How to freak me out:
Stop working and drive me mad because I’ve spilled a tiny bit of water on your up-and-down arrow key area.
How to calm me down:
Email me or post sage advice on how I can handle the problem.
On a more serious note, yes, the laptop is back online, though not before it gave me an anxiety attack. It’s brand new, for crying out loud! Didn’t know half a teaspoon worth of water could do so much damage. Let’s hope it continues working now.
If you’ve been reading my blog for a while you may know that I don’t hold Samuel Huntington’s theory of the “clash of civilizations” in very high regard. A Google search will yield plenty of critiques of the theory, both in support and in rejection of its contentions.
But in this Foreign Policy article, Ronald Inglehart and Pippa Norris propose a new take on the theory. They correctly point out that there has been little empirical evidence to support Huntington’s thesis. Citing the cumulative results of the two most recent waves of the World Values Survey (WVS), conducted in 1995-96 and 2000-2002, they show that democracy has a quasi-universal appeal:
“With the exception of Pakistan, most of the Muslim countries surveyed think highly of democracy: In Albania, Egypt, Bangladesh, Azerbaijan, Indonesia, Morocco, and Turkey, 92 to 99 percent of the public endorsed democratic institutions a higher proportion than in the United States (89 percent)…The WVS reveals that, even after taking into account differences in economic and political development, support for democratic institutions is just as strong among those living in Muslim societies as in Western (or other) societies.”
So where does the problem lie? Inglehart and Norris suggest that there is a profound gap in gender attitudes:
“On the matter of equal rights and opportunities for women measured by such questions as whether men make better political leaders than women or whether university education is more important for boys than for girls Western and Muslim countries score 82 percent and 55 percent, respectively. Muslim societies are also distinctively less permissive toward homosexuality, abortion, and divorce.”
I’m fascinated by the schizophrenia that these numbers show. Even though the Muslim world has elected women leaders (Benazir Bhutto in Pakistan, Tansu Ciller in Turkey, and Hasina Wajed in Bangladesh) only 55% support gender equality in leadership. (Side note: For a history of Muslim women leaders, see Moroccan sociologist Fatima Mernissi’s excellent book: The Forgotten Queens of Islam). Nor are these attitudes restricted to Muslims. In India, which was governed by Indira Gandhi for 15 years, 50% of the population thinks only men should be leaders.
So where does this leave us? Essentially to what the United Nations has been saying about sustainable development for years. Giving women access to education has profound effects on fertility, which in turn leads to a lighter economic burden, greater access to the workplace, and greater visibility and political representation. In other words, free women and the rest will follow.
Thanks to Neils for the link to the Foreign Policy article.
“In 1857 a young Chinese man named Chen Pan decides to leave his country and immigrate to Cuba. He’d been promised that the drinking water there “was so rich with minerals that a man had twice his ordinary strength (and could stay erect for days) … that the Cuban women were eager and plentiful … that even the river fish jumped, unbidden, into frying pans.” He was also promised plenty of work. So he boards a ship, and after a three-month voyage that he barely survives, finally arrives at his new home, halfway around the world.”
The Atlantic‘s Jessica Murphy interviews Cristina Garcia, the author of Monkey Hunting which, like her previous novels, explores issues of Cuban identity.
Out of the rubble of the Iraq War a major media star emerged: Mohamed Saeed El Sahaf, the Iraqi Information Minister, whose “fans” have created a website, even an action figure.
But that was so five minutes ago…
The newest star is Omar Al-Issawi: