Sniffling and wheezing: Ah, yes, those back-from-the-travels colds. Here I was thinking that I had outsmarted those airborn germs and viruses, but the many flights, changing climates, and general travel-related stress finally caught up with me. I spend the last two days lying around like a sloth, going through several metric tons of tissue, coughing and sneezing and feeling miserable. Nadine, confident of her feline superiority, snuggles close to me and purrs. She doesn’t even mind when I sneeze on her.
While I’m down for the count, the country is, too. The Histadrut (largest labor union) calls a general strike, closing all seaports, airports, trains, post offices, government offices, etc. Luckily, it looks like the strike is ending today.
One if by land, two if by sea: While the police arrest a knife-wielding Palestinian youth near Jerusalem (sent, he says, by Hamas to “stab soldiers and Jews”), our navy stops a suspicious foreign vessel off the coast near Ashkelon. One of the things that doesn’t make it to the front pages is the astonishing number of attempted terror attacks that are thwarted here, almost on a daily basis. Our police, border police, army, and intelligence units get a lot of flack when someone slips through, but we tend to forget that 99% of the time, they are getting it right. Even the much reported “grandmother jihadist” was stopped before she could effectively carry out her attack.
Lebanon update: The assassination of Lebanese industry minister Pierre Gemayel (who happened to be Christian, anti-Hezbullah, and an outspoken opponent of Syrian control) triggered large anti-Syrian and anti-Hezbullah grassroots protests, especially in light of intelligence linking the assassination to a Syrian plot. However, pro-Hezbullah forces are not going to give up easily. They are calling for demonstrations against the Western-backed government.
The situtation has become more complex and you almost need a scorecard to keep track of the players. In the past, Lebanese Christians were always pro-Western, pro-Israel, and political moderates. In fact, during Lebanon’s civil war, Israel gave refuge to thousands of Lebanese. (If you’ve never heard Brigitte Gabriel speak about her experiences, check it out.) of But with Christian politician (and former general) Michael Aoun throwing his support behind Hezbullah, it is getting tricky.
Oh, those wacky Taliban guys: Let’s see the PC crowd try to explain away the brutal slaying of a schoolteacher who dared to teach (gasp!) girls.
A ray of hope: Meet Good Neighbors, a new blog in town. Real people from all over the Middle East, speaking in a civilized, rational manner, respecting each other’s histories, religions, and opinions.
Vote early, vote often: I can official announce my candidacy for a Director position in STC (Society for Technical Communication). If you are an STC member, make sure to vote in the 2007 elections! As the largest international professional society in the field of technical communication, STC needs to make sure that society-level leadership includes people from outside of North America. We’re on the right track.
I have cool colleagues: I’m always pleased to see friends and colleagues get good articles about the field published. Check out David Farbey’s article in the British Computer Society about technical documentation. David, now an active member of the UK chapter of STC, was a long-time active member of the Israel chapter.