Monday, April 30, 2007
According the Iranian media, "16,000 women and 500 men have been cautioned in the last week over their improper clothing" and one prosecutor suggested that women who violate the dress code are to be exiled from the capital to remote areas of the country.
Improvisations has learned from reliable sources that the picture below was distributed to Barber shops as an example of the kind of western haircuts that they are not allowed to give.
Sunday, April 29, 2007
They are accusing her of lying by nipping and tucking a few details, such as the tiny fact that she was not the founder of the school but more its hijacker, for she apparently moved that lofty institution from the Afghan Women Ministry, where it originally was, to her house, a necessary move to make it a "for profit" institution. Not that the other women involved are in it for charity. One "consultant" was paid $ 70,000 over two years.
The women are also raising doubts about Deborah Rodriguez’s sob stories of abused Afghani women whom she saved. One such story is of a woman who lost her virginity, but was saved from disgrace by using a cloth stained with Rodriguez's blood on her wedding night (Afghani mothers probably would have used chicken blood to execute the scheme, but that's sooo primitive). The women are saying they don't remember any such women around. Rodrigueze counters with "I changed a few details to protect Afghani women." In other words, there is no way to verify her account because that would endanger Afghani women who would be either shamed or murdered. Now, who is so uncharitable as to want to do that to them!!
Saturday, April 28, 2007
I would like to thank Blue Gal for choosing me as the recepient of one of her "Thinking Blogger" Awards.
This is what she said:
"Did you know that Palestinian activists planted trees for each of the Virginia Tech victims? You would if you read this gal. As she says in her profile: "Since I often find myself caught between anti-Arab racism and arab reactionary politics, both of which threaten to gag me, I'm raising my voice against both, hoping in the process to contribute an improvised note to a progressive Arab blogosphere." Unique voice? Ya think? There are few blogs about which I would say, "the world needs this blog." This is one of them."
I was really flattered especially after checking Blue Gal's site and seeing what an awsome thinking gal she is herself.
But then I had this panic attack, for I learned of the award just as I was getting ready to go to a Ricky Martin concert! Oh no, I thought, now the award will be taken away from me! That's why I've been keeping sort of quiet about it.
More later. Heading out to a Mjaddara contest! Got to get the vote out!
Friday, April 27, 2007
If the Palestinian authority, the PLO, Fateh, Hamas, and all the rest of them cannot control one clan, how are they going to lead or liberate or protect a nation?
This is not a rhetorical question.
Click here to weep more.
Yes, I know it's an article in Haaretz by an Israeli who is using this to imply that the Israeli occupation was better for Gaza, which will make Haaretz readers feel better (assuming they were feeling bad to begin with). However, the Israeli occupation of Gaza has not ended and what's going on there is a result of the distorted political and economic reality that Gaza finds itself in. With this said, the @#$% that is happening, which is being reported by the Palestinian media and human rights organizations, points to a momentous failure of the Palestinian leadership. It's this that concerns me. It leaves the Palestinians in a very very vulnerable situation, which I find truly scary.
So now it's "blasphemy to criticize the burka? And what does blasphemy against the "Holy Prophet" mean? And since when is Prophet Muhammad "Holy"? I thought he was a man.
Thursday, April 26, 2007
If you've been reading this blog long enough, you should know by now that I'm cynical about all of this. It's part of the competition between factions and the power struggle among them to prove who is more legit than the others. And considering how sick people have been of both Fateh and Hamas lately because of the infighting, it seems it's time to work on the image thing. Women are always useful for this. Not long ago, Fateh paraded its own "brigade" of female suicide bombers. Fortunately, we haven't heard from them till now, when they are brandished to good sensationalist effect.
As to what is in the interest of the Palestinians, that's not a priority for now. Or ever. But as usual, they will be paying the price for the show while performing the absurdly tragic roles someone else scripted for them.
Speaking of inflated and degraded militarized language, take this: the groups that held the press conference have names like حماة الأقصي واللواء الصاروخي ولواء الشهيد حسن المدهون ووحدة الصاعقة الوطنية)
I rest my case.
She goes on to show that there is no Israeli cease fire:
"Because the military occupation, even when it does not kill, is Israeli fire, which has not ceased for 40 years - regardless of the Palestinians' reactions or lack thereof.
