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February 16, 2006


Prup (aka Jim Benton)

If MEMRI (Special Dispatch 1094) and Deborah Lipstadt


are right, bird flu is causing an interesting, if unpleasant side effect in Syria, raging paranoia -- claiming it is an Israeli biological weapon. I am not able to check down the original article, nor could I read it if I were, but I was wondering if you can and if so what comment you would wish to make.


Its funny you bring up bread riots, when reading that line I immediately thought of the long bread lines in the last days of the USSR. But what is the possibility that we will see that in Damascus.


OK, I hope you're right in this, but a couple of thoughts from someone very far from the situation.

Why is there a popular boycott of the poultry industry? Is it just a response to H5N1, or is it something else I haven't heard of?

18 million people live in Syria, and 2 million work in the poultry industry? Wow.


Jim, these kind of reports are all too common in our press, sorry to say.

KD, economic conditions are getting tougher and tougher by the day for many people in Syria where more than 40% live under the poverty line, according to the recent statistics supplied by the government itself.

Ainta, 2 million is the number provided by the report I read. In a country where the majority of the people work in farming and related services, the number may not too far fetched, still, I cannot verify the accuracy of this figure at this stage.


Amar, I don't disbelieve the number, it just took me by surprise. It speaks to the poverty - if there are that many people working with chickens, most are working with very, very small numbers - back yard flocks.

It also suggests that revolution may be harder - you have to have spare time to revolt. If you're just barely avoiding starvation, you don't have the extra time. If poverty caused revolution, Kim Jong Ill and Castro wouldn't still in power.


You make an excellent point Ainta. "Lucky" for us, we also have a 40% joblessness rate with most of the jobless being young men in their early 20s. I am not suggesting that these people are sitting around and doing nothing, and that they are not doing odd jobs here and there to make a living, thus confirming your point. Still, there are plenty of young people with little to do at any given moment to fuel a revolution, peaceful or otherwise. I hope despairingly for the former, and have a plenty of reasons to expect and fear the latter.


(Sarcastic)Since Syrian laborers are having a hard time with Lebanon, you think they could get some work in Tehran.

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