October 2005 Archives
October 29, 2005
Threesomes: Halal or Haram?
Last night, following a rather serious discussion on the root causes of gender inequality in MENA, Meph and I pondered the following weighty question:
Does Islam permit threesomes?
Neither one of us could recall any explicit ban on threesomes in the Qur’an or Hadith, but then again neither one of us had the vaunted expertise of a scraggy-bearded Islamic scholar. Clearly there was a need for further research.
Now, aside from facilitating high-minded discussion between two women on different continents, the internet is also a massive clearinghouse for fatwas, or rulings based on Islamic law. Burning questions can easily be answered by consulting any number of fatwa websites and searchable databases online. Opinions on everything from yoga to female tennis players are issued and posted on the internet by leading scholars, muftis, charlatans and utter quacks. According to Asharq Al-Awsat, more religious edicts have been published in the last decade than in the last 1400 years:
Even the Egyptian Grand Mufti has become exasperated with the soaring number of fatwas (religious edicts) and the confusion surrounding them in the media. He has recently called for increased supervision and the appointment off a specialist body as the sole authority to issue these edicts.
October 28, 2005
Ahmadinejad and Israel
What's going on in Iran? First the country's president calls for Israel to be "wiped off the map." Naturally, this doesn't go down well at all internationally, with the Israelis going so far as to call for Iran's expulsion from the UN. So Iran's Moscow embassy issues a statement saying the president didn't mean to "speak up in such sharp terms," and we are reminded that such statements are made all the time during rallies but don't really mean anything.
So the new president made a stupid diplomatic error, not realizing his new position makes his words carry more weight. And after his country's ambassadors are summoned to various European capitals to explain their government's actions, all this will die down, right? So then why is Iran stupidly upping the ante by ordering its diplomats in Western countries to launch protests there against Europe's attitudes towards 'Zionist crimes'? My own take is that Iran's foreign policy, more or less directionless since Ahmadinejad came to power a few months ago, is starting to go down the tubes.
October 25, 2005
Clarifications on Least Attractive Features like Class
Clarified some points on class, tribe and attractive features of MENA/Arab society in the comments on this entry.
But I reproduce the points here below as well. In haste, bullet points.
October 24, 2005
Iftaar at the State Department
Secretary of State Rice is hosting an iftaar dinner "to celebrate Ramadan and honor the significance of reflection, generosity, and compassion shared by all religions."
I hope Karen Hughes shows up. She did a marvelous job in Indonesia the other day:
"My state of Texas is very big," she told the students. "So you can imagine my surprise to learn that your country, Indonesia, is three times bigger than my big state of Texas."
Ah well, at least she's a mom.
On regional economies and competitive advantages: McKinsey & A Comment on the Maghreb (plus a perso reference)
McKinsey has published a short note in its Quarterly based off of its recent (and still secret) report to the Moroccan government on what it should do to stop being such a medoicre performer, entitled:
Morocco's Off-Shoring Advantage
More comments later, link is to the abstract, full content requires membership.
As an aside, I may be looking to hire a translator, see the Lounsbury blog for details.
Bernanke: New US Fed Chief
While this may be of limited interest, the appointment I feel has more global importance than the bloody whinging on about judges as the like. Hot off the wire. My own thoughts, not a bad choice at all, although his global savings glut talk with respect to the dollar I found .... misplaced.
October 22, 2005
"Not the kind of state the coalition had hoped to create"
Prospect magazine has a very interesting article by Rory Stewart, a former governing deputy for the UK in two southern Iraqi provinces. He discusses in considerable detail the different Shi'ite political parties (and their associated militias) and the ways in which they have held used their power in the South, before concluding:
The new order in southern Iraq is, in short, hard to define. It is an improvement on the political exclusion and sadistic inhumanity of Saddam and has a great deal to teach the Sunni areas about prosperity, security and politics. But it is also reactionary, violent, intolerant towards women and religious minorities and uncooperative with the coalition. The new leaders have dark histories and dubious allies; they enforce a narrow social code and ignore the rural areas.
October 21, 2005
The Arab World's Least Attractive Feature
During my half-a year time in various Mideast countries, east of and including Egypt (and decades of knowing Arabs up close and personal), I found precious few Americans over there, and this was around the millennium, pre-9/11 and post-Oslo. I am not speaking of absolute numbers, I mean relative to other westerners/Europeans. And I am not speaking of tourists, but American would-be ex-pats of various types who hang out looking for opportunity and adventure. (But I do mean native-born Americans.)