Israeli fire includes the Civil Administration's every refusal of a permit to build a Palestinian house, every person who is denied passage from Gaza to the West Bank, every shekel of tax money that is not transferred to the Palestinians, every roadblock in the West Bank, every dunam of land stolen since June 1967, and every settlement - old or new, big or small, within the Israeli consensus or not. Neither the Qassams nor any negotiations process has managed to stop this Israeli fire."
Of course, "cease fire" is not the only hollow term used by some Palestinians. The militarized language of "Qassams," "brigades," and "operations," and the militarized fashion show that goes with them, has disastrously obscured that the Palestinians under occupation are a civilian population at the mercy of the overwhelming Israeli army crushing force.
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
Palestinian activists dedicated their weekly non-violent protest against the Wall to the victims of the Virginian Tech shooting. They planted 32 trees for every person killed. International Solidarity Movement posted the video below on their website, where you can read more.
Disclaimer: Reporting this news and sympathizing with these women does not mean that it's ok to bomb Iran.
The bookstore blurb describes him as "a wise Palestinian statesman"! I guess if you studied philosophy you get to be wise. Where "statesman" came from, I have no idea. I'm taken aback by the exaggerated language of praise his book is receiving. I dare say no other book by a Palestinian ever got this kind of attention.
Any questions this not so wise Palestinian should ask him?
Ok, I asked my own question after making some incoherent comment. I told him I found the way his book is being marketed frustrating--that he's being promoted as a voice in the wilderness and the only man of peace around. His attempt to tell a Palestinian narrative is being squashed and nipped and tucked to fit in the dominant narrative circulating in the US about Palestinian extremism. When the owner of the bookstore introduced him she said something to the effect that if we only have 100 people like him...Then what? There will be peace? So the issue is that the Israelis don't have a Palestinian partner! Wait! Where did I hear that one before?
I took issue with his talk which wasn't really about the book in any direct way but about Prophet Muhammad's journey to Jerusalem. The point he's getting at is that there is continuity of religious traditions, a continuity that we are blind to and that's why we continue to slaughter each other. But when it came to giving an example of how we are blind to it it was a story of Arafat shaking in anger when Barak asked him at the Camp David conference if he recognizes a Jewish claim to Jerusalem. What concerns me, as I tried to explain, is that the audience is going to understand what it already believes in: that the reason we don't have peace is that the Palestinians don't want peace and refuse to acknoweldge the "other." I also said that his talk is framing the conflict in theological and psychological terms, when it's about land, water, resources, and power. My final question was: Who are you addressing in this book?
Nuseibeh started his response to me by saying that he can see that I'm angry, which almost made me angry because I wasn't really angry. So I told him that I don't like that because now I'm going to be seen as the "angry" Palestinian while he's the "only good rational Palestinian." The fact that I was yelling that from the end of the room speaking out of turn didn't help my image.
Ok, you get the idea. Not a successful intervention. I still want to read the book because I want to see what exactly is he saying that may justify this framing. I'm also honestly interested in what he has to say.
He got only a few questions, which is interesting. There was the compulsory one, literally, "What about Hamas?" I liked that he didn't give the questioner what she wanted. He said that we need to remember that Hamas is not simply an ideology but human beings. Another question took issue with Nuseibeh's statement that Israel was established through force. He said that as far as he knew it was established as a result of a UN resolution and that it was attacked by Arabs etc. Before he answered him, Nuseibeh wanted to know if he really wanted to hear an answer or if he was being polemical. Nuseibeh's answer was that Israel, no matter how you slice it [my words not his], came into being through force regardless of who attcked first. He added that states usually come about through force and that he hopes that the Palestinian state will be the only state that will come into being through non-violence.
Ok. Enough mischief for one evening.
How many is many? We can't even have a number?
Well, not to worry too much about this. The Israeli army is about to re-invade Gaza, so Palestinians there can look forward to dying in the right way.
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
"Statistical studies showed that there is a huge increase in this sphere -- in beautification surgery," George Nasr, the bank's marketing manager, told Reuters. "This opens horizons. Clients included people disfigured by accidents and war and others simply looking to improve the way they look, he said. The bank has received more than 200 phone calls a day about the loan since the launch of an advertising campaign last week.
