Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Lost in Newsland and Finding Gold

Democracy in global politics - openDemocracy

I rely on the net for most of my news. I have a television and I can watch BBC World, Euronews, DW news (German), Nile TV news, or (horrors) CNN, but I find that most of the news coverage on television is pretty superficial due to the the amount of time alloted to covering an issue. You can pack in a lot more ideas and information into print on the net and access the same event from at least a dozen angles in a short period. For example, apparently a bomb went off on or near a minivan used by United Nations Multinational Forces in northern Sinai yesterday. No one was killed and two Canadian MFO personnel were wounded. When I looked this up on Google news, I found about 200 variations on the topic. One of them said that the personnel were male soldiers, while much of the other sites said that they were female support staff.

One of my friends is driving to Sharm el Sheikh today because she has to renew her car license down there. She was warned not to drive at night, a warning that she's taking seriously, especially as she's traveling with her 7 year old son and her dog. The mother of a friend of hers warned that there had been someone arrested trying to blow up the Ahmed Hamdy Tunnel, which is our usual route to Sinai. This tunnel, constructed by the Japanese some time ago, links Africa and Asia under the Suez Canal. I googled "Sinai, tunnel, bomb" and found a news article from a paper in the US that included a number of items. One of the items was a note that a man believed to have been involved with the Sharm el Sheikh bombings had been arrested as he tried to avoid the police checkpoint at the tunnel. The mother, it would seem, picked up on the "bombing" "tunnel" and "arrest", put 2 and 2 together and got 7.5. And what kind of idiot would even try to avoid the police checkpoint at the tunnel? There's only one way under the canal there and no way over it. How in heaven's name did this moron imagine that he was going to get to the other side?

Having started wandering the newsways of the internet, I found myself reading an article in Slate by Eric Weiner about how the culture of "guest workers" is handled in the Gulf and Saudi Arabia where the major part of the population does all the work while having none of the benefits of citizenship http://letters.slate.com/W7RH0491625D3E913C46E3DA1147E0 From there I followed another link about Dubai to an article written by Wendell Steavenson http://www.slate.com/id/2093154/entry/2100609/ and became curious about this journalist. Googling her name led me to the link to openDemocracy, a UK based group that publish everything from news to poetry from all over the world. Wendell Steavenson apparently writes for them.

Exploring openDemocracy took up a good chunk of a hot summer afternoon while I was waiting for things to cool off enough to go riding. My initial feeling had been that if I could find an email address for Wendell Steavenson I wanted to email her an invitation to come stay in Abu Sir the next time she's in need of R&R from Iran, Afghanistan, or Iraq, since I think that Egypt is definitely much more therapeutic than Dubai, not to mention cheaper. If she talks as well as she writes, she'd be a welcome visitor for us in the countryside, and we can definitely provide good food, cold beer, and pleasant companionship at much more reasonable rates than Dubai's amazing hotels.

The openDemocracy site is fascinating with interesting articles on every subject as well as fiction and poetry. A reader's candy store. Drop by and check out their selection. I'm sure that somewhere in there you'll find something appealing. Unfortunately I never did find the email address for Wendell Steavenson. Maybe I'll find another way to invite her.

1 comment:

Susoz said...

I find Open Democracy a very valuable site too. I'm sure if you emailed them they could forward your email to Stevenson.
I love reading your accounts of daily life in Egypt, especially as I've never been there and thus only have the stereotypes to fall back on.