Shah Mohammad Rais, better known as the "Bookseller of Kabul", says he fears blood vengeance after Åsne Seierstad's bestselling book about him has been translated in an Afghan language.Bookseller on the run
Rais said he feels like a refugee now, and is even considering seeking asylum now that the story, which he has tried to block on the grounds that it was too revealing, puts him in personal danger.
"I can no longer live in my own country. This is a great tragedy for me and my family. We must now reside outside of Afghanistan," Rais said.
According to Rais this is because of the release of a version of the book in Farsi from an Iranian publisher is now available in Kabul. Another version from Pakistan, in Pushtu, is reportedly on the way, meaning the story will be accessible in Afghanistan's other main language.
Rais argues that Seierstad's book reveals details that can offend the largest ethnic group in Afghanistan, the Pashtuns, a group that still actively practice blood vengeance. Rais said that the revelation that his sisters have had boyfriends is dangerous as this is strictly forbidden.
The bookseller's family is now split in three, with Rais, his youngest wife Suraya and three children heading to Oslo, his eldest wife Aziza in Canada with other family members and only his eldest son Iraj Mohammad still in Kabul, minding the bookstore.
The trip to Oslo was originally planned to allow for research for Rais' own book on the controversy around and behind the "Bookseller of Kabul", and he still plans to investigate a lawsuit against Seierstad and publisher Cappelen.
"I am considering applying for asylum. I believe Norway can be a good land to live in. But my wife doesn't like this, she has some poor associations with Norway. She would rather live in Sweden or another place in Europe," Rais said
If you are coming down with a cold then half a dram of single malt (with nothing added) down the back of the throat and then lots of herbal tea (best is nettle tea). That disinfects you and washes you out.
Iran's government announced Wednesday that 40 ambassadors and senior diplomats, including supporters of warmer ties with the West, will be fired, continuing a purge of reformers as the regime takes an increasingly tough stance at home and abroad.
The diplomatic changes are part of a government shake-up by ultraconservative President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that includes putting Islamic hard-liners in key posts at security agencies. Some Iranians worry the president will bring back strict social policies.
To the end, Pakistani gang-rape victim Mukhtaran Bibi (aka Mukthar Mai) faced obstacles in garnering support abroad for her efforts to fight sexual violence in Pakistan. Charged by President Pervez Musharraf of washing Pakistan's dirty linen outside the country, followed by insinuations that women like Mai (the "weak sex", in his words) exploit rape as a route to riches (determined, apparently, by the throngs of rich rape victims in Pakistan), Mai traveled outside Pakistan this week to receive a series of awards and accolades in the US, as well as to raise money for Pakistani rape and earthquake victims. While the main event - being awarded Glamour Magazine's "Woman of the Year" award in New York on November 2 - gives the impression that Mai is a cause celebré among non-Muslims seeking to "liberate" Muslim women, Mai is spending more of her time meeting with American Muslim and South Asian groups who are concerned about violence against Muslim women, and who are working to make her cause a Muslim and Pakistani (rather than a Western) one. To that end, a coalition of American Muslim organizations are planning to release a statement of support during her visit, calling for a "Muslim-led condemnation of injustice" in Muslim countries. "Despite suffering the worst of crimes, Mukhtar Mai has emerged as a pioneer for the rights and concerns of women in her country," explained supporter Asif Sheikh. "Muslim communities must pay homage to her exceptional character and answer her challenge to promote the welfare of all women." Mai has consistently described her struggle as one supported by the tenets of Islam, and has actively embraced Muslim support of her cause. "I am a Pakistani and I have no intention of tarnishing the country's image," said Mai. "But I will speak on the plight of women in rural areas." In order to avoid overshadowing the continued relief efforts in the earthquake-ravaged areas of Pakistan, Mai is taking 25% of her Glamour prize money and donating it to earthquake victims, with the balance to be used for women's projects and the school she founded in her hometown. "Whoever I will meet in the United States," said Mai,"I will appeal for help and donations for the people in Pakistan affected by the earthquake." (Mai also plans to urge Congress to pledge an additional $50 million in relief aid, specifically earmarked for women and children.) Like civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks, who passed away this week, Mukthar Mai broke the code of silence surrounding the treatment of women in rural Pakistan. And while Western organizations shower her with accolades, Mai's American Muslim hosts are hoping that the larger Muslim community doesn't miss the bus.
Protesters were demanding compensation for or restitution of properties confiscated by the Greek government during the end of WW II as some 35,000 Chams were expelled from region of Chameria in Greece ( bordered with south-east of Albania). They were given Albanian citizenship in 1953.For more information on the subject read 'the Cham issue' and 'the Cham tragedy'.
