By 10 O'Clock There Had Been 5 Bombings
We are guilty of many errors and many faults but our worst crime is abandoning the children, neglecting the fountain of life. Many of the things we need can wait. The child cannot. Right now is the time his bones are being formed, his blood is being made, and his senses are being developed. To him we cannot answer "Tomorrow." His name is "Today." â Gabriela Mistral.
It's nice to know that there are still some patriotic European politicians left who recognise that our interests as civilised countries who want to remain so are diverging increasingly sharply from those of the USA. Note to American readers expect more stories like this. Expect to see European governments and politicians frantically trying to dissociate themselves from their links to the US over the next few years. Particularly expect a wave of Anti-Americanism if, as I confidently expect to happen:
Emmanuel Wallerstein's new commentary "The Tiger at Bay: Scary Times Ahead" is out. Full text below:
Update - Deleted "Email this Commentary to a colleague" link in quoted original as the script was picking up "gorilla's guides" and not the page on Binghamton University's server.
There's a report from Basra in Al-Sabah Al-Jadeed that discusses the opening of a cross-border free trade zone under a convention agreed between the city authorities and the Iranian government. As part of the agreement the Iranians will cover the costs of rehabilitating: Side Notes:
The zone, (which on the Iraqi side is centered on Shalamjah,) is part of the development cooperation plan agreed between governorate authorities and the Iranians aims at boosting regional cross-border trade to more than three billion dollars annually.The agreement covers the export from Iran of:
The (limited) export from Iraq of:
You just can't make this sort of clusterfuckery up. Truly, I kid you not, things are so bad in Iraq that the Americans now have an "Office of Hostage Affairs" in their
PS: The number of
Introduction: This is the first of an occasional series of guest postings by friends who comment on my main site. The purpose of the postings is to explore aspects of Islamic culture often misunderstood or treated with hostility and contempt in the West. To my mind one of the most telling parts of her posting is where she says:
Maryam sometimes comments here and participates vigorously in other fora. I first met her more than thirty years ago when I was an Irish schoolboy living in Vancouver for a year. During my third (and final!) attempt to learn ice skating I skated over a tooth left on the ice by some other eedjit's accident, went flying, and crashed head first and at high speed into the barrier. Maryam's fiancé skated over, helped me to my feet and drove me to hospital where I was attended to by an exhausted and overworked intern - Maryam. She patched me up, assured me that I would be no more brainless as a result of my mishap than I had been before it, and dragooned Hussein into driving me home. Hussein was surprised that I asked him how one said "thank you" in Arabic and sufficiently curious about Ireland that he invited me to join them the next weekend for a picnic. The three of us have been firm friends ever since.
Hijab: The Enchancer of Modesty - Maryam
In the Name of God, the All-Merciful, the All-Compassionate.
My friend markfromireland the follower of the Prophet Jesus (pbuh) has asked me to write some brief notes on the Hijab.
The word "Hijab" itself comes from the Arabic word "hajaba" which has the meaning "to hide from view or to conceal" and its context is the modest clothing of Muslims - women and men alike.
The Hijab has many aspects, but the one which I am going to explore is that of modesty and, as I am a woman, I am going to concentrate upon the Hijab for women. For a Muslim woman the Hijab is meant to help her preserve her modesty and thus protect her God given dignity as a woman and as a human being. This naturally leads to the following questions:
While I was preparing to write this I looked in several English language dictionaries. All of them defined "modesty" in generic terms that gave no indication as to the word's significance and expressed "modesty" in terms of the clothes worn and of lacking vanity. The kindest thing I can say of such unspecific statements is that they are sufficiently vague and fluid to mould well to changing mores. For me as a Muslim however modesty is far more inclusive and profound than it appears to be for Westerners, moreover it does not change as time goes by. It is both a way of dressing and a code of conduct.
Hijab sets itself up a a preserver of modesty. In broad terms clothes for women may not emphasise the shape, be see-through, or excessively short. The essential idea is that the beauty that we as women possess naturally by the grace of God - Subhana wa Ta'ala - is not there to be used as latitude for exploitation.
Men are subject to similar commands but because God did not create men in such an beautiful shape as he did women they do not have to cover as much. :-)
Hijab is also a code of behaviour and one that is binding upon men and women alike. Both sexes are required to act in such a way as to enchance the dignity and respect of both parties. Naturally this means that behaviour such as flirtation, and philandering are strictly forbidden. This is not to be a "kill joy" - to use the English expression it is to protect us from being treated as the source of illicit (haram) pleasures.
It is for example forbidden to flirt with a woman because the object of such flirtation is to treat her as a sexual object and a sexual object only. When I deal with a man either in my professional capacity as a doctor or in my "lay" capacity I expect him to treat me with respect. In short I expect him to defer to my knowledge of my field and to treat me personally in such a way that I feel at ease and unthreatened while doing business with him.