I present my own theory why that is, and I think it is based on what is the most truly onerous aspect of most Arab MENA society, something which I think puts off Americans more than other issues. I will get to what that is only after saying what I do NOT think the problem is.
Redactions on Hariri Report Revealed!
As mentioned previously, the edition of the Hariri report distributed by the Washington Post was a Word document in which it was possible to "track changes" and back up the previous version's redactions. The vast majority of the changes fixed spelling and grammar errors, standardized peoples' titles and the spelling of their names, and reworded awkward sentences. But there were four deletions of moment to the document. Deleted text has been
struck - added text has been bolded. In order:
16. The Commission could not operate in a media vacuum, particularly in Lebanon.
Certain Lebanese media had the unfortunate and constant tendency to spread rumors, nurture speculation, offer information as facts without prior checking and at times use materials obtained under dubious circumstances, from sources that had been briefed by the Commission, thereby creating distress and anxiety among the public at large and hindering the Commission’s work when the focus should have been mostly on security issues.It has been the Commission's steadfast policy not to be drawn directly into a dialogue in the Lebanese media, avoiding any escalation and staying above any challenging or provocative statements. Both press conferences were aimed at countering such speculation and clarifying the status of the investigation. Inevitably, their effect was short-lived.
17. To enhance transparency and broader cooperation, working with the judicial authorities entailed keeping the highest political authorities abreast of developments in the investigation, to the extent that such action did not call into question the independent nature of the Commission nor have a direct impact on the course of the investigation per se.
However, a number of Lebanese political figures added to the climate of insecurity and suspicion, by leaking information to the press, or by revealing sensitive data without the prior consent of the Commission.
UN Report on Hariri's Assassination is out
The report of the international investigative commission on Hariri's death is now available on the Internet here (at the Washington Post site) - as Asad Abu Khalil notes in another unparagraphed but interesting novel-length ramble, the version as of the time when I downloaded it still has all the "track changes" information attached, at least the last revision's worth. If the Post ever gets around to fixing this mistake (if it's a mistake) I'll upload the red-ink version I have on my laptop. Among the more amusing not-quite-redacted bits:
Certain Lebanese media had the unfortunate and constant tendency to spread rumors, nurture speculation, offer information as facts without prior checking and at times use materials obtained under dubious circumstances, from sources that had been briefed by the Commission, thereby creating distress and anxiety among the public at large and hindering the Commission’s work when the focus should have been mostly on security issues.
The streets are almost quiet in Beirut, as everyone waits for the other shoe to drop. Yesterday, there was apparently a rush on all the gas stations, as the rumor spread that Syria was going to cut off the pipeline through which Lebanon gets all its oil. Michael Totten and The Lebanese Political Journal both have good atmospheric takes.
October 19, 2005
Iraq: Lowered Expectations
I’ll be honest with you, nobody around here wants to write about Iraq. Sure, the country has the trappings of democracy: political parties, elections and a draft constitution that may soon be ratified by popular referendum. It's certainly useful to ramble on about these "accomplishments" when uncomfortable questions about troop withdrawals come up, but do they really reflect democratic development? What do a bunch of purple fingers mean in the face of growing insurgency, ethnic/sectarian attempts to maximize factional interests, a constitution that favors federalism and obvious signs that religious conservatives are now a dominant political force?
There are a good number of governments that do not represent citizens or uphold individual rights in spite of their constitutions, referenda, elections and political parties (Miss Mabrouk has a nice summary of Egypt's election shenanigans). Just because Iraqis have gone to the polls a few times doesn’t mean they have a functioning democracy or even a self-sustaining government, for that matter. Iraq’s financial situation (or put another way, its utter dependence on the US taxpayer) is a useful example of non-viability. FT notes that the Iraqi government’s reliance on US assistance has resulted in a disincentive to curb its own expenditures:
Some US officials are also arguing that the US has to start disengaging from its role as Iraq's economic prop. This push has alarmed defence contractors, which are lobbying against such a move.
The $10bn (€8.3bn, £5.7bn) of US taxpayers' money spent so far on economic reconstruction has had limited effect, officials and analysts say, in part because of the insurgency and high insurance costs. The aid also serves to discourage the Iraqi government from making tough decisions, such as cutting back food and fuel subsidies that consume close to 40 per cent of their budget, which is projected to run a $6bn deficit.
