Posts from June 2003


: Can’t say it better than Fimoculous:

There goes the neighborhood. Ann Coulter: blogger. CoulterGeist, indeed.

No entries yet.

: Wonder whether she’ll update more often than Geraldo (last entry: April 24).

Al-Jazeera hacker

Al-Jazeera hacker
: The guy who hacked the al-Jazeera web site has pleaded guilty.

Positively potted

Positively potted
: This is what I was talking about, below, when I complained about people giving too much credit to Harry Potter. From the Washington Post:

Harry Potter has changed the world.

You just can’t say that about many books. You’ve got the Bible, the Iliad and the Odyssey. Copernicus wrote something or other. So did Newton and Malthus, Harriet Beecher Stowe and Charles Darwin.

But we live in different times: the UltraMaxiMedia-Age. We are slaves to the Next, ruled by videocracy. Taught by image; motivated by movement. Books are so old school. Reading is downright irrelevant. The world doesn’t really change these days, anyway. It fractures and reassembles and moves from abnormality to new normality to post-whatever-was-in-fashion-as-this-sentence-was-being-written.

That said: J.K. Rowling’s record-setting books — number five, “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix,” goes on sale today — are altering our landscape. With more than 200 million copies in print worldwide, the books have been translated into 55 languages and are available in 200 countries. The literary influence is global.

Changed the world? Come now. It had far more of an impact on marketing than on literature, literacy, and culture. [via IWantMedia]

Now isn’t this a pretty sight?

bulletin.jpgNow isn’t this a pretty sight?
: Here’s the first issue of the Baghdad Bulletin, a not-quite-weekly English-language newspaper in Iraq put out by a small group of entrepreneurs and locals.

Already, I’m seeing reporting there I’ve been wanting to see from western sources. For example, I’ve been waiting for someone to explain why restoring power has been a problem when in this war (vs. 1991), the power stations were not bombed. Here’s a comprehensive report that explains just what’s happening.

The circulation in Baghdad:

Office of the Coalition Provisional Authority – 600

NGOs, including USAID – 300

Embassies – 100

Hotels – 1000

Iraqi English speaking neighbourhoods – 2000

Businesses direct – 300

Private universities/ hospitals – 100

Supermarkets/ shops – 500

Sold through newsagents – 1000

It’s a start.

I’ll suggest writing a story about how to start a weblog.

History lesson

History lesson
: Blogger Alireza Doostdar gives NY Times columnist Tom Friedman a history lesson. Friedman argues that building democracy in Iraq will have a positive impact on Iran (well, it certainly will have a positive impact on the entire region). But Alizera says:

True, Iraq, like Iran, is a majority Shiite country. But Iran, unlike Iraq, has a 150-year-old democracy movement, which started with a revolution that constitutionalized the monarchy and established a parliament during the Qajar period. The Islamic Republic was not established when clerics suddenly decided to get out of their hujras in Qom and invade Tehran. It was an important milestone in the evolution of a massive national movement, which has continued to evolve and change. I think it is very naive to think that by helping Iraqis start to build democratic institutions where they have never existed, and “experiment with defining relations between religion and politics” you would have a significant impact on a country that has been experimenting with various definitions of the same relationship for decades. If anything, it will probably be the other way around, with the Iranian experience impacting developments in Iraq (as has seemed to be the case at least so far).

Peace progresses

Peace progresses
: Mark Steyn on Iran today:

Looked at the other way round, peace is processing apace, and the chips are all falling George W Bush’s way. Whatever the defects of post-Taliban Afghanistan, it’s no longer the world’s biggest training camp for Saudi-funded terrorism. Whatever the defects of post-Saddam Iraq, it’s no longer a self-promotion exercise for the ne plus ultra of anti-American Arab strongmen. And, whatever the defects of post-ayatollah Iran, the fall of the prototype Islamic Republic will be a huge setback to the world’s jihadi.

It was Ayatollah Khomeini who successfully grafted a mid-20th century European-style fascist movement on to Islam and made the religion an explicitly political vehicle for anti-Westernism. It was the ayatollah who first bestowed on the U.S. the title of “Great Satan.” And it was the ayatollah who insisted this Islamic revolution had to be taken directly to the infidels

An American in Iran

An American in Iran
: Kaveh points us to a blog by two people: an Iranian returning to his country for the first time in 20 years (that’s “K”) with his American wife (that’s “TE”). There’s nothing better than a view from the ground.

Says TE:

To get to Arak from Tehran we pass through the buckle of the Koran belt: Qom. K told me that he went there to see Khomeini when he first arrived from exile.

When a revolution begins

When a revolution begins
: Who’s to say when a revolution really begins?

Michael Leeden [see the discussion regarding him below] says in today’s Washington Post:

Win or lose, democratic revolution has broken out in Iran. Even the fragmentary reports from journalists operating under tight regime control in very limited areas of the country show that the mass demonstrations now involve all classes and regions. This is no longer purely or even primarily a “student” movement, as it has been for the past four years — although many of its leaders come from student ranks. People of all ages, from all walks of life, in every major city in the country, have taken to the streets every night for more than a week to demand an end to the Islamic Republic and the free election of a secular, democratic government.