Friday, July 16, 2004

Alaa Places Tongue Firmly in Cheek

Alaa over at Mesopotamian pens a Swiftian letter:

Also, somewhat it seems to us that cutting the heads of hostages is not a particularly good way of illustrating the Arab and Islamic nobility of spirit; especially if it is done in the name of Allah. I mean we are puzzled, because we thought that Allah was The Merciful; the Compassionate. But hard as we try to understand our brothers, we don’t seem to be able to comprehend the merciful nature of their actions. Perhaps we are not sufficiently well trained philosophically and too ignorant to appreciate the finer points of theology and the relationship between beheadings and various forms of murder to monotheism and Jihad in the name of The Merciful, the Compassionate.


Also we thought that our religion preached tolerance and kindness towards others, but it seems that our lamentable ignorance of theology led us to these erroneous misconceptions. But then this is your fault, venerable Sheikhs. You have not made sufficient effort to enlighten and train us in the true precepts and ways of piety. We have yet to appreciate that the true way of the Lord calls for drenching the earth with human blood.


Michael Totten reports from Tunisia.

Some former French colonies are Third World disasters, but Tunisia is rich. If it lags behind Europe, you'll hardly know it. Tunisia doesn't have much oil, but what it does have is worldliness, sophistication, smarts, and an acute business acumen.


Eric, some kind of assistant for Negroponte, is blogging from Iraq.

Today I made my fourth, and final, trip to Hilla. I left early yesterday morning on a Blackhawk accompanied by my friend Allyson, who works for USAID and was assisting with the advance of a Water Treatment Plant USAID, is working on. After the long hot flights I’d been on the last few times out it was great flying to Hilla which is less than a half hour flight south of Baghdad. This was Allyson’s first time in a helicopter and she was terrified. I was listening to the crew’s conversation over the headsets and they were having some real fun with her. One of the pilots commented that he thought “we have a first-timer” onboard and the crew chief sitting just in front of her commented that “her knuckles are turning white on the seat”. After a few minutes she started to relax, and the pilots took it very easy on her going over power lines and by the time we got to Hilla she was having the time of her life. I told her next time she had to sit in the back with the door open to get the real Blackhawk experience.


Fayrouz came to my rescue today. If any other bloggers are perplexed by the new Blogger format, here is Fayrouz's message to me:


They changed the posting layout. It confused me at first too.

When you click on "create post" or "edit post", by default it opens the posting screen in "Compose" mode.

Click on "Edit HTML" (Look at the top right corner). It will let you do the stuff (cut/paste/link) we did before they upgraded their posting screen.

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