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daily archive: 03/13/2005
zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
Breaking Taboos in Egypt
It all started when a pious soap star has been hit with a very public paternity suit by a young woman who claims she bore the actor’s child after having a relationship with him. Subsequently, the mother filed the paternity suit, stirring an unprecedented scandal and prompting national debate over the issue of secret marriage contracts young people are using in order to have sexual relations in a religious society.

Hind el-Hinnawy, 27, says she and Ahmed al-Fishawy, a 24-year-old TV star, met on a television set and entered into an Urfi marriage, an unregistered contract often used as cover for affairs. This unofficial arrangement has become popular as a way to evade Islam’s ban on premarital sex.

To make things even juicier, Fishawy is a public moralist and follower of Amr Khaled, a charismatic Muslim televangelist. Al-Fishawy is an actor known for public piety. Son of actor Farouq al-Fishawy, he is famous for his role in soap Amma Nour, sitcom Shabab Online and host of Yalla Ya Shabab, in which he gave advise to Muslim youth. It seems, however, that this time around he is in need of some good advise…

Hind el-Hinnawy's story might have provoked little more than gossip in other places. But in Egypt with its widespread taboo on sex talk and deep respect for family values, she generated a full-blown scandal when she went public with her decision to bear a child as a single mother and try to prove a popular young actor was the father. Almost nine months after she sued, a judge has ordered DNA paternity tests.
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zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
Jerusalem, Nowhere
Canadian Jews Have 'Israel' Deleted From 'Jerusalem' Passports
Canadian Jews born in Jerusalem are having their passports recalled in order to erase the word "Israel" from beside the name of the Jewish State’s capital.

B’nai Brith of Canada has filed an application for judicial review of the Government’s policy to deny Canadian citizens born in Jerusalem the right to have Israel noted in their passports as their country of birth.

Though the request was filed on behalf of a 17-year-old Torontonian, many others have now been affected by the Canadian policy as well. In recent months, scores of Canadian Jews have been contacted by Canadian Passport Office officials and told to surrender their passports showing Jerusalem, Israel as the country of birth.

"It appears that the Government has begun a concerted campaign to recall the passports as a direct result of the legal action now before the courts," said Frank Dimant, Executive Vice President of B’nai Brith Canada. "The appropriate ‘clean-up’ initiative would be to simply put the complainant in the same position as the many other Canadians already holding valid passports showing Jerusalem, Israel."

In a similar move, a US court found, last September, that American consular offices need not register the birthplace of a Jerusalem-born American citizen as "Jerusalem, Israel," but merely as "Jerusalem."
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zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
Travellers in Scotland
Prejudice will follow wherever they go..
A TODDLER stands on a seat by the living room window playing with a mobile phone while a TV blares nearby.

Outside the window is a bench in a yard where a puppy is lying in the winter sunshine among a few children’s toys.

To David Stewart and his 18-month-old son Bryce this is home. Like many people in the city, their home in Duddingston Road looks just like all their neighbours’ places.

Like any other community, there are people here with all kinds of jobs, from roofers to church ministers, and housewives to unemployed people.

But while their homes have much in common with the houses which people live in on estates throughout the city - and the country - one inescapable difference sets them apart straight away.

They might have satellite dishes and phonelines but they are not houses, they are caravans.

David and his 20 or so neighbours live at Cairntow, the only permanent travellers’ site in Edinburgh set up 15 years ago.

The travellers here know all too well about the prejudice which Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott hit out against this week when he warned councils to end discrimination against planning applications made by gypsies and travellers looking for somewhere to live.

They are all too aware that travellers are seen by some as criminals, scroungers and druggies. To give an idea of the scale of the prejudice they face, one national newspaper has even launched a campaign in response to Prescott’s calls, condemning the minister for putting travellers’ interests above those of "hard-working, local people who pay their taxes and obey the law".

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sine in The People's Diner:
Cuisine of the EU Food Thread
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kianb in Discarded Lies:
Iran calls the threat of UN sanctions on nuclear dispute as 'propaganda'
Tehran Times: [Update: Before you read any further and need a cigarette like Lewis, Tehran-Times is a state-run newspaper!]

