Today's Story Line

Arab and Western societies often share profoundly different family values and cultural traditions, particularly when it comes to gender roles. In some respects, the rights of women in many Arab nations are not far from the rights - and prevailing attitudes - seen by women in America more than a century ago. But those who advocate change in places such as Kuwait, Lebanon, and Jordan aren't trying to Westernize their cultures. Most are searching for ways to participate more fully and freely in their societies within an Islamic context. It's not an easy goal, but a four-part series that begins today (page 1) will explore their efforts.

When the price of gasoline climbed over $2 per gallon this spring in the United States, there were yelps of pocketbook pain and short-lived calls for a rollback of gas taxes. Imagine how British commuters must feel with gasoline prices now topping $6 a gallon - and about $5 of that going into government coffers? A tax rebellion is gaining speed.

David Clark Scott World editor


WOULD YOU WANT YOUR DAUGHTER...? The Monitor's Ilene Prusher found that while reporting today's series on Arab women, she was herself often asked pointed questions. For example, she asked Kuwaiti men about women wanting the right to participate in politics. Several men responded by noting that the candidates have to make public details of their lives, such as education, occupation, and civic activities. Ilene was earnestly asked: "Do you think your father or brother would like it if those details about you were printed in the newspaper?"

Ilene was tempted to answer that when her school achievements made the local paper, her dad proudly put them on the family's refrigerator door. But as a journalist, she decided to consider such questions as rhetorical because answering them honestly would simply widen the distance between herself - a foreigner and a woman - and her interviewee. "The very idea of sharing private details of a wife's or daughter's life is considered horrible by many men. And it shows how different the cultural perspective is there," says Ilene.


CRICKET AS CONFLICT RESOLUTION: Two sides that normally meet on a Kashmir battlefield met on a cricket field Friday. Members of the Indian Army and the Hizbul Mujahideen held a friendly match in the frontier village of Khipora of Handwara. A Hizbul commander described it as a "confidence-building measure," according to the Press Trust of India news agency. The winner? Hizbul Mujahideen by 24 runs.

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