A Diamond’s Eye View of the World

a multi-faceted look at the middle east, and the middle west

“Call me back”: Alfa’s $.09

Posted by adiamondinsunlight on November 3, 2009

This morning, H sent me the link to a new service that Alfa, or rather “Alfa Active Light“, is offering its pre-paid customers. Called “Ehkineh“, its basically a missed-call service for those with balances too low to send a SMS, who think that a missed call won’t send the right message.

It sounds like a joke: an April Fool’s Day gag, or a Qnion piece. But it isn’t – and that’s the beauty of it for me: its yet another workaround that helps people navigate the country’s many dysfunctional telecomm issues.

Here’s what Alfa has to say:

About the service

Out of credit or you have less than $0.09 in your balance, and your line is still in the active period? Now you can use “Ehkineh” a free service from Alfa, to send up to 40 Free predefined “Ehkineh” SMS per month asking an Alfa user, whether Prepaid or Postpaid, to call you back for urgent matters.

How to use the service

In a text message, compose the letter “E”, followed by the 8 digits Alfa number of the person you wish to send the SMS to, & send the SMS to 1339 for free.

Alfa in return, sends “Ehkineh from Alfa: Please Call me Back” request through SMS on your behalf to the person you are trying to reach.

Note: Once the SMS is sent, you will receive a confirmation message & the remaining number of free SMS you can benefit from.

Useful tips

  • You can only benefit from the service when you are out of credits or you have less than $0.09 in your balance, and your line is still active.
  • Ehkineh” Service is:
    • Automatically renewed and absolutely free of charge
    • Available exclusively for Alfa Prepaid subscribers,
    • Every month you get 40 Free new “Ehkineh” SMS, which you cannot accumulate from one month to another.
    • Not functional outside Lebanon. However, if the destination number is abroad and subscribed to Roam-In service, he will be able to receive the SMS.
  • Happy haka’ing, Alfa pre-paid users :).

    Posted in advertising, Arab world, economics, Lebanon | 2 Comments »

    Logorrhea, Mufti-Style

    Posted by adiamondinsunlight on November 2, 2009

    When it rains, it pours. and pours. and pours. and sometimes pours out so much that it starts to sound rabid. or maybe just very, very, very post-modern.

    When I clicked on Naharnet’s evening headline, Jouzo: Let the Lebanese Maronite and the Rest of Lebanon Go Back to Syria, what I hoped to find were a few mis-translation gems. It never crossed my mind that this headline might in fact actually be what Mufti “dare to spell differently” Muhammed al Jouzo said. But apparently it was.

    So. Let’s take this step by step.

    In a statement on Sunday, Lebanese Sunni Mufti of Mt. Lebanon Sheikh Muhammed al-Jouzo said that “Lebanon has turned into an Arab Babylonian tower with its folkloric leaderships and new parliamentary faces only fit for exhibitions and decorations while the losers turn into sectarian symbols standing on the government’s doors” with their conditions hindering the formation of the government.

    It must be hard to be the Sunni mufti of Mount Lebanon, an area historically low in Sunnis and high in other groups with elevated senses of their own importance. But sometimes getting up on a soapbox does more harm than good. Ancient Babylon was not Arab, and Lebanon’s leaders are not folkloric, unless “za’imi” now translates as “folkloric”. On the other hand, a MP campfire singalong would make for a priceless photo op. And I bet Sheikh Saad has a guitar.

    “There are politicians who move from right to left and vice versa while their slogans change with the stock exchange. One day you see him a Gulf Arab and another day a Persian Iranian when a third time he becomes an American and then again a Russian. One day you see him an enemy of Syria and then again Syria’s best friend and so on. There are no principles, no morale, no charters and the ‘unity’ presidency stands bewildered before the political “Sufi-sectarianism”; next to the allies or to the opposition!” he added.