Nasr described looking good as part of Lebanese culture. "We like to look our best ... There are people who see this loan as their life raft," he said."All I have to say about this is that borrowers should read the fine print, which states that if you fail to pay back the loan, the bank takes away your new nose. Or boob.
But it's not only the police who is in denial. Yehya Rabah, a political analyst, said that "This phenomenon is a new one; it appears in Palestinian society because some extremists infiltrated this society."
While I may reluctantly agree to the first part of his statement, I cannot buy the second. To characterize the perpetrators as extremists who "infiltrated this society" doesn't hold. Is our society magically and perpetually immune from producing its own home grown extremists and has to import them from elsewhere? One cliche that some like to use to belittle the danger of any move towards a religious regime is that Palestinian society is a "secular" society. What does that mean exactly? And what guarantees are there that this will not change? Unless we assume that Palestinian society is frozen and will always exist in one state! A very convenient assumption for the lazy.
And if the burning of Internet cafes is deemed an act by an extremist group that has infiltrated Palestinian society, how is one to describe the burning of 1200 copies of the book Speak Bird, Speak Again? Or the sermonizing against music that preceded the burning of the cafes? Are these acts also the work of "imaginary" or "alien" forces? I'm not saying that the same people who burned the book and sermonized against music are the same group that did the burning of cafes and music shops. What I'm saying is that this second group is as much us as the first one. Let's just face it. They are "menna we feena." Unfortunately.
Monday, April 23, 2007
"Although segregation ended [!!!!!] in this farming community [Ashburn, Georgia] years ago, some say the old ways never truly died. And every spring, while schools around the country planned junior/senior proms, Turner County's parents and students planned two unofficial private proms – one for the white students, and one for the black."
Not any more. This year, it's finally one prom fits all.
Sunday, April 22, 2007
According to The Daily Star reviewer, the book concludes that "Arab youths, the largest sector of the population, are having their own revolution. They smoke, wear tight jeans, drive too fast and talk about sex, all the while maintaining the appearance of being "good" Muslims by encircling their heavily made-up faces with scarves."
Notice how easily the so called "Muhajababes" become representatives of "Arab youths" in general. What happened to the male part of "Arab youths"? How do they "maintain the appearance of being 'good Muslims?'"
And what about the burkini? Shouldn't owning the five-piece swim suit be mandatory for every "Muhajababe" ?
Also according to the above defintion, if you are a non-smoker, and your jeans are broken into, and you drive fast but not too fast, and you have sex instead of talking about it, and you don't veil, you Do Not qualify as a revolutinary.
Now, I'm depressed.
Saturday, April 21, 2007
John Lewis, a British clothes retailer, is "revolutionizing" the industry by going with normal size women in its advertisements, instead of exclusively using the "size zero" models.
The first step in this revolution is to recruit South African model Lauren Moller to market the store's swim suit line. Moller is--are you prepared?-- size 12. Not bad, considering that the starting point was zero! (Not to be obsessed or anything, but how many calories do you think you burn counting from zero to 12?)
The picture above is of Moller. All size 12 of her. The cynic in me can't help noticing that she is posing with a full swim suit on and with a thingy wrapped around her hips. By swim suit standards, she's almost wearing a burkini! Is this a mixed message or what!
But, hey, I'll take it. Especially in light of the disturbing news that a counter-revolution is being hatched by some designers to replace the zero model with the sub-zero model!
Also such a change may inspire revolutions in other areas of the clothes industry, especially in the slave labor part of it.
Friday, April 20, 2007
Mairead Corrigan was shot in the leg by the Isreali army while taking part in the Bi'lin weekly non-violent protest against the separation wall.
Either before or after she was shot, Corrigan said:
"I want to say that this separation wall, contrary to what the Israeli say, will not prevent attacks and violence. What will prevent attacks and violence is a peace agreement between the two peoples, and I sure the Israeli people, like the Palestinian people, wants peace."