Hijab has other benefits first as an aid to Taqwa (piety,) and secondly as a way of asserting one's identity.
The Hijab As An Aid to Taqwa (Piety)
Can a Muslim woman be pious without observing hijab? Of course she can and many are! It is not for me or anyone else to try to perceive what is in somebody's heart from how they dress. The Holy Qur'an states:
Only God Subhaana wa ta 'ala knows who has faith and who does not, and only God knows the extent of any one person's belief. I wear the Hijab, my mother does not, each of us is quite comfortable with her decision, each of us is a Muslim. I wear the Hijab because I find it helps me on my path. It is not that those such as myself who wear hijab are better than those who do not. It is, as I have often heard our host say, that there are as many individual paths to God as there are human beings and that my path (and that of many of my sisters) involves wearing the Hijab.
The Hijab As Assertion Of Identity
I also wear the Hijab to assert my identity first as a Muslim and then as an Iraqi. I spent many years in the West after I first qualified as a doctor following my dream of becoming the best pediatric oncologist that I possibly could be. Often during those years I was treated with great hostility by self-described feminists who saw only the hijab and not the woman wearing it. It seemed that in their eyes I could not be a properly "civilised," or "emancipated," woman unless I was prepared to accept their definition of what it was to be "modern," "civilised," and "emancipated." I rejected then and reject now the idea that anybody can be "liberated" on somebody else's terms.
For me both as a Muslim and as an Iraqi the hijab is an honour and a duty for me personally. I wear it for its comfort. I wear it as an envoy of peace. I wear it as a symbol of my joy that I am a Muslim and an Iraqi. Most importantly I wear it as an invitation to my Muslim sisters to join me in a life that moves in only one direction - towards God. It gladdens my heart that more and more women have accepted this invitation.
There's a depressing but utterly unsurprising survey in The Washington Post go read the whole thing. Here's the first few paragraphs of their coverage to whet your appetite:
Hmmmm … Now let's see, launching a (failed) war in Afghanistan, launching a (failed) war in Iraq, launching a (failed) war in Lebanon, currently busily engaged in trying to launch a (destined for failure) war in Syria, currently busily engaged in trying to launch a (destined for failure) war in Iran … … …
Ergo most Americans believe the Bush Administration are Muslims. Who'da thunked it?
This posting arises from a recommendation I made for a "second voice" statistics text to an engineering student last week. Survey Methods in Social Investigation by Sir Claus Moser and Graham Kalton (Both links in this posting are to Amazon UK) is deservedly a classic text irrespective of which discipline you are in Moser and Kalton's book is well worth having on your bookshelf. If you're new to statistics or a bit shakey on the basics another classic is Darrell Huff's "How to Lie With Statistics" How to Lie with Statistics (Penguin Business) by Darrell Huff - both highly recommended.
PS: When searching for books I always start at a9.com - mfi
I think we've been all been expecting, and dreading, this. I've written about it repeatedly recently:
The Grand Ayatollahs have been desperately concerned about the situation in Iraq. They've been growing increasingly frustrated with the abject inability of the green zone government either to get a grip on the situation or to stand up to the Americans. In addition to that they've been desperately concerned that their authority amongst their followers - particularly the young, is slipping. Since the Samarra Bombing there have been repeated attacks on Shi'ite religious ceremonies, shrines, and pilgrims to say nothing of attacks such the al-Ula market bombing, the Jameelah market bombing and other market bombings or the American attack on Sadr City . All of these attacks have undermined the Grand Ayatollah's authority.
The funeral of the Indian and Pakistani pilgrims in Karbala. Note the size of the crowd. Juan Cole's posting today makes several very important points about today's news including on the significance of being buried at Karbala to the Shia devotees. As I was writing this posting news came in that Sheikh Hassan Mohammed Mahdi al-Jawadi al-Sistani's representative in Amara had been murdered by gunmen today. - mfi
Yesterday's meeting with the isolated and ineffective al-Maliki, and the attacks on Indian and Pakistani pilgrims in which eleven Pakistani and three Indian Shia pilgrims were murdered have been widely reported throughout the world particularly in Pakistani and Indian newspapers seem to have been the last straw. Grand Ayatollah Sistani has issued a statement in which he roundly rebukes the green zone government [Arabic language]:
What al-Sistani is saying here is theologically impeccable - if the government fails in it's duty to protect the community then others will step into to do that task, implicit in this is that the government has lost its legitimacy.
But al-Sistani is saying other things as well and one of them is that he no longer believes his followers will obey further calls from him to hold back. This report in today's edition of the UK Sunday Telegraph makes grim reading. I suggest you save a copy of it for future reference.
As I went through the Arabic language press today there was report [Asharq Al Awsat] after report [Aswataliraq] after report [Dar Al Hayat] after report [Al-Sabah Al-Jadeed ] of Maliki putting a brave face on things. I doubt if he believes it his own statements however. I don't expect him to last much longer, I doubt if he does either.