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Archive for December, 2006

Ahmadinejad’s Blog

Share your thoughts with the Iranian president. He has a blog in Farsi, Arabic, French and English.

Schizophrenic Morocco

The way Moroccans look at Islam, the accent is on personal responsibility. The Qur’an is clear, but each person must come to it in his own way. Religion cannot be forced. How many times have I heard, “We have mosques and we have bars. You can choose either one.” Or both. Long live schizophrenic Morocco, nation of geniuses!

A Nation of Gigolos

Our friend Zmagri is in Morocco for a visit. He goes into an internet club in a poor neighborhood, which is full to bursting. While waiting for a free terminal, he notices the lively scene around him. Jammed four or five to a screen, teenagers watch video clips, discuss soccer, download pirated .mp3s, do their homework, even watch porn.

Waiting for the Rain

I asked Mohamed if he felt that the high percentage of unemployed young people in Morocco, who are torn between the excesses they see in the media and the grim reality of their daily lives, might produce an “explosion.” To my surprise, he said no.

Student Protests in Egypt

There are student protests going on at al-Azhar in Cairo, the Islamic university and one of the oldest in the world, because of a “security crackdown” in which some students were excluded from exams.

The Islamist “Threat” (a conversation)

“I think we need to give the Islamists a chance. We can have confidence in their program, because I don’t think anything they’re saying contradicts democracy. I wonder why no one discusses or analyzes their proposals. Most people who criticize the Islamists do so simply because they are Islamists.”

Ahmadinejad Burns

Al Jazeera brings word of a protest in Teheran which was apparently the largest in two years. “Iranian students disrupted a speech by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian president, at a prestigious Tehran university, setting fire to his picture and heckling him.”

Shame on You

There are those who argue that homosexuals betray their families, their culture and their religion, or that the very concept of homosexuality is a foreign import. But it seems clear to me that if there is a sickness in Arab society, it is the attitude of the police, their sense of entitlement and arrogant pride.

Blogging for Change

I’ve seen some skepticism about whether blogging can be an effective force for change in Morocco or in the Arab world, because bloggers are a tiny minority and the political class isn’t listening to them. I’ll have more to say about this soon, but for now I want to present to you the article “On Online Activism” by the blogger Saudi Jeans.

Hotel Diplomacy

“Prime Minister Maliki and I just had a very productive meeting. This is the third time we’ve met since he took office six months ago, and with each meeting I’m coming to know him better. He’s a strong leader who wants a free and democratic Iraq to succeed. The United States is determined to help him achieve that goal.”