TO-ing and FRO-ing in the MIDDLE EAST

 

 

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“Abbas Takes Defiant Step, and Mideast Talks Falter.”

 

 

 “Bill Clinton sticks his foot in Syrian quagmire.”

 

 

Going out on a limb, Pope Francis met to pray with Israeli and Palestinian leaders. The Rev. Thomas Reese, a veteran Vatican analyst for the National Catholic Reporter noted “In the Middle East, symbolic gestures and incremental steps are important.”

 

 

“Palestinians to walk away from peace talks.”

 

 

“Powers seek ‘first-step’ nuclear deal with Iran in Geneva talks.”

 

 

“Rouhani’s victory in 2013 is the Iranian equivalent to Obama’s victory in 2008: an electorate that voted overwhelmingly for hope and change, understanding that the process will be a marathon, not a sprint,” said Reza Marashi, research director at the National Iranian American Council in Washington.

 

 

[U.S. Secretary of State John] Kerry told reporters he was flying home to Washington to meet with President Obama to reassess the peace negotiations and whether there was a path forward. “There are limits to the amount of time and effort that the United States can spend, if the parties themselves are unwilling to take constructive steps in order to be able to move forward.”

 

 

“Syria chemical arms: ‘Global red line’ crossed – Kerry”

 

 

“For U.N. Chief, a Dance of Diplomacy Is Halted by a Misstep. Ban Ki-moon… choreographed a precise diplomatic sequence on Syria that relied on others to perform their roles equally precisely. The choreography did not go as planned, and Mr. Ban stumbled under the spotlight.”

 

 

Women in Saudi Arabia: Unshackling themselves

 

 

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How to Read a Flying Shoe? Duck and Shrug.

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Footwear – viewed in the Middle East as low and unclean – was hurled at his head, but a seemingly oblivious George W. Bush just ducked and shrugged.

December 14, 2008 was a memorable day in the histrionics of polished shoes and politics. But, there was one question left for journalists to ponder in this saga.

           What does it take to actually offend George W. Bush?

If not the greatest insult an Arab can muster – the hurling of footwear at a man’s head – then what?Is it that the photographic moment ricochets globally and stays, replaying in an endless loop for the ages?Or maybe that the Iraqi shoe-hurler himself is all but deified, replete with offers of marriage?

No, not even those humiliations managed to penetrate the willfully oblivious presidential bubble, after Bush so deftly ducked and just as quickly shrugged off the leather projectiles at a that Baghdad news conference.

“Whether or not Bush gets it – and he is famous for not getting international etiquette – this was a monumental offence,” says Mark McCrum, whose book ‘Going Dutch In Beijing’ chronicles faux pas in many cultures.

“The thrower didn’t just use shoes, which are the lowest, most unclean thing in his world, he called Bush a dog. The combination of the two, it just doesn’t get worse than that.”

In fairness to Bush, it is easy to miss the sheer magnitude of shoe symbolism in the Middle East. But think back and you might recall that shoes played a starring role at the beginning of the Bush’s Iraq ordeal five years ago, when, just as the old regime collapsed, Iraqis spontaneously began removing their shoes and beating them against anything bearing the likeness of Saddam Hussein.

“Whatever George Bush makes of it, the throwing of the shoes comes from a place embedded deep in the culture of the Middle East. This was a cultural message. And the worst one available.”

 

Excerpts from article by Mitch Potter:

http://www.thestar.com/news/2008/12/20/the_greatest_insult_of_all.html

 

Photo Source:

https://www.google.ca/search?q=shoe+throwing+at+bush+images&es_sm=93&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=XaxNU7z7KqjN8wHsqYHQCQ&ved=0CCoQsAQ&biw=1366&bih=643