ThysdrusRoman Coliseum of El-Jem

Panem et Circensis

My Photo
Location: Tunis, Tunisia, Tunisia

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Picture Of The Day

Reuters-Midshipmen catch naps as they wait for more than an hour for U.S. President George W. Bush to deliver an address on the war in Iraq at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland November 30, 2005. (Via Sploid)

The Story Of The Python

I somehow hesitated before writing about this subject but my conscious urged me to bring it up in attempt to clarify the true story of the alleged Python that was found somewhere along the Tunisian-Libyan frontier. You may find that the story, in itself, is not of paramount importance but in the world of journalism and blogging, the spirit of investigation, the respect of copyright and faithfulness to original sources is highly important. Well I came across the above mentioned story reading Dicentra, who mentioned the find in her blog, which I like by the way, and she is not to blame since she took the story from an article in a Tunisian newspaper. Having notified Dicentra of the true version of the story, I came across the same story at Babnet website which kindly published my feedback and I would like to thank the webmaster for being so quick to respond.

New Firefox Version

Firefox launched its latest version today.Version 1.5 of Firefox include new usability upgrades such as a drag and drop feature for tabbed browsing, enhanced blocking of pop-up advertisements, a reference search engine called and a Live Bookmarks feature to help organise subscriptions to RSS feeds.

(Via The Sydney Morning Herald)

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

The Mashington Post

In a attempt to foster online innovation and creation, The Washington Post launched a new project that will allow users to "remix" the paper's content. People won't be able to change stories, but they can take them and headlines and repackage them for non-commercial use in creative ways across cyberspace.The project was dubbed "".( Via Der Spiegel).

CIA Takes Up Blogging

The CIA now has its own bloggers. In a bow to the rise of internet-era secrets hidden in plain view, the agency has started hosting weblogs with the latest information on topics including North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Il's public visit to a military installation (his 38th this year) and the Burmese media's silence on a ministry reshuffle. It even has a blog on blogs, dedicated to finding useful information in the rapidly expanding milieu of online journals and weird electronic memorabilia on the net.
(Via The Sidney Morning Herald)

The Kiss Of Death

This is both sad and strange story.A teenager with an extreme nut allergy has died after kissing her boyfriend hours after he had eaten a peanut-butter sandwich.Guys make sure you brush your teeth before any act!

"Risk Free" Cigarettes?!

Can we consider this good news or bad news? Check it out.

Monday, November 28, 2005

The Vatican & The Aliens

In a recent post I mentioned the call of a former Canadian Defense Minister to hold hearing on aliens. This time it is the Vatican which is raising the issue but for different reasons of course.
Half a century on, the Catholic Church is finally getting round to asking what it would mean for their religion if humankind were to establish the existence of intelligent aliens. The question weighs heavily on the mind of Guy Consolmagno, a 53-year-old Jesuit from Detroit and the Pope’s astronomer. Sitting among his telescopes in Castel Gandolfo, the Pope’s summer palace, Consolmagno, is puzzling over whether or not the Catholic Church could – or should – baptise an alien. Were such creatures discovered, ought the Pope to consider ordaining an ET? And if the human race ever masters interstellar travel, should missionaries be sent into outer space ... ?
( Via Sploid)

Da Vinci & The Code He Lived By

The History Channel will air this coming December 4th,2005 a special presentation on Leonardo Da Vinci, featuring his life, accomplishments, and vision.

Between Jesus & Yahweh

The following book review explores Harold Bloom's book "Jesus and Yahweh: The Names Divine". In this book Bloom claims that Jesus and Jesus Christ are two entirely unrelated figures.

For him,
Jesus is the Jew Yeshua about whom no verifiable facts are knowable, whereas Jesus Christ is a later theological construct that owes a great deal to Hellenic thought. Christ, for Bloom, is a betrayal of Jesus the man, Yeshua.
( Via The New York Times)

Presidential (Mis)Speak

This is a funny link I came across reading Dappled Things. The link provides a slection of President George W. Bush's various english mistakes and warns foreigners not to take english lessons from Mr. Bush.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Arab Leaders' Mass Stay-away From Euro-Mediterranean Summit

The Euro-Mediterranean Summit aimed at revitalizing ties with Near Eastern and North African neighbors, has started today in Barcelona, Madrid, and was marked by a mass stay-away by Arab leaders.

