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Total number of comments: 22 (since 2013-11-28 15:54:50)


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  • Christmas 2012: The Flowering of Middle Eastern Christianity and the Challenges it Faces
    • OOPS! It changed size when I posted it!

    • The dominance of Muslims in formerly majority-Christian towns (Bethlehem is another such) is partly because of the greater willingness of Christians to emigrate to the West but also because of the large number of refugee camps situated next to them, their populations being majority Muslim and counted in the population of the towns themselves. (Why is my script so small?)

    • "Because they are Christians, these Palestinians may find it easier to get visas to the West."

      But perhaps not very comfortably. When I lived in Irbid, NW Jordan, in the '70s and '80s, I was frequently told by my Palestinian students of all religions, both those domiciled in Jordan and those from the West Bank, that it was much easier to get a visa to emigrate to the USA from the embassy in Israel than from the one in Amman. They reckoned that the US was colluding with the Israelis to get rid of the pesky Palestinians so they handed out visas like candy. I have no idea whether that was true but I once had to get a visa to enter the US (at the time I was a Brit) and the US consul in Amman fell over himself apologizing for letting me wait forever with the Jordanians rather than having his staff pick me out at the beginning. It was shocking to me that stuff like that happened.

  • Top Ten Wish List Progressives should Press on President Obama
    • "If the the Democratic Party continues on this Draconian path [banning marijuana and persecuting growers and users], it should not be surprised when it begins losing elections because a substantial younger constituency deserts it for the Green Party."

      That would give whole new meaning to "Green Party!"

  • Four Middle East crises will face the next President Immediately
    • Forgotten by whom? But if it is perhaps its geographical location has something to do with it. It's on the far southern corner of the Arabian peninsula with sea on two sides and sand on the other--most of that sand is known as Rub el-Khali (the Empty Quarter). While its capital is in the mountains of the interior its main cities are ports on the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea. Its foreign relations (as in trade) have historically been with the Horn of Africa and the Arabian peninsula rather than other Arab countries to the north of the Arabian Peninsula.

  • Two Canadians Discover the US has become a Police State
    • I am utterly astonished at how many posters here, Americans I assume, buy into the Fascist notion that if someone wearing a badge orders you to do something you must spring to attention, do it, and do it fawningly. If I weren't too old I'd move back to Europe where you don't get that attitude among citizens. Land of the free, my behind! You've all enslaved yourselves.

    • That's a great summation.

    • That's interesting because I used to live in Texas and went several times to Mexico. I had no trouble at all except with a stinking Mexican official who kept asking the OWNERS of cars to line up in front of him and kept shoving me out of the line and shrieking even louder, "The OWNER of the car!" I finally shouted back, "I AM the owner of the sodding car!" He assumed that women didn't drive or own cars and that my male companion and co-driver had to be the owner.

    • I have lived and traveled on 4 continents and I can tell you I NEVER came across anything but politeness and respect. And that included crossing the US Mexican border in the mid-70s: in that case one Mexican guy dealing with cars was a bit stroppy (and sexist) but the US guys were great. I guess things have changed in this country; they're all Rambo now.

    • Wow! I used to cross that border (Dera'a) most weekends the years I lived in Jordan and never had any problems with the guards on either side. That was in the late 70s and early 80s and for a year or so their relations were very dodgy but I never had any trouble.

  • The Shameful Politicization of the Benghazi Consulate Attack
    • 1. There are no castes in Islam.
      2. The Independent is a British newspaper.

    • I think the memo, "Osama determined to strike in USA" was in August 8th or thereabouts. Not that it makes any difference as the Bushies didn't read it or decided to utilize the information to get make Dubya the "war president" he wanted to be. Nasty beast.

    • "radical Muslim movements are a tiny minority in Libya."
      This bears out my experience, albeit from 1978-79 when I lived and taught at the university in Tripoli. The only devout Muslims I knew were a very nice Egyptian couple. And I was told by many people that Benghazi was much more free-wheeling than Tripoli.

  • Top Ten Things Mitt Romney's Insults to Spain tell us About Him
    • He apparently doesn't realize that a whole lot of Brits living in the eastern side of England/Scotland from the Firth of Forth down to the Wash likely don't care to be called Anglo-Saxon. Our ancestors were mostly Vikings. That's how most of our old streets are called "Gates" and our place-names so often end in "thorpe"--Norse for "village."

  • Parliament takes over in Modern Libya's First Peaceful Transfer of Power
    • It amazes me that a people with such a rotten history of foreign occupation and insane-dictator control could be as placid and reasonable as I found them when I lived there in 1978-79. I remember one female student on the bus home began, to my surprise, pulling out of her bag a ferasheah and full face veil. Her father had told her, "The university is a different place. You can walk around there in short skirts and no head-covering, but here (old Tripoli)is different. Perhaps that's how they have outlasted all their and overlords.

  • Revolutionaries in Syria Claim 60% of Aleppo as UN Condemns al-Assad
  • Despite Airport Incident, Henry Kissinger is Wrong about Libya
    • If (when?) they restore the old part of Tarabalus to it's pre-Qadafy beauty with the wonderful corniche, and assuming (as was true until at least 1979 to my knowledge) the Libyans still love their gardens and flowering trees, they would have a tourist attraction to rival Cannes--without the casinos, of course--but with baklawa to die for. They'd have to move the port back to where it was, pre-Qadafy, away from the corniche, though.

  • Minority Births the Majority? On how the whole idea of White People is Made Up
    • "By the way, Apartheid South Africa declared Japanese to be ‘white.’"

      I remember that. But Chinese were "Oriental" aka "coolies." The difference was that the Japanese had a thriving economy of cars and other stuff and they came in pursuit of trade. The Chinese had, like the Chinese in the American West, been imported as, well, "coolies."

  • Omar Khayyam (60)
    • Prof. Cole: My first boyfriend (in 11th grade) introduced me to Omar Khayyam's Rubayyat in Fitzgerald's translation. I still remember lines from it, well into my retirement, although I haven't read it in years. I am enjoying your version enormously. Are you going to publish the whole as a book?

  • Israeli PM Netanyahu attacks Gen. Dempsey as Servant of Iran
    • The word "hero" in the USA has become so debased that someone only has to put on a uniform of any kind to be lauded a "hero."

  • Iran Hype undermined by Obama Administration Admissions
    • I agree with you in all points. And I'd add, as one who lived and worked for years in the Middle East (albeit the Arab world, not Iran), I appreciate Prof. Cole's antidote to the ridiculous nonsense I hear from most of my fellow Americans and pretty well all of the "pundits" in the national media.

  • Christian Priests Brawl at Jesus' Birthplace
    • As I remember, when the great Salah-Eddin took Jerusalem from the Europeans, he was petitioned by both the Orthodox and the Roman patriarchs to give that one and that alone the keys to the Holy Sepulchre. Salah-Eddin, wise man, thought for a while and then gave the keys to the head of a Muslim family whose name I forget but whose descendents still hold those keys. The holder of the keys allows both sides to use the church fairly. Perhaps the Palestinian Authority should do something along those lines.

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