Links for September 22nd

Links from my del.icio.us account for September 22nd:



  • A Mauritanian Routine: strike, frustrate and repeat « The Moor Next Door - Good post on recent (dodgy) AQIM attack in Mauritania and the wider problem of terrorism in the Maghreb

  • Pray silence for Bin Laden the wedding poet - Times Online - OBL's sensitive side: "POETRY by Osama Bin Laden is to be published next week by an Oxford-educated academic, who has discovered that the world’s most hated terrorist was once in great demand as an after-dinner speaker.
    Bin Laden’s recitals at wedding banquets and other feasts during the 1990s were recorded on tapes recovered from his compound in Afghanistan in 2001, after the September 11 attacks.
    They have been studied by Professor Flagg Miller, who teaches Arabic poetry at the University of California, Davis. He said: “Bin Laden is a skilled poet with clever rhymes and meters, which was one reason why many people taped him and passed recordings around, like pop songs.”"

  • Op-Ed Columnist - The Push to ‘Otherize’ Obama - Op-Ed - NYTimes.com - Nic Kristoff on the Obama as Muslim rumors: "What is happening, I think, is this: religious prejudice is becoming a proxy for racial prejudice. In public at least, it’s not acceptable to express reservations about a candidate’s skin color, so discomfort about race is sublimated into concerns about whether Mr. Obama is sufficiently Christian. The result is this campaign to “otherize” Mr. Obama. Nobody needs to point out that he is black, but there’s a persistent effort to exaggerate other differences, to de-Americanize him."

  • Rachel Shabi: Voice of the Jerusalem's poor | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk - On Israel's Black Panthers, a Mizrahi social justice movement once active in the 1970s and that is reforming to run in Jerusalem elections: "The new Panthers proclaim blanket support in "the neighbourhoods" – aka the deprived city districts. But that might not actually count for much: the local election voting turnout from these quarters is around 20%, as compared with 40% within Jerusalem's better-off streets and 70% in the religious sector. The Arab sector has historically refused to vote – in protest against an authority it does not recognise as legitimate. Still, Marciano-Sabag emphatically includes the notoriously deprived neighbourhoods of East Jerusalem in her social justice plans:
    "I personally feel Palestinian," she says. "My colour is their colour, their language is my language, their accent is my accent. And their situation is absolutely unbearable … when we speak of equality we mean the whole city, whether or not people vote.""

  • Middle East Online - Coptic Bishop Morcos: ""If elections take place, I would vote for Gamal Mubarak because he is an economics man and was brought up in a firmly established political household, and this is the view of most members of the Holy Synod," Morcos said in an interview with the independent daily Al-Masry Al-Youm." One of the things that makes a Jimmy presidency more likely is that since he is the only person who appears to be vying for the presidency, he is the only person who will receive the endorsements of those people who just support the likely candidate (as opposed to stick to principles). The religious establishment in Egypt (Muslim or Christian) is really disappointing for its lack of guts and imagination.


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Issandr El Amrani

Issandr El Amrani is a Cairo-based writer and consultant. His reporting and commentary on the Middle East and North Africa has appeared in The Economist, London Review of Books, Financial Times, The National, The Guardian, Time and other publications. He also publishes one of the longest-running blog in the region, www.arabist.net.