While all 25 EU leaders were set to attend, only two of the 10 Mediterranean partners -- Turkey and the Palestinian Authority -- were sending their top leaders to the two-day conference.
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, the longest-serving Arab leader, dropped out on Saturday citing Egypt's tense parliamentary election, in which opposition candidates close to the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood made big gains.

Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika was flown to hospital in Paris on Saturday for urgent medical tests following problems in his digestive system, his office said, forcing him to miss the summit originally intended to bring together Arab, Israeli and European leaders for the first time.

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon pulled out after his coalition collapsed. He quit his Likud party and called an early election. Deputy Prime Minister Ehud Olmert will attend instead.

Tunisian President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, had clearly preferred to stay away rather than be lectured by the Europeans on democracy, human rights and freedom of expression.

The presidents of Syria and Lebanon were persuaded to stay away because they are in diplomatic quarantine over the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri.

Quote Of The Day

"We have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another."

~Jonathan Swift

Saturday, November 26, 2005

The "State" Of Muslim Women

The British Channel 4 News spoke to the woman who collaborated with the late controversial Dutch film maker Theo van Gogh about the treatment of Muslim women. Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the woman who wrote the script, is born a Muslim and of Somali descent but now she is one of Holland's most controversial politicians, according to the Channel.

The report broadcasted by Channel 4, is unforunately about four minutes long after which I found myself puzzled over this woman's scattered standpoints regarding Islam. Moreover she hardly mentioned the real situation of woman in Islam except claiming that "Today there's no Muslim country or a country with Muslim majority where what I am doing is possible". I advise Ms. Ali to reconsider her statement simply because I think of it constitutes an offense to many Muslim women who are struggling for their rights.If any one has the whole video clip please let me know.

Sacramento's "Crying" Statue

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Carrying rosary beads and cameras, the faithful have been coming in a steady stream to a church on the outskirts of Sacramento for a glimpse of what some are calling a miracle: A statue of the Virgin Mary they say has begun crying a substance that looks like blood.

US Rabbi Urges Non-Jews To Convert To Judaism

During a Shabbat sermon at the Union for Reform Judaism's 68th biennial in Houston,Texas, Rabbi Eric Yoffie, President of the movement, urged Reform congregations to find tangible ways to honor non-Jewish members who are raising Jewish children, while not shying away from suggesting that these non-Jews convert. (Via Washington Jewish Week).

Friday, November 25, 2005

Al-Jazeera Staffers' Blog

In reaction to the alleged plot to bomb Al-Jazeera, a new blog by the Staffers of this Satellite TV Channel has been created. ( Via Crooksandliars)

Mediterranean Diet Reduces Risk Of Heart Disease

According to a new study conducted by a team of French and American physicians and published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition,eating a Mediterranean-style diet-rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts and fish and olive oil and light on red meat- for three months can reduce the risk of heart disease by 15 percent.


Via Drudge- I don't believe that UFOs exist though, stories about extraterrestrials and aliens is a more or less one of my favourite Sci-Fi themes.The following story is quite funny. A former Canadian Defense minister,and Deputy Prime Minister under Pierre Trudeau has joined forces with three Non-governmental organizations to ask the Parliament of Canada to hold public hearings on Exopolitics -- relations with “ETs.”...

Morocco's Islamist Dilemma

USA Today 's November 23rd edition, has an article on the growing antagonism in Morocco, between the Government and moderate islamists.Being itself a target of terrorist attacks, and according to the newspaper, Morocco is facing a rising islamist challenge.

For USA Today, radical Islam represents a double threat to the Moroccan state - undermining the government's image of moderation and challenging its control over the faith.

Furthermore, the paper claims that the rise of Islamism in politics and Moroccan society will be a difficult test of the nation's proclaimed dedication to democratic reform something that led the author of the article not to neglect the fact that some believe Morocco is exploiting the terrorist threat to justify its increasing control of moderate Islamic parties, the same accusation that its neighboring countries, Algeria and Tunisia were not exempted from.

D.C. Confidential

D.C. Confidential is a new book by former British Ambassador to the US, Sir Christopher Meyer.The book is a collection of memoirs where Sir Christopher Meyers slates and ridicules some of the American and British dignitaries , he happened to meet or work with during his tenure as British Ambassador to Washington, DC. He also presents some of his positions regarding the invasion of Irak or the situation in the Middle East. (Via Arts & Letters Daily)

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Maghreb Blog Review VI

In its current Maghreb blog Review column, Magharebia tackles various and more or less "negative" reactions of some bloggers of the outcome of the World Summit On Information Society ( WSIS) that was held recently in Tunisia.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Excuse me? Can you please repeat that address?

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Michael Fisk is a street fighting man. And the street he's fighting is named...


Syriana is a new movie written and directed by Stephen Gaghan and featuring George Clooney and Matt Damon. Syriana starts showing next month nationwide.
Syriana is a political thriller that unfolds against the intrigue of the global oil industry. From the players brokering back-room deals in Washington to the men toiling in the oil fields of the Persian Gulf, the film's multiple storylines weave together to illuminate the human consequences of the fierce pursuit of wealth and power.
Watch the movie trailer here.

Side note: Today's New York Times has a movie review section on Syriana.

Blogging: A Matter Of Passion

Via The Christian Science Monitor- A neat article presenting a number of useful tips on how to blog.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005


Next Thursday November 24, 2005, people here in the US will celebrate Thanksgiving Day, where people often travel long distances to be with family and friends. Thanksgiving is traditionnaly marked by a large dinner featuring Turkey and shared among friends and family.This being said, but do you know that when Americans tuck into Thanksgiving dinner this week, health-conscious eaters won't be the only ones monitoring how much they eat.Check the Census Bureau annual statistcs on American culinary customs during holidays and other observances.

Pope: Urged Jews And Others To Convert

ROME - A leader of an ultra-traditionalist Catholic group that broke with the Vatican said yesterday that Pope Benedict should tell Jews and members of other religions to convert because they are part of "false systems." (Via Haaretz)

Yiddish: The National Language Of No Where?

My first discovery of Yiddish as a language by itself goes back to my english literature class at the University. If my memory is not wrong, some characters of Harold Pinter's play "The Homecoming" (1965) used Yiddish words. At that time I was taking german courses at the Goethe Institute of Tunis something that helped me alot in understanding Yiddish, which is basically a germanic language.The following review via Arts & Letters Daily gives you more details on Yiddish and its history.

Bush Looks For An Exit Door? Strategy?

This video clip could not be missed!;) ( Via No Flying Monkeys)

Monday, November 21, 2005

Egypt's Taboos

The following article from The Daily Star raises the issue of premarital sex in Egypt. Though the issue is not limited to this country only for it is a common practice all over the world, what draw my attention in this article, is the fact that two egyptian independent filmmakers have brought such a forbidden subject to light through two short movies. The first one entitled "The Fifth Pound" is by Ahmed Khaled and the second one " Bet Min Lahm" (House of Flesh) by Rami Abdul Jabbar.Khaled's movie portrays
a young man and his veiled girlfriend who make love in a bus through Cairo
whereas Jabbar's movie is
based on a story by Youssef Idrees about a single mother and her three young girls who live in extreme poverty. To survive the mother marries a blind sheikh and the girls take full of advantage of his blindness to finally make love to their boyfriends.
Both movies are facing censorship in Egypt but "The Fifth Pound" will be screened in the American University, Cairo, November 22, 2005.

