Hey wait…. turns out persians are NORMAL PEOPLE TOO!

Of course, it would be a mistake to assume that traditional values have completely vanished. Iran’s patriarchal culture is still strong, and orthodox values are still maintained by traditional social classes, particularly in provincial towns and villages. But at the same time, it would also be a mistake to assume that sexual liberalization has only gained momentum among the urban middle classes.

So what is driving Iran’s sexual revolution? There are a number of potential explanations, including economic factors, urbanization, new communication tools, and the emergence of a highly educated female population — all of which are probably partly responsible for changing attitudes toward sex. At the same time, however, most of these factors are at play in other countries in the region that are not experiencing analogous transitions. (Indeed, a wave of social conservatism is sweeping much of the Middle East, while Iran moves in the opposite direction.) So what is different in Iran? Paradoxically, it is the puritanical state — rigid, out of touch, and dedicated to combating “vice” and promoting “virtue” — that seems to be powering Iran’s emergent liberal streak.

Erotic Republic – By Afshin Shahi

Foreign Policy.

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…ACTION…..REACTION!… what did you expect. Men and women are men and women everywhere. Some day the whole world will notice. Now I just hope that this social change spreads all over middle east as succesfully as theocracy and conservativism did. Amen.

And yes…. I know Persians are not Arabs (they will be the first in pointing it out) … but well, I guess persian women suffered a bit of what arab women do, to know what it means to be a middle east female. 

A Woman’s Clothing Is A Reason For Rape!

APTOPIX Mideast Egypt Sexual Harassment   CAI101

This kind of social perception was pretty usual in Spain til some decades ago… Still today many women suffer oppression from their couples and just last week, 5 women were killed by their husbands, b-friends or ex-boyfriends…

Every time I hear abt news of men treating women like a piece of flesh they own, for their own pleasure, and how they react when they loose their toys, I notice HOW WEAK HUMANS ARE GROWN UP.

I truly wish the sons and daughters of these brave women, as Manal is, push hard for a change in everything. and are an example for the rest…. just if society was prepared in any way to make it happen…

Manal al-Sharif

This is not a title of a scientific study made by a crime research center. Unfortunately, it is a title of a debate raised by a Tweet of a woman standing by “the harasser, the rapist and the killer», if the woman is not wearing decent clothes. Exactly as I believe in the freedom of speech, I also believe in the freedom of stupidity. However, the fact is that the amount of people who disagree with this concept far outnumber those who support it.

In my humble opinion, our Eastern culture created those types of women in our homes, our schools and our work. Why not while our Arab societies bring up the woman to bear responsibility alone for all relationship mistakes, even if it is the man’s fault, based on the proverb “a man endures his fault while a woman’s fault cost the family their honor”. The same societies…

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The talks aimed to strengthen channels of communication and were an opportunity for the rebels to voice their frustrations with the arming process. “We need to get our house in order,” said one commander, who like all of those interviewed spoke on condition that neither his name nor his area of operations be cited, due to the sensitivity of the meeting. “We are discussing the chaos of the [process of] arming, that there are warlords who accepted weapons and sat back and didn’t fight, they just amassed the weapons. We are sending them [the Saudis] the message that you made mistakes, and so did we. Some people became warlords and aren’t working. Some people are selling weapons, others say they have fighting groups but they don’t.”

All of the commanders TIME spoke to were optimistic that the Saudis would ferry more help to more moderate groups, but few thought the Qataris would stop supplying their favored battalions. “The difference is that the battalions who are against Jabhat al-Nusra will be strengthened,” said one young commander. “A fight with Jabhat al-Nusra is coming, we can no longer delay it.” That’s an unattractive prospect to many in the opposition, which was formed to fight the regime, not fellow rebels


…. c’mon….are they truly fellowmen?… as far as I notice they got their own flag… their own agenda… their own plan….

And then … looks like someone asked themselves: who’s the future wolf if Syrian Civil War ends, whoever wins?

and now this is ironic but,… what if Assad’s army men and FSA end up fighting a common enemy?… well…..err…..

The Economic Origins of Syria’s Uprising… before everything went crazy.

