March 11th, 2006

Chris Keeley

A provocative interview on Al Jazeera has turned Wafa Sultan, a Syrian-American psychiatrist, into a

J. Emilio Flores for The New York Times

“I have no choice. I am questioning every single teaching of our holy book.”

The Saturday Profile
A provocative interview on Al Jazeera has turned Wafa Sultan, a Syrian-American psychiatrist, into an international sensation

March 11, 2006
The Saturday Profile

For Muslim Who Says Violence Destroys Islam, Violent Threats

LOS ANGELES, March 10 — Three weeks ago, Dr. Wafa Sultan was a largely unknown Syrian-American psychiatrist living outside Los Angeles, nursing a deep anger and despair about her fellow Muslims.

Today, thanks to an unusually blunt and provocative interview on Al Jazeera television on Feb. 21, she is an international sensation, hailed as a fresh voice of reason by some, and by others as a heretic and infidel who deserves to die.

In the interview, which has been viewed on the Internet more than a million times and has reached the e-mail of hundreds of thousands around the world, Dr. Sultan bitterly criticized the Muslim clerics, holy warriors and political leaders who she believes have distorted the teachings of Muhammad and the Koran for 14 centuries.

She said the world's Muslims, whom she compares unfavorably with the Jews, have descended into a vortex of self-pity and violence.

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Chris Keeley

forgive the people who did these things to us," he said. "But I want their help in preventing these

Shawn Baldwin for The New York Times

Ali Shalal Qaissi in Amman, Jordan, recently with a picture of himself standing atop a box and attached to electrical wires in Abu Ghraib.

Symbol of Abu Ghraib Seeks to Spare Others His Nightmare

AMMAN, Jordan, March 8 — Almost two years later, Ali Shalal Qaissi's wounds are still raw.

There is the mangled hand, an old injury that became infected by the shackles chafing his skin. There is the slight limp, made worse by days tied in uncomfortable positions. And most of all, there are the nightmares of his nearly six-month ordeal at Abu Ghraib prison in 2003 and 2004.

Mr. Qaissi, 43, was prisoner 151716 of Cellblock 1A. The picture of him standing hooded atop a cardboard box, attached to electrical wires with his arms stretched wide in an eerily prophetic pose, became the indelible symbol of the torture at Abu Ghraib, west of Baghdad. [The American military said Thursday that it would abandon the prison and turn it over to the Iraqi government.]

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Chris Keeley

Enough of the D.C. Dems

Published in the March 2006 issue of The Progressive
Enough of the D.C. Dems
by Molly Ivins

Mah fellow progressives, now is the time for all good men and women to come to the aid of the party. I don’t know about you, but I have had it with the D.C. Democrats, had it with the DLC Democrats, had it with every calculating, equivocating, triangulating, straddling, hair-splitting son of a bitch up there, and that includes Hillary Rodham Clinton.

I will not be supporting Senator Clinton because: a) she has no clear stand on the war and b) Terri Schiavo and flag-burning are not issues where you reach out to the other side and try to split the difference. You want to talk about lowering abortion rates through cooperation on sex education and contraception, fine, but don’t jack with stuff that is pure rightwing firewater.

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Chris Keeley

the band played a lot of old songs on Thursday — "Hot 'Lanta," "Revival," a short "Midnight Rider,"

Chang W. Lee/The New York Times

Warren Haynes performing Thursday night.

Rock Review | Allman Brothers Band

Rite of Spring, Upper West Side Version: Allmans Are Back

The Allman Brothers Band started their annual spring ritual on Thursday night, with the first of 14 concerts at the Beacon Theater. That many shows, spread out over three weeks in a midsize theater, means that the audience is spared the indignity of piling inside an arena in New Jersey. It also means that the stage can become a lab, with different guests and different approaches to second-set jams.

Pop music is now a giant database of electronic transactions. Three weeks, at this point, is an epoch: long enough that one can become gradually aware that the Allmans are in town. It's like the old model of cultural diffusion. You read about it or hear it on the radio. You see it on the theater marquee when you go by in a bus. It becomes one of the things that people talk about when they don't have much to say. It just seeps into consciousness. Thanks to the centralization of the concert business, long bookings like this are rare in live pop. Even in jazz, for that matter, which is the music that the blues-rock Allmans, in a generalized way, take some of their cues from.

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