Some of you might be interested in doing some research into the conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians. It’s worth noting that when reading about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it’s hard to be sure that you’re getting unbiased information. Robert Wright, for example, complains here that mainstream coverage is hopelessly biased against the Palestinian side. (I like Wright’s work, but I’m not sure I agree with this.) In class sometime, I’ll talk about why that is; until then, here are some people who are well-informed and fair-minded. Jeffrey Goldberg, who I’ve linked to before; Walter Russell Mead had what I thought was an interesting analysis of why Americans tend to side with Israel in this conflict, despite what many consider to be a disproportionate response; and Glenn Greenwald complains that although many Americans might want to wash our hands of the conflict, the U.S. is “the central enabling force driving this endless conflict.”
In somewhat related and extremely disturbing news, a right-wing politician in Hungary has encouraged the government to draw up “a list of Jews,” according to Reuters.
Also: Did you know there was a rebellion in the Democratic Republic of Congo? They are apparently backed by Rwanda, and last week they took the city of Goma. There are many interesting opinions on the excellent site AllAfrica.com, including this one, which is critical of the UN’s ineffectiveness:
What is the United Nations doing in DRC if it cannot defend a small African city like Goma, women and children?
UPDATE, 11/29/12: Here’s another story about what’s going on in Goma.
The biggest world news of the morning might be this: Turkey has approved military action across the border into Syria.
At the Daily Beast, Hussein Ibish discusses blasphemy laws in the Middle East. This time, the discussion is sparked by developments in Egypt, where two Coptic Christian children have been arrested for “insulting religion.”
Here are some links that might guide people toward some further answers to the questions we asked yesterday. Please note that some of these include video; if you’re going to watch them in the lab, please use headphones. Do also remember that not only is the YouTube video in question offensive to many in the Middle East, it is likely offensive to many here in the U.S.
Finally: Remember that this story is still developing, so you should be careful to consider what in these stories is fact, what is speculation, and what is opinion.
Okay, on to the links:
Wednesday night, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow made the case that the attack itself was unlikely to be the result of a protest gone out of control, and that it was more likely a planned attack in retaliation for the US killing of al-Qaida’s #2 man (it’s long and complicated). The BBC suggests it might be another group, Ansar al-Sharia.
Dave Weigel of Slate gives some details regarding the still-murky origins of the offending video. Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic has been working on this as well.
Weigel also provides a link to the story we touched on from 2006, when the Danish cartoon controversy broke out.
Finally (for now), Goldberg also had a thoughtful take on blasphemy laws and freedom of speech.
UPDATE, 9/13/12: Again, via Jeffrey Goldberg, the AP is reporting that the initially-reported identity of the filmmaker is almost certainly fake, and that the actual filmmaker may be a Coptic Christian, rather than Israeli.
And the photo above is one from a series of powerful images posted by the Atlantic Wire.
Via Greg Scoblete, I see the Daily Telegraph is reporting that oil consumption in Saudi Arabia is way up, and oil production is way down. If you’re interested in discussions of energy, you should read this.
Why does it matter if Saudi Arabia becomes an oil importer instead of an exporter? Well, according to the CIA, Saudi Arabia was the world’s largest producer of oil, pumping over 10 million barrels per day. Potentially a big effect on the world economy.
Kutiman, “Thru Jerusalem”
Here is Foreign Policy‘s slideshow about “child brides,” an increasingly common practice in rural Afghanistan. A quote that blows my mind: “More than 50 million girls under the age of 17 in developing countries are married.” National Geographic‘s Cynthia Gorney has a story about this as well.
And in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, a woman, Manal-al-Sharif, was arrested this week for driving, after posting a YouTube video last week showing her defying the law. Women are not traditionally allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia, but some–men and women–are trying to change that.
This is Sam Richards’ TED talk from October 2010.