September 11, 2009

Sepia MutinyTwo turntables and a microphone

My friend Raj emailed me this morning with the ridiculous news that he is bringing BBC Radio’s DJ Kayper (*swoon*) here to the House of Blues in Houston next weekend (I missed her when she was in Austin for SXSW). After I got up off the floor from fainting I decided to post about it on SM. 25 year old Kayper, whose real name is Kaajal Bakrania, is impossible not to gawk at. She’s got skills. Since 17 May 2006 she has presented the new show “The Hype Show” on the BBC Asian Network every Wednesday from 22:00 to 01:00....

Project on Middle East Democracy BlogTurkey Fines Media Conglomerate $2.5B

The Dogan Media Group has been slapped with a $2.5 billion fine by the Turkish tax authority, eight months after Prime Minister Recep Tayyip…

Project on Middle East Democracy BlogJournalists Operating in Closed Societies

As part of the Council on Foreign Relations' Edward Murrow 60th anniversary fellowship celebration, several American journalists discussed their career experiences reporting from foreign countries with…

Project on Middle East Democracy BlogWhat to do in Afghanistan?

The Electoral Complaints Commission in Afghanistan has now invalidated some fraudulent votes as it continues its partial recount, leaving the question of electoral legitimacy still up in…

Project on Middle East Democracy BlogIran Submits its Proposal for Talks

Iran has submitted its proposal for international negotiations in response to calls from President Barack Obama and  European nations to address Iran's nuclear program. …

altmuslimMuslims in America: More Americans empathizing with Muslims

Eight years after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the latest survey from the Pew Research Center for People and the Press shows an unmistakable trend of Americans slowly but surely beginning to appreciate the challenges and aspirations of its fellow Muslim citizenry. Perhaps this trend is a result of nearly half of Americans saying that they personally know someone who is a Muslim. The fact that so many Americans profess knowing a Muslim is surprising given the fact that American Muslims makeup fewer than 2 percent of the overall U.S. population. The latest Pew poll shows the …

Crossroads Arabia9/11 Remembered

Here’s an interesting essay, appearing in Forbes Magazine, which you might enjoy reading: Moving On, But In A Different World What 9/11 taught me about human nature John McWhorter In 2005 an old friend announced that he was getting married on Sept. 11. He and his fiancée had decided it was time to “move on.” It threw me a [...]

Project on Middle East Democracy BlogFaltering Freedoms in Egypt, Kuwait

As we have previously blogged, the Egyptian Party Affairs Committee holds a notorious record of refusing legal licenses to would-be political parties. In a…

Project on Middle East Democracy BlogPOMED Notes: “Iraq: Report from the Field”

The U.S. Ambassador to Iraq, Christopher Hill, appeared before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to testify about the current status of American involvement…

Project on Middle East Democracy BlogPOMED Notes: “The World Bank’s Disclosure Policy Review”

The House Committee on Financial Services hosted a hearing to examine options for reforming the World Bank into a more democratic and transparent…

Project on Middle East Democracy BlogPOMED Notes: “Last Chance: The Middle East in the Balance” at SAIS

The Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) hosted a discussion Wednesday with David Gardner, Chief Leader Writer and former Middle East…

Ultrabrown8 years later

Never get involved in a land war in Asia, and never go up against a Pathan when death is on the line. What political will we had in the months following 9/11 was squandered by Dubya in the pointless war in Iraq. Eight years on we should have located, tried and hung bin Laden and have [...]

City of BrassLaylatul Qadr and 9-11

The past few years, the anniversary of 9-11 has coincided with Ramadan. As I wrote last year, 9-11 usually elicits a defensive posture in muslim Americans, because of the lingering suspicion and distrust by our fellow citizens. But with...



City of Brass9-11 reflections: Is terrorism still a threat?

The obvious answer to the question is yes - and that goes for before as well as after 9-11. In many ways, 9-11 distorts the picture because it was the single largest casualty count of any terrorist attack in...



Chapati MysteryBerlin Snaps I

I must say that this long hiatus has made me lose my blogging legs. Weird. It’s like I have never done this before. As usual, instead of sitting down and writing a long, thoughtful piece on the art of staying in touch with my ghostly audience, I thought I’d upload some random pics I have [...]

