Tuesday, May 06, 2003

First off, the Middle East Studies Program web site now has links to media sources throughout the Middle East, as well as Western news sources which have good coverage of the region. Hope some of you find it a useful spot for one-stop Middle East news shopping!

At work, I've recently stumbled across the Iranian blogosphere just as it seems to be coming under attack. This article from Tech Central Station describes the role Iranian bloggers play as voices of dissent in a society which features wide open civil discussion with attempts from the regime to limit people's behavior in spite of the democratic institutions they really can't abolish because Ayatollah Khomeini himself put them there. The regime has recently begun cracking down on bloggers, with one being arrested April 22. Then, in today's Iran Daily, there was an article about the government taking action against new types of Internet crimes, which in this context could refer to bloggers. Some have suggested that a loud public outcry might make things worse, but because the Iranian bloggers themselves seem to have made the choice to speak out, I figure a low-traffic blog like this can't hurt anything, especially when there are also snippets about them in the BBC.

Interesting developments in the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq. Gulf News reports that Ayatollah Muhammad Baqir al-Hakim may step down as its leader so as to remain above the political fray, while little brother 'Abd al-Aziz al-Hakim has been named as one of five members of an Iraqi interim administration. The latter isn't actually shocking, as SCIRI was part of the U.S.'s original opposition coalition, and his inclusion probably means Rumsfeld and Co. and coming down to earth about possibilities. I haven't thought through the Ayatollah's resignation, though...I guess we just have to wait and see.

The University of Wisconsin today began billing students at the end of semesters for photocopied hand-outs made during the course of the semester. I received an e-mail notification of my bill.

Tomorrow I leave for the International Medieval Congress, and will return late Sunday night. So that's all until next week!


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