Maghreb Blog Review V

Magharebia continues its Maghreb blog review column focusing this time on the World Information Summit that took place in Tunisia from November 16 to November 18, 2005.The website claims that though largely covered by the media, bloggers did not say much about the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS). Although Magharebia kindly linked to a comment I myself posted on the WSIS, I shall note that the majority of the Maghreb blogosphere, at least the ones I read on a regular basis, did in fact talk about WSIS with various reactions between those who praised the Summit and its outcome and those who criticized it in general. Besides WSIS, Magharebia raises again the previously discussed issue, the rioting in France, focusing on how Maghreb bloggers and their French counterparts reacted differently to such incidents.

Freedom Index For Middle East And North Africa

MMM at Subzero Blue links to a survey by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) on freedom index for 20 countries in the Middle East and North Africa.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Dead Sea Scrolls To Visit The US

The Dead Sea Scrolls which were discovered in a desert cave in 1947, are scheduled to go on display in a Cleveland museum next year in its first appearance in the United States.

Prose Of The Day

And when I knew that I had Cash . . . That was when I learned that words are no good; that words dont ever fit even what they are trying to say at. When he was born I knew that motherhood was invented by someone who had to have a word for it because the ones that had the children didn't care whether there was a word for it or not. I knew that fear was invented by someone that had never had the fear; pride, who never had the pride
(From As I Lay Dying (163-164) by William Faulkner ).

Friday, November 18, 2005

Koran Is No Talisman

In this article,Mahatir Mohamed, former prime minister of Malaysia,stresses the fact that Islam is a faith and in this respect it must be believed and that logic and reason play no part in it. He adds that the failure to understand and interpret the true and fundamental message of the Koran has brought only misfortune to Muslims. By limiting our reading to religious works and neglecting modern science, we destroyed Islamic civilization and lost our way in the world.According to the author, Muslims should be aware of the fact that the Koran is not a talisman to be hung around the neck for protection against evil for God helps those who improve their minds. ( Via Daily Star)

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Michael Jackson's Toilet Faux Pas

Via khaleej Times- A Tunisian woman came face to face with pop icon Michael Jackson, who walked in dressed in a T-shirt and trousers, with his head covered with the Emirati women’s traditional head scarf Sheila.
The Tunisian, who is a teacher in a private school in Dubai, screamed in shock and ran out of the ladies room when she realised that the woman-like person was a man. She went back in to photograph the pop singer with her mobile phone, while he was busy fixing his make up.

WSIS Live Webcast

For those who were not able to be present at the WSIS in Tunis, the following link provides a live webcast of the Summit activity.

Quote Of The Day

"History is a set of lies agreed upon."

~Napoléon Bonaparte

The Place Of Religion In The Arab World

The following commentary by Rami G. Khouri, focuses on the role of religion in public, personal and political life in the Arab world. Based on the outcome of the recent meeting of Arab Business Council in Bahrain, Mr. Khouri concludes that:
The issue of religion in public life is more nuanced and less frightening than it is often made out to be by many people both in the Middle East and beyond. The three are that, first, Arabs and Muslims in the Middle East hold a very wide range of views on religion's role in their lives and do not share monolithic perspectives; second, religion is an important part of people's identities and therefore should apply to business and governance in a manner that raises the quality of life; and third, people should continue to interpret religious law and its everyday applications.

FBI's Ten Top Art Crimes

The new FBI Art Crime Team has identified the ten top art crimes.( Via Sploid)

In Texas, A Town Called Dish!

Via Sploid- The small Texas town of Clark, has renamed itself "Dish, Texas" for the simple reason that Dish Network will provide the residents of this town with basic satellite TV for 10 years!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Promoting The Image Of Tunisia

Via The Washington Times- Embassy Row has a piece on an interview with Tunisia's Ambassador to the US about ways and means to promote the image of Tunisia in the United States besides other regional and international issues.

Are Americans Turning To Universism?

Via The Los Angeles Times- More Americans are shunning traditional religions and turning to upstart faiths such as Universism, whose sole dogma is uncertainty.