Several MPs and analysts are all in agreement that the incentives offered by the United States to convince Iran to give up its right to enrich uranium are ridiculous and say that Iran is legally entitled to enrich uranium for peaceful purposes and should not compromise on its right.

They also told the Mehr News Agency that there is no reason to be concerned about the threats to refer Iran to the United Nations Security Council.

Political analyst Alireza Davari said here on Saturday that the threat by Britain, Germany, and France to refer Iran’s nuclear dossier to the UN Security Council is a propaganda move.

Davari noted that the suspension and freeze of uranium enrichment was the main issue under discussion between Iran and the three European Union representatives.

Europe insists that Iran should permanently halt enrichment, but in reality it’s the United States that has instigated this demand, he added.

According to the Paris Pact signed by Iran and the EU trio in November, Iran is not obliged to permanently freeze enrichment activities but must only give objective guarantees to Europe that its nuclear program will not be diverted to a weapons program, Davari said.

“This means that Iran should continue enrichment without Europe’s concern, but if Iran halts enrichment altogether there would no longer be any need to give objective guarantees," he added.

He stated that Europe is only seeking pretexts by demanding a complete halt of Iran’s enrichment activities and threatening to refer the case to the UN.

“If the Europeans were not seeking pretexts, we could have easily found appropriate ways to give objective guarantees," he said.

Davari noted that the U.S. is trying to challenge the Iran-EU nuclear talks.
“If Iran consents to a complete freeze of enrichment activities, the U.S. will realize its desired goal, and if we insist on our right to enrichment, the U.S. administration will try to refer Iran’s case to the UN," Kiarashi said.
Threat to refer Iran to UN only a propaganda move

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zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
The Other Refugees
When the world of the 1930s and '40s was divided between the democratic Allies and the Fascist Axis, Arab nationalists in Iraq and Palestine chose to form an alliance with Nazi Germany. The father of Palestinian nationalism and the mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, began his close collaboration with Nazi Germany in the mid-1930s.

The British put out an arrest warrant for the pro-Nazi Palestinian leader, but he escaped when war broke out in Europe in the spring of 1939. Later that year, he arrived in Baghdad and linked up with pro-Nazi Iraqi nationalist Rashid Ali al-Gaylani. In 1941 al-Husseini and al-Gaylani engineered a pro- German coup against the pro-British Iraqi government, which brought a reign of terror to Iraq's Jews. This culminated in what we remember as the Farhud, an Arabic word akin to "pogrom."

In a two-day period Arab mobs went on a rampage in Baghdad and elsewhere in Iraq, murdering, raping and pillaging these cities' Jewish communities. Nearly 200 Jews were killed, more than 2,000 injured; some 900 Jewish homes were destroyed and looted, as were hundreds of Jewish-owned shops. My father was a survivor of the carnage. He hid in a hole dug in the ground to save his life. He saw Iraqi soldiers pull small children away from their parents and rip the arms off young girls to steal their bracelets. He saw pregnant women being raped and their stomachs cut open.

Britain eventually regained control, but al-Husseini and other Palestinian nationalists had already fled to Berlin where they became honored guests of the Nazi state. Hitler told a grateful al-Husseini that "Germany's only remaining objective in the [Middle East] would be limited to the annihilation of the Jews living under British protection in Arab lands."

Later, in a speech over Radio Berlin's Arabic Service, al-Husseini voiced support for the Nazis' "Final Solution" and became the first Arab leader to call openly for the expulsion of Jews from Arab lands -- some eight years before there was a single Palestinian refugee.

Even though Hitler lost the war, al-Husseini's call was heeded. In 1948, Iraq rounded up and imprisoned hundreds of Jews. Others were removed from their jobs in the civil service, business licenses of Jews were revoked, and quotas were placed on Jewish high school and college students. Later, discriminatory restrictions were imposed on Jewish travel abroad and the buying or selling of property. Thus, even if Jews wanted to escape Iraq, they could not do so legally, and they could not liquidate their assets.

