I started this blog because I left Boston to live and work in London for a while, and I wanted to stay in touch with family and friends. I'm back now, but still have plenty of opinions on world news, politics, the media and the absolute craziness that comes from dealing with people. Bring it.

31 December 2005

True Love?

Maybe it’s because I’m still searching for true love, but I think I am very sensitive to the needs of others searching for their soul mates. That is why I believe that two people – a high school student from Florida and a Brit in Gaza – are meant for each other.

Farris Hassan, despite having no credentials, no experience, no authorization to travel and no command of Arabic, decided to just “go to Iraq” and ask the AP for a job. And Kate Burton, after being kidnapped in Gaza with her parents, thinks her kidnappers are good people and plans to return to Gaza.

Now, you may think I am posting this because I have some negative feelings about Iraq and/or Gaza, or because I am commenting on the intelligence of these two people. But actually, what I think binds these two together is the fact that they clearly have the two strangest sets of parents on earth.

Based on all of the news reports I have seen on both cases, these parents are either wildly naïve, or freakishly confident that their children have guardian angels. The most emotional thing I have heard Hassan’s parents say is that he is going to be grounded. And Burton’s parents apparently support her decision to return to Gaza.

I am reasonably sure that if I took it upon myself to go to a war zone on my own in high school, my dad would hop on a plane and come barrelling into Baghdad in a tank (Note: my father was a tank commander in the Army, so he actually knows HOW to wrest control of and drive a tank. Insert jeep, or UN vehicle here if you're putting yourself in the same position, but you get the drift…) grab me and TAKE MY STUPID ASS HOME.

Similarly, if I was kidnapped, anywhere in the world (with or without my parents) and part of the ordeal featured the production of a video of the kidnappers holding an automatic weapon in my vicinity, once I was freed, my parents would tie me up if necessary, put me on a plane, and TAKE MY STUPID ASS HOME. (And may I just point out again for the record that HER PARENTS WERE KIDNAPPED ALONG WITH HER!)

I've taken an informal poll and most people I have asked agreed that their parents (or alternatively, they, as parents) would react in a similar fashion.

That's why I believe these two could have a real bond. I hope they get to meet soon. Anything anyone can do about hooking them up?

Happy 2006!

27 December 2005

Paper Cup Incident

Check out this hard-hitting story from The Arab News!

Apparently, no one in Saudi Arabia wanted anyone to know that they buy PAPER CUPS from Israel. With everything going on in that part of the world today, it's clear that this is a huge issue.

From the fabulous article:

"We were shocked and angry," said a hospital employee. "How can Israeli products be allowed and how did they enter this hospital?" he asked.

The Filipino employee who works in the Al-Musbah coffee shop asked: "Why is everybody mad about the cups?" He was told: "Because they are made in Israel!"

According to hospital officials, the matter is being investigated and action will be taken.
So many things about this are absolutely hilarious. First of all, the cups are from a well-known Israeli coffeehouse chain usually located in malls around the country. The logo, as seen above in the photo that accompanied the story in Arab News (consider this my attribution for use of the photo), is VERY prominent on the cups. The irony is too much.

I also wish someone would tell these "outraged" people who are "investigating and taking action" that its quite likely that some of the medical equipment in their hospital likely came from Israel as well. Will they investigate and take action about that, too?

Interestingly, the media in other parts of the world had a different view, or at least were less "outraged." Israeli outlets like The Jerusalem Post ( and Yediot Ahronot ( talk about trade between Israel and Arab countries in a larger sense talking about how much this "secret" trade likely generates. Haaretz ( featured a headline that seemed overly optimistic to me:

Hidden trade just waiting for a political deal.
And most news outlets in the US ran an AP story on the "incident."

Its truly amazing to me that this is even a news story. And I must say I'm a little amazed that Arab News included the story on an English web site -- I have got to think that most of the world is scratching their heads at the level of urgency in the piece...

The reporter, in what appears to be a serious series of paragraphs, describes going to the website of the company in Israel who manufactured the cups, and according to him, "it was found to be in Hebrew." (In just the sort of tone an American news outlet might say a website was "found to condone necrophilia.") Apparently, the HEBREW WRITING on the actual cup wasn't enough proof -- they needed to go to the Web site to make sure there was a real story here!

He then called the distributor, and details his conversation with him. Finally, he mentions that the distributor promised to pass along the supplier's contact information, leading me to believe there will be a follow-up story on this international crime of commerce. I don't know about you, but I'm gonna be hitting the web site regularly to see what "Jeelani" (quotation marks courtesy of Arab News. Perhaps they don't believe that's his real name...?) has to say for himself.

The story ends on an ominous note. "The paper cups were quickly withdrawn from use, but might there not be other, less obvious Israeli products in our shops and marketplaces?"

Be very, very afraid! :)