The Point of No Return blog was set up about five years ago to spotlight the forgotten plight of a million Jews driven out of Arab and Muslim countries. Although born in the UK, blogger Bataween, a journalist and mother of four, took her moniker from a residential district of Baghdad, Iraq, where her parents used to live. Bataween (the district) used to be almost entirely Jewish, and where once there were 150,000 Jews in Iraq, there are now seven.
Why do you blog? > To understand the Middle East conflict, you have to understand the Jewish refugees, who outnumbered Palestinian refugees two to one. The struggle against Israel is simply part of the campaign by Arab nationalism and Islamism to finish off their minorities through marginalization and expulsion - by driving out the Jews of Israel from the last corner of the Middle East where they live in significant numbers.
What has been your best blogging experience? > Receiving sympathetic messages from Arabs who fondly recall their Jewish neighbours, Pakistanis who regret the loss of their Jewish community, and hearing from one of the last Jews of Lebanon.
What has been your worst blogging experience? > bX-59cppw error for two days.
What would be your main blogging advice to a novice blogger? > Back up your blog.
Who are your intellectual heroes? > Natan Sharansky, Voltaire, Bernard Lewis, Jean-Paul Sartre, Rabbi Jonathan Sacks.
What are you reading at the moment? > La fin du judaïsme en terres d'Islam by Shmuel Trigano.
Who are your cultural heroes? >The Beatles, David Lean, Claudia Roden, Monty Python, Pierre Bonnard, Norman Foster.What is the best novel you've ever read? > L'Etranger by Albert Camus, closely followed by Le Grand Meaulnes by Alain-Fournier.
What is your favourite movie? > The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie by Luis Bunuel. More recently, I loved The Yacoubian Building, which seems to encapsulate what's wrong with Arab society.
What is your favourite song? > 'Fool on the Hill' by Paul McCartney.
Who is your favourite composer? > Bach, Vaughan Williams, Ravel.
Can you name a major moral, political or intellectual issue on which you've ever changed your mind? > I used to be excited by the concept of revolution to effect social change – but I now realize that equality will never work and liberty is far too important to be left to revolutionaries.
What philosophical thesis do you think it most important to disseminate? > 'Those who believe in absurdities commit atrocities.' (Voltaire)
What philosophical thesis do you think it most important to combat? > The idea that the root cause of terrorism lies in legitimate grievances.
Can you name a work of non-fiction which has had a major and lasting influence on how you think about the world? > The Case for Democracy by Natan Sharansky. He is spot-on that it is essential to link human rights and the development of democratic institutions in the Arab world with peace in the Middle East.
Who are your political heroes? > Napoleon, Churchill, Sharansky.
What is your favourite piece of political wisdom? > 'Without truth, there can be no justice, and without justice, no reconciliation.' (Irwin Cotler)
If you could effect one major policy change in the governing of your country, what would it be? > Reform of the education system.
What would you do with the UN? > Close it down, but first lock up Gaddafi, Chavez, Ahmadinejad, al-Bashir etc in a room and throw away the key.
What do you consider to be the main threat to the future peace and security of the world? > The Iranian nuclear threat.
Do you think the world (human civilization) has already passed its best point, or is that yet to come? > I'd like to think that the best is yet to come, but I fear we might not live to see it (see previous answer).
What would be your most important piece of advice about life? > Carpe diem!
Do you think you could ever be married to, or in a long-term relationship with, someone with radically different political views from your own? > No - we'd spend too much time arguing.
What do you consider the most important personal quality? > Integrity.
What personal fault do you most dislike? > Mendaciousness.
In what circumstances would you be willing to lie? > To save a life.
Do you have any prejudices you're willing to acknowledge? > I dislike hysterical sports commentaries (although my husband is besotted with football), opera, men who wear sandals with socks, and kids who never say 'thank you'.
What is your favourite proverb? > 'Mal nommer les choses, c'est ajouter au malheur du monde' (Not to call things by their correct names is to add to the troubles of the world) - Albert Camus.
[The normblog profile is a weekly Friday morning feature. A list of all the profiles to date, and the links to them, can be found here.]