Posts Tagged ‘Center’

Obligatory Olympics Arabic Note: Marhaba bikum fi London, Sort of

July 27th, 2012 Comments off

It’s the opening day of the London Olympics, and while I plan to avoid any Mitt Romney-esque gaffes, I should note that one of the blunders reported so far has an Arabic aspect: the official shopping center (no, really) of the Olympic Games, the Westfield Center, put up banners in Arabic script welcoming people to London, and quickly took them down again. I say “in Arabic script” because no one could recognize it as the Arabic language. If you read Arabic, look closely at the above.

It takes a while. First, read it from left to right, not right to left. Then, of course, the letters are not connected to each other. But other than that, it reads “Marhaba bikum fi London,” welcome to London.  .sdrawkcab tsuj s’tI (It’s just backwards.)

It doesn’t rise to the level of showing the South Korean flag while introducing North Korean athletes, which miffed the North Koreans (who tend to be very miffable) no end. But it does raise the question, doesn’t anybody proofread this stuff before it goes up? It’s not as if there are no Arabic speakers in London. And somebody bothered to get the phrase translated (correctly) but didn’t know Arabic goes from left to right?

On that note, let the games begin. And let us all ponder this question: in Ancient Greece, did the Olympic Games have an official shopping center?

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So does Hizbullah and Iran work together? An Israeli expert helps us understand

July 21st, 2012 Comments off
They work together when necessary, and separately when not necessary,” the Israeli official told reporters on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to publicly discuss national security issues.”  Where do Israeli experts study the Middle East? It must be an amazing center of learning given the insights that they vomit on daily basis in the US media. (thanks Hussam)

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Minya Hoping Tourists Return to Amarna

June 8th, 2012 Comments off
Minya Montage (Wikipedia)

Reuters has a piece, “Egypt Province Hopes Vote Will End its Isolation,” about the Middle Egyptian city and Governorate of Minya. While I doubt that the Presidential election results will directly resuscitate tourism in Minya, a return to something like normal life in Egypt may well do so.

Though I suspect a lot of non-Egypt-hands have never heard of Minya, it is a major city and university town and has been a center of radical Islamist politics; during the violence between Al-Gamalsquo;a al-Islamiyya and the state in the 1990s it was a center of frequent clashes. As a region with a high Coptic population as well as a  hotbed of Islamism, sectarian conflicts have been frequent.

As the article notes, Minya used to be a stop for tourist cruises going up the Nile, and the base for visits to the ruins of Tell El Amarna, the ancient capital (Akhetaten)  of the heretic Pharaoh Akhenaten. Amarna is of course one of the key archaeological sites in Egypt,though less visited than Luxor, Aswan, and the Pyramids around Cairo.


Since Akhenaten and his queen Nefertiti are rather famous for his religious innovations and her famous bust, and he is the predecessor and usually presumed to be the father of Tutankhamen, one of the few Pharaohs most tourists have heard of,Amarna should probably be a more frequented site than it was even before the troubles of the 1990s killed the limited tourist trade that existed.

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Yemeni army fights to center of al-Qaida held city

April 24th, 2012 Comments off

Yemeni members of the Peaceful Revolution Salvation Front chant slogans during a demonstration demanding independence of the judicial system from government control, in Sanaa, Yemen, Monday, April 23, 2012. Arabic on the banner reads, Yemeni government troops have fought their way into the center of an al-Qaida-held city in the country’s lawless south after a fierce, six-hour battle that ended early Tuesday, military officials said.

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Zaytuna’s Old Mosque-School Reopens in Tunis Medina

April 10th, 2012 Comments off
Zaytuna Mosque (Wikipedia)

This week the ancient mosque-school associated with Tunisia’s Zaytuna mosque was reopened, after having been closed by Habib Bourguiba in 1964. Zaytuna, the Great Mosque of Tunis and the second oldest mosque (after Kairouan, also in Tunisia) in the Maghreb, was a great cent4er of learning in the Middle Ages. Its religious university predated Cairo’s al-Azhar, and was the preeminent theological and legal school in the Maghreb, a major center for the Maliki school of law. (Zautuna means “olive tree,” one reputedly having once been growing in the courtyard.)

