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by Mel Weiss

I-Countries

It is a well-publicized time for your country to be in the news, if it begins with “i” and is located in the Middle East. (My apologies to India, Indonesia, Iraq, Iceland and Ireland. There is much of note going on in your interesting sovereign states as well, but I’m pressed for time.)

I think it goes without saying that the incredible and still very much unfolding series of events in Iran are very much on everyone’s mind. (For an amazing example of this “citizen journalism” everyone’s talking about, read this intense reporting from Saturday’s protests.) There has been a gratifying amount of coverage about how—and how much—this revolution will change the roles women can play in Iranian society. If you’re looking for a good distillation, I’d recommend Roya Hakakian’s recent interview. Hakakian, a Jewish Iranian who’s been covering Iranian-American issues for a variety of sources for some time, points out that the more Iranian men have and continue to understand their rights as intertwined with those of Iranian women, the stronger the movement will be.

Meanwhile, news cycles march on everywhere. The State Department released a report on human trafficking around the globe; unfortunately, not much has improved in Israel since visited the issue a few years ago. Israel remains a tier-two country, and the report singles out the lack of victim services (shelter, medical, psychological, etc.) as the most pressing need. You can download the report here. Meanwhile, New York’s junior senator is proposing a plan to get infertility treatments much more widely covered by insurance policies, much as they are in Israel. (Having learned so much about the sometimes debilitating side-effects of hyper pro-natalism from Barbara Gingold, I’m interested in seeing where this leads. New York is as totally broke as any other state, of course, so this may all lead nowhere quite quickly.)

While the Mac folks develop the inevitable iCountry app (ten points to the person who best describes such a thing), the actual I-countries keep us on our toes.

–Mel Weiss

© 2011 Lilith Magazine