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Didn’t do too bad…

I did much better on my quiz than I though I would. I did it through a very hazy, sleepy mind. I’ll do better next time, but I’m glad to know that I can conjugate in my sleep:-)

Went to Luchiano’s house for lunch yesterday. The first laugh came when I tried to tell the taxi driver where to tell me, he had no idea what I was saying. I was a little disappointed, it was my best Arabic, with a new word in there as well. The guy I was standing next to heard me and “translated” my Arabic into something the taxi driver could understand, so apparently it wasn’t so bad, someone could understand me!

When I got to his house, there was a surprise for me on the TV, hockey! Well, it wasn’t ice hockey but roller hockey. And it was an Italian league, so the level of play was not the highest, but it was still fun. Next, he turned on Al-Jazeera’s English channel. I don’t think any American companies have picked it up yet, but they should. Sure, it’s biased, but no more than Fox news… This time was quite a bit better than the last time I saw the channel. The first time was over in Dubai. They had a piece on the income disparity in the US. They went to what the census bureau deemed the poorest county in the country and then to the richest. Guess what? It sucks to be poor. Here’s what got me… The difference between the richest and the poorest in any country will be amazing, but I’d argue that in the US it isn’t nearly as bad as other parts of the world, especially in Al-Jazera’s backyard. The people in the poorest county were Mexican immigrants, no surprise there. Their “house” was made of whatever the father could find. But get this, he had a job, the mother got jobs from time to time, the kids were in school and could all read English. If things were really terrible, they could go right back over the border with no problems. I’m betting that they don’t… Compare that to good old Yemen. I would say that the difference between the richest and the poorest here is quite a bit more dramatic. The “rich” (usually in or around the government) have all the amenities you might expect, the poor here are on another level of poor as compared to the US. They have nothing, they can’t read or write, are not in school, and have no prospects of being in school. There are no jobs to be had, once again, thanks to the government (that’ll be another post). From what I can tell, this is the norm across the Arab world. Syria, Egypt, Tunis, Oman, etc. In other words, the “news” piece was not news at all, but a simple way of trying to make the US look bad…

This time was much better. There was an interview show and they were talking to the author of “The Vagina Monologues”. I was amazed that the word “vagina” would be allowed at all, so that was nice. Her whole thing was about Vday, an event she started to raise awareness about violence towards women. It has since spread all over the world. It was a good interview and they weren’t afraid to talk about the potential application to the Arab world. There was also a spot during a commercial break that caught my attention. It was just graphics of the female literacy rate in various countries. They started someplace that was very high, 99.8% or something. Then a few more countries came up. There was one in Africa that took me by surprise (can’t remember the country though), it was over 90%. The first “Arab” country they mentioned was Egypt, it was a considerable drop from the previous country, down to 52%, and Yemen brought up the rear at 28%. So it was nice to see that they don’t mind being a little critical of their neighbors…

Luchiano made tortellini stuffed with prochuito. After I stuffed myself with that, he brought out the steak and zucchini. I almost fell asleep at his place I was so full… A good time…

Isaac

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