Islam, TV

Tehran (TV series)

One nation I’ve always wanted to visit is Iran. Westerners love it there.

A new TV series on Apple TV+ gives a glimpse of Tehran. I’m sure the religious leadership there has condemned it.

It’s very well acted. But slow in places.

Tehran is an Israeli espionage thriller television series …

… about the Israeli–Iranian conflict

Protagonist Tamar Rabinyan, a young Jewish woman born in Iran but raised in Israel, is a Mossad agent and computer hacker, sent on a mission to the Iranian capital, assigned to disabling an Iranian nuclear reactor. …

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

books, ethics, government, happiness, human rights, Islam, philosophy

21 Lessons for the 21st Century by Harari

Having dealt with the distant past in Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind (2011) and with the distant future in Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow (2016), Harari turns in 21 Lessons his attention to the present.

I really enjoyed this book. Harari is a BIG PICTURE guy who quickly puts things into perspective.

His chapter on God is excellent, for example.

21 Lessons for the 21st Century (2018)by Yuval Noah Harari … attempts to untangle the technological, political, social, and existential quandaries that humankind faces. …

In The New York TimesBill Gates calls the book “fascinating” and his author “such a stimulating writer that even when I disagreed, I wanted to keep reading and thinking.” For Gates, Harari “has teed up a crucial global conversation about how to take on the problems of the 21st century.”


related 2020 interview:

Yuval Harari: This is the worst epidemic in ‘at least 100 years’

books, education, government, human rights, Islam, travel

I Am Malala with Christina Lamb

If you want to know more about life in Pakistan I recommend this autobiography of a teenager.

If you want to know more about the plight of girls and women in extremist Muslim nations, this is the book. Malala is a symbol. She was awarded the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize.

I hadn’t recalled that the Taliban assassin shot Malala and hit both girls sitting either side of her as well. All three survived.

Christina Lamb is an excellent writer, expert in this region. She too was nearly killed by the Taliban, on Benazir Bhutto’s bus when it was blown up in October 2007.

2013

I Am Malala: The Story of the Girl Who Stood Up for Education and was Shot by the Taliban (2013) is an autobiographical book by Malala Yousafzai, co-written with Christina Lamb …

The book details the early life of Yousafzai, her father’s ownership of schools and activism, the rise and fall of the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan in Swat Valley and the assassination attempt made against Yousafzai, when she was aged 15, following her activism for female education.

It has received a positive critical reception and won awards, though it has been banned in many schools in Pakistan. …

Swat Valley has been an important tourist destination in the past. And may be again in future. Malala is a Pashtun, the majority of whom follow Sunni Islam.

The leader of the Swat Taliban in Malala’s day was Maulana Fazlullah.  He was killed by American drone strike in 2018.

Today Malala is a student at Oxford studying Philosophy, Politics and Economics. 

She and her father run the Malala Fund, an organization dedicated to every girl’s right to 12 years of free, safe, quality education. That’s an important cause for me too.

I’m proud to say Malala has honorary Canadian citizenship.

 

 

 

 

Art and beauty, Islam, travel

underrated Casablanca

Marrakesh is packed with tourists from around the world.

The streets are filled with touts and conmen trying to separate them from their money. A Canadian I met had his phone stolen from a cargo pants pocket in the street, even though it was worthless to the pickpocket. It was locked.

Very few visitors go to Casablanca except on business. I don’t know why. It’s a very interesting city with no touts anywhere.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

The highlight is massive Hassan II Mosque built out over the ocean. It’s one of the 5 largest in the world. (capacity 105,000 worshippers with room for at least another 100,000 outside)

I’ve loved visiting huge Mosques since Istanbul 1994.

In Morocco non-Muslims are not allowed inside, actually. But Hassan II is one of the two that does allow it. I joined an English language tour.

 

economics, ethics, government, Islam

2.7 million Americans have served in Iraq, Afghanistan

Have American tax payers got their money’s worth?

In early October the Afghan war will be 17 years old. What’s been gained by the West intervening?

Would Afghanistan be better off now if they’d been left alone to solve their own problems?

The Pentagon’s failed campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan left a generation of soldiers with little to fight for but one another.

War Without End

Pfc. Richard Dewater was killed in an ambush.

government, human rights, Islam, things getting better

change for the better in Saudi Arabia

I’ve been to Riyadh three times. They are leaders in the Muslim world. Many students study there before returning to their home nations.

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) has started reforming the Kingdom.

Token changes: women driving, introducing music and cinema, and cracking down on corruption.

In a land of extremists, I hope he can stay alive long enough to move the nation to moderate Islam.

He’s certainly cooperated with (played?) the Toddler President.

Norah O’Donnell: Are women equal to men?

Mohammed bin Salman: Absolutely. We are all human beings and there is no difference.

Norah O’Donnell: You have said you are, “Taking Saudi Arabia back to what we were, a moderate Islam.” What does that mean? …

He has curbed the powers of the country’s so-called “religious police,” who until recently were able to arrest women for not covering up. …

60 Minutes 

He has critics. One guy wants him to change more, faster.

Others say he’s been too brutal. A strongman dictator.

books, Islam

Snow by Orhan Pamuk (2002)

Snow (TurkishKar) is a novel by Turkish writer Orhan Pamuk. Published in Turkish in 2002, it was translated into English by Maureen Freelyand published in 2004.

The story encapsulates many of the political and cultural tensions of modern Turkey and successfully combines humor, social commentary, mysticism, and a deep sympathy with its characters. …

Sounded perfect for me.

But I didn’t finish. Though well written, it was too slow.