The poet Ibrahim Qashoush captures the demands of the Syrian people with the phrase “Syria wants freedom,” the rallying cry of protests across the country. The suggestion that the absence of individual and collective freedoms is the common root of social and economic problems has become almost axiomatic and ingrained in the popular consciousness. Indeed, slogans demanding social justice and an end to corruption disappeared within a month of the uprising. This reflects the dialectic of development and freedom expressed in Indian economist Amartya Sen’s notion of development as freedom, where development is seen as the free choice of peoples and a tool for enhancing their freedom. However, protest slogans do not detract from the reality of the socioeconomic crisis that has unfolded in Syria over the past five years.

In the years preceding 2005, the Syrian regime – in efforts to justify restrictions on freedom and oppression – carefully nurtured a ‘social development’ rhetoric centred on the role of the state, the public sector, justice, and social programs. Although social programs have steadily decreased since the mid-1980s, what was left of them has been removed with the unequivocal adoption of free market mechanisms in 2005. These ‘trickle down’ economic policies and zealous liberalization efforts have only served to entrench the power and influence of a select group of politically influential nouveau riche.

This process was accompanied by the persistence of an authoritarian system that had become even fiercer. What would have been called ‘criticism’ in the 1990s had become a crime by the early 21st century, subjecting perpetrators to an array of public and private censorship measures. The government’s irresponsible dealings with thousands of Syrian families displaced by years of drought, mainly in the northeast, further sullied its image. With the start of the uprising, the rupture between protesters and the regime became apparent.

So why are we Syrians regressing and becoming poorer while others get richer? This question was not addressed by public and economic administrators of the country, who drove forward economic liberalization policies.

Syria’s social and economic crisis in recent years has also been laid bare, as economic growth has been sluggish, unstable, and unable to meet the needs of a growing population. Growth and investment has been increasingly concentrated in the trade, finance, real estate, and service sectors. Meanwhile, the agricultural sector continues to contract, with investments declining from 5 percent in 2005 to about 3 percent in 2009. Similarly, investments in industry have dwindled by half a percentage point and growth in the industrial and mining sector has been extremely weak

via The Economic Origins of Syria’s Uprising

 Al Akhbar English.


Bloody-Minded, Bloody-Handed

The Accidental Theologist

I just now saw the cellphone video of one of the killers in Woolwich. It is pure barbarism. And all the more weirdly so for taking place on a busy London street, in front of passers-by, just a few yards from a school.

woolwichBlood all over his hands, and all over the cleaver and the knife he’s so casually brandishing. None of the distance of guns here, let alone drones. No attempt to hide, or to flee. Instead, a rant into the camera “justifying” what he and his friend have just done: run down a man and then hacked him to death. In the name, good god, of God.

I’ll get to that in a moment, but first, what strikes me is the way this man exults over what he’s done. He’s pacing back and forth like an animal after a kill, like a predator — a lion, say, or…

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Opposition to a Saudi White Ribbon Campaign

Saudiwoman's Weblog

Late April, Abullah Al Alami and Samar Fatany announced that they would be starting a local White Ribbon campaign. Since then, bringing them down has become the personal mission of many ultra-conservative sheikhs. The White Ribbon campaign originally was started in Canada as a reaction to a massacre committed by Marc Lepine (born Gamil Gharbi). Lepine had gone into an engineering college that had rejected his application and shot dead fourteen women and wounded ten women and four men. Two years later, Canadian activists started a campaign to raise awareness about violence against women. This is the campaign’s actual statement from their website:

White Ribbon is the world’s largest movement of men and boys working to end violence against women and girls, promote gender equity, healthy relationships and a new vision of masculinity.Starting in 1991, we asked men to wear white ribbons as a pledge to never commit, condone or remain silent about…

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Everyone Just Be Nice, Please


Whisky and Tea

reaffirmation of the war on terror has Glenn Greenwald at it again:

It is hard to resist the conclusion that this war has no purpose other than its own eternal perpetuation. This war is not a means to any end but rather is the end in itself. Not only is it the end itself, but it is also its own fuel: it is precisely this endless war – justified in the name of stopping the threat of terrorism – that is the single greatest cause of that threat.