October 18, 2005
Transparency and Corruption. Gut Feelings on the report
Were I more skilled in html (and more patient) I might do the chart on today's Transparency International 2005 rankings.
As I am neither terribly skilled nor terribly patient, I shall confine myself to citing to the source document and citing a few numbers of interest:
The document covers the Middle East, North Africa and sub-Saharan Africa (MENASA), however I extracted only the MENA countries.
A few comments below, if I may (and of course I may...)
October 17, 2005
On Subsidies and Incompetence: How Social Solidarity Rings Hollow
In checking today's edition of the Moroccan business daily "L'Economiste" (most famous in my circles for having a bit back published an article on banking that included the inadvertent (or so one would hope) text: "My love I want to lick you everywhere.") online I was quite amused by the front pager on the inconveniences of the totally batty and absurd petrol products subsidies program.
The underlying article conveys the detials, which are essentially because the grossly incompetent (from a current planning perspective) Finance Ministry has refused to acknowledge the reality of USD 50/barrel prices and has planned its subsidies program (which was de-indexed from the market a few years back in a fit of stupidity) against (as I recall) 20 odd dollars/barrel, the government is 5 billion Moroccan dirhams in the hole to the local distributors and refiners. That's roughly 470 million USD at current prices.
A non-trivial sum.
The point here is the idiocy of the subsidies to begin with, which are boosting consumption at a time of accelerating prices, while doing nothing to help the country address conservation issues. At the very least they should be bloody indexed.
This entirely leaves aside the fact that despite the prattle about social solidarity, the untargetted subsidy actually is gives more to industrial users at the expense of taxpayers than to the poor. A targetted subsidy to say a certain size of butagaz (the weiner nat gas bottles the poor use to cook and do just about anything) might be rational.
However, this is precisely the sort of irrational economic policy that if the country is forced to lift it, the drooling morons in the anti-globo left will squeel on about oil companies and Big Business, etc. etc.
Dar Fur (aka Darfur): Round and round and round again
I see there is another “Dar Fur” attention thing going on, wherein bloggers who a year ago or two had no bloody clue as to where the bloody hell the place is or who the Fur are (of course they still don’t – for all that the history of the Sultanate of Fur is actually rather intriguing) pontificate about the issue.
At the risk of being the perennial naysayer – well actually why not? Naysayers are useful, we drag the deluded back to reality. – let me again comment on Dar Fur (or if you must, Darfur).
October 16, 2005
Bird flu in Turkey sets region in motion
From the Daily Star:
Mideast states scramble to thwart bird flu
Governments act quickly to ban imports of poultry and stock up on vaccines
As scientists confirmed Friday that the latest outbreak of bird flu in Turkey belonged to the killer H5N1 strain of the virus, countries right across the Middle East went on the alert to curb the spread of the disease. Ankara banned the hunting of wild birds and clamped a 3-kilometer quarantine zone around the northwestern village of Kiziksa, where the virus was discovered. Almost 9,000 birds were slaughtered and veterinary officials in protective suits were culling the few remaining birds in the village Friday.
Sales of poultry meat throughout the country have dropped by 50 percent in the past few days according to wholesalers despite assurances by health officials that the virus dies when meat from a sick animal is cooked well.
In a bid to calm nerves, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan broke his Ramadan fast Thursday with a forkful of chicken salad which he also offered to a photographer on the scene.
Most Middle Eastern countries have banned chicken imports, but migratory birds are going to be a problem. And banning the hunting of wild birds - wow. That one will surely be respected universally and not at all ignored.
Fortunately, we have the vaunted public health systems of the Middle East to protect us in case the flu starts being transmitted human-to-human.
October 13, 2005
Radio Sawa - Morocco: The Legal Status Scandal (small addition)
Some news earlier this week reminded me of a small tiff that arose in the past few months between the Moroccan "Higher Broadcasting Authority" (known by its French acronym, HACA) and Radio Sawa and the US government by extension. Something for Aardvarks in general I should suppose.
The issue revolves (or revolved if the reports are right) around the status of HACA as the independent media regulator (this is relatively recent but nevertheless the case for a while now), and the requirement that broadcasters obtain regular licenses from HACA by August 2005.
As the sharp reader might have divined, Sawa did not.