Shalom & Abbas Meet In Tunisia

Via The Jerusalem Post-Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom and Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas held unexpected talks Wednesday in Tunisia, the highest-level Israeli-Palestinian talks since June.

Israeli Foreign Minister's Visit To Tunisia

Via Haaretz- Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom and Communications Minister Dalia Itzik arrived in Tunisia yesterday for an official state visit, during which they will attend a United Nations-sponsored World Summit on the Information Society.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

It Is All About WSIS

I guess each one of us is aware of the fact that Tunisia will be under the spotlights starting tomorrow November 16, 2005, being the host of the second phase of the World Summit On Information Society (WSIS). In my personal opinion and despite all the negative bulk of information and critiques that surrounded this Summit, I consider this event as a very important occasion not only for Tunisia but for the whole international community where participants should discuss ways and means to bridge the digital divide between North and South and came up with concrete measures to heal a world so torn by divisions and conflicts. Let WSIS be a Summit of Peace and Prosperity for the whole Mankind!

Monday, November 14, 2005

Venezuela & Mexico Sever Diplomatic Ties

Via Drudge- Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez accused Mexican leader Vicente Fox of being a "puppy" of President Bush and said: "Don't mess with me, sir." Fox shot back on Monday that "we have dignity in this country" and demanded an apology. Now the two nations are withdrawing their ambassadors.

AOL To Launch Online TV

(Via BBC News)-Internet giant America Online (AOL) has announced plans to launch a free online television service by early next year...

The Price For Discussing The Bible

Today's Washington Times reports that according to a Saudi Newspaper, Al-Madina, a school teacher who was taken to court by his colleagues and students, was sentenced to more than three years in prison and 750 lashes for "mocking religion" after he discussed the Bible and praised Jews. According to the Al-Madina newspaper, the teacher was charged with promoting a "dubious ideology, mocking religion, saying the Jews were right, discussing the Gospel and preventing students from leaving class to wash for prayer".

The Google Story

Today's Washington Post has a piece on a new book by David A. Vise, where he traces Google's short history from the time founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page met at Stanford in 1995 until the present.

In Memory of Mustapha Akkad

Mustapha Akkad, the Syrian-born American film director who helped spread understanding of Islam in the West through his films, died from a heart attack Friday morning as a result of wounds sustained in the Amman hotel bombings. Mr. Akkad's best known movies include The Message and Omar Mukhtar.( Via The Daily Star)

Sunday, November 13, 2005

NY Arab-American Comedy Festival

The NY Arab-American Comedy Festival Starts today and will run through November 17, 2005. The show consists primarily of separate nights of standup comedy and theatrical pieces.
The festival attempts to carefully blend the political and the personal. References to Palestinian suicide bombers are in, as are jabs at nosy, matchmaking mothers. There are jokes about Arabs worrying about Arab terrorists, and even a musical.
The performers come from a variety of religious and professional backgrounds, and many different countries. Organizers hope the show attracts an audience well beyond Arab Americans.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Mideast Reform Meeting Ends In Confusion

The 2nd Forum for the Future which was held in Bahrain ended in confusion on Saturday without a final declaration after Egypt tried to introduce language which Washington said would restrict aid groups.
In a result U.S. officials called disappointing, the conference ended with no final document on promoting political and economic reform in the Middle East and North Africa, the goal of the meeting.

"Obviously we are not pleased," said a senior State Department official at the conclusion of the "Forum for the Future" meeting.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Second Forum For The Future

Nur al-Cubicle has a post on the 2nd Forum of the Future which started today in Manama, Bahrain. The Forum of the Future was launched as part of the US Broader Middle East and North Africa Initiative. Its first edition was held last year in Rabat, Morocco.

