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  • The Indecision Guide to Middle East Uprisings

    Maybe you've been following the latest anti-government uprisings in the Middle East, or maybe you have been too busy raising your children, studying your textbooks or playing your XBox. All important activities!

    Thankfully for you, Indecision is here to give you a brief, handy primer on the goings-on Over There. To start, you need to know that Libya, Yemen, and Bahrain are all currently ruled by people who weren't actually chosen by the populace in, y'know, transparent democratic elections. And the people are mad! Okay, now that you're up to date on the basics, let's get into some specifics.

    First up: Libya. Libya has been ruled by mushy-faced dictator Muammar el-Qaddafi forever. His goons are allegedly killing protesters, but he's losing his grip on the country pretty swiftly. Today he went on the teevee to whine about it. He was dressed like a cross between a Tusken Raider and Norma Desmond. This combination accurately reflects his approach to leadership. People are freaking out.

    Next, let's take a gander at Yemen. Protesters want President Ali Abdullah Saleh to step down immediately. He has ruled the country since 1978. University students keep setting stuff on fire.

    Bahrain is an island where creepy Michael Jackson used to creepily hang out. Later, Prince Abdulla Al-Khalifa of Bahrain sued him! Aaaaanyway, Bahrain's protesters have been non-creepily nonviolent. Their king is called Hamad ibn Isa Khalifa. They have palm trees.

    And that's about it! Congratulations on your new degree in Middle Eastern Studies. You're now prepared to go toe-to-toe with any of these so-called "experts" on one of the so-called "news" shows. You're welcome.

    Tags: Bahrain, Libya, Middle East, Muammar Qaddafi, Protesters, Yemen
  • Things Are Getting Kind of Crazy in Bahrain

    King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa seems pretty determined to not get himself Hosni Mubarked

    Government forces opened fire on hundreds of mourners marching toward Pearl Square Friday, sending people running away in panic amid the boom of concussion grenades.

    But even as the people fled, at least one helicopter sprayed fire on them and a witness reported seeing mourners crumpling to the ground.

    And then there was this guy waiting around the corner, and he had this tornado full of sharks. And then behind him, there was this tank made completely out of human suffering and regret. And behind that…

    Tags: Bahrain, Middle East, Protesters
  • The Middle East Responds to Barack Obama's Middle East Visit

    Barack Obama's trip to the Middle East has gotten plenty of media coverage here in America, especially since it's been an opportunity for the media to cover the media's coverage of Barack Obama's trip to the Middle East.

    Meanwhile, over in the Middle East, the Middle Eastern media has been doing its own coverage, and today the BBC has a summary (conveniently translated into English for this monolingual American). It seems there has been some confusion!

    From Bahrain's Al-Wasat newspaper…

    Obama's tour is not exploratory, but rather aims to send a message to American domestic opinion that he is reasserting US administrations' traditional priorities on Middle Eastern issues.

    Well, sure. You don't need to be surprised or upset by that. Overseas trips by politicians are always intended to impress Americans, particularly during election season. Perhaps this is a cultural difference. It has to do with a thing we call public opinion polls.

    From the Palestinian Al-Hayat Al-Jadidah…

    What would have happened if Obama put on his head a Palestinian keffiyeh [chequered scarf] in the same way that he twice put on the Jewish skullcap? This would have been balanced behaviour, but he did not do it and will never do it.

    The reason for this is that his 15-hour visit was put on to demonstrate his solidarity and support for Israel's policy.

    Again, what we have here is a cultural misunderstanding. Obama didn't avoid wearing a keffiyeh because he was trying to make a political statement.

    He just knows keffiyehs are soooooo last season.

    Tags: Bahrain, Barack Obama, Israel, Palestine