After bashing the NYT yesterday, I thought it only fair to draw attention to two great stories in the paper about the Middle East today.
This one, which recounts the story of a 63 year old Algerian who carried out a suicide attack against a UN facility. A thoughtful piece of rare contextualization that follows the history of European violence and imperialism in the Arab World, and its links to modern extremism. While it is common to hear about France’s problems with its North African population, one almost never hears anything about France’s genocidal war against Algeria just a few decades ago.
Here, you’ll find an interesting story that pokes a few holes in the Saddam as Islamic dictator trope that many Americans still seem to cling to. Yes, the man was responsible for the deaths of lots of people–just like our leaders–but he also oversaw a flourishing social openness not common in many Arab regimes. Under Saddam, women and, yes, even Gays, as this article notes, experienced a near-social revolution.
If articles like this were not so rare, we’d have much less support for stupid wars against the third world.