Monday, December 12, 2011
Thursday, December 8, 2011
According to Voice of America (VOA), some Syrians expressed feelings of empowerment as a result of the death of Moammar Gaddafi. Former White House adviser Marc Ginsberg told VOA that one lesson learned from Libya could be that there will be increased pressure on the United States “to determine how and what to do about Syria”. So far the Syrian people continue to wait for external intervention. According to Chatham House’s Sir Richard Dalton, they may be waiting indefinitely. Dalton writes that Libya is probably not a precedent for foreign involvement in other Arab states. His justification is that Libya represented an unusual alignment of popular demand from the Libyan people, international willingness (except for a few of Gaddafi's former allies in Africa), an internationally legal intervention resulting from the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), and an affordable military task with a clear exit strategy for external participants.
According to Ted Piccone, the NATO operation expanded the interpretation of the UN mandate. Consequently this expansion of power solidified opposition from Russia, China, Brazil, India, and South Africa. The direct implication for Syria is that there is no consensus to act. For Libya, the consensus and the rhetoric were present. The United Nations is unlikely to act in Syria. Libya is an exceptional case, but could possibly be a precedent for future situations to bring United Nations and NATO together, though probably not in the case of Syria.
Al Arabiya reports that the Libyan victory shows other Arab Spring protesters such as those in Syria and Yemen that victory is possible. However, “the concept of civilian protection still competes with deeply held norms of sovereignty”. In the case of Syria, the leaders are in control of the state’s territory and the security forces have the backing of influential allies, according to Foreign Affairs magazine. These factors make humanitarian intervention unfeasible, according to the article.
Friday, November 4, 2011
Sunday, September 25, 2011
In Morocco, urban planning has a history of softening and blurring tribal lines, in part using Islam as a unifier. As cities formed, tribal groups moved in together as a unit, occupying physical spaces with clear boundaries separating them from other tribal units.[i] During the 13th and 14th centuries in Morocco [and possibly up till the 17th century], depopulation was a significant problem. The ‘rite du drap’ was adapted to unify communities within cities. When a local woman’s labor became difficult, school boys, at the behest of their teacher, would walk around the neighborhood suspending a sheet with an unbroken egg and uttering prayers bidding god to intervene on the woman’s behalf to induce birth. The practice was a unifier across communities, as the procession eventually widened beyond tribal communities, thus expanding the sense of obligation of other city-dwellers from their immediate families to the unborn of the community struggling to enter the world. It is an example of Islam acting as a unifier up against customary practice. This phenomenon is a promising example of the success of Islam in counteracting divisive customary law, especially for the well-being of women. Caveat—this bridged communities in the ancienne medina (old city), but it is not certain that it expanded into the Merenid’s ville-nouvelle established in 1276.[ii]
The practice that did bridge the ancienne medina with the new city the two was the ‘rite des pantalons.’ Abdelhaqq, founder of the Merenid dynasty, was a saint with powers of baraka or blessings.[iii] The ceremony of the pants describes the practice of bringing the pants and/or coat of the blessed Abdelhaqq to the woman experiencing a difficult labor to wear. Donning Abdelhaqq’s clothing (long after he had died) eased the woman’s difficulties and expedited the birthing process.[iv]
Monday, September 5, 2011
UPDATE: We have our answer. BBC was right and NYT was wrong. On 31 August a correction appeared here stating that Abdelhakim Belhaj and Abdel Hakim al-Hasad are two different people.
Abdelhakim Belhaj (also known as Abdel Hakim al-Hasadi and Abu Abdullah al-Sadiq) is the former commander of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), currently called the Islamic Movement for Change. According to NYT, Abdelhakim Belhaj is the same person as Abdel Hakim al-Hasadi. According to BBC, Abdelhakim Belhaj is the same person as Abu Abdullah al-Sadiq. Who is right?
Monday, July 11, 2011
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
This find is a treasure to me for a couple of reasons. First, I got to use both Arabic and French to unravel the mystery. Second, I discovered some misinformation in the media. Though this isn't the first time (sometime in April I read a Bloomberg article about Nigerien migrants fleeing to Libya instead of from), it is thrilling each time to acquire these nuggets of truth.
Wednesday, June 1, 2011
Friday, April 29, 2011
1. قبقوبي singular [قباقب plural]
Souhail tells me that these are the terms used among Arabic speakers to speak about Quebeckers without them knowing. Fascinating!
2. funiculaire (funicular in English, apparently, though who has ever heard that word before?)
Quebec City has an inclined railway, similar to the Johnstown Inclined Plane.
Definition : établissement de commerce qui dépend d'une maison mère mais qui jouit d'une certaine autonomie
Similar to filiale (the word I’d have used before learning this gem) : entreprise dirigée ou contrôlée par une société mère
4. sans-abri / sans-abris (nouvelle orthographe)
personne/s qui n'a/ont plus de logements, plus d'endroits où aller (aussi appelée/s S.D.F. : sans domiciles fixes)
5. grammatical point : Je vais au Québec if I am going to the province, but je vais à Québec if I am going to the city !
6. queue de castor
Dessert called Beaver tail. I didn’t have one, but it looked like a pretty awesome treat.
Technically, this one means gruel, but it’s the word for oatmeal that’s been prepared to eat as breakfast cereal.
Quebec, Quebeckers, and Canada in general are all pretty amazing!