Tag Archives: Middle East

Can’t Catch a Break

I was thinking about President Obama this morning. I love the guy, even though there are things he’s done as POTUS that I don’t agree with. After pondering what’s been going on, especially the last few months, I feel bad for him. Dude can’t seem to catch a break. In reverse chronological order (more or less):

  • Japan
  • Earthquake, tsunami, nuclear power plant, devastation

  • Middle East
  • From Egypt to Yemen, the entire region has revolted. A country with an ally-dictator unseated and a country with an enemy-dictator who is hanging on to his until it’s taken from his cold, dead hands.

  • Labor
  • The working class is starting our own revolt

  • Gas Prices
  • See Middle East

  • Tuscon Shooting
  • Memorial and miraculous recovery (Thank God)

  • START Treaty
  • It just had to expire during his presidency

  • Bush Era Tax Cuts
  • They just had to expire during his presidency

  • Midterm Shellacking
  • Congressmen, Senators, and Governors whose sole purpose in office/life is to make sure he doesn’t win in 2012

  • Terrorism
  • Oregon teenager, Fort Hood psychiatrist, Yemeni toner cartridges, Detroit underwear

  • Iraq & Afghanistan
  • Insurgents and Insurgents

  • Gulf Oil Spill
  • BP, compensation, regulation, moratorium

  • Health Care
  • Repeal attempt, lawsuits

  • Haiti
  • Earthquake, homelessness, cholera, devastation

  • Economy
  • He inherited the US’ and the world’s tanked economies

It seems like a larger-than-normal presidential crapload has happened/is happening in his term. I would have been curled up in a ball, in a corner, inconsolably crying by now. No, actually, I would have probably killed myself long before. That’s why I could never be POTUS. And why I wonder why anyone would want to be POTUS.

I don’t see it getting better anytime soon. Good luck Mr. President.

Wanting to Tap That

White House Considers Tapping Oil Reserves

The revolution in the Middle East and the crisis in Libya is pushing prices of oil past $105 a barrel. The rise in prices is hurting our economic recovery. Is it time to access our emergency reserves?

One of the things I’ve supported in the past is energy independence. Since our addiction to oil rivals that of junkies, why not make it as a cheap as possible. Plus, our interests in the Middle East could be curtailed if we have our own resources.

After the gulf spill, I’m hesitant. Something like that should never happen again. Safety regulations were tossed aside like litter on the highway. And that sickens me.

I don’t know. Considering the prices of gas I’ve seen around the world, we have it pretty good. If I don’t have to see pictures like the one above again, I’ll pay $10/gallon. Hell, I’d even consider biking the 13 miles to work. We’re stewards of this earth. We need to be better at it.

We’re Not Going to Take…What?

Twisted Sister’s We’re Not Going to Take It should be the theme song of the Middle East right now. What they’re not going to take anymore differs, as we’re seeing in Bahrain.

Bahrain, the pearl of the Persian Gulf, is exploding in protest. Unlike Egypt, their uprising has a Shia and Sunni twist. 70% of Bahrainis are Shiite, yet they’re ruled by Sunnis. What happens if you’re a regular Shiite Bahraini when your King, government, and police are Sunni? You’re not even considered for the good state jobs. Want to be a police officer? Forget it. They’ll give that to a Syrian or Jordanian Sunni before you. If you are a political activist, you’re special. You get imprisonment and torture.

Bahrain, inspired by Egypt, are voicing their demands. Thousands took to the streets. They don’t want a complete overthrow of the government. They want changes. Release of the political prisoners. Economic equality when it comes to housing and jobs. Their chant in the streets? “No Sunnis, no Shiites. We are all Bahrainis.”

I’m really pulling for Bahrain as it holds a special place in my passport. It’s a tiny country with a rich ancient history. I loved my R&R vacation there. When I wasn’t pool side, I enjoyed wandering through their National Museum. The Tree of Life, a huge mesquite tree in the middle of the desert with no apparent water source, was really neat.

King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa should thank his lucky stars they didn’t want to ship him off into exile. He went on national TV to offer condolences for the young men who were martyred for the cause. He promised changes and an investigation into the protesters’ deaths. In light of what’s going on in the Middle East, I am very hopeful for Bahrain. Authoritarian leaders throughout the region, like King Hamad, are afraid. They should be.

The Initial Spark Reignites: Wael Ghonim

Wael Ghonim Interview on Dream TV

I couldn’t get the video with the English subtitles embedded – only the Arabic was showing up. I hope you will click on the link above and watch it. It’s very moving and only about 3 minutes long.

Mubarak refuses to step down. This battle is becoming one of sheer will. I feared that the Egyptian democracy movement was losing that will as protesters were growing physically and emotionally weary. Then, Wael Ghonim, the Google executive by day and passionate activist by night, was released by the Egyptian government. Right after he was freed, he granted an interview with Dream TV, an Egyptian “entertainment and lifestyle” television station.

I watched the interview with English subtitles. In that last part of the interview, the host shows pictures of the protesters who were killed during the protest. Ghonim breaks down and sobs. For 12 days, the Egyptian government held him captive, blindfolded the entire time. He did not hear about what had happened after his arrest kidnapping. He was literally kept in the dark, but interrogated about his role in the movement.

Apparently, this interview reignited the protests. The demonstration after his release rivaled the first one in numbers. Housewives, professors, laborers, young and old gathered again. What they saw in Ghonim was an Egyptian with a deep love for his country and fellow citizens. Using technology, he was the initial spark that set Egypt’s desire for democracy ablaze. And his voice helped fan the flames that were dying down.

I was extremely moved by his commitment to his country. Alive in Egypt has done a wonderful service and is true to its mission, Transcribing the Voices of Egypt. The entire interview can be found on its site, divided into 5 parts. It’s lengthy, but worth it.