the following was written by a friend of mine, however I'm sure that some of you can relate to this, and have had similar conversations.
[At the airport talking to a Customs Officer]
Officer: what is your reason for coming to Cancun?
Girl: Visiting my friend
Officer: where does she live?
Girl: in Massachusetts
Officer: so why are you HERE?
Girl: We are on summer break, so we're meeting here
Officer: But where do you live?
Officer: So why does your permanent address say Toronto?
Girl: My mom lives there.
Officer: Then where did you meet your friend who you are visiting?
Girl: In Tunisia
Officer: ? What were you doing there?
Officer: Is that where you're from?
Girl: No. I just lived there. I'm from Rwanda Uganda and Congo.
Officer: How can you be from 3 places? Ok, where were you born?
Girl: Ivory Coast.
Officer: .....ok fine, never mind, just.... go.
KUWAIT: What makes Mudi Al-Essa, Lulwa Al-Qitami and Nabeela Al-Mulla in common? They are Kuwaiti women born on different years; work in their respective fields; grown in different local families, but their exemplary works were equally commended by the Nobel Peace Prize Association for their contribution to world peace. They were honoured along with other women across the world in a book titled '1,000 Peace Women Across the Globe'.
Yesterday, a copy of hardbound book was presented to one of its recipients Mudi Al-Essa by Bahraini author Dr Muhammad Al-Zekri. The book was authored by dozens of writers from all over the world, who selected out best women to represent their countries and 'could be' the next Nobel Peace Prize winners.
"I particularly chose these three women from Kuwait for their exemplary work. It was hardly earned job on their parts considering times and circumstances, but they managed to face the challenge and successfully reached their goal in life. They are Kuwaiti women deserved to be posted in the 1,000 peace women around the world. People should be inspired with their experiences and examples," author Al-Zekri said.
Speaking exclusively with the Kuwait Times, Al-Zekri, said women role in world peace are just so important to be recognised. "When I observe war, the first victims were women and children. They are abused. If their rights are protected by some women like them, there will be no more abuses to take place anywhere," the author added. Al-Zekri who recently earned Master PhD in cultural anthropology from Exeter University in England, noted that for being counted in the 1,000 peace women, it was not necessary that they fought against actual battle or wars. Sometimes, they are people fighting for cultural and social change.
Al-Essa is a well-known woman in Kuwait who initiated the foundation of Kuwait Society for the Handicapped in 1962. The book recorded, she started social works with her father way back when she was nine years old. She was 28, when she volunteered herself to work with the Jordanian Arab Child Society and continue to work helping the handicapped people and needy. In fact her charitable organization here has managed to help thousands of children, women and men in Kuwait, India, Jordan, Lebanon, Sudan and Pakistan.
Lulwa Al-Qitami, on the other hand, was back in Kuwait in 1960s after her studies in the United Kingdom vowing to improve the social, economic, educational status of Kuwaiti women, which she eventually achieved. In 1963, she co-founded 'The Women's Cultural and Social Society' which gradually changed the anti-women culture and ended the marginalisation of Kuwaiti women's social role.
Nabeela Abdulla Al-Mulla is currently the permanent ambassador of Kuwait to the United Nations. As the first Kuwaiti woman to represent the country in the world body, Nabeela's works has been greatly admired by many-not just in Kuwait but also as far as Austria, Botswana, Hungary, Mauritius, Namibia, Slovakia, South Africa, Slovenia and Zimbabwe. She was the chairwoman of the Board of the International Atomic Energy Agency between 2002 and 2003. She also works for the arms control and regional security in the Middle East and with the issues of Kuwait's prisoners of war.
Darfur Refugees seek Israeli home
By Martin Patience
BBC News, Jerusalem
About 300 Sudanese have sought sanctuary in Israel
Three years ago, David, a 26-year-old corn farmer, fled his burning village in the Darfur region of Sudan.
Janjaweed - Arab militiamen loyal to the Khartoum government - rode into the village on horseback armed with machineguns and began killing the inhabitants.
They torched his family home. "The fire ate my father," said David. His brother was also killed in the attack.
David escaped to Egypt but was afraid that the authorities would send him back to Sudan.
