Arms sales are not apolitical acts. On one hand, they bolster the buyers by giving them a British endorsement as a fig-leaf of respectability, but they also buy the UK government's political support and compliance. As the crackdown continues to escalate it is becoming increasingly clear that decisions being made in support of arms sales are having serious consequences for the victims of state repression.
It is unlikely that these demonstrations seen today in Hong Kong will bring about significant change. Nevertheless, whether you are a democracy advocating global citizen, a government looking at how best to peacefully manage demonstrations, or just someone interested in international politics and what life in a future, more developed, China might look like, today's protests are a significant event worth watching closely.
The news is worrying. Maryam faces charges of insulting the King, assaulting an official (authorities say there was a scuffle when they took Maryam's phone, from which she was tweeting her experience), and running an organisation which named officials who had tortured political prisoners. She could face a long sentence.
When the history books come to be written, someone will doubtless compare the self-immolation of the Tunisian street-seller Mohamed Bouazizi on 17 December 2010, which sparked the wave of Arab uprisings, with the shot fired by the Yugoslav nationalist Gavrilo Princip that killed the Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria in Sarajevo on 28 June 1914. Each was a single act that no one could have foreseen would lead to the appalling carnage that followed. And each reshaped the world, destroying great political powers and sowing the seeds for future instability.
Libya is now in flames. This might seem to be a rather hyperbolic note on which to begin, but it is true. The country is spiralling out of control, and the city of Benghazi, the former rebel capital in the 2011 revolution against the dictatorship of Colonel Gaddafi, has reportedly been captured by Islamist militants and declared an 'Islamic emirate'.
Every night, when Amira goes to bed in the crowded room that she shares with her five young children, she lies awake, frantically worrying about what the following day has in store for them. Will she be able to find food? Will the children be safe if they venture out, into streets where gunmen, bombs and bullets are a constant threat?
Without justice there can be no peace in Bahrain, and that won't change as long as the UK is happy to promote and provide political cover for an illegitimate government that is inflicting untold misery on its own citizens. Only by ending the political and military support that is strengthening the regime can the UK ensure that it is promoting human rights and acting the best interests of the people of Bahrain.
Syria has been, by and large, relegated from the front page to the 'World News' sections of quality papers. Politicians no longer mention the fate of that nation and its occupants - and, if they can summon up the courage, they do so in mundane statements, of the sort which bloodlessly assert how truly awful it all is.
The future for Bahrain is uncertain. However, one certainty amidst the chaos, is that change is Bahrain will remain a mirage so long as the king is bolstered by so much international support. Let's not beat about the bush, the British government is publicly supporting a oppressive and undemocratic government in Bahrain.
Dr. Abdel Mawgud Dardery enters the café in Cricklewood wrapped up in a Manchester United scarf, with the Rabaa badge prominently pinned on his jacket. Dardery has become a nomad wandering from country to country unable to return to Egypt after his party, the Muslim Brotherhood was designated a terrorist organisation by Sisi's military junta...
Last week I visited the Domiz refugee camp for the third time in six months and saw many children at school and play. Once again, I was struck by their cheeriness and resilience. I wanted to find some of the children I met in June but the camp has mushroomed since then from 50,000 to 75,000 so it would have been difficult.
When I discovered that my language degree required me to spend a year's study in the Middle East, I couldn't work out how I felt. Was it excitement or apprehension? Becoming an international student means many things; poor exchange rates, unfamiliar culture and language barriers are to name but a few.