Things are really heating up across the region — ongoing protests in Algeria, unstable situation in Tunisia, talk of extremely rare protests in Libya, today's protest in Egypt, weird ongoings in Sudan, the release of the Palestine Papers in Israel/Palestine and consequent war between the PA and Jazeera, disgruntlement in Jordan, and a worrying reprisal of sectarian brinksmanship in Lebanon as the STL is about to, probably, inculpate Hizbullah for the wave of killings of the last few years including that of Rafiq Hariir
All of this is distracting me from my work and my focus on what's happening in Tunis.
The Lebanese stuff in particular is the most difficult to follow, as usual if you haven't been raised on a diet of tabouleh and manaqeesh. On such matters I defer to Qifa Nakbi. A few years ago the French comedy group Les Inconnus did this sketch on Lebanon that still holds up perfectly today. Enjoy.
This seems as good an explanation as any I've seen.
You knew there was a price to be paid for counting Silvio Berlusconi as one of your friends in Europe:
A scandal over Silvio Berlusconi's relationship with a teenage Moroccan girl took on legal and political overtones today when a senior police officer confirmed that the Italian prime minister's office had intervened on her behalf when she was detained on suspicion of theft, claiming she was the granddaughter of the Egyptian president.
And it only gets better:
I particularly love the "access to a hooka" line.
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Above, Mrs. Ahmedinejad and her entourage with Algeria's Minister of Culture, Khalida Toumi.
Have at it.
Pork rinds, known in the American South and the English North as crackling, are a delicious beer snack consisting essentially of the roasted skin of pigs. In the video below, the Muslim owners of deli in New York receives a consignment of the snack and ponders and whether or not they should sell it. A particularly interesting point is that the pork rinds appear not to contain any pork (indeed most ¢99 renditions of pork rinds consist of salt and flavorings imprinted on a soy wafer). Before this ontological conundrum can be resolved, the package of pork rinds is recalled... and taken to the Jewish deli across the road.
Can he bring change to Celesteville?
Babar's is an ideal world, a kind of upper-middle-class French Utopia whose capital is literally a heavenly city—as its name, Celesteville, indicates. Its inhabitants have various occupations, but they only work in the mornings: the afternoons are devoted to sports and recreation, and to the arts. They live in identical grass-roofed cottages, except for Babar and the Old Lady, who have larger houses at the top of a hill, near public buildings that include a school, a library, a sports complex, and a theater. During the over seventy years since the founding of Celesteville the city has grown considerably: it now includes substantial mansions, skyscrapers, and a large art museum.
I am a complete sucker for these things — so I'll just lift this video from Zeinobia and post it here.
The singer is Bob Azzam — a Palestinian Greek Orthodox crooner whose family took refuge in Cairo after 1948.
Oh, the joy of this reporter:
A high level Pakistani diplomat has been rejected as Ambassador of Saudi Arabia because his name, Akbar Zib, equates to "Biggest Dick" in Arabic. Saudi officials, apparently overwhelmed by the idea of the name, put their foot down and gave the idea of his being posted there, the kibosh.
Akbar Zib is no newcomer to politics, in fact you could say he's a pretty big deal. This long-ranging high level diplomat has worked with some of the largest members of world governments, players charged with negotiating the outcome of the world's current events.