Puerto Rican peace activist Tito Kayak was also there and was arrested for hoisting a Palestinian flag on an Israeli tower with surveillance cameras. He said:
"All I did was to express my identification with the villagers against the wall which is believed to evil and illegal by the whole world and many leaders like Nelson Mandela, Jimmy Carter and the United Nations."
Israel calls this evil and illegal wall "fence". Now how harmful can a "fence" be?
Of course, so called honor killing often becomes part of a racist diatribe when it's taken up by those who are eager to "drop the bomb" on the "animals" and "barbarians." One practice is used as evidence that the whole culture, the whole soceity, is sick, uncivilized, irrational. For such a society they can feel for, at best, a condescending pity or, at worst, a violent hatred.
All of which is unfortunate, if only because it means that much of our energies will be redirected away from countering the violence of sexism directed against women to countering the violence or racism directed against women and men.
I will have more faith in the tears shed for Palestinian women victimized by so called honor crimes only if those shedding them will spare some for Palestinian women victimized by other kinds of "unspeakable" violence, especially when many of those doing the crying are subsidizing that violence financially, politically, and morally.
Thursday, April 19, 2007
"دعا أمين سر حركة فتح النائب الأسير مروان البرغوثي خاطفي الصحفي البريطاني الان جونستون إلى إطلاق سراحه فورا.
وقال في بيان وزعته الحملة الشعبية لاطلاق سراح البرغوثي امس "انني أتوجه من زنزانتي وباسم عشرة آلاف أسير وأسيرة في سجون الاحتلال بالنداء والدعوة الفورية للافراج عن الصحفي الان جونستون الصديق لشعبنا"، كما دعا البرغوثي إلى احترام وحماية الصحفيين العاملين في فلسطين وكافة العاملين والموظفين الأجانب في فلسطين مؤكدا الرفض القاطع لمبدأ الاختطاف والتعدي على الأشخاص والممتلكات باعتبار ذلك يلحق ضرراً كبيراً بالمصالح الوطنية العليا لشعبنا وبالنضال الوطني."
On a related note, Mahmoud Abbas said today that he believes that Alan was still alive, according to Palestinian intelligence reports. Good. Now he just needs to secure his release.
I have a modest proposal: that anyone who succeeds in securing Alan Johnston's release be appointed president for our non-existent state for life. How about that? Any takers? Abbas? Dahlan? Haniyeh? Any of the Barghoutis? Come on, guys! It's a good deal.
Among the victims, "were a young couple engaged to be married who the killers claimed were walking together in public...The ruling stems from a case in 2002 in Kerman that began after the accused watched a tape by a senior cleric who ruled that Muslims could kill a morally corrupt person if the law failed to confront that person.
Some 17 people were killed in gruesome ways after that viewing, but only five deaths were linked to this group. The six accused, all in their early 20s, explained to the court that they had taken their victims outside the city after they had identified them. Then they stoned them to death or drowned them in a pond by sitting on their chests."And what if you kill someone for being "morally corrupt" to find out later that he or she was a paragon of viture?
Well, you pay "blood money" to the family. So it's not a good idea to go around accusing people of moral corruption and killing them if you are broke. But if you can afford it, the court says go ahead. It's your duty.
Not everyone is happy about this in the happy republic of Iran.
On a different but related note: anybody knows where I can get a one way ticket to Mars?
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
I have nothing more to say for now except Allah Yer7amhum and help their families.
Monday, April 16, 2007
كما أن هذا الحادث هو الخامس من نوعه بحق مؤسسة ثقافية اجتماعية في محافظة غزة وشمالها، وذلك بعد الاعتداء على دار الشباب للثقافة والفنون في جباليا، والجمعية الثقافية لحماية التراث في بيت لاهيا، وجمعية فرسان العرب للتراث، وجمعية العطاء الخيرية.
If you ad the attacks on internet cafes and music stores, it becomes clear these are sustained not random attacks. Who is going to to stop these people??
It should be noted that the proliferation of Israeli checkpoints does not speed up Palestinian passage through them or shorten the waiting time. They work kind of the opposite way from the checkout points at your local supermarket, where the more you have, the faster your line moves.
