Blogging for freedom: Egyptian blogger Abdel Kareem Nabil, who blogged under the name Kareem Amer, was sentenced to four years in prison for “insulting Islam” and criticizing President Hosni Mubarak. Nabil claimed in his blog that Al Azhar University, where he was formerly a student, supressed free thought and was a breeding ground for terrorists. Naturally, the Egyptian courts show that this is a blatant lie and that free speech still exists⏼by sending Nabil to prison. Nabil is just one of many Egyptian bloggers who have seen the inside of a courtroom for criticizing conservative Islam and supporting the political and social reform.
Conform or die: Gill and I stop in for ice cream on our way back from the kibbutz last night. It is 22:00 and the area is thronged with people. As we sit there, working our way through some mighty fine gelato, a gaggle of preteen girls fills the small shop. They are all carbon copies: the same long hair, the same tight jeans, the same makeup. Gill doesn’t much notice, but I feel suddenly very sad at the culture that has robbed children of childhood and turned a bunch of 11-year-olds into fashion-conscious little divas who must conform to the herd mentality. Gill reports that his friends say that this behavior starts much earlier, as kids are bombarded with so many powerful messages from TV. I am glad that our girl doesn’t watch TV and refuses to compete with the skinny, full-haired neighborhood cats. She may be obese, partially bald, and sporting some rather disturbing lumps, but Nadine maintains a very positive self-image and remains impervious to commercial or social pressure. You go, girl!
Meet Nora: If you haven’t already seen Nora, the piano-playing cat, you must. You can check out more stuff at her parent’s website.
It’s official: Not even Bush can ignore global warming now. The huge increase in home air conditioning systems in places like China and India has expanded the hole in the ozone layer to where it was in 2001. We have to either radically change our ways or start buying SPF 5000 sunscreen.