Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Ironies of "liberation": What do you do when the Ayatolluah's Republic next door is more open than your "liberated" country? I was reading on the plane the profile of Jalal Talbani by Jon Lee Anderson (from the Feb. 5th issue) in the New Yorker. A very interesting read but not sufficiently or nearly as critical as it should be given the opportunism of the man and his responsibility (along with Mas`ud Barzani) for the Kurdish civil war in the 1990s, in which some 10,000 were killed. But one passage really struck me: it was about a visit to Iran by Talbani and his entourage (accompanied by Anderson): "But what most caught the attention of the Iraqis was the large number of women and girls out on the street; the sight of women in public has become a rarity in Baghdad. A couple of the men in my car became rambunctious, taking snapshots of women with their camera phones." (p. 55).