Punch the Sun

A Persian Amsterdammer Blogs.

Monday, 23 January 2012

moving blogs

Dear friends,

I'm not writing in this blog for a while. The Mezrab has just started its own blog, and I think it's best to focus my attention there. Besides, most of what I would write I could write there anyway.

here's the address:


Friday, 16 December 2011

Christopher Hitchens R.I.P.

Gone is Christopher Hitchens. A great man. Though I didn't agree with him a some of the time, few people are as eloquent in stating the argument for atheism:

Nice write up on Salon.com:

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

More interesting developments in the region.

Here's some more interesting developments in the region:

4 days ago Iphones got banned in Syria:

Academics at Saudi-Arabia's highest Religious Council ruled that allowing women to drive in the country will eliminate the existence of virgins within 10 years:

In an unprecedented move Turkey's Prime Minister apologizes for the killing of almost 14.000 Alevi Kurds. Of course this opens a huge can of worms in a country that refuses to deal with many dark episodes in its past. Great write up in the IBTimes:

Egypt voter turn-out was 52 percent rather than 62 percent:

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Syria on the brink of civil war?

That seems to be what the stars are hinting at.

Now, before we do some analysis of our own, here's some links to articles to get you up to speed:

- Al Jazeera has a report about the Free Syrian Army getting stronger and better organized:

- An unnamed Libyan source claims this army will be partly trained and armed by them. Of course, unnamed Libyan sources have often made unsubstantiated claims in the past months, so read this with a grain of salt. If true though, it will definitely add some spice to a volatile situation:

- James Miller makes a case for a no-fly zone over at Enduring America:

For more information about current events in Syria, either visit the Syria Live-Blog of Al Jazeera:

Or the well informed blog of Joshua Landis:

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Welcome back dear friend...

... it's been such a while that I was busy with other projects, that I couldn't bring myself to even write down random thoughts and observations about what occupies my mind. Too bad really, as the focus of this blog, human rights and the middle-east, is an issue that needs a lot of thinking, analyzing and writing these days.

One issue is that of Aliaa al Mahdy, the Egyptian blogger who posted a picture of herself on her blog: http://arebelsdiary.blogspot.com/?zx=7722a5512dce8618

The result was hundreds of thousands of hits, thousands of comments (in favor and against her action) and a lively debate about the position of women in Egyptian society. Let me state here that I am a fan of Aliaa, and am impressed by her bravery (she posts with her own name, always, risking her life and more). However, what interests me is if the discussion is had within Egyptian society, or if it's only feminists outside of Egypt supporting her and advocating women's rights based on this action?

For instance, how will this Israeli women's initiative help the discussion in Egypt? http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4150344,00.html

Or the hundreds of Iranian women for that matter, who've spoken up in support, and in some cases have even shed their clothes. At any rate, I want to hear about Egyptian women! Let's see if we can find a few.

Conservative elements in the revolution are quick to brush her aside as a plot to derail the revolution. Here's an article in which it's claimed even the April 6th Youth movement denies such a person could ever be part of their revolution: http://www.albawaba.com/editorchoice/naked-blogger-egypt-aliaa-ostracized-401455

Anyway, now you know who she is and why you should follow developments around this story. I'll post more as the story develops.

PS. You'll be happy to know that my friend Arturo (de)Simone is opening an exhibition of his work in the Mezrab. In the exhibition he features two drawings of Aliaa. Two other drawings of her made by Arturo are currently up on her blog, so go check it out.

Saturday, 13 August 2011

More Syrian linkage

A great report by a (Syrian) traveler writing his personal observations in Syria.


taken from the blog that in itself is a wealth of information:


Cities rally for and agains Assad


Friday, 12 August 2011

Some Syrian links

Radio Zamaneh interviews a Syrian activist (Persian):


A European blogger updates us on Syria (English):


New York Times talkes about Iraq supporting Syria's Assad regime: