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ARABICA - A Daily Shot Of What the Arab World is Saying/Hearing/Sharing
Kristen Gillespie

A R A B I C A ارابيكا


ANATOMY OF A RUMOR
*Bahraini newspaper Al-Wast and other Arabic outlets have published purported comments by the brother of the African maid allegedly assaulted by IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn is a devout, veiled Muslim. "She is a committed Muslim and wears the veil," the woman's brother is quoted as supposedly saying to French daily Le Parisien. Commenters wrote that Strauss-Kahn will be judged harshly by God for his sins, and offered rare praise for the United States as "a democracy that does not discriminate." But the Le Parisien article in question makes no mention of the woman being either Muslim or veiled. Her brother is simply quoted as saying that her lawyer is speaking for her in the media.

SUPRESSION OF A STRIKE
*Calls for a general strike on Wednesday in Syria went mostly unheeded, as activists told wire agencies that the government's military and intimidation campaign is working. Still, snippets of protest footage is leaking out and being posted online. Here, several hundred people march through the covered market of Homs shouting slogans such as "leave, leave, leave" directed at President Bashar al-Assad and "the people want the regime to fall." A small protest in the Kurdish town of Qamshili is here, and a nighttime march in Aleppo is here.

APOLOGY ATTEMPT #1
*As the body count in Syria approaches 900, according to activists on the ground, and the military siege continues in several Syrian cities, the privately owned Al-Watn newspaper quotes someone who quotes the Syrian president as saying that mistakes have been made by security forces during the two-month uprising.

*The paper praised Assad for "accepting all opinions with an open mind" during a meeting with a 12-member delegation of youth and business leaders from the Meedan district of Damascus. "A member of the meeting, Amr al-Sirwan, said that the meeting was very good and that during it, a wide range of topics was discussed candidly." Al-Sirwan goes on to cite Assad, who "assured the delegation that remedies will be found and will focus on what citizens really want, but within a studied, scientific, correct framework that focuses on studying reality and the source of the problem in order to treat its causes."

APOLOGY ATTEMPT #2
This cartoon published on the "We are all Khalid Said" Facebook page shows former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak standing on a pile of bullet-ridden bodies and saying, "I'm sorry." The writing on the side of the cartoon reads, "The former president asks for a ‘pardon."" The cartoon refers to reports in the Egyptian press that Mubarak is preparing a letter to ask the ruling military leadership for a full pardon. "No pardon – we want our rights," writes Salma Hagazy under the cartoon.

May 18, 2011

photo credit: illustir

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Society

Papá, Papá, On Repeat: Are We Men Ready For Fatherhood To Change Our Lives?

There is a moment on Saturday or Sunday, after having spent ten hours with my kids, that I get a little exasperated, I lose my patience. I find it hard to identify the emotion, I definitely feel some guilt too. I know that time alone with them improves our relationship... but I get bored! Yes, I feel bored. I want some time in the car for them to talk to each other while I can talk about the stupid things we adults talk about.

A baby builds stack of blocks

Ignacio Pereyra*

This is what a friend tells me. He tends to spend several weekends alone with his two children and prefers to make plans with other people instead of being alone with them. As I listened to him, I immediately remembered my long days with Lorenzo, my son, now three-and-a-half years old. I thought especially of the first two-and-a-half years of his life, when he hardly went to daycare (thanks, COVID!) and we’d spend the whole day together.

It also reminded me of a question I often ask myself in moments of boredom — which I had virtually ignored in my life before becoming a father: how willing are we men to let fatherhood change our lives?

It is clear that the routines and habits of a couple change completely when they have children, although we also know that this rarely happens equally.

With the arrival of a child, men continue to work as much or more than before, while women face a different reality: either they double their working day — maintaining a paid job but adding household and care tasks — or they are forced to abandon all or part of their paid work to devote themselves to caregiving.

In other words, "the arrival of a child tends to strengthen the role of economic provider in men (...), while women reinforce their role as caregivers," says an extensive Equimundo report on Latin America and the Caribbean, highlighting a trend that repeats itself in most Western countries.

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