Friday, September 11, 2009

Yesterday, though I wasn't fasting, I began iftar in the traditional way, by eating a date. My flatmate Phil and I joined friends Shannon and Eric at the Yemeni restaurant on Iran St. in Doqqi for the meal. After the dates, we had soup, sahawiq, fasuliya (a fried bean dish) with eggs, and a potato dish and the meat-eaters had fahsa, all to be eaten with rashoosh (Yemeni flatbread).
Meanwhile, in Yemen itself, recent events have caused a great deal of turbulence. Thousands upon thousands of displaced people have been moved to IDP camps.

After dinner, I returned downtown for the class I recently switched into, Migration and Refugees in International Relations. I have to say that my first impressions of both the professor and the class lead me to believe it could be one of the best I'll have taken here at AUC. We discussed the impact of migration and globalization on the concept of the nation-state and what that meant for the field of international relations.

Later on, I headed back across the Nile to Mohandaseen to Cedars to hang out with CMRS colleagues. I sipped on a spicy ginger drink while the rest of the gang enjoyed shisha. When we piled in Marise's car to leave, we got to see the full gamut of Cairo's flashy new traffic signs. Neon lights, the darlings of cab-drivers, have now come into official use, presumably as a means of drawing attention to under-heeded signs and traffic lights. The funniest of these is the crosswalk sign. In most other countries, the sign depicts a man calmly crossing a road. Here in Cairo, there is a man composed of green lights shown running like a bat out of hell across a glittery white crosswalk. Running is indeed preferable to lingering in Cairo traffic, but sometimes staring down a bus is just such fun.

As many struggle with how to remember and interpret the events that happened eight years ago today, the direction of relationships between the US and the Muslim world and between non-Muslims and Muslims in the US itself are brought to the fore. Al-Ahram Weekly examines these both through the optimistic lens of Dalia Mogahed, an Obama advisor, and in light of the still-difficult realities many Muslims face. Prejudices and confusion about Islam and Muslims are still a major obstacle to peace and understand. To find out more about Islam, check out the BBC's religion page.

News & Issues:

· 155 arrested in southern Egypt for not fasting during Ramadan
· TV serials during Ramadan intended to foster patriotism
· Thinktank CPA speculates on succession

· Outburst by Republican congressman focuses more attention on irregular migrants and their place in the US healthcare debate
· US soldier seeks asylum in Canada claiming sexual-orientation based persecution

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