Economics and the mid-life crisis have much in common: Both dwell on foregone opportunities

C'est la vie; c'est la guerre; c'est la pomme de terre . . . . . . . . . . . . . email: jpalmer at uwo dot ca

. . . . . . . . . . .Richard Posner should be awarded the next Nobel Prize in Economics . . . . . . . . . . . .

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

New Opera:
The Barber of Baghdad

Whether these threats and attacks are inspired by Muslim fundamentalism or by secular determination to unsettle Iraqi society, they exemplify how difficult it is to create and maintain freedom in any society.

From the L.A. Times (registration required):

In what some describe as a Taliban-like effort to impose a militant Islamic aesthetic, extremists have been warning Iraqi barbers not to violate strict Islamic teachings by trimming or removing men's beards.

Giving Western-style haircuts or removing hair in an "effeminate" manner, they say, are crimes punishable by death. "They went to all the barbers," said one threatened hairstylist, Ali Mahmood, 28. "They told them not to shave beards. They told them no sideburns. No American styles. They told them none of this or they would die."

Since the threats began a little more than a month ago, at least eight barbers have been killed, and a dozen shops have been bombed, colleagues and police say....

Mahmood, the 28-year-old who was threatened, has quit cutting
hair after eight years and now works as an armed bodyguard for Western clients. He considers his new job less dangerous than cutting hair.

I might be willing to risk my life for some things, but I really doubt if I would do so to be a barber. Instead, I, too, would probably change professions, possibly to become a freedom-fighter.
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