Arab Business Leaders Discuss Reform

The Arab Business Council (ABC), which was established in 2003 under the aegis of the Geneva- and Davos-based World Economic Forum (WEF), held its annual meeting in Bahrain where about 180 senior business, government, media and academic leaders took part.This year's gathering focussed on three-related issues:
the mindset and education of young Arabs, who make up a majority of the population; the route to transforming paternalistic Arab political orders into more democratic and accountable governance systems; and the crucial role of religion, whether the roles of religious leaders and political mass movements, or the actions of small groups of terrorists who have used the language and symbols of Islam.
In their final communiqué which
reflected the gathering's concern about extremist and some violent trends among Arab youth, the ABC called on Arab governments to make the fate of the 180 million young people in the region their top priority.
ABC members called on the business community to work with educational authorities to improve curricula, develop better vocational and technical training, encourage entrepreneurship, and help young Arabs shape their identity and values.
( Via The Daily Star)

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Searching For "Moderate Islam"

I came across this article reading In These Times. I was, in fact, drawn by its title : Islam Needs Radicals, which triggered my curiosity to read it. The following is a summary of this article.

The author, Mark Levine, a professor of modern Middle Eastern history, culture and Islamic studies, UC Irvine, and the author of Why They Don’t Hate Us: Lifting the Veil on the Axis of Evil, discusses the quest of western countries for those "moderate Muslims" who can improve the image of Islam and build better ties with the West.What is striking in Levine's article is the fact that he denies the existence of such "moderate Muslims". Citing the example of Morocco's King Mohamed VI and Jordan's monarch King Abdullah, whom the US consider as "the epitome of moderate, modern moslem leaders", the author consideres their regimes as those of "repression and censorship". The author goes on to ask even for "a need to re-imagine our labeling of Islam, because the leaders we consider moderate are—often rightly—considered by their citizens to be corrupt and repressive handmaidens of U.S. policies that themselves could rarely be defined as moderate. On the other hand, Muslims respect those we consider “radicals” for standing up to us, even if most don’t agree with how they’re doing it." Mr. Levine cites as well Nadia Yassine, the leader of Morocco’s religiously-oriented Justice and Development movement, who claims that what "Islam needs is more radicals, not moderates—” but radicals in a good sense.” she adds. Mr. Levine concludes by asking "how else to achieve the radical transformation that is necessary to bring peace and democracy to the Middle East, not to mention to America?". You can access the whole article here.

Qatar To Open First Church In 14 Centuries

Via The Christian Science Monitor-
NICOSIA, CYPRUS – The first Christian church in the conservative Muslim state of Qatar since the arrival of Islam in the 7th century is to be built on land donated by the reform-minded Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani.

Maghreb Blog Review IV

Following its Maghreb blog review column, Magharebia has a piece up on the reaction of North African bloggers to the rioting in France.
North African bloggers are concerned over the growing anger that has burned the suburbs of France for almost two weeks now. Though relating to some of what the youth is going through, bloggers worry about the negative effect that the events could have on Muslim and Arab communities. According to them, the problem should have been addressed in a better way.

French Interior Minister Goes Too Far

Via The Australian- French Interior Minister Nicholas Sarkosy has gone too far yesterday when he vowed to expell all the 120 individuals convicted in rioting in French suburbs adding that both illegal immigrants and those with valid residency and working papers would be deported if they were found to have participated in the mob rioting.

Attacks In Jordan

Once again other innocent people have been the target of inhuman and deadly terrorist attacks.Jordan was hit yesterday in its capital, Amman, resulting in the deaths and injuries of many people among whom a family celebrating a wedding.It is really sad to hear such tragic news and it is horrible to know that throughout the history of human kind there was only 8% of peace!

Maghreb Blogosphere Reacts To Riots In France

Maghreb Blog provides a selection of posts by maghrebian bloggers among those who reacted to the ongoing riots in France.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

In Memory Of Bouna & Zied

The above two pics are those of Bouna Traore, aged 15,( from Malien origin) and Zied Benna, 17,( from Tunisian origin) and who were electrocuted at an electricity sub-station in Clichy-sous-Bois as they ran from the police. Global Voices has a detailed piece on the first spark that triggered nationwide riots in France. Sokari Ekine who contributed this piece to Global Voices,blames the Maghreb blogosphere (Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia) for being surprisingly silent about the Paris riots except for The Moor Next Door whom she refers to in her comment.I have done some searching through the Tunisian blogosphere and I can provide Ms. Sokari Ekine with the following Tunisian bloggers who wrote about the Paris riots for instance: Evil Drako,Toon-C,Metalmadtn, Nothingjustillusion,Tunizien,No Flying Monkeys, etc...