Chameria is a region located in North-western Greece, in the province of Epirus, prefecture of Thesprotia. It has a size of approximately 10,000 square kilometres with a population of approximately 150,000. The name Chameria derives from the ancient river Thyamis, present day Kallamas.
“In 1913 Chameria was formally assigned to Greece. In 1923 the Chams were excluded from the 1923 Lausanne Treaty of Obligatory Exchange of population between Greece and Turkey, having been recognized as an ethnic Albanian minority. In 1944 tens of thousands of Moslem Chams were expelled from Greece against their wish and, consequently settled into Albania. They were constantly denied the right to return to Chameria despite the normalization of relations between Albania and Greece in 1987. They were subject to harsh persecution by the Albanian communist regime", says in its web-site the US based Chameria Association.
Within the close circle of his loyal followers, Iran's new state president Mahmud Ahmadinezhad revealed his great vision. It stems from the days of the 1979 Islamist Revolution. Now it harbors within it a new explosive force. "The new Islamic revolution" according to Ahmadinezhad, will cut out the roots of injustice throughout the entire world. The era of the Godless regime, tyranny, and injustice has come to its end," he prophesies. "The wave of the Islamist revolution will soon reach the entire world."This guy is the worst of the worst, and is clearly gearing up to unleash hell on earth. It's time to stop him-now. This year. Bush should be preparing us now.
Western political leaders and security experts are evincing alarm. "The man at the head of Iran is an extremist, he wants to export the Islamist revolution," it is said in intelligence circles. "If this becomes Iran's new foreign policy, a maximum terrorist worst-case scenario threatens the West. Then the Sunni Al-Qa'ida terrorists and Shi'ite terrorist organizations will cooperate closely. Against the common enemy. Against the West."
Tony Blair appeared last night to undermine more than 15 years of climate change negotiations when he signalled a shift away from a target-based approach to cutting greenhouse emissions. Speaking at the end of the first day of a summit in London of environment and energy ministers, the prime minister said that legally binding targets to reduce pollution made people "very nervous and very worried".What are the eco-bedwetters saying?
He said when the Kyoto protocol expires in 2012, the world would need a more sensitive framework for tackling global warming. "People fear some external force is going to impose some internal target on you ... to restrict your economic growth," he said. "I think in the world after 2012 we need to find a better, more sensitive set of mechanisms to deal with this problem." His words come in the build-up to UN talks in Montreal this month on how to combat global warming after Kyoto. "The blunt truth about the politics of climate change is that no country will want to sacrifice its economy in order to meet this challenge," he said.
"If we can deal with this in the right way and have this informal mechanism then I think we can find a way of meeting what I believe is the clear desire of our people - which is to find a way of combining rising living standards with the responsibility to protect our environment."
The statements echoed sentiments Mr Blair expressed informally at a meeting organised by Bill Clinton in New York recently, when he said he was "changing my thinking" on the best way to tackle climate change. Mr Blair's office said at the time his remarks had been misinterpreted and they did not signal that the UK was changing its position or adopting an attitude similar to that held by the US.
The US has refused to sign up to Kyoto because it says caps on pollution would damage its economy. George Bush also objects to big developing countries, such as China and India, being exempt. Mr Blair has acknowledged he will not overcome such opposition and has instead focused on the need to develop green technology.
Environmental campaigners called on Mr Blair to clarify his position. Tony Juniper, director of Friends of the Earth, said: "We need to understand what he means. It's seismic in climate change politics and threatens 15 years' worth of negotiations."We thought we'd won and now you're taking our toy away!
Pharmacists across the Middle East are increasing their stocks of Viagra after reporting significant sales increases for the drug over the Eid El-Fitr festival in previous years.
Figures reveal that during the holiday period, a time when families gather to celebrate Eid, pharmacists have seen a three-fold rise in demand for Viagra, the leading erectile dysfunction (ED) medication which is manufactured by Pfizer.
“We have noticed the increase in Viagra sales over the last few years and are this year we plan to have extra stocks," said Dr. Nagib El Assali from El Tahra pharmacy in Cairo, Egypt.
The trend is common throughout the Middle East, with pharmacists in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and Qatar all noting similar sales patterns.
However Dr. Ahmed El Hakim, Pfizer’s Middle East Director of Health Policy and External Affairs, claims that the phenomenon is not unique to the Arab world. “The rise in demand for Viagra during Eid reflects a worldwide trend for increased Viagra sales during holiday periods and festivals," said Dr. Hakim. “There are similar patterns in Christian countries over Christmas."