In 1950, the Iraqi parliament passed a law called Ordinance for the Cancellation of Iraqi Nationality for Jews, Law No. 1 that stripped Iraqi Jews of their citizenship. In 1951, the Iraqi parliament passed another law, confiscating all Jewish property. Within a year, most of Iraq's ancient Jewish population, my family included, fled to Israel.
Read it all: The vanishing Jews of the Arab world / Baghdad native tells the story of being a Middle East refugee. These refugees, almost a million of them, started out with nothing in a tiny, new country that had nothing much to offer them back then. Yet they didn't stay refugees; they restarted their lives and built a free, prosperous democracy in the midst of wars and surrounded by hatred. Just something to keep in mind.

(a thimbleful of cognac to zombie)
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evariste in Discarded Lies:
A bag of Smarties
I found this, by David Warren, a touching essay.
Yes, Martha Stewart is out of jail. Don't worry, we're still safe, she is confined to her 153-acre upstate New York thrall for some time longer.

Only in America do they put a lady like that away, for doing something everyone of her class was doing, until they made it illegal a few minutes before sending her inside. You have to laugh (I'm sure Ms Stewart was laughing). Meanwhile, in her absence, I got an attractively simple Martha Stewart floor lamp for a considerable discount from Sears.

That is America. Also, "B.T.K." Also, the dreadful, viciously immoral, Hollywood movies that won Oscars last Sunday night; and the one that didn't, "The Passion of the Christ". I don't know what comes into the reader's mind when he hears the word "America" in a word-association quiz. (Sorry; I forgot to ask.) I'll tell you what comes into mine.

It is a big bag of Smarties.

This was from something that happened when I was a child of six, in Lahore, Pakistan. My father was possibly dying from an acute case of jaundice, and Pakistan was not a welfare state: his salary disappeared when he could no longer teach at the College of Art. My mother, a proud woman of Scots ancestry, kept her fears to herself; though I can imagine the prospect of becoming a widow with two young children, penniless in a very exotic place, was not pleasing to her. Somehow she continued to pay our Christian cook, "Bill". She would rather die, than tell anyone we were starving. The occasional crumpled Canadian banknote arrived in the mail from some relative back home.

Servants observe everything, they are much wiser than masters. Bill apparently knew some other Christian cooks (they all wore a distinctive, Catholic turban), working for some Americans we hardly knew, in the gleaming district of Gulberg. That, anyway, is the information we extracted after the fact. Those servants told their American masters what had happened to us, coincidentally a little before Christmas, in the year of grace 1959.

All I remember is when the Americans arrived. (Remember, I was only six.) No one asked them to come, they just came. Lots of them, it seemed: mostly women. And so far as I could tell, with piles of money, and every imaginable good thing, like an Amazon tribe of Santa Clauses. My sister and I got children's books, and a subscription to some American kid's magazine, and much head-patting.

But the thing I will remember for the rest of my life is the bag of Smarties. It was the size of a pillow. And I had never seen so much as a chocolate bar in the time we had been in Pakistan. I think I cried.

Many readers have asked me, over the years, why I am so sympathetic to Americans. I suppose I'm just the grateful type. Whenever they ask, I think of that bag of Smarties.
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zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
Getting to Mom's Pension

Police have detained a man who buried his dead mother in his basement and disguised himself as her to draw her retirement pension, a Turkish news agency reported Friday.

Tipped off by suspicious bank employees, police detained 47-year-old Serafettin Gencel in his home after he tried to withdraw his dead mother's pension, Anatolia news agency reported.

A bank employee had become suspicious upon hearing Gencel's male-sounding voice and notified the bank manager who told Gencel to come back in two days time for the money, Anatolia said. The manager secretly photographed him and called police who raided his home and detained him.

The photo, which was released by Anatolia, showed Gencel dressed in a woman's overcoat and wearing a headscarf and stockings and carrying a walking stick.

Gencel reportedly told police that his mother died two years ago of natural causes at the age of 68, and that he buried her body in his basement to carry on collecting her pension.

Authorities exhumed the body and were conducting a forensic study into the woman's death.

Gencel faces possible charges of fraud, suspicious death and conducting a burial without notifying authorities, Anatolia said.

Gencel, who has previous convictions for armed robbery and carrying firearms, had withdrawn 8,000 New Turkish Lira, or $6,300 since his mother's death, Anatolia said.

Man Said to Pose As Dead Mom for Pension
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zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
Riddles, riddles, riddles!
Guess what? It's riddles!

(muchas gracias señora floranista and a very cold Corona to you!)
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