Published February 19, 2002
Editor's Note: Beginning this week, Fox News brings some of the web's newest voices under its wing with the addition of the Fox Weblog. With it, we hope to bring the far-flung corners of the Internet to your desktop, with a little commentary on the side. For those who don't know, a weblog is a tour of the Net guided by a pilot you will come to know over time. We hope you enjoy the tour.
Nobody ever remembers a Debut Column, so I'll quickly explain what we're trying to do here and then we'll get to the fun stuff: a whole bunch of links to curious news and Web sites around the globe, with some comments you may or may not find brilliant and insightful.
If Usama bin Laden is still alive, he must be furious. The guy launches a war against the Infidels and five months later the big news is all about Figure Skating, cloned kittens and Mike Tyson's latest shameful attempt to find a place greedy enough to let him fight.
The war isn't over, of course. But allegedly corrupt French figure skating judges have replaced military tribunals as the judicial scandal of choice. The prisoners at Guantanamo Bay get three squares a day, top medical care, a Muslim chaplain from the U.S. Navy and cigarettes and hugs from the Red Cross. Will their final judgment be issued by the International Skating Union? Will they all get gold medals and go home as heroes with lucrative endorsements?
On Sunday, British Marines mistakenly invaded Spain during a military exercise (they planned to land at Gibraltar). And last week, a Moroccan historian demanded an apology from Spanish King Juan Carlos ... for the expulsion of the Moors five centuries ago:
Mohamed Azzuz, a Moroccan historian, said: "We are like the Palestinians who keep the keys to their houses for their return. Our expulsion was a disaster, a form of ethnic cleansing ....
More than 270,000 Moors were ultimately expelled as a result of an edict from King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella early in the 16th century.
"King Juan Carlos has already given a sort of apology for the expulsion of the Jews when he visited Israel so why not do the same for us?"
Maybe it was because the Moors invaded and occupied Spain?
Instead of bothering King Juan Carlos with some goofy demand for apologies, why isn't this historian looking at the Muslim world and asking what happened to all that scientific and cultural prowess? (Pakistani leader Pervez Musharraf seems to be doing just that.) Why is Spain a wealthy democratic nation while Arab countries rot under dictators? Spain had a dictator not so long ago. Spain got over it.
The Moors aren't anything like the Arabs of Palestine in this case. They're not even like the Jews who founded Israel, as the Hebrews were a people from Palestine. When it comes to Spain, the Moors are more like the French in Vietnam. They rolled in, they took over, and then the natives ran 'em back home.
Sadly, nut sandwiches like Bin Laden and this historian are obsessed with what happened in Andalusia in the 16th century. Get over it, Mr. Azzuz.
Is the Internet dead? Of course not. The Net Bubble collapsed in 2000, yet more than half of all Americans use the Web today. As the tech magazines and Enron-style dot-coms have collapsed, a little operation called PayPal has actually gone public. It's not a 1999-style IPO, thankfully, and there are no sock puppets involved. But PayPal, a simple service that lets people buy stuff online or drop a few bucks in a blogger's tip jar, did well with its Feb. 15 offering.
Someday — maybe someday before my computer is taken by the Repo Man — PayPal might be a regular part of the Web user's life. Like a site? Give it a buck or two. Want to buy some concert tickets or a new cloned cat? Just click the button and choose your new feline's color scheme. Purple and gold kittens will be the new favorite. Buy one today!
Ken Layne types from a shack behind his Los Angeles home. The author of trashy thrillers such as Dot.Con and the upcoming Space Critters, he has written and edited for a variety of news outfits including Information Week, the Sydney Daily Telegraph, UPI and Mother Jones. Since the Enron-like collapse of his Web paper, Tabloid.net, in 1999, he has been posting commentary to KenLayne.com.
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