions in Egypt, while teachers were at the forefront of the movement for democracy in Bahrain which has faced brutal repression. On 21 October, Mahdi Abu Deeb and Jalila al-Salma, leaders of the Bahraini Teachers’ Association were jailed for five years and six months respectively for the “crime” of peaceful protest.
Come and hear at first hand about how teachers in Tunisia, Egypt and Bahrain are still fighting for social justice and freedom, and about what we can do here to build solidarity with their struggles.
All welcome – please leave enough time to pass through security checks on entering the building
Facebook event here: http://www.facebook.com/events/456728077710774/
About the speakers:
Mohamed Sghaier Saihi is a UGTT union federation executive member, Kasserine province, and regional spokesman for the teachers’ union. He will speak about the role of teachers in the Tunisian revolution and the waves of strike and protests which are continuing against the neo-liberal Islamist Ennahda party which leads the current government. Read more here: http://menasolidaritynetwork.com/2012/10/21/tunisia-revolutions-heartland-in-revolt-again/
Mary Compton is a leading activist in the National Union of Teachers and editor of the Teachersolidarity.com website. She visited Egypt earlier this month as part of a delegation organised by MENA Solidarity Network and will be reporting on her meetings with the independent teachers’ unions. http://www.teachersolidarity.com
Ali Alaswad is a resigned Bahraini MP from the largest opposition party Al Wefaq. He was elected in October 2010 and resigned in February 2011, alongside 17 other opposition MP’s, in protest at the violent crackdown against pro-democracy demonstrators. During the period of martial law he left Bahrain after he was targeted by the regime and now lives in London where he continues his work for democracy in Bahrain. He will give an update on the case of Mahdi Abu Deeb and Jalila al-Salman after their recent sentencing, and the situation more generally for teachers in Bahrain.
Anne Alexander is convenor of the Middle East North Africa Solidarity Network and a member of UCU. MENA Solidarity is a network of activists from different UK trade unions engaged in building solidarity links with workers in the Middle East and North Africa in support of their struggle for social justice and workers’ rights. Our steering group includes activists from the PCS, RMT, UNITE, UCU, NUJ and MPs John McDonnell and Katy Clark.
We are supported by NUT, UCU, PCS, Barnet TUC, Brent TUC, Cambridge TUC, Chesterfield TUC, Manchester TUC, Haldane Society, Haringey TUC, London Transport Region RMT, London Region UCU, Unison London Fire Authority.