Sarko's Inflammatory Language

An etymological investigative look at French Interior Minister's language to describe rioters in Paris suburbs and which added fuel to the fire throughout french cities...( Via The Guardian)

French Bloggers Detained After Paris Riots

Via The Guardian-
Two bloggers have been detained by authorities in France on suspicion of encouraging people to take part in the Paris riots. A 16-year-old French teenager and an 18-year-old of Ghanaian nationality are being questioned by Paris prosecuter...

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Mr. X Or The Man With A Dark Secret

Via Times online- The following is a puzzling story of a bogus aristocrat who used a false name for 23 years and who kept his identity secret even to his ex-wife.

Venice Up For Sale

Swamped by increasing debts, the Venice City Council is selling off 13 Renaissance-era palazzi and other historic buildings in the heart of Venice.
Venice, once a proud and rich republic, consequently faces a budget shortfall of E40 million ($64 million) next year and has little choice but to sell off some family jewels.
( Via The Australian)

Monday, November 07, 2005

Arab Television & Reality TV Shows

A neat article by Marwen Kraidy, an assistant professor at American University’s School of International Service and currently a Wilson Center fellow about reality TV shows in arabic TV channels and how those entertainment programs have sparked heated political debates on Arab-Western relations, political reform, personal freedom, women’s rights, and sexuality.
One reality TV show causing a stir is Star Academy, featuring young men and women living together under one roof, all involved in a singing competition. The show, which airs on satellite television on the Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation (LBC) channel, touches sometimes provocatively upon sensitive social issues from personal freedom, relations between men and women, to singing and dancing in public.

“They’re using local language and heritage but combining two worldviews,” Kraidy said, an example of what he calls “cultural hybridity” where, in this case, Western and Arab cultures have collided.

"Glowing" Ocean

A friend of mine sent me this link to a piece by NPR, about a mysterious natural phenomenon in the Indian ocean:
For hundreds of years, ship captains in the Indian Ocean have been writing of nighttime voyages through eerie stretches of water -- areas where the surface of the ocean glowed so brightly that sailors could read books on deck at midnight. These milky waters were said to cover thousands of square miles.

Marine biologists used to ignore these kinds of reports. Now they don't. A group of satellite photos has changed their minds.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

The Angry Young Men

I have been following with real concern the alarming situation in France and the recent acts of violence mainly in the suburbs of Paris.I think that violence will lead only to violence. The more acts of violence the more rigid is the french governemnt and the more drastic measures it is going to take against North Africans living in France.What we are seeing now will further stigmatize Arabs and Muslims around the world and I think Arabs and Muslims have enough suffering.This is really a terrible dilemma, I hope that those young angry men will have a wake up call and end up this unproductive and hateful acts for it is in their benefit after all. The Moor Next Door has a comment on the current situation in France which I found quite informative though I do not agree with him when he claims that "the worst parts of French cities resemble Algiers or Tunis".I am not familiar with Algiers but I can talk about Tunis.

Egypt's Copts To Launch Private Satellite TV

Egypt's Christian Coptic minority is to launch its first private channel TV, Aghapy TV - which means "love" in the Coptic language, by November 14, 2005.
A Biblical quotation and a glowing Jesus next to a Coptic cross top the channel's promotional poster, which promises viewers a bonanza of hymns, holy liturgies and documentaries on ancient monasteries.
(Via Middle East Online)

Oldest Church Of Christianty?

According to a preliminary examination by the Israel Antiquities Authority,a mosaic and the remains of a building uncovered recently in excavations on the Megiddo prison grounds may belong to the earliest church in the world... ( Via Sploid)

A Roveless Bush?