The West is due its share of terrorism, then, because it alone is its cause. He is presumably confident that so long as we maintain our distance from Syria, its rebels will bring about a pleasant social democracy in which all religions, and their respective denominations, are accorded equal dignity before the law. It will also be our friend. Nor…

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The Syrian Children Sleeping in the Park

… I’ve seen those same kids in Cairo…in Aswan… in Morocco, in Romania….. in Spain… but at least they had some hope. Even a hope of stealing smthg. Damned wars. Damned rulers.

Sweden and the Middle East Views

In the park outside our house in Damascus, Syria, new families regularly come to sleep for a couple nights before being escorted away. The few belongings they keep themselves with; blankets, clothes and plastic cups, are being hauled away at the same time. Where do they go? To the temporary camps in schools or mosques? Will they be one of the families living in unfinished buildings, without electricity or water, with no protection from strangers?

One afternoon when I was meeting up with a friend, a teenage girl saw us walking on the street. She came up, asking for money.

”No, habibti.”

After a couple of weeks here I have improved my skills in saying no. And if I gave to someone living close to me, I might be harassed every day.

“Ahmed!” the girl called out and a little boy, maybe 5 years old, ran between us…

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No ‘Good Guys’ Or ‘Bad Guys’ in Syria

It is, therefore, rather odd to see that the Western states tend to favor one side of the other in the Syrian crisis, or to allow the very parties involved to lead them along by the nose. We occasionally hear Western leaders threatening to take military action against Damascus, before they have even begun to make any serious assessment of the feasibility of imposing a peace agreement there.

The model closest to what is happening in Syria is Iraq in the post-Saddam era or, to a lesser degree, post-Gadhafi Libya. In both these cases, Western forces intervened to overthrow an Arab leader and left a trail of chaos in their wake. Of course, none of them took responsibility for the shattered society they left behind. One can only wonder how such affluent, free, and liberal states could be swept up so easily in support of one side in such complex conflicts and encourage the violent overthrow of regimes, when it is so obvious that the steepest price will eventually be paid by the civilian population. In the war of annihilation it is waging against Damascus, Riyadh is doing quite a good job exploiting the naiveté of most of the world’s nations and the difficulty that these countries have interpreting any map that depicts the balance of power and conflicting interests in the Syrian crisis.

UN emissary Lakhdar Brahimi is right. So is Hassan Nasrallah. Both men and many others, as well, are calling for a diplomatic resolution to the Syrian conflict. Such a solution is vital, not to ensure Assad’s personal well-being, but to rescue the Syrian people and their neighbors, to ease the volatile tensions between Turkey and the Kurds, to bring stability to Lebanon, to spare Israel from a serious problem on the Golan Heights, to avoid a flood of refugees infiltrating Jordan and Iraq, and, by extension, to prevent the campaign from spilling over into those two countries. More than anything, however, a diplomatic solution is good for the Syrian people themselves. It can save them from the veritable massacre which has been imposed upon them, and which has turned them into the biggest victims of this tragedy.

The solution to this crisis does not lie solely with Damascus and Tehran. In fact, it lies mainly with Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Nevertheless, it is doubtful whether any nation, even the United States, can force its will on the world’s number one petroleum producer, which holds the global economy in a death grip. The Saudis and Qataris believe that they have a chance to win in this bitter battle, and the price they are paying for starting this fight isn’t too steep, at least for now. As long as the situation remains the same, they have no interest in restoring stability to Syria.

via No ‘Good Guys’ Or ‘Bad Guys’ in Syria-



(Art:  Wissam Al-Jazary)

I’ve been trying to avoid publishing lately, as everything that came to my hands was mostly Syria, Egypt and more Syria. I got a whole list full of links and subjects to talk about… most of them far from the Syria conflict… but every time I think abt posting it’s like: 

“…c’mon Tono… how can you talk about this if you see that if something must be said it’s about what’s happening THERE… and maybe in Iraq (next scenario, if Lebanon does not go first)…” 

So most of times I end up reading and reading instead of posting. I got really many subjects to talk about… West Sahara… Arab Christians (nowadays’ Mossarabs) … historical almost unknown happenings in the times of Old Al-Andalus…social issues in the arab world…

But reality and all its blood makes me turn my eyes again to the Mediteranean Levant… and is red dawns. 

Today had to happen again. Hope you can excuse me for this if it made you all feel tired of this blog.

Wish me strength to force myself to show you all a different reality without feeling like an insentitive naive hipster…