    The Lebanese stock exchange changes basically only when Solidere does. The U.S. stock exchange, on the other hand, has been on a pleasant upward tick, Friday’s 250-point decline aside. Which bourse is he referring to here? And the only political figure who might possibly qualify for the bewildering khaliji-ajami-amerki-russi raqs is, of course, Yoda Bey. But even with him I’m skeptical. As for “Sufi-sectarianism” … hunh. I just don’t get it, but I’m trying. (Sunni Mevlevis twirl with hands up, Shii with hands down?)

    “There’s no civilized nation in the world like that of our Great Lebanon. The Lebanese people abhor this category. To those I ask you, what’s your true identity? Who robs the electricity money, the foreign, internal, sea and land telecommunications’ money? A nation that lives the culture of hate with leaders leading them to sectarian wars, hating each other; hatred in the name of religion, in the name of sectarianism and in the name of the parties,” he added.

    I’ve read this bit several times now, and I’m still wondering: which category is it that the Lebanese people abhor? Civilized? Nation? Great? Lebanon? And are they the “those” whom al Jouza addresses? (I think we all get the point of his question about robbery, but I don’t understand its connection to this bit about categories and abhorrence.) Condemning hate sounds more equitably distributed – “hating each other” – and hate is a good thing for a religious leader to condemn, even if his words are a bit vague.

    “Our educated youth is faced with only one exit, that of emigration. They have grown to hate their country and their nationality and have traveled in quest of finding another one keen to protect their integrity and protect them from the politicians and their resentment,” he continued.

    What? I’m not questioning the fact of emigration, but what other types of exits might there be? Mental? And as for “hating their country and their nationality” and journeying on some heroic quest to find another (a much nicer way of putting it than “trying for the American passport”), most overseas Lebanese I’ve met want nothing more than to return home.

    This is the Lebanon of today, so why don’t all the people emigrate and offer our country as a gift to Syria and their infidels? Did not the Maronite come from Syria, so why not go back to it and along with them all of Lebanon and not just those who have missed Syria?,” he concluded.

    Ah, the sectarian fun begins. Here’s where an Arabic original would be helpful (and here’s also where we reach and exceed the limits of back translation …), as well as a history lesson. By “infidels” does he mean the Alaouites who run Syria, or is suggesting that Syrians in general are irreligious? And what’s with the jibe at Maronites?

    Finally, and just as a minor point: historically speaking, the Lebanese who wanted Lebanon to go back to Syria were the Sunnis. And only the Sunnis.

    Posted in Americans, Arab world, Arabic, Beirut, Islam, Lebanon, religion, Syria, Uncategorized, words | 1 Comment »

    Israeli zen.

    Posted by adiamondinsunlight on November 1, 2009

    I have a love-hate relationship with the Jerusalem Post. Love the easy access to its archives; hate its stance on many issues. But this afternoon I’m simply impressed with its Naharnet-like ability to put even the most inane statements to good use.

    The Post‘s article about the ongoing two-and-a-half-way spitfest between the Lebanese government and/or Hizbullah, and the Israeli government, is interesting for several reasons. First, note how it describes Ziad Baroud:

    Israeli spying devices on foreign soil are a clear violation of international resolutions, Lebanese Interior Minister Ziad Baroud said during a visit to southern Lebanon on Sunday.

    Baroud, a rising Maronite politician who was appointed interior minister in
    2008 as a representative of Lebanese President Michel Suleiman’s bloc, expressed his “determination to continue to uncover espionage networks.”

    Interesting. I can’t find any mention of Baroud as a Maronite in the New York Times – in fact, the only result I get when I search for “Maronite politician” is a  1993 article that mentions Michel Edde. To me it says a great deal about Israeli political culture (and, perhaps, the lingering presence of the SLA) that the Post can assume that “Maronite politician” is a term that readers will understand.

    But what I really love about this article is the closing:

    The Lebanese interior minister’s remarks came a day after Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Ya’alon announced that Israel was gathering intelligence within Lebanon and would continue to do so until Hizbullah renounced its arms.

