Monday, April 28, 2008

One month to go, recycling in slums, suicide bombers, and the vanishing act

Let's come straight to the point: One month from now, on May 27th, is my defense! So I guess there will be a bit of a lull on this blog for some time, and my posts will become [more] intermittent -- something else needs my writing skills :).

For today, I give you this NPR piece about a slum in Cairo that is leading the charge in recycling and renewable energy.

Another story from the Mediterranean coast is of a small town in Libya which is providing a disproportionately high number of suicide bombers to Iraq. What makes a youth want to kill him/herself and be a martyr? We still don't know what, but this article sure gives a very interesting perspective on the human side of it all.
It was easy to see why Awad's father was keeping an eye on his youngest son, who displayed a mischievous wit. When I asked whether his brother Abdelhakim had any previous military training, Awad replied, "No training at all. He didn't even have muscles." When I asked Awad what his brother looked like, Mustafa Okaly's youngest child stared at me and then shot back: "He looked like you."

The Okalys said they haven't heard from Abdelhakim for more than a year, nor have they received a call telling them that he has been killed. Before I left, Mustafa made me an offer. He must have seen me as something of a conduit to a distant American world he had little access to. The desperate father leaned in close and insisted, a little conspiratorially, that he would give me a camel if I could find some way to bring his son home.

And finally, in honor of my disappearing act, I give you this David Copperfield illusion. Simply Brilliant!

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