Arab press quiet about Saudi gang-rape victim sentence

Arab press is strangely silent about a 19-year-old Saudi girl who was gang raped by 7 men then sentenced to six months in jail and 200 lashes after reporting the crime. Her attorney’s license to practice law was also revoked.

The only report of this I can find in the Arab press this week is this one sentence in the 21-Nov-07 Al-Jazeera:

RIYADH (AFP) – A Saudi woman sentenced to six months in jail and 200 lashes despite being gang raped has vowed to challenge the ruling in a case that has received wide publicity, embarrassing the Saudi government.

Source: AFP

Human Rights Watch says the verdict “not only sends victims of sexual violence the message that they should not press charges, but in effect offers protection and impunity to the perpetrators.”

“Wimps and Weenies”–Professionalism not running rampant at State Department

The Foreign Service has been in an uproar since an announcement last month that diplomats will be drafted to assignments in Iraq if enough diplomats do not volunteer.

At the Oct. 31 town hall meeting, hundreds of diplomats applauded when one likened a forced tour in Iraq to a “potential death sentence.” Some at the session questioned the ethics of ordering unarmed civilians into a war zone and expressed concerns about a lack of training and medical care for those who have served….

Three foreign service personnel — two diplomatic security agents and one political officer — have been killed in Iraq since the war began in March 2003.

The discussion on Dipnote, the official blog, has turned nasty, with those questioning the policy being called “wimps and weenies”.

These are diplomats. You know, the ones we depend on to keep peace in the world by their diplomatic behavior.

Posted in Government, Iraq. Comments Off on “Wimps and Weenies”–Professionalism not running rampant at State Department

What is happening to Goodstorm?

A little over a year ago the internet fulfillment company Goodstorm announced it would start selling black t-shirts that were ethically produced in the United States. I was excited by the thought of offering tees that weren’t produced in sweatshops with child labor, so I started a little shop with some Arabic language tees.

Now Goodstorm has stopped paying out shopkeeper royalties. One blogger even reports he has never received a payment and can no longer access his shop in order to close it. He has discontinued working with Goodstorm and no longer recommends it. In fact, he even posts a link to the Better Business Bureau in case someone wants to file an official complaint.

I can still access my shop, but I have closed all the links to it. I have been promised more information about when I might receive a check within a few days. When a company has already received payment for items purchased, but can’t pay the royalty, that does not look good.

Still, people keep asking me for the products, especially the black “lan nesmit” (We will not be silenced) black t-shirt in Arabic.

I will try to work with Goodstorm a little longer.

In the meantime, I will be looking for another source for union or ethically produced black tees.

Posted in Arabic, Fair Trade, Merchandise, Products, T-shirts. Comments Off on What is happening to Goodstorm?

Public Space in Amman and Beirut–lecture in Amman Nov.11

I always enjoyed these public talks in Amman. They’re sort of part philosophy, part urban planning, and part architecture. If you’re in Amman this Sunday, it’s in Jebel Webdeh at the National Gallery for the Fine Arts, if I recall correctly, just behind Abdali bus station.

I still have my poster from the gallery of a group of colorfully garbed Arab women covered from head to toe with only the eyes showing–gazing mournfully at their day-glo ice cream cones. The artist is Laila Shawa, the print is called “Impossible Dream”.

Here’s the announcement with link:

Please find attached an announcement for a Public Lecture by Dr. Rami Farouk Daher entitled:

Public Space & Public Sphere: A Tale of Two Cities: Amman & Beirut

Sunday November 11 at 7:00 pm

at The National Gallery for Fine Arts, Jabal Lweibdeh


The Lecture is sponsored by the Goethe Institute in collaboration with Center for the Study of the Built Environment (CSBE).


Center for the Study of the Built Environment (CSBE)P.O.Box: 830751 Amman 11183 Jordan

Telefax: +(962) (6) 4615297

Veteran’s Day Email: The real cost of war–when will they ever learn?

Sent to me in memory of Del Ray Jacobs, PFC USMC, who died in Viet Nam over 35 years ago. I taught with his sister in the Middle East. Our Iraqi refugee students (back in 1999) particularly enjoyed listening to “Where have all the flowers gone”. When will they ever learn, indeed.

I’ll pass this one on without comment, for Veteran’s Day 2007:


As I reflect on this photograph, I seeonce again that not all the brave leave the ‘home of the brave’ toenter battle; some are required now to be the ‘brave of the home’

It is said a picture is worth a thousand words but it leaves me speechless and tearsin my eyes.

Would YouSend This Please

Would You Send This Please

We have a long list of good friends whose husbands are deploying

to Iraqnext month. One of the wives sent me this. We feel compelled

to send it on. Your prayers are deeply appreciated. These guys and gals

deserve our love, our hugs and most powerfully, our prayers.

Prayer Request:

I understand that life in Iraqis very difficult to bear right now. Our troops need our prayers for strength,endurance and safety.

Send this on after a short prayer; please don’t break it:

‘Lord, hold our troops in your loving hands. Protect them as they protectus. Bless them and their families for the selfless acts they perform for us inour time of need. Amen.’

When you receive this, please stop for a moment and say a prayer for our troopsaround the world.

There’s nothing attached; just send this to all in your address book. Do notlet it stop with you, please — of all the gifts you could give! a US Soldier,Sailor, Airman, or Marine deployed in harm’s way, prayer is the very best!!!


Posted in Iraq, peace. Comments Off on Veteran’s Day Email: The real cost of war–when will they ever learn?

