Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Riz Khan talks to Thomas Friedman

Today Thomas Friedman talked to Riz Khan on Aljazeera English about his new book Hot, Flat, and Crowded. (Note: the link sends you to part two which is actually the beginning of the interview, then go here, and then here to follow it in order.) Thomas Friedman is my favorite columnist. His columns appear regularly on Wednesdays and Sundays in the New York Times. I don't know many columnists but I was impressed by him from the very start when his columns used to appear in the Baltimore Sun like 5 years ago.

I have many criticsms of Al Jazeera but I like Riz Khan. He's a terrific journalist and I would probably not watch Al Jazeera English (youtube channel) if he wasn't there.

Now lets talk about Friedman's book(s) and how it is related to middle east peace. I believe that engagement of debate and conversation between Israelis and Arabs is one of the keys to Middle East peace. And Friedman's book is about how the world is "Flat", how the obstacles for people to communicate and work with each other have greatly diminished. What he means (he makes the following point in the interview) is that he, an American Jew, can talk to Khan, who works for an Arab news network, and get a call from Avraham Burg, who is a former speaker of the Knessest and former head of the Jewish Agency, all on Al Jazeera, thanks to the innovation of information technology.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Who wants peace?

Like I said in the 'About Me' section, I want to cover stories of the people and events that strive for peace and progress in the Middle East and in Israel more specifically. But over the last week, all I have seen is people people make threats and counter threats like those described in these articles from Haaretz, Hezbollah source: 'Big surprise' awaits Israel if it attacks Lebanon and ANALYSIS / IDF plans to use disproportionate force in next war. And then the Lebanese Industrialists Association is suing 'Israel for allegedly "taking the identity of some Lebanese foods" and thus violating a food copyright.' Thousands rally in Rabin Square ahead of Yom Kippur to ask for forgiveness from Gilad Shalit who according to the Haaretz counter, he has been in captivity for 834 days. I won't go into further detail about these articles because the last week has been really gloomy. The economy, the state of progress of Middle East peace, the rhetoric from Iran, not to mention that the Batlimore Ravens lost to the Titans on Sunday. What is there to talk about?

I usually don't read poetry but I thought this is a perfect time to read words of hope and peace, words about the future. I'm actually surprised of myself for looking for poetry. Here it is:

Peace Is a Woman and a Mother

How do you know
peace is a woman?
I know, for
I met her yesterday
on my winding way
to the world's fare.
She had such a sorrowful face
just like a golden flower faded
before her prime.

I asked her why
she was so sad?
She told me her baby
was killed in Auschwitz,
her daughter in Hiroshima
and her sons in Vietnam,
Ireland, Israel, Lebanon,
Bosnia, Rwanda and Chechnya.

All the rest of her children, she said,
are on the nuclear
black-list of the dead,
all the rest, unless
the whole world understands -
that peace is a woman. A thousand candles then lit
in her starry eyes, and I saw -
Peace is indeed a pregnant woman,
Peace is a mother.

I got it from here. There are many more poems here. Feel free to wander for we are all Bedouins going forward with evolving direction and vision hoping for a better future.