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The Lebanese blogosphere reacts to General Michel Aoun’s stunning victory in the latest round of parliamentary elections: Across the Bay has a lengthy analysis of the results, framed in terms of politics-through-partnership, not politics-through-opposition; Beirut Spring suggests that this is the beginning of the end for Christian religious influence in Lebanese politics; “Guess what? We held them accountable,” says Pulse of Freedom; Lebanese Political Journal has a look at the very high voter turnouts in the election; and finally Ramzi’s Blah Blah, tongue-in-cheek, salutes the General’s campaign strategy
On a more serious note, Iran Scan wonders if Sean Penn’s visit as a journalist will be a serious visit, or if he’ll let his anti-Bush tendencies color his viewpoint.
There was an enthusiastic women’s rights demonstration in front of Tehran University that Iranian Girl participated in. Omid Memarian of Iranian Prospect notes that the Iranian feminist movement exemplifies the kind of independent civil society that the fundamentalists fear. Pictures from the demonstration can be found here, here, here, here, and here.
Iranian blogs have been wondering who’s been behind the recent bomb blasts in Terhan and Ahvaz: Mr. Behi wonders who would stand to benefit from the blast; Iranian Truth thinks that they might have been caused by Sunni Arabs connected with the erstwhile Saddam regime in Iraq; Zaneirani suggests that they were planted by Iranian hardliners, so they could blame the opposition and affect the upcoming election.. Another possibility could be that they were the work of separatist Arabs from Khuzestan.
As for the election itself, Iran Scan has a brief rundown of the major candidates. The candidate favored by the reformers and many of the Iranian bloggers is Dr. Moin (his name is also transliterated as Moeen, Moein, and Moien), who was only allowed to enter the election by decree of Ayatollah Khamenei. Iranian Truth notes while Rafsanjani is the clear front-runner, it doesn’t seem likely that he’d clear the 50% needed to avoid a run-off election; thus, the real race in the election is for second place.
Free Thoughts On Iran has a lengthy, thoughtful post from an engineer who is planning on boycotting the election.
It’s been noted by several bloggers that a campaign gimmick that Rafsanjani has employed in this election has been the spelling of his first name in Roman letters. Hoder suggest that perhaps this is so “he can look more cool and Westernized this way, but to me personally, it’s so cheesy to use English letters for Persian words in Iran.”. One other possibility is that that the intended target are viewers in Europe and America.
The Committee to Protect Bloggers has news about two arrested Iranian bloggers: Omid Sheikhan was arrested last year and now faces an October court date without benefit of an attorney; the Committee is also attempting to gather 1000 signatures on a petition to free Mojtaba Saminejad, who was convicted and sentenced to two years in prison on a charge of “insulting” the Ayatollah.
Photograph by Hoder
The Middle East
OceanCreep notes that wireless internet is coming soon to Starbucks in Jordan. This will, no doubt, be a great leap forward for bloggers in the kingdom.
Annalysis on the effective use of metaphor in the marketing of Viagra in the Middle East.
Martin, who writes African Bullets & Honey, describes the rituals he goes through whenever he passes through immigration lines. The comments have similar ancedotes…
Ethiopundit on Pulp Fiction and African politicians.
Tim Lambert uncovers a logging industry astroturf organization.
Barrio Flores wonders what the future will hold for Bolivia's now ex-President Carlos Mesa.
In China, Bingfeng Teahouse wishes that his ISP would warn him—or at least regularly schedule—when they’re gong to ‘crack down’ on bloggers.
ESWN checks in with two stories: first, “banned” in China doesn’t mean “unavailable”, thanks to the underground press, and second, he provides a glossary of ‘new’ Chinese terms being used by kids these days (warning: link is mostly in Chinese).
The Economist is famous for its Big Mac Index; now, SimonWorld in Hong Kong is launching the Alternative Big Mac Index, which asks how long must a McDonald’s worker labor in order to earn enough money to buy a Big Mac. He’s also asking for research volunteers. Give your stomach up for research! This is also a good time to remind our readers that Simon keeps a daily East Asia roundup going.
A Fistful of Euros notes that Gaelic will join the ranks of official EU languages in 2007.