Via Drudge-Karl Rove's colleagues don't know exactly when it will happen, but they are already laying out the reasons they will give for the departure of the man President George W. Bush dubbed the architect. A Roveless Bush seemed unthinkable just a few months ago. But that has changed as the President's senior adviser and deputy chief of staff remains embroiled in the CIA leak scandal.

The Crusades:The Crescent & The Cross

History Channel will air tonight November 6 and tomorrow November 7 a show featuring the Crusades. Watch the trailer here.

Christianzing America

Via Haaretz- In his address to the Anti-Defamation League's national commission, Abraham Foxman, the League's director, warned that institutionalized Christianity in the U.S. has grown so extremist that it poses a tangible danger to the principle of separation of church and state and threatens to undermine the religious tolerance that characterizes the country...

Saturday, November 05, 2005

The Story Of Human Languages

I have been always fascinated by the study of the history of human languages and I think this book by John Derbyshire is quite interesting in that it tries to answer the following questions :
Why did only Britain, of all the Roman provinces overrun by Germans, end up speaking a Germanic language? Why did the Portuguese language “take” in Brazil, but not in Africa, while Dutch “took” in Africa but not in Indonesia? If the Phoenicians were so important in Mediterranean history, how is it that they left not a single work of literature behind? Since we know of no nation named Aramaia, whence came Aramaic, the language spoken by Jesus of Nazareth? What actually happened to Sumerian? Or Mongolian, the language of a vast medieval empire?
( Via Arts & Letters Daily)

Friday, November 04, 2005

Prose Of The Day

"Experience is never limited, and it is never complete; it is an immense sensibility, a kind of huge spider-web of the finest silken threads suspended in the chamber of consciousness, and catching every air-borne particle in its tissue."

~ Henry James (1843-1916)
from The Art of Fiction (1884; repr. in Partial Portraits, 1888).

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Quote of the Day

"There will be peace when we begin to love our children more than we hate our enemies."

~ unknown
from Lebanese citizen in a New York newspaper

Maghreb Blog Review III

Our fellow Tunisian friend Asmaoverseas links to another blog column by Magharebia which can be considered as a continuation to the previous piece that was published by the same website a week ago and which triggered an interesting but somehow heated discussion among Tunisian bloggers. I do appreciate the fact that the Magharebia staff took the time and react to some of the critiques and comments made by our fellow Tunisian bloggers and I value the fact that some bloggers, including myself, were linked.Asma: thank you for sharing this with us and keep up the nice work!

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Eid El-Fitr

Tomorrow, the majority of Muslim countries will celebrate Eid el-Fitr, marking the completion of the Holy month of Ramadhan.There is a wide range of customs and traditions that mark the Eid el-Fitr celebrations in various countries in North Africa, the Middle and Far East and even in the Pacific, but in general it is looked upon as a day of family, rather than public celebration. The day always starts with special Eid prayers at the main mosque (also attended by the women in some countries), followed later in the day by a large celebratory lunch at the house of the senior member of the family. Everywhere children receive gifts of cash and new clothes. For all the Muslims around the world I wish them Eid Mubarek!

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

BusinessWeek In Arabic

Via The Daily Star-BusinessWeek Al-Arabiyya will be published initially on a monthly basis and will include articles from all three editions of BusinessWeek (North America, Europe, and Asia), as well as locally originated content covering the Arabic speaking world. I 've done some googling and I was not able to find the appropriate website for this arabic edition of Business Week.

Online Movie Database

I came across this neat website while reading The Australian .
From its home page at,(Internet Movie Database) pages for individual films are easily accessed by typing in the name of the title (or an approximation thereof). Indeed, you can glean details of production crews, financial backers, global release dates and box office, quotes, trivia, plot summaries, awards and links to reviews for any of the 470,000 film and television titles lurking within its digital domain. Users can also rate movies out of 10, which in turn generates an ongoing poll of the best and worst movies of all time.