    “During a conflict with an enemy, one must gather intelligence,” he said, adding that the conflict would end once peace with Lebanon was achieved.

    The conflict will end when peace is achieved. Thank you, Mr. Ya’alon, for providing this Zen definition of the day.

    Posted in Arab world, Beirut, citizenship, Israel, Lebanon, Palestine, religion, Uncategorized, words | Leave a Comment »

    another day, another Naharnet mystery

    Posted by adiamondinsunlight on October 31, 2009

    To be fair, today’s Naharnet “What?” looks like more of a Lebanese government “What?” – and its one I would love to understand.

    Here’s the start of the article – this morning’s headliner, about the LAF’s recent arrest of a Fatah al-Islam figure (which in U.S. journalistic practice would be described as an alleged Fatah al-Islam figure) hiding out in the always-newsworthy Ain el Hilweh:

    The Lebanese army intelligence has reportedly arrested a top Fatah al-Islam official after luring him outside the southern Palestinian refugee camp of Ain el-Hilweh.

    As Safir and al-Liwaa dailies said Saturday that Fadi Ghassan Ibrahim, known as Sikamo, was arrested at dawn the day before. They said the man is very close to Fatah al-Islam leader Abdel Rahman Awad who has been out of sight since October 2008.

    Both newspapers described Ibrahim as a “hefty catch.”

    So much to love here. “Luring him out” – all I can think of are the lost-in-the-backwoods remedies for tapeworm. or, less graphically, my father’s many failed (but entertaining) attempts to get the family dog, Used Diamond, to go for his prescribed morning walk on days that UD considers less than temperate.

    As for calling the lured-out Ibrahim a catch … “hefty”? I’d like to know the Arabic word for this. And also, just FYI, some catches aren’t hefty: they’re just big-boned.

    But these bits, delightful morning teatime reading though they were, are not what caught my attention. What I would – sincerely – like to know more about is this:

    … Ibrahim, who is a Palestinian and was given the Lebanese citizenship in 1994, is also linked to the blast that targeted the patrol of the Irish contingent in Rmaileh, north of Sidon on January 8, 2008 …

    My understanding is that the only Palestinians with Lebanese citizenship are the Christian families given it in the 1950s (1960s?) to help delay questions like “shouldn’t we take a new census since our numbers seem to have shifted?”. Why was this man given Lebanese citizenship? And: How? What’s the process – in general – for granting citizenship to a non-Lebanese male?

    Posted in Arab world, Beirut, citizenship, Lebanon | 1 Comment »

    maps and mortality.

    Posted by adiamondinsunlight on October 30, 2009

    Excuse me, but there’s something wrong with your map, I was told the other day.

    Well, first of all: it wasn’t my map. I was speaking about the Middle East in the 1960s and 1970s with a group of students, and had “borrowed” the 1976 map accessible via the University of Texas at Austin’s Perry Castaneda online map collection – a tremendous resource for any map nerd.

    This is the map I was using (and yes, I fully credited UT Austin):

    middle_east_pol_1976Back to my corrector.

    What do you see that looks wrong? I asked, thinking: he must have seen the “U.S.S.R.” and missed the whole “The Middle East in 1976” caption. Annoying, but at least an easier question to address than, for example, What’s that diamond-shaped “Neutral Zone” between Iraq and Saudi Arabia? which to be quite frank is a mystery to me as well.

    But my questioner wasn’t vexed by the lingering presence of godless Communism. Nor was he troubled by small diamonds, neutral or otherwise.

    This map shows two Yemens, my corrector said.

    There were two Yemens, I said, but they have been united since 1990.

    There were two Yemens? another student asked. Really? asked a third.

    A roomful of eyes looked at me, shocked. And I looked back.

    I should have been happy that at least they all knew of Yemen, and could find it on a map. Instead, I just felt that it was time to stock up on a more powerful anti-wrinkle cream.

    Update

    Oscar Williamson, at Queen Mary University of London, wrote in with a much-appreciated explanation of the map’s little diamond:

    The diamond was the Iraq – Saudi Arabia Neutral Zone. Historically the main political unit in the area was based on tribe, rather than territory. Since the tribes moved about, fixed borders were impractical. However, the British really liked maps and in 1922 insisted that Ibn Saud define his northern border. He didn’t want casual inter tribe conflict to be interpreted as acts of war, so the Neutral Zone was created, with enough cartographical significance to satisfy the British and the practical irrelevance to prevent the unnecessary formalities of interstate wars over tribal slights.

    In 1981 Saudi and Iraq signed a treaty to divide the NZ between them, but the legality of this treaty is debatable. Treaties have to be lodged at a public depository, such as the United Nations Secretary General, but neither party did this, or indeed informed anyone of this change to their territories. The NZ officially ceased to exist when Saudi Arabia deposited this and other treaties with the UN in 1991, partly to stop CNN referring to bits of KSA as Iraq.

    Fascinating. And who knew that we would have CNN to thank for clearing up a messy little border issue?

    Posted in Arab world, maps, research, Texas, time, Yemen | 7 Comments »

    hummus: where satire and reality blur

    Posted by adiamondinsunlight on October 25, 2009

    Have you ever heard about someone reading an article from the Onion and mistaking it for a genuine news article?

    Today J sent me a genuine AP article whose headline made me wish the reverse were true:

    Lebanese to Israel: Hands off our hummus!

    Ah yes: another bizarre Lebanese food contest. Poor Zeina Karam, having to report on this.

    BEIRUT — Lebanese chefs prepared a massive plate of hummus weighing over two tons Saturday that broke a world record organizers said was previously held by Israel — a bid to reaffirm proprietorship over the popular Middle Eastern dip.

    “Come and fight for your bite, you know you’re right!” was the slogan for the event — part of a simmering war over regional cuisine between Lebanon and Israel, which have had tense political relations for decades.

    [I agree that having Israelis and pseudo-Israelis try to correct my pronunciation of “hummus” as “KHumus” – say it with extra phlegm for full effect – is beyond irritating. But claiming a dish by cooking an obscene amount of it? And being PROUD of this? And creating an embarrassingly lame slogan – in English, no less? Good God.]

    Lebanese businessmen accuse Israel of stealing a host of traditional Middle Eastern dishes, particularly hummus, and marketing them worldwide as Israeli.

    “Lebanon is trying to win a battle against Israel by registering this new Guinness World Record and telling the whole world that hummus is a Lebanese product, its part of our traditions,” said Fady Jreissati, vice president of operations at International Fairs and Promotions group, the event’s organizer.

    [Ah yes, the Guinness World Record: a world-renowned battleground.What, the UN Security Council wouldn’t hear their case?]

    Hummus — made from mashed chickpeas, sesame paste, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and garlic — has been eaten in the Middle East for centuries. Its exact origin is unknown, though it’s generally seen as an Arab dish.

    [Ooooooooooooh. An Arab dish. Zeina, did you warn your AP editors about the flow of Phoenician hate mail that’s about to start flooding them?]

    But it is also immensely popular in Israel — served in everyday meals and at many restaurants — and its popularity is growing around the globe.

    The issue of food copyright was raised last year by the head of Lebanon’s Association of Lebanese Industrialists, Fadi Abboud, when he announced plans to sue Israel to stop it from marketing hummus and other regional dishes as Israeli.

    But to do that, Lebanon must formally register the product as Lebanese. The association is still in the process of collecting documents and proof supporting its claim for that purpose.

    [I can’t wait until someone tries to register olives. We could witness a full-on Mediterranean war.]

    Lebanese industrialists cite, as an example, the lawsuit over feta cheese in which a European Union court ruled in 2002 the cheese must be made with Greek sheep and goats milk to bear the name feta. That ruling is only valid for products sold in the EU.