OCHA also reports that
"two Palestinian girls, aged 11 and 12 years, and a 10 year-old Palestinian boy from Tuba near Yatta in the Hebron governorate, were injured when a group of Israeli settlers from the settlement of Ma'on beat them and snatched their schoolbags while they were en route to their school in nearby Twani. OHCA adds that the Israeli army and the police were present at the time."
Sunday, April 15, 2007
The songs in Super Star tonight were all wonderful. All contestants did well. Yusra from Tunisia was superior. She makes you want to say "Yusra w bass, el ba'i kullu khas." She sang Umm Kulthum's "li Sabr 7doud." If there is any justice, she'd win. But she has no chance. Fadi from Lebanon is the favorite, thanks to his good looks.
Two of my favorite songs were by Sa'd al Mujard from Morocco, who sang Rashid Taha's "Ya Rayeh," and Rihab from Egypt, who sang Thekra's "Ba7lam be lou'ak."
I didn't know anything about the new person. After the usual pleasantries and as soon as I sit down, my new stylist hits me with--no, not the blow-dryer--but the usual friendly question:
"Amal? Is that Persian?"
"Close," I say. It's sometimes risky to answer this question, and sometimes I'm tempted to lie to avoid a long discussion especially when I'm paying money to relax. "Arabic. I'm Palestinian," I say. In response, I hear an "Oh!" interrupted with something between a giggle and a chuckle, followed by: "I'm Israeli. Don't be afraid, I'm not going to hurt you." I shrug: "I come in peace too."
Her name is Yardena, which, she tells me, means "Jordan." Her parents named her that because she was born soon after the 1967 war. She says that lots of girls born at the time were given that name. "Why?" I ask. She doesn't know. "Your parents should have named you "Falasteena" if they were seeking to name you after the conquered," I say. To myself.
I ask her many questions, feeling this is a rare chance to reverse roles and play interrogator. I learn that she's from a place between Beer al Sabe3 and Tel Aviv. She has 10 siblings. Her father Moroccan. Her mother half Tunisian, half Italian. "You're three quarter Arab, then," I say enthusiastically as if I've just discovered a new natural color. She shrugs. She knows a bit of Arabic, whatever she learned from her grandparents who only know Arabic. But she cooks Moroccan food, using lots of cumin. "I love cumin," I say.
When finally she has a chance to ask me questions, I seem to confuse the heck out of her. She has no idea where I am from. "West Bank" and "Ramallah" make no impression on her. "Territories?" I optimistically try a term she may be familiar with, leaving "occupied" out in order not to start a fight. To her puzzled look, I snap, "No way I'm going to say Judea and Samaria, lady. 'Territories' is my compromise for the day. Take it or leave it." Well, considering that my head is in her hands, and her hands are holding a sharp object, I say that using my "inside" voice. Finally, I desperately throw at her the only Hebrew word I know: "where there is Makhsoum. Lots of makhsoums.*" She nods, and I convince myself that I see a glimmer of recognition in her eyes.
At some point in our conversation, if you can call it that, she gets so irritated by my pathetic attempts to explain to her the documents I use to travel that she impatiently blurts out, "Why don't you get an Israeli passport?"
Damn, why didn't I think of that!
At this point, I feel like shaving my hair off. Yardena is really clueless. And on this particular day it happens that I have no maps on me to explain to her who I am and who she is. I knew, though I never could understand, that for many Israelis the "territories" might as well be on the moon and "occupation" is a term that you use to impress on your date that you do not work at the local falafel stand. But to be confronted with this denial face to face was a new experience.
To cover up my agitation, I tell her that she's cutting too much hair and that I really love cumin.
The US is calling this racist. I agree. It's outrageous. Would it still be racist if the traget practice were bodies of Arab men at Dearborn? The recent Imus case may give us a hint as to the answer.
"Unlike in some countries in the Middle East, women [in Nigeria] drive cars and vote."
As far I know women can drive and vote in all Middle Eastern countries, except Saudi Arabia. Or is Saudi Arabia so rich now that it deserves to be referred to as "some countries" instead of "one country? Or could this be another orientalist slip that "blobify" (dictionary definiton:"see as blob") the Arab and Muslim world? Or maybe I'm just being nitpicky and there is no issue here?
Saturday, April 14, 2007
The police will investigate. But considering that the Palestinian Attorney General himself has just been kidnapped, I'm sure they will get no where.
