2010-11-29

Morning Report: 2010-11-29

Wikileaks causes diplomatic upheaval. Everybody knows that the ongoing document dump of leaked diplomatic correspondence is the big story of the moment. Undoubtedly ambassadors and foreign ministers all over the world are pounding their heads against their desks and going, "Oh sh*t!" Well, I'm just going to leave you with that image and hold off on trying to post anything substantive on the mess until all the documents have been posted and the dust settles a little bit. So let's move on.

Iranian nuclear scientists targeted in bombings, one dies. Washington Post reports that 'According to Fars, scientists Majid Shahriari and Fereydoun Abbasi were parking their cars in separate locations near the university campus about 7:45 a.m. local time when they were attacked. ...' Shahriari was killed, Abbasi was wounded; the men's wives were also injured. Debka asserts that
Prof. Majid Shahriari, who died when his car was attacked in North Tehran Monday, Nov. 29, headed the team Iran established for combating the Stuxnet virus rampaging through its nuclear and military networks.

Debka claims the attacks were shootings, not bombings.

Kenya steps up repression of gays. BBC:
David Kuria from the Gay and Lesbian Coalition of Kenya told the BBC that Raila Odinga's comments would encourage people to extort money from gay and lesbian people.

On Sunday, Mr Odinga warned that men or women found engaging in homosexual acts would be arrested.

He later said he was only saying the constitution bans same-sex weddings. ...


Briefly noted. The man who immortalized the words "Stop calling me Shirley" has died. He will be missed.

Commentary. Winston at The Spirit of Man has kind words for Canada:
Canada leads the world again by example. This time it is leading everyone else against the despotic regime of Iran. Who knew Canada would become a bullhorn for those who couldn't be heard before? It makes me proud to be part of this country. A country that stands up for moral clarity and honorable western values.

Prime Minister Harper's wife Mrs. Lauren Harper has stood again and again for the right of the oppressed Iranian women. And Minister Jason Kenney has indicated that Canada will not attend the "hatefest" at that toothless organization known as the United Nations. ...

Notice that Winston understands the important part "western values" play in Canada's culture. Meanwhile, fellow Canadian Irshad Manji takes a wary look at the erosion of those same values in Sweden:
Let me illustrate through a YouTube clip that a fellow writer in Sweden sent me. The video features a small-town representative of the Sweden Democrats (SD). He’s being invited to name those elements of Swedish culture that need protecting. For several seconds, the man falls mute. Finally, he replies, “Christmas and, uh, ancient ruins.”

My writer friend, Hakan Lindgren, explains that “everybody who saw the clip was supposed to laugh at this SD buffoon. I didn’t.”

Mr. Lindgren believes that Swedes now suffer the “hidden, anaesthetized pain” of living in a country with little or no connection to its traditions. Their pain remains hidden because “we have learned not to complain.” Immigration didn’t precipitate this identity crisis, he emphasizes. Modernization and its various trappings did. As he puts it, “We were told – and we accepted – that our traditions were worthless compared to the benefits of modernity.” The upshot: A profound lack of confidence, individually and socially.

But it’s aggravated by our era of mass migration, Mr. Lindgren goes on, because you’re bound to bump into someone “who is full of self-confidence about his culture or religion. That confrontation brings out all the postponed feelings – you feel hurt, angry, inferior, ashamed, envious.”

What an eye-opener for me. When Muslim immigrants self-segregate and hang onto conservative cultural traditions, I see them acting out their insecurities. But for others, these are markers of too much security.

The YouTube clip gives rise to yet another twist. Despite his concern for Swedish culture, the man is wearing a baseball cap – and one that bears the Confederate flag, a searing symbol of 19th-century American slave-holding states. Did he know what the flag stands for? Is this his message, too? Or does he seek only to be a rebel in some vague sense?

2010-11-25

Turkey

Arutz Sheva:
Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Thursday that his country would get involved if Israel entered Lebanon. Speaking in Beirut, Erdogan asked, "They want to invade Lebanon and Gaza with advanced planes and tanks, to kill women and children, to destroy medical centers and schools, and expect us to remain silent?"

He continued, "Turkey won't be quiet but support justice with all the means at its disposal."


Ha'Aretz: 'Hundreds of Lebanese of Armenian descent clashed with army troops during a protest Thursday over a visit to Beirut by the Turkish prime minister. ...'

Stratfor: 'An unnamed senior Turkish diplomat confirmed that Washington contacted Turkey after [Wikileaks] reports surfaced claiming the government had supported al Qaeda in Iraq, and that the United States aided Iraq-based Kurdish rebels fight against Turkey.'