    Abboud says that process took seven years and realizes Lebanon’s fight with Israel is an uphill battle.

    Meanwhile, he says, events like Saturday’s serve to remind the world that hummus is not Israeli.

    “If we don’t tell Israel that enough is enough, and we don’t remind the world that it’s not true that hummus is an Israeli traditional dish, they (Israelis) will keep on marketing it as their own,” he said Saturday.

    [Someone needs to tell this man that in the United States, the hummus contest is not between Lebanon and Israel. Its not between Lebanon and anyone. Hummus here is sold by nationality as Greek or Israeli, and by region as Arab or Mediterranean. No Lebanon. No cedars. No national dish awareness whatsoever.]

    Some 300 chefs were involved in preparing Saturday’s massive ceramic plate of hummus in a huge tent set up in downtown Beirut. The white-uniformed chefs used 2,976 pounds (1,350 kilograms) of mashed chickpeas, 106 gallons (400 liters) of lemon juice and 57 pounds (26 kilograms) of salt to make the dish, weighing 4,532 pounds (2,056 kilograms).

    It was not clear what the former Israeli record was, and organizers gave conflicting reports on when it was made.

    But chefs and visitors broke into cheers and applause when a representative from the Guinness Book of World Records presented Abboud with a certificate verifying Lebanon had broken the previous record. The plate was then decorated with the red, green and white Lebanese flag.

    A similar attempt to set a new world record will be held Sunday for the largest serving of tabbouleh, a salad made of chopped parsley and tomatoes, that Lebanon also claims as its own.

    *Sigh*. So much food in one short weekend. But again, a bit misguided. Before Lebanon can claim tabbouleh, it needs to take it back from all the U.S. cooks who think of it as a bulgur-based side dish.

    Since I’m now in mourning at missing my chance to attend an all-you-can-eat tabbouleh fest, I’ll let my friend B have the last word. B found Al-Manar’s take on the hummus-a-thon, which described it as “mark[ing] a new victory on Israel” and noted that “organizers have hailed this event as “a patriotic event of national scale”.”

    Finally, B noted, Mughniyeh is at peace.

    Posted in advertising, Arab world, food, friends, Israel, Lebanon | 8 Comments »

    Syria’s fashion police

    Posted by adiamondinsunlight on October 24, 2009

    I know: today was meant to be installment number two in Diamond’s Origins of Jihad series. But I can never resist a fashion update. This article, which focuses on Syrian traffic police and their new uniforms, comes from the UK’s Institute for War and Peace Reporting.

    Changing uniforms isn’t on the same level as changing policy. But clothing is more important than many people imagine – and breaking the connection between ‘police’ and ‘military’ that seems to plague so many Middle Eastern countries is an important step.

    (And who doesn’t love seeing men in crisp white shirts?)

    In an attempt to make some of Syria’s police look less like soldiers, the government has decided to change traffic policemen’s uniforms from military olive green to more civilian white and grey shades.

    However, many critics of the authorities have dismissed the move as cosmetic, with some asserting that it comes amid growing state repression.

    [I do think that the state is and has been cracking down – but that doesn’t mean that the decision to change these uniforms was meant to either make up for that or distract people from increasingly repressive measures in other spheres.]

    The decision on the change of uniforms was implemented in Damascus in September, with the rest of the country due to follow later. It included also the uniforms of customs officers at Damascus international airport and on the borders with Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey.

    [Oh, the border officials. I’m not sure that uniforms are enough here, but surely anything that might improve their attitudes is worth a go.]

    The new outfits are composed of grey pants, a white shirt with yellow shoulder patches and black belt and shoes.

    [Vogue agrees: yellow is in this season! Good choice, Syria.]

    It is the latest in a series of moves in recent years to shake off the image of Syria’s socialist, militarised society.

    Four years ago, the authorities substituted military green school uniforms with other colours like grey, dark blue and off-white depending on the pupils’ grades.