Paul Harvey Football Prayer Email Rant

I’m always interested to see what people consider interesting or inspiring enough to send on their email listserves. This one calls for public prayer before football games and echoes a common right-wing assertion–that the United States was founded on Christian principles. Setting aside for a moment the question of religious freedom–isn’t that why the pilgrims came here in the first place?–I’m at a loss to think of even one Christian principle that appears in the Constitution or the Bill of Rights.

But here is the rant. It’s nicely colorful:



********* Get Ready *********

Keep this going around the globe … read it and forwardevery time you receive it. We can’t give up on this issue.

Paul Harvey and Prayer

Paul Harvey says:

I don’t believe in Santa Claus, but I’m not going to sue somebody for singing aHo-Ho-Ho song in December. I don’t agree with Darwin , but I didn’t go out and hire alawyer when my high school teacher taught his Theory of Evolution

Life, liberty or your pursuit of happiness will not be endangeredbecause someone says a 30-second prayer before a football game.

So what’ s the big deal? It’s not like somebody is up there reading the entirebook of Acts. They’re just talking to a God they believe in and asking him togrant safety to the players onthe field and the fans going home from the game.

But it’s a Christian prayer, some will argue.

Yes, and this is the United States of America , a country founded onChristian principles. According to our very own phone book, Christian churchesoutnumber all others betterthan 200-to-1. So what would you expect ! — somebody chantingHare Krishna?

If I went to a football game in Jerusalem, I wouldexpect to hear a Jewish prayer.

If I went to a soccer game in Baghdad, I would expect to hear a Muslimprayer.

If I went to a ping pong match in China, I would expect to hearsomeone pray to Buddha.

And I wouldn’t be offended.
It wouldn’t bother me one bit.
When in Rome…

But what about the atheists? Is another argument.

What about them?
Nobody is asking them to be baptized. We’re not going to pass the collectionplate. Just humor us for 30 seconds. If that’s asking too much, bring a Walkmanor a pair of ear
plugs. Go tothe bathroom. Visit the concession stand. Call your lawyer!

Unfortunately, one or two will make that call. One or two will tell thousandswhat they can and cannot do. I don’tthink a short prayer at a football game is going to shake the world’sfoundations.

Christians are just sick and tired of turning the other cheek while our courtsstrip us of all our rights. Our parents andgrandparents taught us to pray before eating; to pray before we go to sleep.

Our Bible tells us to pray without ceasing. Now a handful of people and theirlawyers are telling us to cease praying.

God, help us.
And if that last sentence offends you, well
..just sue me.

The silent majority has been silent too long. It’s time we let that one or twowho scream loud enough to be heard that the vast majority don’t care what theywant. It is time the majority rules! It’s time we tell them, you don’t have topray; you don’t have to say the pledge of allegiance; you don’t have to believein God or attend services that honor Him. That is your right, and we will honoryour right .. But bygolly, you are no longer going to take our rights away. We are fighting back ..
and we

God bless us one and all … especially those who denounce Him,God bless America, despite all her faults. She is still the greatest nation ofall.

God bless our service men who are fighting to protect our right to pray andworship God.

2007 will bethe year the silent majority is heard and we put God back as the foundation ofour families and institutions… and our Military come home from all the wars.

Keep looking up.

If you agree with this, please pass it on.

If not delete it.



And here’s the rest of the rest of the story:

Who’s going to write that prayer?

The team that kicks off or the team that receives?

UPDATE 7/9/08: This appears to be the work of Nick Gholson, sportswriter for the Times Record News of Wichita Falls, Texas, who wrote the piece in September 1999 to advocate for prayer in schools. According to Snopes, Gholson’s essay ended with “just sue me” and the rest was added later by someone else who also deleted all the references to current events and personalities.

Gender-accurate TNIV Bible is online and searchable

The International Bible Society now has the Today’s New International Version (TNIV) of the Bible online.

While I’m not a big biblical literalist, I do appreciate the devotion of the evangelicals in pursuing accurate biblical translations, believing as they do that the Bible is the exact literal word of God written by God’s own finger, or something like that.  Although my mainstream denomination uses the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV), and I personally prefer the Revised Standard Version (RSV) for the sheer poetry of the prose, I often turn to the New International Version (NIV) when reading to understand a particular passage.

The TNIV attempts to be even more accurate in its portrayal of God’s word by accurate translations of gender-specific words like “man”, differentiating between usage of the word to mean “human”–which is deplored in English textbooks as inaccurate language–or “male person”.

Posted in Religion. Comments Off on Gender-accurate TNIV Bible is online and searchable

Camo Underwear-Just Say No

Today I was in the local dollar store and took a little stroll around to see all their merchandise.  In the underwear department was a set of camouflage underpants. Across the back of one pair was printed the words “major cutie”.  Now, who in their right mind would want that written on their rear end?

Walking around a little more, I spotted camo hoodies, camo pants, camo sweatshirts,  and little camo jammies for children. Now correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t the purpose of camouflage to keep someone from being seen in a war area?  In fact,  camouflage is a military necessity, an accessory of war and killing, along with guns and stuff.

When did killing become a fashion statement?

Department of Labor Inflation Calculator

How much is $100 worth in 1960 dollars?

Now you can go to the U.S. Department of Labor consumer price index page and figure it out with their inflation  calculator.

Posted in Curiosities, Money. Comments Off on Department of Labor Inflation Calculator