In effect, the United States took the position that Sawa needed no license as it is in fact a governmental agency covered by a bilateral accord authorising the Voice of America.
Two Jews, Three Opinions, Part II: Day of Atonement Thoughts on Jewish Culture, Subculture, and Prejudice
[warning: much anecdotal musing ahead]
So here I am on this fine Yom Kippur, engaging in a bit of anthropological fieldwork among my extended family, a bunch of relatively liberal, politically aware Reform-ish American Jews in South Florida. In some ways we are very typical of our subculture(s), and in some ways we are not, but to be sure, there is a wide spectrum of opinion around here, and most of it is expressed passionately and frequently. My family is warm, loud, always interrupting each other, generous, and all-around decent people, and make frequent attempts to be openminded. Mom is even loving the biracial grandchild, in spite of her various complaints over the years that my sister (who basically hasn't dated a white guy since high school) is a reverse racist.
However, if I have to have one more discussion about how all Muslims are not out to exterminate the Jews, I might do something very un-Yom-Kippur-like, and really have something to atone for. I try to cut my aunt some slack - after all, she has worked for the past 20+ years at a grade school affiliated with a Conservative synagogue, and she gets the pro-Israel, anti-Muslim propaganda during most of her waking hours. But sheesh, she was just mentioning that she'd been thinking of donating to Pakistan earthquake relief, until her good friend and co-worker (a rabidly Zionist Israeli; one wonders, indeed, why she lives in the U.S.) mentioned maybe she shouldn't do that, because, you know, we wouldn't want to support people who want to wipe out the Jews.
October 12, 2005
Migration, Economics & MENA-African pileups
While I may be banging away at an issue of little general interest, I was encouraged to find something of relevance to the rising issue of Euro-African migration and the Maghreb in the last issue of the Economist.
Be my guest
The economic case for temporary migration is compelling; the historical record less so
Oct 6th 2005
(Yes subscription, don't like it? Fuck off then and read some free twaddle.)
For those puzzled, my reference is to the recent problem emerging in the Maghreb and especially Morocco with its land border with the Spanish enclaves Ceuta and Mellila, which I mentioned in my typically light weight Illegal Immigration - Borders & Madness and The Maghreb-African Immigration Problem
Posted by The Lounsbury at 04:49 PM
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Filed Under: Business, Private , EU Foreign Policy , Economic Development , Economic Policy , MENA Region General , North Africa , Society & Culture
Former Head of Syrian Intelligence in Lebanon Dead
Ghazi Kanaan, former head of Syrian intel in Lebanon, (apparently) killed himself, two hours after making a call to a Lebanese radio station defending himself against allegations that he'd been involved in the assassination of Rafiq Hariri. This is especially interesting since there's been a lot of speculation that he will prominently figure in the report of the international commission investigating Hariri's death. Tony Badran (who has a definite righty Maronite slant on things, but has been reliable & readable on Lebanese politics) has a wrap up.
UPDATE: See also this novel-length paragraph from Asad AbuKhalil, who discusses (among other things) the way in which Abu Nidal committed suicide in Iraq: "Now is this like Abu Nidal's 'suicide' in Iraq under Saddam's regime, when he shot himself with an AK-47 15 times? At the time, Abu Nidal kept shooting himself all over his body until the Iraqi mukhabarat people in the room had to tell him: 'Abu Nidal. Stop shooting yourself. You already are dead. Officially dead.' Only then, did Abu Nidal stop shooting."
UPDATE 2: Praktike, at Liberals Against Terrorism:
BTW, do we think it's a coincidence that this Financial Times piece came out a few days ago?
As it steps up pressure on Damascus, the US is actively seeking an alternative who would take over from President Bashar al-Assad, according to sources close to the Bush administration.
Not that I'm shedding a tear for the guy--he was clearly a bastard responsible for many deaths in Lebanon. But some jaw-wagging American officials may have signed his death warrant this week. Who knows?
On consideration, I don't think that Syrian intel is so lame as to have to rely on the Financial Times for that kind of information.
Regarding culture, sex and foreign policy
I thought my commentary might be a trifle too Lounsbury for the main 'Aqoul site, so I snuck it over into 'Aqoul - Lounsbury, but a comment on socialisation, expattedness, plumbers and afternoon apartment sex, videos and US foreign policy in MENA, from a personal perspective although I believe I may have neglected the personal perspective slightly.
