"Slobo…Slobo….Sheriff Slobo…"


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Kamal V. sends us this story about Somali Muslim women having a tough time finding appropriate athletic wear. This strikes me as a magnificent market opportunity for enterprising fashion designers. How hard would it be to design light, linen-based sportswear that covers the entire body? Hop to it, people!

Oh look, we men haven’t been whining after all. It really does take women twice as long as us to get ready. (And if you’re a woman in my family, six times as long!) Criminy.

So the hospital in which I work has a VIP delegation from China visiting, as part of a health technology course sponsored by the WHO. I managed to finagle an appearance at their invitational reception last night, held in Ottawa’s national press club. The poor Chinese were terribly jetlagged and were smart enough not to imbibe too much alcohol. Thus it fell to me and my dipsomanic ways to not offend the bar staff. Hey, all that vino ain’t gonna drink itself! After much inebriation, I proudly absconded home with a hunk of cheese, ’cause I’m cheap like that.

Now, it occurs to me that embedded in our visitors’ party must be a PRC government handler. I have no idea how to identify this person, or even whether to expect this person to speak English. His or her role, after all, would be to watch for unpatriotic actions on the part of the Chinese, and not necessarily to concern him- or herself with what we Canadians are doing. Am I being paranoid? Maybe, but it’ a fun game. Handler or no, I wish our guests an excellent and productive stay in this country. China fascinates me, and though I was there 16 years ago, I would love to go back soon to see how it, like India, has revelled in dramatic social and economic change.

On another topic… With the recent death of possible war criminal Slobodan Milosevic, has come the mandatory arisal of the historical revisionists. Among them, of course, are these folks who refuse to admit that Milosevic did anything wrong. But there are also those revisionists who claim that it was NATO alone who saved the Yugoslav Muslims, while the rest of the Muslim world sat back and watched.

Let me be clear about a few things. First, I am not one of those people who claim that “war is never the answer.” War is most definitely sometimes the answer. In the case of the Rwandan genocide or WWII or the fracture of Yugoslavia in the 90s, military action was certainly the appropriate humanitarian and political response. And I give full credit to NATO, and in particular to the Clinton government, for intervening.

(Of course, at the time, the neocon set were complaining that Clinton intervened only in a wag-the-dog scenario, trying to distract attention from his Lewinskyisms. I find this incredible; since when did the neocons ever see a war they didn’t like? Oh yes, if it doesn’t result in monetary gain or if it in someway glorifies anyone named “Clinton” then it’s a bad war. My bad.)

The West certainly had a lot to gain from intervening in Yugoslavia, since to let that nation crumble would be to allow a festering open sore in the heart of Europe, in a location that historically has been the powderkeg for a few very large international conflicts, a World War among them. But this in no way detracts from the honour accrued by US, UN and NATO troops who stopped the on-going “ethnic cleansing”.

But this talk of how the Muslim world “did nothing” while their brethren were being slaughtered is just untrue. Well before the West took action, both Pakistan and Iran were smuggling weapons in to the Muslim resistance. And Mujahedeen from all parts of the Muslim world slipped into Yugoslavia to fight the Serbs. These actions weren’t well publicized, but I certainly recall reading about them as they happened, usually well past the 2nd or 3rd page in the newspaper.

I suspect that one of the problems is that Yugoslav Muslims weren’t necessarily Wahabists, otherwise one would assume that the Saudis would have at least sent them some cash.