Project on Middle East Democracy BlogExamining Education Reform in Saudi

Kelly McEvers at Slate has just published a series of articles asking if Saudi Arabia can re-invent itself through education reform.  She first looks…

UltrabrownI Should Have Had A We Eight

Indian policeman Daya Shankar Singh fixes his mustache in Allahabad, India, on Wednesday. He is paid $2 as allowance for his mustache from the office of the Allahabad Police Department's Deputy Inspector General, according to Singh. [ via ]

September 10, 2009

Sepia MutinyActress Lisa Ray, Battling Cancer & Blogging About It

Via Chickpea and Nilanjana, I learned that actress Lisa Ray is battling cancer. Ray is best known for her roles in Bollywood/Hollywood and Water, though she also acted in a couple of Indian films in 2001-2002 (one Bollywood, one Telugu), and has done parts in a number of smaller films and TV shows since moving to Toronto several years ago. Ray has multiple myeloma, which is “incurable but treatable.” It’s a tough diagnosis for the actress, which will involve aggressive treatment. However, she seems to be dealing with it with impressive poise, as can be seen in blog posts...

democracyarsenal.org10,000 more kids alive per day: Foreign Aid that Works

The next time someone tells you that foreign aid never works, here's your one line comeback, thanks to UNICEF via the ONE Campaign: 10,000 fewer children under five die every day because of public health interventions that the US government...

Project on Middle East Democracy BlogSeptember Issue of the Arab Reform Bulletin Released

The September issue of the monthly Arab Reform Bulletin from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace is now available.  This month's issue examines a…

democracyarsenal.orgHow Big A Threat is al Qaeda?

I am without a doubt the worst vacation blogger ever - but here I am at the San Diego airport reading this fascinating article from the Guardian about al Qaeda and I just HAD to write something. Here a couple...

Project on Middle East Democracy BlogMore Worries of an Egyptian Dynasty

Amro Hassan at Babylon and Beyond writes about Egyptian media reaction to the presidential election of Ali Bongo, the son of former President Omar Bongo, in Gabon. …

Project on Middle East Democracy BlogHariri Steps Down

Following the rejection of his proposed cabinet on Monday, Al-Arabiya is reporting that Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri has stepped down.  Mr. Hariri is widely expected…

Project on Middle East Democracy BlogDigging into Tunisian Democracy

As Tunisia touts its political and economic stability after topping all African countries in the World Economic Forum's Global Competitiveness Report, Brian Whitaker at The Guardian has…

Project on Middle East Democracy BlogAnnouncing POMED’s 2009 Emerging Leaders for Democracy Conferences

POMED is excited to announce that we are now accepting applications for our upcoming series of conferences in the Middle East.  These will…

Project on Middle East Democracy BlogContinuing to Pressure Iran Reformists

On the order of Tehran’s new Prosecutor-General, the offices of reform leaders Mehdi Karroubi and Mir Hussein Moussavi have been raided and sealed.  Iranian forces also arrested Mohammad…

City of Brasstranscript and word cloud: President Obama's remarks on health care reform

This is the full text and word cloud of Obama's remarks to the joint session of Congress about health care reform on September 9, 2009. It's kind of funny that the official transcript from the White House actually includes...



Sepia MutinyRed Baraat: Bhangra, Brass and Bringing It

Bumping beats to rearrange heart beats, Red Baraat is “Hoi, hoi-ing” into the hearts of people across the nation. Established in 2008, this nine member New York City based “dhol ‘n’ brass band” has quickly risen to the top in the ‘world music’ circuit (and wedding circuit) of the NYC area. Red Baraat is now taking it outta The City with their first new album, Chaal Baby, set to drop January 2010 and a Midwest tour scheduled in Madison, Milwaukee and Chicago for Sept 17th – 20th. Never to fear, New Yorkers, Red Baraat isn’t leaving without a special show...

UltrabrownLabor Day Weekend.

This past weekend was definitely full of labor (of love.) I headed out to Oakland on Friday to work on Sanjay's book. I knew there was a lot to do before Tuesday's deadline, but I didn't realize I would be at his place for 4 days straight! It's been great seeing this book from its early [...]

Ultrabrown‘Chal Diye’

Zeb & Haniya and qawwal Javed Bashir collaborate on ‘Chal Diye’: outstanding. This song sounds vaguely like Pink Floyd plus qawwali, and the whole studio series is ear candy. Related post: Archive dive 1

Sepia MutinyJoe Wilson is “passionate” about illegal immigrants

…So much so in fact that the Republican congressman from South Carolina yelled “lie” when President Obama made the following statement earlier tonight: “There are also those who claim that our reform effort will insure illegal immigrants. This, too, is false - the reforms I’m proposing would not apply to those who are here illegally,” President Obama said. [Link] Yelling at the President during a joint session of congress is pretty much unheard of. What is this the British Parliament? Even McCain condemned the outburst. There is fiction and there is truth. …

Crossroads ArabiaPuzzle

There’s something in this Saudi Gazette article that’s a little peculiar. It’s one word. See if you can find it… Then see if you can explain it! Rising popularity of soubiya in Ramadan Muhammad Al-Omairi MAKKAH – The consumption of soubiya, a drink once the preserve of Makkah and Jeddah, is becoming something of a tradition at Ramadan [...]

Crossroads ArabiaBaby Steps for Saudi Female Athletes

Equestrian events aren’t the same as basketball or soccer, but they are athletics. So a team of Saudi women taking part in an international competition is a bit of a breakthrough, though not a major one. Still, every journey starts with a single step and many Saudi women are taking those first steps to show [...]

Crossroads ArabiaSaudis & Sorcery

Sorcery is a concept that has been largely relegated to the Western attic since around the 18th C. That’s not the case in Saudi Arabia, where belief in it still runs rife—and through the wallets of the gullible. In the West, what had been called sorcery is now categorized either as mental illness or fraud, [...]

September 09, 2009

'AqoulRFI: Algeria strikes joint security operations agreement with Sahel States contra Al Qaeda fil Maghreb.

Interesting report here, RFI - Front commun contre al-Qaïda au Sahel on Algerian, Mauritanian, Malian and Nigerian military experts reaching an accord or rather understanding on a "common front" against AQIM. More interesting this:

Une opération d'envergure imminente

Secret défense oblige, la date du début de ce que certains appellent déjà « une opération d’envergure » n’a pas été rendue publique. En revanche, on sait que de très gros moyens seront dégagés. Sur le terrain, à côté des troupes, on verra notamment des avions de combat, nécessaires pour gagner toute guerre dans le Sahel ... cette …

democracyarsenal.orgWelcome To the Club

Writing today about yesterday's devastating Dexter Filkins and Carlotta Gall article on the widespread evidence of fraud in the Afghan election, Andrew Exum has this to say: When people look back on the Afghanistan war, this might be the moment...

Project on Middle East Democracy BlogHow to Define a Turk?

The Washington Institute's Soner Cagaptay questions whether Turkey should grant group rights to the Kurds as part of the "democratic opening process" recently spearheaded…

Project on Middle East Democracy BlogStill No Progress with Lebanese Cabinet

Debate over the future Lebanese cabinet continues today (see our previous post here) as Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah emphatically rejected Saad Hariri's proposed cabinet. James Denselow of…

Project on Middle East Democracy BlogWomen Complete Leadership Program

Young, aspiring women from across the Middle East have just finished a 10-day leadership program in Doha. The National Democratic Institute hosts the Young…

Project on Middle East Democracy BlogHonor Killings and the Law in Jordan

Human Rights Watch exhorted Jordan to amend its penal code that allows leniency in cases of honor crimes this Tuesday. Even though the Jordanian…

Project on Middle East Democracy BlogRecount Ordered in Afghan Elections

Coming on the heels of reports that hundreds of fictitious polling sites were set up to stuff thousands of fake ballots, the U.N.-sanctioned Election…

Project on Middle East Democracy BlogIslam, Islamists and Democracy

In a recent al-Ahram interview (h/t  Democracy Digest), author Moataz-Bellah Abdel-Fattah makes the case for the compatibility of Islam and Democracy. According to Abdel-Fattah, Islam and Democracy…

