I met Karen AbuZayd, the head of UNRWA, when she was sitting in the basement dining room of a trendy London hotel beside a mirror on which an artist has written in gold letters: "this is shit."It is understandable that Mrs AbuZayd, whose UN agency looks after the welfare of Palestinian refugees, did not wish to be photographed in front of the art work. But the message on the mirror aptly sums up the dramatic humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip, as she was the first to point out.
The Israeli blockade has caused an ever worsening crisis for the 1.5m Palestinians in Gaza since it was imposed after the election of Hamas in January 2006. Israel has refused to lift the blockade for as long as the Palestinian militants’ rockets come over the fence.
The 55-year old politician met this with a disapproving glance, before hastening to add: "I was there before Obama trying to do the same thing." Ouch.
Imran Khan is in London to talk to the International Institute of Strategic Studies about the "civil war" in Pakistan and his campaign for democracy. His own strategy consists of appealing to the younger generation of Pakistanis, both at home and abroad, to break out of the feudal mould of politics-as-usual. He believes that Pakistanis who have studied or worked in the UK or Middle East could shake things up if they get involved in politics back home. It could prove controversial, but he says that there are 6 million Pakistanis outside the country with the skills to make a difference. He'll be talking to students at University College London next Saturday.
Did she, however, mention her husband's affair in her article for the Journal du Dimanche, which ran three pages on the IMF scandal today? No, she did not. She did, however, mention it in her blog, in which she says that "this one night stand is now behind us." Should she not have been more up front about her relationship with DSK in the pages of the newspaper? Or should she be writing at all from Washington for risk of compromising her journalistic integrity while married to the head of the IMF? Surely there is a case to answer.
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