Thursday, May 11, 2006

1. Anyone know why Paolo Coelho is so popular in Iran? His books seem to be everywhere: as top sellers in the bookstores, in the home libraries of all kinds of readers, carried in the bags of commuters doing some casual reading on the bus or metro.

Even Nobel Laureate Shirin Ebadi seems to have the Coelho bug. When asked in this interview with Time Magazine, what book she was currently reading, she answered: Coelho's Zahir.

I've never read any Coelho, so the answer to my query could just be that he is a really great writer. could be. but there are lots of great writers. and not all of them are translated, published, distributed, and received to the same extent in Iran.

2. My mom told me about Putin's attack on the U.S. the other day, but it took me until just now to find a news story that mentions it. On the day of his Sate of the Nation Speech, the headlines in the English language press mentioned Putin's statements on the need for Russia to increase its birthrates. But no word on the fact that he had compared the U.S. to a wolf, or that he had mocked the U.S. deployment of freedomanddemocracy for its own ends. So here are some choice quotes, in case you missed them, taken from the online site of the St. Petersburg Times:

Where is all this pathos about protecting human rights and democracy when it comes to the need to pursue their own interests? Here, it seems, everything is allowed, there are no restrictions whatsoever...We are aware what is going on in the world..Comrade wolf knows whom to eat, he eats without listening, and heÂ’s clearly not going to listen to anyone.

Now I don't know about the claims of those who see in this the "spectre of the cold war", but i wouldn'tt mind if Russia and the U.S. started going at each other again, maybe it will distract the U.S. from attacking any new countries in our region.