He then took the extraordinary step of paying Bedouin smugglers to take him to Israel.
"I knew they [Israelis] would help as they would understand," said David, standing outside Jerusalem's Holocaust Memorial, where a group of 10 Sudanese refugees visited this week.
"I saw all the pictures of these people suffering [Jews in Europe during World War II] and it reminded me of my village."
David is one of about 300 Sudanese refugees who have made the journey from a country in the grip of what has been called "genocide", to a country that was created after the Jewish Holocaust in Europe.
But because Israel considers Sudan to be an enemy state its "enemy infiltration" law means that it cannot offer asylum to anyone from a country that does not recognise the Jewish state.
We cannot stand by as refugees from genocide in Darfur are knocking on our doors.
Yad Vashem chairman Avner Shalev
The refugees will only give their first names in fear of reprisals if they ever returned to their homeland.
Initially, all the refugees that crossed the border in the last few years were placed in detention centres awaiting their fate from the Israeli judiciary.
Like David, about a 100 of the refugees have been placed in Kibbutzim - Israeli collective farms - around the country.
Of the 300 Sudanese refugees, about 70 are from Darfur and the rest from the north or south of the country.
Sudan's north-south civil war has lasted more than two decades and made more than four million people homeless. The fighting in Darfur has created more two million refugees.
The utmost priority is pressing the government to grant full rights to these refugees
Anat Ben Dor, attorney
Here in Israel, it is particularly the fate of the Darfur refugees - where over 200,000 people have been killed in the region in what US President George W Bush has called genocide - that has sparked a degree of moral soul-searching.
When the group of refugees gathered at Yad Vashem chairman Avner Shalev told them, "As Jews, who have the memory of the Shoah embedded within us, we cannot stand by as refugees from genocide in Darfur are knocking on our doors.
"The memory of the past, and the Jewish values that underpin our existence, command us to humanitarian solidarity with the persecuted."
An umbrella organisation, The Committee for Advancement of Refugees from Darfur, has been established to fight for the refugees' rights.
Hope and Sorrow
While the Israeli government insists that it is doing all it can to resolve the problem, some members of the committee say they should do more.
Quiet reflection for these refugees from Darfur
"The utmost priority is pressing the government to grant full rights to these refugees" said Anat Ben Dor, an attorney in the Refugee Rights Clinic at Tel Aviv University.
Israel has made exceptions to non-Jewish asylum seekers in the past. In the 1990s, a group of Bosnian Muslims were granted asylum in the Jewish state.
Back at Yad Vashem, the group of refugees from Darfur wander through halls with pictures, films and exhibitions of the suffering of European Jews before and after World War II.
Some of the group took photographs, but most quietly reflected. For David, the trip was one of hope and sorrow.
"I hope the killing in Darfur ends," he said. "And then we can build a memorial that will commemorate all those people that didn't make it."
Israel recalls 'naked ambassador'
Israel has recalled its ambassador to El Salvador after he was found drunk and naked apart from bondage gear.
Reports say he was able to identify himself to police only after a rubber ball had been removed from his mouth.
A foreign ministry official described Ambassador Tzuriel Refael's behaviour as an unprecedented embarrassment.
The incident, which happened two weeks ago, has renewed calls for a radical overhaul of the way Israel appoints and promotes its diplomats.
San Salvador was Mr Refael's first post as ambassador. He was promoted in 2006 from a technical position in the ministry which had involved several foreign postings.
We're talking about behaviour that is unbecoming of a diplomat
Foreign ministry spokeswoman
He was being recalled, although he had not broken any laws, foreign ministry spokeswoman Zehavit Ben-Hillel told reporters.
She confirmed that lurid reports of the incident in the Israeli press were accurate.
"We're talking about behaviour that is unbecoming of a diplomat," she said.
Israel has been rocked by a recent series of misconduct and corruption scandals, shaking public confidence in the political leadership.
Haaretz website reports that police found Mr Refael in the Israeli embassy compound where he had been found bound, gagged and naked apart from sado-masochistic sex accessories.
In 2006, Israel's diplomatic service was criticised by the public watchdog for its appointments system.
The state comptroller's report singled out the foreign ministry appointments committee for its inadequate examination of candidates and lack of transparency.