Well, actually it's the governments of Israel and Palestine that are equal in this way. And it's in the propensity of high public officials to engage in sexual aggression against women. In fact, Israel wins the prize on this count. Former president Moshe Katzav resigned from office in order to ward off (unsuccessfully, it appears) an eight-count indictment on serious charges. The trial is now in process.
The real dateline to the story is Pune, the eighth largest city in India, with over three million people. It is a university center so densely academic that Cambridge, MA may seem quotidian in comparison. In any case, an explosive went off in a bag left in a bakery frequented by foreign tourists. Eight people are dead, and another 32 are wounded (several in critical condition).
This is about an intriguing--maybe even hopeful--report in yesterday's New York Times. Written by Steven Erlanger, a real class act foreign journalist, it is about a Tunisian Muslim who arrived in France at 24 and now, at 38, preaches to a mosque in Drancy, the very spot where, during the Nazi occupation, the Jews were shipped off to the concentration camps. He walks a thin line in Drancy. Male worshippers are appalled by his views. But they are his views, and he doesn't shrink from them.
No, I am not deserting the president on this one either. Any country that is under siege by Al Qaeda is likely to have strategic and/or ideological interest to us. But it’s a big stretch to argue that we have a democratic interest in Yemen’s future. It will not be before hell freezes over that we may have such an interest in Yemen. That time is neither now nor tomorrow. And since history in the Arabian Peninsula moves in geological time, let’s stop deluding ourselves about another democratic ally. Our interest in Yemen is strategic.
Europe is a mess. Greece is the country on the continent closest to utter wreck. (And, if not for statements yesterday by Chancellor Merkel and President Sarkozy, there would literally be no hope for a life raft anywhere near Athens soon. This morning's FT smothers even those wan hopes.) Spain, Portugal and Ireland are not far behind ... or under. Each of these countries has views on how Israel deals with the Palestinians, and they don't like it at all. Neither do the past and present "foreign ministers"—so to speak, but not exactly—of the European Union.
Freedom's faithful are right now assembling in Tehran to mark the revolution that for three decades ate away at the ever-fewer rights that they had. So this is a protest not only against the regime, but against its seizure of power three decades ago. We had always known that there was an enlightened and democratic cohort in Iran. But, for years, it was silenced and, so, remained silent. Still, the boot on the human face can not last forever. Now we know that this cohort is enormous.
Last night at a Cambridge dinner party, someone posited that the country would soon witness what she called “a Bush revival.” Another person at the table suggested that it had already begun. Now, 02138 would be just about the last zip code where such a phenomenon might be noticed. So I take this postulate seriously, very seriously. But, frankly, I haven’t seen a single poll confirming this--although there may have been some.
There are many factors which have determined and over-determined the miserable history of Haiti, to which almost everybody had become accustomed. The recent plague, however, provoked a moment of pity ... and also of self-pity, which manifested itself by Haitian anger against the aid providers who did not act fast enough or did not bring the right equipment or did not bring sufficient aid-workers. Or imported clothing when they should have brought water or food.
No one who has read either Start-Up Nation: The Story of Israel's Economic Miracle (by Dan Senor and Saul Singer) or The Israel Test (by George Gilder) could have been surprised by the news that Israeli scientists and private investors have produced a no-nonsense electric car that meets all the myriad objections raised to other vehicles of the type. The fact is that any model automobile can be fitted for the ever-renewable battery. Yes, it has the cumbersome chargeable option.
First, I'm back. And back from Rome, at that. I'm not sure that modern Romans actually appreciate the antiquity amidst which they live, an antiquity that goes back eight centuries before the birth of Christianity. Which means that the Etruscans, the Greeks, and the Jews were there before, well before the Romans.