Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Inquisition in Egypt

According to many Egyptian writers, intellectuals and bloggers, there is a real witch hunt going on in Egypt. Lawyers like Nabih el-Wash, try to prosecute everybody and everything who is not praising Allah and see the poems of the Egyptian poet Abdel Moati Hegazi (picture above) as sacrilege. He, Abdel Moati, compared the arch conservative 'sjeikh' Yusuf el-Badri not as a scholar but opportunist, who wants to make easy money. Yusuf el-Badri is one of the the people who filed complaint after complaint. In the mean while he is getting rich with the money he gets by the court decisions.

Yusuf el-Badri after a court case with one of his fans.
The lawyer El-Wash sees the highlight of his career when an Egyptian movie producer was convicted to 80 whip layers when she stated that many girls were not virgin anymore.

Ten years ago, the academic Nasr Hamid Abu Zeid and his wife were forced to divorce since he was not a 'Muslim' anymore, so he can not be married to a Muslim wife. One of the complainants was Yusuf el-Badri. In the end, Abu Zeid and his wife asked for political asylum in the Netherlands. Currently he works as a Professor at the university of Leiden and Utrecht.

Kareem is imprisoned since he discussed and criticized the Egyptian government.

Australia lends a hand to Greece

The fires in Greece have made a huge impact across the world. On Monday the Prime Minister of Australia, John Howard announced that the Government of Australia will offer $3 million in assistance. Governments are also responding at a state level with the government South Australia sending money and perhaps more importantly sending bushfire experts to help fight the fire.

As was highlighted by Panagiotis, many Greeks are turning their attentions to solutions and what to do now. In this spirit, now is the time for the Greek administration to accept help and not try to reinvent the wheel. Best practice in fire fighting techniques from Australia, the US, well wherever it exists should be adopted. The knowledge is out there, now is not the time for ego to get in the way.

Viewpoint: Turkey's soul unveiled

by Elif Shafak

Internationally acclaimed writer Elif Shafak says women's bodies have become a battlefield for competing views of modern Turkey.
Here she comments on the impact of Abdullah Gül's election as president. Mr. Gül is a former Islamist whose wife controversially wears the headscarf.
Ms. Shafak was tried last year - and acquitted - on charges of "insulting Turkishness" in her novel, The Bastard of Istanbul.
In the history of every country, there are certain periods when time flows more quickly and perhaps more painfully.
The year 2007 has been one of the most turbulent years in recent Turkish history.

Turkey's pop music reveals its close identification with the West.
And yet, Turkey has an amazing capacity to rapidly normalize things and generate stability out of commotion.
Now, after months of mass demonstrations and rising political tension, Turkey has finally chosen its president.
Much to the dismay of the conventional secular elite, the former foreign minister, Abdullah Gül, has become the new president.
In fact, very few people have a problem with Mr. Gül's personality. He has been a successful, pro-EU diplomat and a mild and moderate voice within his party.
His public support for journalists and writers on trial has also brought him close to intellectuals.
Today, in addition to his own electorate, he has the empathy and support of many in the intelligentsia and business circles.
Interestingly, it was less Mr. Gül himself than his wife who has been discussed and challenged - if not rejected - by the country's mainstream elite.
Read the article here.

Anne Frank

Anne Frank's history

The official site

...of the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam

Karel Appel NL

The Crying Crocodile.
Guggenheim Museum New York.