    Mandatory military service was reduced to one and a half years from two years in another move in the same direction.

    [I would say that these are two very important changes. Children and adults both take cues from their uniforms, and primary school should not feel like basic training. And reducing the mandatory military service might be a way to start gently downsizing the overweight Syrian military. Might be, says the optimist, but even so.]

    The government appears to be conveying an image that it is moving away from the militarisation of society, said a lawyer living in Damascus who also requested anonymity.

    In schools, officials have toned down the practice of conditioning pupils not to be concerned with personal issues but to focus on broader regional topics like the liberation of Palestine and the struggle for Arab unity, which were slogans that students had to repeat every day, he said.

    In a way, students are now treated less like soldiers and more like just students, he added.

    An Arabic language schoolteacher from Damascus who also asked to remain anonymous said that since the new school uniforms took effect, students’ behaviour had improved, especially that of high school students. They had become “more polite”, he said.

    [Hugely important – not the politeness, but the evolving attitudes toward students and what they should be learning.]

    Similarly, the move to modify the uniforms of policemen and customs officers comes as part of a government plan to change the way people view civil servants.

    Mona al-Ahmad, a journalist who works for a Syrian website and usually reports on social issues, said the decision was made by the new interior minister, Said Samour, in an effort to separate officials in charge of maintaining security from those tasked with serving the Syrian people.

    The authorities have retrained officials in charge of traffic by instructing them on how to address citizens and deal with them in an appropriate way, she said.

    [The idea of service – as in, civil service, civil servant, serving the nation, serving at the pleasure of the people, etc., etc. – would be GREAT. And once Syria gets it down, could they please send a delegation to Lebanon?]

    Several websites hailed the decision. The pro-government website Damas Post said the new uniform “resembles that of French traffic police”.

    [Oh for heaven’s sake.]

    But many critics remain sceptical that changing the appearance of some police officers would solve core problems.

    Some anonymous web commentators said that it was more important to stop traffic policemen from seeking and taking bribes.

    Others said that the focus should not be on fashion but on the creation of a state where officials respect institutions and laws.

    [Yes, but I would suggest that the two go hand in hand. Fashion that emphasizes service rather than state power might be a real help in this process.]

    It is a far-fetched dream to expect Syria to become a really civilian-oriented country, said a Damascus-based civil rights activist, who preferred not to be named.

    He argued that the tight security grip on political dissent along with the intimidation and imprisonment of intellectuals and journalists was increasing.

    [Ouch. Clearly, the state is treating dissidents more harshly. But describing Syria’s capacity for change as a “far-fetched dream” sounds like this man has written off his fellow citizens entirely.]

    Posted in Arab world, clothing, fashion, Syria | Leave a Comment »

    the origins of jihad, New Yorker edition

    Posted by adiamondinsunlight on October 23, 2009

    I’m on a media kick these days – and totally addicted to online newspaper and magazine archives. One thing that interests me is the way that certain terms come into vogue, and how the meanings that attach to them change over time.

    So today I took a peek at the New Yorker‘s archives, curious to see when the word “jihad” first appeared, and in what context.

    The New Yorker‘s archives stretch back to 1925, but the first mention of the word “jihad” does not appear until 1985, in the July 8 edition of John Newhouse’s “Diplomatic Round”. Titled “A Freemasonry of Terrorism”, the multi-page article uses the word “jihad” four times – but only as part of the group name “Islamic Jihad”, and not as a religious concept or a political strategy.

    Terms that today might be associated with jihad, such as “martyrdom”, are used, but there is nothing in this article about terrorists “advocating jihad” or “espousing jihad” or “belief in jihad”.

    The next article to use the term is Jane Kramer’s April 14, 1986 “Letter from Europe”. Kramer also uses “jihad” only as part of “Islamic Jihad”. (After introducing the group, she refers to them as “the jihad” in a way that reminds me of how some journalists today talk about “the hizb”. I find this approach bizarre, but what do I know?) Nor does this start much of a trend: the word “jihad” does not appear again until a July 1990 piece on Egypt, where it is again used as the name of a group (“Jihad”).