October 11, 2005
Ramadan TV & Terror
Of interest to the media, terror and culture people here, a fine little story on a Ramadan soap that I have been following (or rather, am forced to follow unless I hole myself up in my office) on MBC: Syria launches terror-themed soap for Ramadan.
I caught this referenced online somewhere, but had actually been watching the series without knowing where it was going, although the last episode (10 September on MBC) gave the game away with the somewhat dime Khaliji character getting brainwashed by a ultra-Salafi takfiri type activist. That and the chica who is the implied wheel-chair bound narrator pulling or slipping back her hidjab to show nasty scarring.
October 09, 2005
On Arabic, Translation, Training and Spying
Being conflicted as to whether this is a purely personal rant or something of wider interest, but on rereading thinking I may have accidentally said something of wider interest, let me refer 'Aqoul readers to Lounsbury - 'Aqoul and a small post on issues related to traning in Arabic, translation, and spying.
The Maghreb-African Immigration Problem
It appears the issue which I first started noting roughly two weeks ago (see esp. Illegal Immigration - Borders & Madness: Mass Attempts at the Spanish-Moroccan border) has hit the big time with live European and al-Jazeerah coverage of explusions today, Sunday and round-ups of what is said to be thousands of 'illegal' migrants.
It appears, per al-Jazeerah reporting, that Algeria has closed its borders amidst reports that Moroccan authorities have been dumping expelled non-citizens from Mellila and Ceuta across the border.
October 07, 2005
Arab Media - Arab Sats: Father of Aardvarks (edited)
I would be remiss not to draw attention (although I suspect most 'Aqoul readers are already aware) to Abu Aardvark's article Watching al-Jazeerah.
In that context let me add a few observations:
October 06, 2005
For Dar Fur Day (Updated) [realised it's actually Darfur Fast (sic)]
In honor of this ridiculous, pretentious and foolish event scheduled for 6 October (a day of fasting during Ramadan, how... navel gazing North American whinging activist), I would like to draw your attention to this old post of mine on the issue of Dar Fur: Darfur - On Racism, On Ignorance, On Laziness and just plain stupidity (and Arab responses) as well as this from 'Aqoul, Critiquing the Arab World.
As an added bonus and in part prompted by my annoyance with the annoying little whinging idiot of an ill-informed stereotypical student 'activist' git, I thought I would provide a new link to a Dutch analysis of the Dar Fur issue entitled: Darfur: The logic behind the conflict, from the Dutch journal RISQ: Review of International Social Questions.
Rather makes the same points I have in regards to the miss framing of this (and I would add the nasty substition of anti-black sub-African prejudice for equally unenlightened anti-"Arab" prejudice).
Our friend The Father of Aardvarks has an interesting little piece drawing attention to a new report on Arab radio from the Arab Advisors Group; a very solid media advisory group founded a few years back (I should disclose that I know one of the founders, and have done business with him).
Our fine Father of Aardvarks, or Bou Aradvraak as I like to call him, largely concetrates on the public policy angle, which is important, but I find the business angle as interesting.
Posted by The Lounsbury at 05:21 PM
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Filed Under: Economic Policy , Foreign Policy & MENA , MENA Region General , Media , North Africa , Society & Culture , US Foreign Policy
October 05, 2005
Insomnia and Arab Singles Sites: Random Thoughts
Can’t sleep, so I’m surfing Arablounge.com, an Arab singles site.
It showed up on the bloody Google Ads bar, I swear.
The site appears to be aimed primarily at younger Americans/Europeans with Mideast backgrounds (Christian and Muslim) and seems to reflect North American online dating culture. Vastly different from the UAE section of Shaadi.com, a mega-personals site that I had the opportunity to…er…study in-depth some months ago. The most obvious difference between these two sites is that Shaadi.com is branded as a matrimonials site where people create profiles with the specific intent of finding a spouse (sometimes on behalf of a sibling or son/daughter). Unlike your average Western dating website, Shaadi profiles provide detailed information on religion, caste/subcaste, values (liberal, moderate, conservative), mother tongue, complexion (fair, wheatish, medium, etc) and most amusingly, residency status. I imagine that this might be particularly important for the large Indian/Pakistani expat population in Dubai.
Shaadi.com has a rather large selection of Asian Muslims, but hardly any Arabs or Turks (my personal preference, if I may be momentarily superficial). There is, however, another matrimonial site that focuses primarily on the Middle East and North Africa: Qiran.com.