Project on Middle East Democracy BlogAdvice for President Mubarak

The Center for Islam and Democracy warns Egyptian President Hosny Mubarak to beware of a growing Western consensus that Egypt is on the decline.…

Sepia MutinyBorder Patrol Hassles the Well Rested

On a recent road trip from L.A. to Austin, my car was pulled over and hassled by the Border Patrol. By “hassled”, I mean that our car was questioned for longer than a normal amount of time which I simply attributed to the fact that the car was full of colored hair Muslim punks. We were allowed to pass without getting out of the car or a dog search. It was confusing too, since we weren’t crossing any national borders, we were just close to the Texas and Mexico border. My “hassled” is nothing compared to the detention that Hamdan...

Sepia MutinySM Reader (and my cousin) Manan Trivedi for Congress (PA-6)

I have been waiting all summer to do this post and would have posted yesterday (right as the gag was lifted) if not for the fact that I was en-route back from a vacation. My cousin Manan officially hopped in to the race for U.S. Congress from the 6th district of Pennsylvania as a Democratic candidate. This district stretches from the northwest suburbs of Philadelphia into Mennonite country toward the middle of the state where Manan grew up (Fleetwood, Pa). The incumbent here is Republican Jim Gerlach, but he is set to vacate the office at the end of this...

Crossroads ArabiaHow to Avoid Thinking: Conspiracy Theories

In this week’s piece, Saudi Asharq Alawsat columnist Mshari Al-Zaydi really laces into those who find relief in conspiracy theories. While he doesn’t avoid mentioning those in the West who hold peculiar beliefs, his target is Arabs who take the easy way out in assessing situations, who just assume that there’s a ‘hidden hand’ pulling [...]

Crossroads ArabiaAl-Qaeda in Financial Squeeze

Here’s an interesting piece in Saudi Gazette, originating in the Arabic Al-Watan: The clamp down on charitable contributions is really affecting the way Al-Qaeda is conducting business. After abusing the Islamic imperative to donate to charities, the terrorist group is now finding that people aren’t interested in funding it any more. Perhaps attacks that wantonly [...]

City of Brassterror mail: the Eid Stamp

The Mayor of Clarksville, Tennessee sent out an email recently, urging "all patriotic Americans" to protest that singular threat to Western civilization, the Eid Stamp: Mayor Johnny Piper did not add any comments of his own to the e-mail,...



altmuslimIslam in Europe: Switzerland debates minarets and Muslims

The debate over the integration of the Muslim community into Swiss society is not new and has long been the subject of considerable political tension. The most recent controversy is no different and has already fuelled a heated discussion on whether the construction of minarets in Switzerland should be banned. The Democratic Union of the Centre (UDC, also known as the Swiss People's Party), a major Swiss political party and forerunner of Swiss conservatism, first initiated the debate. The UDC quickly gathered the requisite 100,000 signatures necessary for a national referendum scheduled for …

altmuslimIslam in Europe: Switzerland debates minarets and Muslims

The debate over the integration of the Muslim community into Swiss society is not new and has long been the subject of considerable political tension. The most recent controversy is no different and has already fuelled a heated discussion on whether the construction of minarets in Switzerland should be banned. The Democratic Union of the Centre (UDC, also known as the Swiss People's Party), a major Swiss political party and forerunner of Swiss conservatism, first initiated the debate. The UDC quickly gathered the requisite 100,000 signatures necessary for a national referendum scheduled for …

'AqoulDubai Debt Analysis

Middle East Economic Digest has an interesting arty on the UAE/ Dubai debt problem, Dubai needs long-term plan to tackle the debt mountain which is worth a read and a comment (I had a little note The UAE Real Estate Ice Berg on this at Lounsbury).

Chapati MysteryUnnoted Things

There are probably no more readers left, but CM is exiting its long hiatus. Just to catch up, here are a few things I, um, failed to note properly. 1. On the Jaswant/Jinnah “Controversy”, one can begin with this op-ed by Sugata Bose, Why Jinnah Matters and then continue to Naim Sahib’s front-page corrective, Jaswant Not-So [...]