    However, by November 1995, the situation appeared to be changing. A piece by Mary Anne Weaver on “The Annals of Covert Action”, titled “The Stranger”, used the term as follows:

    “… the C.I.A.-sponsored “jihad”, or holy war, against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan …”.

    In other words, “jihad” now appeared as a term of its own, but required a definitional gloss for readers.

    By July 1998, the word had become detached not only from group names, but also from the need for definition: a feature on the failure Prince Charles’ campaign for traditional building styles described him as on “a jihad against modern architecture”.

    I don’t have any sweeping conclusions to offer about this – I just find it interesting. Next up: “jihad” in the New York Times, where its use as noun and metaphor has a much longer history.

    Posted in internet, media, research, words | Leave a Comment »

    ones & zeros, waheds & sifrs

    Posted by adiamondinsunlight on October 23, 2009

    A friend of mine works as a technology journalist, and she just gave a big thumbs up to the newly launched Windows 7. I’m happy that the new system seems to be such a hit, although I doubt that I will personally get to try it out anytime soon. I use a Mac at home, and my work PC snidely reminds me that I “do not have Administrator privileges!” every time I try to approve even the most innocuous update.

    However, I’m not writing this post simply for the chance to whine about my dis-empowerment. I’m writing because I’m happy to report that Windows 7 is also launching in Arabic – not a year from now, not six months from now, not whenever the programmers remember that there are indeed people in the world who do not use Roman script, but in two weeks. (You can see the news on PC Mag‘s website, here.) Nor is this a last-minute line extension, either: I remember seeing news about the availability of a beta version last winter.

    I think this reflects a very healthy evolution in computing culture. After all, computers think in 0s and 1s. They don’t care whether programs use script that reads left to right or right to left – but historically, programs have been biased towards the former, meaning that Arabic script often looks buggy.

    Actually, Arabic still usually looks buggy on my Mac – not that I plan to go back to a home PC anytime soon. But for those of you who enjoy living in the PC world, you might check out Microsoft’s dedicated Arabic product and support site, here.

    Posted in Arab world, Arabic | Leave a Comment »

    window-shopping the want ads

    Posted by adiamondinsunlight on October 21, 2009

    Most days I love my current job – just like I love each and every pair of shoes in my closet. But just like with my beloved shoes, I’m always on the lookout for a new pair of heels – er, job – to love.

    Hence I eagerly scroll through the job postings that AME Info sends my way. I’ve never seen a job that I would actually 1) qualify for and 2) be interested in, but I do love reading the descriptions.

    The latest featured position – that of general manager of a Saudi Arabian radio station – caught my eye at once:

    Our Client in KSA is urgently looking for a General Manager for their radio station. The general manager would be reporting directly to the CEO of the Media Group. Salary will not be a bar for the right candidate.

    “Salary will not be a bar for the right candidate”? Since when did radio become such a lucrative field?

    At least with that job, the applicant knows the industry. Here’s a more mysterious want ad:

    CEO
    Location : Kabul – Afghanistan
    Salary:  $100,000 – $150,000 per year
    Applicants should have over 15 years experience and be prepared to be based in Afghanistan. This is a challenging yet rewarding role for a senior candidate.

    “Challenging yet rewarding” – I bet. Challenge number one: identifying just what you will be the CEO of.

    Finally, I took a peek at all the jobs currently listed with a “Lebanon” location. There were three:

    Finance Analyst – Dubai

    Senior Business Planning Analyst – Dubai

    Human Resources Manager – Lebanon.

    Um. Just to recap: I chose the “narrow by location” option and selected “Lebanon”. Guess the sour economy hasn’t soured the Lebanese on the Emirati exodus.

    Posted in advertising, Afghanistan, Arab world, Dubai, economics, Lebanon, radio | Leave a Comment »