October 04, 2005
Via Lenin's Tomb, an article in the Socialist Worker points out that the other occupying power in the Iraq war was ALSO involved in a dirty little counterinsurgency war in the 1960s. So skip past the obligatory British political infighting and the "colonialist butcher" reference, and you get to the meat:
One British army officer in Aden in 1967 describes the developing disaster in the following familiar terms:
“A major problem which was to recur throughout the campaign was the lack of any specific, reliable intelligence about the enemy — where they were, what their organisation was, what their aims and objectives might be, or indeed, who they were”...
Readers of British newspapers at the time were treated to a bewildering array of acronyms to describe the competing factions of the resistance in Aden, as well as tales of “foreign extremists” from Egypt and Yemen.
These militias, strangely, appeared set on killing British soldiers as well as each other, despite the fact that Britain had promised them independence as soon as the trouble had stopped.
What made it worse was that the security forces themselves appeared to be arming various organisations — and there were growing fears of clashes between the local police and militia and the British army.
And in other Ramadan related news, Al Qaeda goes for the "Yes we are bloody minded barbarians, thank you very much" award
On the wires, Al Qaeda in Iraq (yes, I know, it's very much a poorly controlled franchising thing, but hey, lessons in brand management - bad and good) has called for getting down to the really fun business of blowing up foreign infidels and Shia as well one should think.
I did like the cited slaves of the cross phrasing, it actually has a nice ring to it. Much more interesting than that ugly non-sense, "Islamofascist" the American Bolshy Right, its fellow travellers and assorted semi-literates have taken to using. They should take rhetoric lessons from the al-Qaeda people (who are actually, all things being equal, somewhat good at rhetoric - that and of course senselessly blowing up innocents, but can't ask for everything in the world).
Ramadan Competition (updated)
Once again we have the peculiar situation of Ramadan beginning on different days in the region
Middle East Muslims begin Ramadan. Although not noted, Morocco and Tunisia, like Oman are going to start a day later.
Whether true or not, there is widespread perception (among Maghrebines) that these decisions (in the case of Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria) are political - to show "indepedence."
A queer dynamic.
[An Update & Clarification]
Per a comment made, I believe I should expand and clarify for certain sub-literates who were or are unable to parse this and thus came to the rather queer understanding this comment was motivated by a lack of understanding of how Ramadan works:
Green Zone - Boom
Car bomb inside the Green Zone - boom boom.
October 03, 2005
Morocco-Spain: Mass Border Incidents again
I note from AFP another massive assault by hundreds of clandestine migrants on the Spanish border.
135 injured. Rather severe this.
Iraqi Oil Minister: Not Dead Yet
This morning we had the fine news that the Iraqi Oil Minister most unsportingly was not blown up, despire the increasingly sincere attempts on the part of the Sunni Arab factions. "I'm not dead yet" as he might say.
Morocco: Rulership & Development (Edited - Updated)
Daniel Drezner noted an interesting if somewhat weak article in The New York Times on Morocco in the context of asking how MENA states can transition to real rule of law
I call the article weak as it failed to properly differentiate the Moroccan royal context from the rest of the region - a context I would call relatively unique given the fairly deep historical depth of the monarchy, its combined historical political (pre and post colonial) and religious (Alaouites are shurfa) legitimacy in most circles and the recent role of M6 (Mohammed the Sixth's popular nickname in Morocco) in liberalisation.
This is a far cry away from the made up Kings of Jordan, the President-Kings of the rest of the region.
Of course that does not make the Royals of Morocco invulnerable nor infallible. However, their roots of political power and legitimacy run far deeper than most MENA governments.
[Edit to note an addition re a comment on Drezner's blog: see end of entry]
October 01, 2005
Irshad Manji Left Guilt and Likoudnik Agitprop
Although this is an immensely tardy comment, I must thank eerie for the reference to The Globe & Mail letter from Tarek Fateh, which drew my attention to Irshad Manj's odd statement or claim regarding Muslim guilt in regards to the Holocaust. I confess I know Irshad (a fine name I may add) only by the few articles on her book & her articles and interviews. Rather simply, her book isn't available to me in this non-anglo environment.
Monthly Readers' Open Comments
At the start of every new month I like to ask readers for feedback, input, requests for subject matter and whatever else may come to mind regarding 'Aqoul, the blog, and the MENA region.
So, please do feel free to whinge on like small children.