Miscellany from the past two weeks

  • So a couple of week ago, the Saudi Council of Senior Ulema issued a fatwa banning female cashiers. What happens next? Saudi Arabia gets a seat on the board of UN Women, the new United Nations super agency that is supposed to focus on gender equality and women’s empowerment. This is not a bad joke, as Nobel Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi said. It’s a reality now. It’s been 20 years since 47 Saudi women led a protest in Riyadh to drive cars. They are still not allowed to drive.
  • Jamal Ghosn: “I am not worried about the stockpiling of weapons, since I’m not naive to think that ever stops. I’m not worried about a certain $60 billion purchase of weapons, although I do wonder what will be the return on investment when it’s sold as scrap metal.”
  • At the time when I’m getting lost in Manhattan to report stories about life in New York, my good friends Ali al-Khalthami and Fahad al-Butairi back home get to do awesome, fun stuff like this:
  • The Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association have announced that they plan to sue the Ministry of Interior on behalf of all those banned from traveling without a legal sentence. The current list of travel bans include some prominent activists such as Abdullah al-Hamed and Matrouk al-Faleh.
  • A group of wildlife lovers in Riyadh are leading efforts to free an endangered Arabian Lynx that has been imprisoned in a pet shop in a small glass box with a hard, concrete floor for over 4 years. How can you help? Glad you asked. Go to this Facebook group, and contact the Saudi Wildlife Commission.
  • Anyone who lived in the western region of Saudi Arabia can talk to you for hours about how great and delicious AlBaik chicken is. People living in other parts of the country are out of luck as they don’t have any branches there. There are several theories that have been flying for years as to why AlBaik don’t open in other regions, including one that involves the richest Saudi man alive. Nobody, however, has confirmed information on the true reason behind this geographic conundrum for friend chicken lovers.
  • I know it’s almost mid November, but Lou K has a pretty good post about once a pretty “Saudi” October. Probably unrelated, but you also may want to read The skinny on Jeddah dating.
  • The Brookings Institution’s Doha Center has launched its 2010 essay contest. It’s designed only for students living/studying in the 22 Arab states between the ages of 20 and 30, and the hope is to identify talent for political analysis in the region, as well as provide an unprecedented and independent platform to share their views with political leaders and pundits, the media, and the public at large. The first place winner will receive $2000, the runner up $1000, and honorable mention(s) $500. You can find more details here.
  • Sorry about the hiatus. Been busy with school. Here is two examples from the stuff I’ve been working on.

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