Thursday, February 15, 2007

1. The niece of Pakistan's ex-prime minister Benazir Bhutto, who happens to have one Iranian grandparent, manages to take a trip to her grandmother's homeland. You can read about Fati's determination to visit Iran and her brief stay in Tehran. (third installment here)

2. The Iranian government is so concerned with gender equality that the parliament has been musing an affirmative action bill that would guarantee a certain number of slots for men, since they are increasingly outnumbered by their female counterparts. Today, officials announced that 67% of students admitted to Iranian medical schools are young women. I guess the parliament better get to work on enacting their proposed laws ASAP.

3.Check out this Kuwaiti singer's video satirizing Mr. Bush and his "freedom and democracy" agenda. Bush must be in big trouble when even Kuwaitis start turning against him! Anyway, my favorite part of the video comes at the end. I wont spoil it for you, but let's just say it involves one of my favorite "men".

4. Have you heard the one about the Iraqi graduate student at Harvard who left the U.S. to study displaced Iraqis and then he became a displaced Iraqi himself? And he is not the only person of Iraqi descent having a hard time reaching Harvard. A friend of ours who has been accepted into a graduate program at Harvard, may not be able make it to the States in time to begin his studies. Born in Spain and holding a British passport, he just has one small problem: his dad is an Iraqi. According to the people at the U.S. embassy, his father's nationality means that his student visa could take months to go through. Naturally, he is considering alternatives on where else he can pursue his graduate education.

Meanwhile, the U.S. has announced that they will accept 7,000 new Iraqi refugees. Seven thousand out of an estimated 2.8 million Iraqis who have been displaced because of the U.S. war. I guess the other 2,793,000 Iraqi should try and cram themselves into neighboring Jordan or Syria (forget Iran, they'd only be displaced again after the bombs start falling).

Anyway, you can be sure that the refugees will be highly screened, with first preference going to people who variously collaborated with the occupation authorities, the same way that refugees were chosen after the disasters in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia.