Syria is a lot like Iraq. Indeed, Syria is Iraq’s twin.

Syria is Iraq by Thomas Friedman

Where Friedman sort of misses one little detail in his super simplified comparison: um, Iraq’s rentier-based economy? Maybe? Just a little bit important?


The shift has left clerics and politicians struggling to deal with a generation of young women carving out independent lives in a tradition-bound society, away from the guidance of fathers and husbands. Desperate to stop the trend, the government introduced a campaign to promote quick and cheap marriages — but it backfired, experts said, by cheapening an institution deeply anchored in Iran’s ancient culture

Single Women Gaining Limited Acceptance in Iran" via NYTimes

What exactly is a “tradition-bound society.” I don’t understand. A society that follows traditions? A society where traditions shape every day life? What is it? And why is it that when I look up the definition of a “tradition-bound society,” they’re all used in the context of the Middle East, North Africa, and parts of Asia?

And why is marriage in this article described as an “institution deeply anchored in Iran’s ancient culture” as opposed to just a universal tradition? WHY?

#Iran   #NYTimes  

NYTimes | Where Arranged Marriages Are Customary, Suicides Grow More Common ›

Can we already guess what direction this article will go from reading the title? Yes, yes we can. But behold! The writer dedicates a whole one sentence to make the connection between rising rates of arranged marriages and suicides with the dire socioeconomic conditions:

The town’s economy has historically relied on tobacco and figs, but neglect and war have rendered the agriculture industry dormant, and many men seek work as day laborers in the Kurdish cities of Erbil and Sulaimaniya.

One sentence!

Thanks to Torie from The Political Notebook for sending this our way.

#Iraq   #NYTimes  

Instead of personal growth, politics has become central to their lives. ‘Every topic me and my friends discuss, whether it’s the latest movie, a trip or our future, ends up with politics,’ said Samaneh, 27, who lives with her parents and did not want her family name used out of fear of retribution. ‘Here our lives are decided by those in power. Our options are more and more limited.’

Pinched Aspirations of Iran’s Young Multitudes via the NYTimes

Iran: the only country in the world where politics and those in power are decisive factors for the younger generation.

#NYTimes   #Iran  

It’s where Lawrence of Arabia meets Mark Zuckerberg. by Thomas Friedman for the NYTimes



Every one of these awakening countries needs to make the transition from Saddam to Jefferson without getting stuck in Khomeini.

Thomas Friedman, Lead, Follow or Get Out of the Way for the NYTimes

Seriously though, what is up with Tom’s obsession with the term “awakening” in reference to the uprisings in the region? Hey, hi Tom—just hope you realize that opposition movements have always existed in the Middle East and North Africa. Or were you too busy touting capitalism with your lexus and olive tree while disregarding the fact that the neoliberal agenda you support is what destroyed the region, politically, socially, and economically?

And Saddam to Jefferson, huh Tom? Tell me more.


So how about we stop being stupid? How about we stop sending planes and tanks to a country where half the women and a quarter of the men can’t read, and start sending scholarships instead?

Tanks, Jets or Scholarships? by Thomas Friedman for the NYTimes

"How about we stop sending planes and tanks…"


As I kept walking to my hotel, I realized why. When I looked down at the Nile embankment — and this was central Cairo — all I saw was garbage strewn about, a crumbling sidewalk and weeds sprouting everywhere. I thought: If this were Sydney, Singapore or Istanbul, the government would have built a beautiful walkway along the banks of the Nile where Egyptians and visitors could stroll with families in the afternoon. Not here.

NYTimes: Pharaoh Without a Mummy by Thomas Friedman

You know, usual dirty Arabs.

-Submitted by globalwarmist


NYTimes - Pray. Hope. Prepare. by Thomas Friedman ›

When I was in Cairo during the Egyptian uprising, I wanted to change hotels one day to be closer to the action and called the Marriott to see if it had any openings. The young-sounding Egyptian woman who spoke with me from the reservations department offered me a room and then asked: “Do you have a corporate rate?” I said, “I don’t know. I work for The New York Times.” There was a silence on the phone for a few moments, and then she said: “ Can I ask you something?” Sure. “Are we going to be O.K.? I’m worried.”

I made a mental note of that conversation because she sounded like a modern person, the kind of young woman who would have been in Tahrir Square. We’re just now beginning to see what may have been gnawing at her — in Egypt and elsewhere.

Read more

This is your classic NYTimes orientalism à la Friedman. 

Weird title that sets up the Egyptian people as helpless? Check.

An empty dialogue that acts as a filler for what could have otherwise been an informative introduction? Check.

The description of an Arab female as “a modern person?” Check.

The rest is Friedman at his finest.