Friday, April 13, 2007
Thus begins a NYT review of Rodriguez The Kabul Beauty School. It's irritating on so many levels--too many to list here. Take this sentence from the second paragraph: Afghanistan is "a country where women have the approximate status of dirt." Now, how many tears will you shed before you drop a bomb on the heads of these women?
The book under review is about the American woman who is saving Afghani women from their men. She is there to "empower" them by training them as beauticians, to cry over stories of their brutalization, and to write a book about her heroics and their ignorance. But this strong woman not only assumes the missionary position, but also marries an Afghani man who has a wife and seven children. She goes native after all! Perhaps she decided to reform the system from within.
The Afghani women are shown as not only brutalized, but idiots. They are scared by the blow-dryer, have no cocept of the color wheel, and, overall, "do not really understand American beauty." My god, that makes them less than dirt!
I wonder what they would do if an empty can of coke drops at them from the sky!
Wow! This means that women will no longer have to buy or beg for sperm. They can just produce it themselves! Ma 7ada a7san men 7ada!
Now, who would find this threatening? Jee, can't think...
"DON IMUS: They're (the Palestinians) eating dirt and that fat pig wife of
his is living in Paris.
COLLEAGUE: They’re all brainwashed, though. That’s what it is. And they're
stupid, to begin with, but they’re brainwashed now. Stinking animals. They
ought to drop the bomb right there, kill ‘em all right now…
IMUS: Well, the problem is we have (reporter) Andrea (Mitchell) there; we
don't want anything to happen to her.
COLLEAGUE: Oh, she's got to get out. Andrea, get out and then drop the bomb
and kill everybody…
COLLEAGUE: Look at this. Animals. Animals!
In 1985, he referred to Arabs as "goat-humping weasels." (Sunday Mail,
In a reference to the crash of an Iranian airliner that killed 43 passengers, Imus said, "When I hear stories like that, I think who cares.” He then stated: "Too bad it
wasn't full of Saudi Arabians." (National Iranian American Council)
Ra'ouf Mass'ad, an Egyptian novelist, calls fellow writers Naguib Mahfouz, Yousef Idris, and Ala' al Aswani "repressive writers" becaues of the way they treat their homosexual characters (in Arabic). He also criticized the "sexual activism" of the Muslim Brothers in the Egyptian parliament, who, he points out, are obsessed with sexual matters.
وفي حوار مع "العربية.نت" برر مسعد اهتمامه بالكتابة عن عالم "المثليين"بإيمانه بأن من حق أي فئة في المجتمع أن تحدد هويتها الجنسية المناسبة، مطالباً المبدعين العرب بكتابة روايات "غير أخلاقية" ومؤكداً أن نجيب محفوظ وعلاء الأسواني ويوسف إدريس أدباء قمعيين لأنهم مارسوا نوعاً من القمع ضد شخصيات "مثلية" في رواياتهم.
Thursday, April 12, 2007
A peace activist shot a video showing Israeli soldiers in Nablus using two Palestinian young men as human shields. They made them stand in front of their jeep to protect the soldiers from stone throwers. You can watch the video here.
Mahrajan al Khas or The "Festival of Lettuce" is a celebration of culture and heritage which is taking place these days in the Palestinian village of Artas.
"Lettuce Festival"!! You can't be serious. What next? "The Bateekh Festival"?
Alan Johnston was kidnapped in Gaza a month ago. Despite all the appeals and protests of the Palestinians to have him released, he's still in captivity. I can't think of any Palestinian who would say this kidnapping is done in her or his name.
It makes me so angry. I don't understand how the mighty PA, the mighty Fateh, the mighty Hamas cannot force the criminal jerks who kidnapped him to let him go. They all express their regrets and make promises that they forget about the moment a camera is turned on them. They should all disband themselves. Or better rent themselves out as "Specialists in Undermining Just Causes." What use are they if they can't get one journalist free! What kind of authority do they have? What kind of security are they providing? None. It's all a farce. A tragic farce, if there is such a thing.
This broadcast is a combined production of the Al Jazeera, the BBC, Sky, and CNN on behalf of Alan Johnston.
"The Jewish settlement in Hebron was born in sin and lives in sin, and the whole enterprise is nothing but a farce. How Abraham's bastards laugh! Laws in a land that isn't yours are meaningless. Their sole purpose is to transform what isn't yours into yours. The essence of occupation is patently illegal. Only its transience makes it acceptable. But for the settlers, "temporary" means "for eternity."
So all of the serious hair-splitting debates into the legal issues make us laugh. But the story of the so-called kosher bone in the throat of the large Arab city will end in tears.
There is no such thing as a kosher deal under occupation. Every purchase and every sale has the stench of foul play sanitized by a law book. Sodom also had a nice book of laws. Clearly, there is no purchase without a sale, and there is no seller free of pressure, threats, trickery or irresistible temptation. There is no free market, nor could one exist. Injustice and greed stand in place of supply and demand.
Therefore the most kosher deal is the one that stinks the most. It should not be examined by legal experts but by odor experts."
Rana Husseini, who wrote the piece I posted earlier today about honor killing, is the first one profiled. The article forgets to mention Abdel Kareem Soleiman, the Egyptian blogger who was recently sentenced to 4 years in jail.
The title of this post, which is also the subtitle of the article, is how one of the bloggers, Bahraini Mahmoud al Yousif describes himself.
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
She is her own woman. Her body is hers. Her vagina is hers. Her honor is hers. And she has more honor in her little dead toe than you will ever have if you were to live a million years.
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
In 2006, 16 thousand Palestinians, mostly people with money and education, left the Occupied Territories.
According to a Birzeit University poll, 32% of those polled expressed their desire to immigrate from the Occupied Territories.
Canada and Australia are welcoming as long as you have an MA or a PhD and at least $ 200,000.
But there is some good news:
In the past year, religious studies increased 20% in the Palestinian curriculum at the expense of other subjects in the Occupied Territories.
The man kept his promise. Now the 800-strong workforce in the bank boasts among its ranks one Arab.
Think of what the reaction would be if an Arab or Muslim company made a similar ad.
Monday, April 09, 2007
Sunday, April 08, 2007
My favorite tonight was Yusra from Tunis. She sang Melhem Barakat's song "el far2 ma beinak we Beini" (the difference between you and me):
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I hope this Muslim reaction is heard especially by people who are always complaining that they can't find the moderate Muslim voices.
Saturday, April 07, 2007
The film was a huge popular success. It played in theatrs for over a year.
The Somali writer Nuruddin Farah writes novels about strong Somali women. He writes from a secular feminist perspective. He despises religious fundamentalism and warlords. But he's never celebrated in the West the way his countrywoman Ayaan Hirsi Ali is. He's never declared a "freedom fighter" the way she was recently called in a headline in that revolutionary of all feminist institutions Vogue magazine. His books never breeze by reviewers as the most incredible specimens of enlightenment writing ever penned down the way Ali's work does. In fact, his books are subjected to strict reviews, like the one here of his latest novel Knots, that apply higher standards than the non-standards they apply to Ali.
Of course, Farah, unlike Ali, doesn't trash Islam and does not despise the women he writes about. He does not embrace the West as the best thing ever invented since sliced bread. It also happened he doesn't think much of Hirsi Ali.
Friday, April 06, 2007
One Israeli Jewish woman writes in YNet:
"The State of Israel chose to grant power to a religious-Orthodox minority, which determines the fate of the country's women, when it granted, by law, exclusive authority to religious representatives to rule on matters of marriage and divorce, where women almost never enjoy the upper hand. We must recall that those same rabbinical courts comprise men only; women can never be judges, even though every matter handled by the court involves women...In our enlightened country, a Jewish man can marry another woman instead of his wife, as long as he provides a document that shows that his semen is adequate for making children, and then it can be said the problem lies with the woman. Then, the rabbis rule that as the woman is not fertile, the man can marry another woman."
As usual while the government harasses the MB on the political front, they choose to compromise with them on the cultural front. It's the policy expressed by the Arab proverb: "Udrob kaff w 3addel Taqeyeh." (slap with one hand, and fix the cap with the other).
The ultimate victim is poetry, which should really be banned once and for all. Arabs can live without it.
One of These Things Is Not Like The Others, One of These Things Is Not Quite the Same, Can You Guess Which One Just Doesn't Belong Here?
A summary and critique of the British media treatment of Faye Turney, the woman sailor who was captured and released by Iran. It's interesting to see how much British commentators and Ahmadi Najad agree when it comes to women and so called "family values."
Thursday, April 05, 2007
Wednesday, April 04, 2007
Funny how elusive this veil business is. Now you see it, now you don't. Maybe those who are praising her for "respecting Arab and Muslim culture" appreciated her friendly gesture a bit pre-maturely. I don't blame them. We Arabs are desperate these days (as always) for some respect from the Democrats. So we should be forgiven if we get caught sometimes hanging by a
Of course, I'm dying to know how "Arab and Muslim culture" is now reduced to women covering their hair. I have a nagging fear that in these terrible times the veil has become our fig leaf! I find it a bit ironic that while a Kuwaiti minister is under attack for refusing to cover her hair--a stance that was praised by some readers on this blog-- Pelosi was quickly praised for supposedly showing respect to Arab and Muslim culture by donning what looked like a veil.
These poeple remind me of the Arabic proverb: la byer7amou wala bekhallou ra7met rabna tenzel (they neither show mercy nor they allow God's mercy).
Tuesday, April 03, 2007
Kareem Salama is an Arab American Muslim who sings country western. His parents immigrated from Egypt, and he was raised in Oklahoma and Texas. But something weird happened: the guy got a heavy southern accent. I mean a Muslim with a southern accent! How weird is that!
This article profiling him seems to think so. It also claims that country music has affinity with Arabic music since the latter is about "unadulterated love, family, and religion." Hummm! I don't know about that. One non affinity between the two is that you can belly dance to Arabic music, but it's hard to do that to country western. Believe me, I tried.
You can learn more about him and listen to some of his songs here.
Monday, April 02, 2007
But for a woman to get an original copy of her children's birth certificate, she still needs convincing reasons acceptable to the state.
I think this is the beginning of the end. The women are taking over.
Sometimes I feel these Islamist politicians are in the wrong business. They should be working as fashion consultants somewhere since their interest in what women wear is an obsession with them that trumps all else. They should start their own program: "Islamist Eye for a Woman's Thigh."
But, hey, it's effective. How better to reduce a woman, to put her in her proper place, even when she is the Minister of Higher Education, than to draw attention to her body.
Yemen is finding another use for women in their counter-terrorism efforts: while their earlier strategy was to recruit Yemeni women to marry convicted terrorists as a way to rehabilitate them, they are now recruiting them for the police force so they can accompany their male counterparts on raids to search suspected female terrorists or male terrorists dressed as women. They do pay them a salary like other police men; it was never clear to me if they were paid anything in their patriotic job as wives of terrorists. Perhaps the husband was deemed reward enough.
Sunday, April 01, 2007
I think the show is really pushing the Lebanese contestants. I don't have any proof.
Yousef and Marwan, the youngest contestants, were terrified and stiff.
Tonight's guest was Ibrahim al Hakami, the winner of laster year's Super Star. The way he's singing you'd think he's positioning himself to be Fairuz's replacement.
My favorite singer tonight was Rihab from Egypt. She also had the cutest introductory segment. This is what she sang:
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When Sabreen al Janabi came forward with accusations of rape, the issue became a sectrarian one. Those who did not believe her, and in fact just issued a warrant for her arrest on the grounds that she's has more than one husband, tarnished her reputation. Her supporters saw in her rape a violatioin of their sunni honor and slaughtered 22 men who had nothing to do with the rape in her name. Both parties were acting as if this is the first rape that ever happened. A woman's rape is outrageous only if it fits in one group or another's politcal agenda.
But Iraqi women are being raped. We will never know how many and their rapists, in the majority of cases, will never be punished. They will live silently with the pain and stigma.
Palestinian journalists continue to pressure the Palestinian Authority to do more to secure the release of Alan Johnston. They are boycotting coverage of the government and staging demonstrations until he's released.
The head of the Palestinian Journalists' Union said: "this is a battle for me, my union and the Palestinian people. We must be successful."