In the Bourguiba era the old school associated with the mosque at the heart of the Tunis medina (the old city) was closed and the name Zaytuna transferred to the Shari‘a Law School of the University of Tunis, while the ancient mosque itself remained the religious center of Tunis and Tunisia. Despite a pretense of continuity the modern university bore little resemblance to the ancient school,

Ibn Khaldun at Gateway to Medina

Now, Islamic learning will return to the ancient center in the Medina, apparently both to demonstrate a rejection of the excessive secularism of the Bourguiba and Ben Ali eras, but also to provide a government-sanctioned traditional Islamic counterpoint to the Islamist and Salafi movements that are growing in strength in Tunisia. More on the story here.

One of Zaytuna’s products in the classical age was also perhaps the greatest mind to have been born in the city of Tunis, though later a fixture in many other places: Ibn Khaldun, The great historian (1332-1406) is sometimes acclaimed as the father of sociology, though he’s a lot more readable than most later sociologists. Also, in what must be every author’s dream of what they’d like to see as a book-jacket blurb, Arnold Toynbee, in A Study of History, referred to Ibn Khaldun’s Muqaddima as “undoubtedly the greatest work of its kind that has ever yet been created by any mind in any time or place.” (No qualifiers, but what you need to know about the “of its kind” is that Toynbee considered his own book a lot like Ibn Khaldun’s.) Appropriately, Ibn Khaldun’s statue stands at the gate of the Tunis Medina, just outside of the medina (his birthplace) and the way to Zaytuna. But that statue gives me an idea for my next post . . .

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He’s Back . . . Zahi Hawass Faces Charges

April 3rd, 2012 Comments off

The once omnipresent Zahi Hawass has disappeared from center stage (but not from TV reruns) since losing his ministerial post after the Revolution, but we may be seeing more of him: he faces charges in connections with some of the deals he made in the Mubarak era, which appear to have violated Egyptian law. (Since some of them were to raise funds for Suzanne Mubarak’s private foundation, I’m sure everyone assumed the laws did not apply, at least so long as her husband was President.)

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Etch A Sketch takes center stage in GOP fight – CBS News

March 21st, 2012 Comments off

CBS News

Etch A Sketch takes center stage in GOP fight
CBS News
Rick Santorum has found an unlikely new rallying point: The Etch A Sketch. Santorum's campaign has aggressively seized on a comment Wednesday morning by Romney Communications Director Eric Fehrnstrom, who was asked on CNN if he was concerned that the
Romney's big day marred by Etch A Sketch remarkCNN International
Mitt Romney ignores Etch-A-Sketch for 'winning and delegates'Los Angeles Times
Gingrich, Santorum pounce on Romney Etch A Sketch
New York Times –New York Daily News –The Associated Press
all 480 news articles »

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The blatant racism of Israeli liberals

January 16th, 2012 Comments off
Dan Ben-David, executive director of the Taub Center for Social Policy Studies in Israel, said fertility rates in the Haredi community made the issue especially acute; the very religious Jews are the only group in Israel having more children today than 30 years ago. “They make up more than 20 percent of all kids in primary schools,” he said. “In 20 years, there is a risk we will have a third-world population here which can’t sustain a first-world economy and army.””

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Tourist center planned at sensitive Jerusalem site (AP)

December 27th, 2011 Comments off

Gaza's Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh speaks during a press conference in Cairo, Egypt, Tuesday, Dec. 27, 2011. Haniyeh was in Egypt on his first trip outside the blockaded territory since the Islamists overran it in 2007, saying his meeting with his Islamic ideological mentors threatens Israel. (AP Photo/Mohammed Abu Zaid)AP – A hard-line Israeli group is launching plans for a tourist center at the site of a politically sensitive archaeological dig in a largely Arab neighborhood outside Jerusalem’s Old City, officials said Tuesday.

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Arab-American man arrested by mistake in Michigan (Reuters)

November 13th, 2011 Comments off

Reuters – The Arab-American head of a Dearborn, Michigan community center was arrested by local police on suspicion of being wanted for funneling money to Lebanon’s Hezbollah, but was later found to be the wrong man and released, the FBI said on Saturday.
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