Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Andrew Bossone

Subcultural Tribes? Even in the 21st-Century?

A Guide To Recognizing these Subcultural Tribes

Rob Dubi has illustrated a series of portraits that looks at subculture stereotypes. (Feb. 29, 2012)

In ‘Your Scene Sucks’, Dubi makes fun of ‘Apple Store Indie’hipsters, rockers, emo, and hip hop kids, and ‘Popcore dorks’

Are you one of these ‘scene’ kids?

The Bazaar is a online, global marketplace to buy and sell art and creative products.

Creatives can choose to use our print-and-ship service to sell art prints around the world, or choose to ship custom products directly to buyers.

Note: got the link via Andrew Bossone


  • Judy Woodruff:

    In South Africa in recent weeks, protests have once again erupted on campuses across the country.

    The demonstrations, known as Fees Must Fall, aimed at reducing tuition costs, stem from the painful history of apartheid.

    And just as in the disputes here over Confederate monuments, the symbols of South Africa’s past are being fought over today.

    Jeffrey Brown was recently in South Africa for his ongoing series Culture at Risk.

  • Jeffrey Brown:

    High above Cape Town at the Southern Tip of Africa, a stately memorial to Cecil John Rhodes, the British-born 19th century diamond magnate and colonial conqueror.

    But notice the bust of Rhodes. His nose has been hacked off.

    It was on the nearby campus of the prestigious University of Cape Town, with a historically white majority student body, that protests over another prominent statue of Rhodes set off a national debate in South Africa two years ago, when student activists started what became known as the Rhodes Must Fall movement.

  • Chumani Maxwele:

    The Rhodes monument is a practical symbol of the oppression of black people. At the end of the day, we are saying, we are not happy to just be at the university, while our sisters and brothers are still in squatter camps.

  • Jeffrey Brown:

    Chumani Maxwele, one of the protest leaders, recently accompanied us to an informal settlement in the Cape Town township of Khayelitsha, just a short drive from campus.

    He pointed to the disparities that make South Africa one of the world’s most unequal societies.

  • Chumani Maxwele:

    You won’t see white kids like this, sitting like this. You won’t see that.

    We’re coming from here in the townships. And then we are claiming that we are educated. We must be able to take theory and practice and put it together and see what change we can make.

  • Jeffrey Brown:

    The Rhodes statue on campus was eventually removed by the university, but students continue to press on issues of school’s costs and curriculum.

    Alex Gotz was one of 12 students punished by the administration as the protests expanded.

  • Alex Gotz:

    I don’t think we need statues to remind ourselves of what they represent. You can have it in a museum, if need be, but I think there are enough visible effects of apartheid and colonialism to last us a lifetime.

  • Jeffrey Brown:

    The head of the university, Max Price, acknowledges more needs to be done to address the remnants of apartheid.

  • Max Price:

    It’s still the case that a black student might say to me: I have never been taught by a black professor at UCT, 22 years after democracy.

    And that’s not something we’re proud of. That’s something we are trying to change.

    Instead of thinking this is an alien place on the hill that reflects empire, start feeling that this is their university, a university that they want to come to, they want to send their children to, and that they’re proud of.

  • Jeffrey Brown:

    In South Africa today, visual imagery teaches, as at the entrance to the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg, where visitors are confronted with the history of racial divisions.

    It honors, as in a memorial in Soweto, to Hector Pieterson, a 13-year-old killed by police in the 1976 uprising against apartheid. And it’s also contentious.

  • Alana Bailey:

    There is a lot of polarization between race groups in South Africa.

  • Jeffrey Brown:

    Alana Bailey manages heritage issues at AfriForum, a civil rights group working on behalf of Afrikaners, the white descendants of predominantly Dutch settlers who arrived here in the 17th century, and who in the 20th century established the apartheid regime that only ended in 1994.

    Bailey now works to protect monuments.

  • Alana Bailey:

    There’s a bit of a dangerous situation that you can create by removing statues, because if you say that anything that memorializes a past contribution by a community is not welcome in the public sphere, then you might also be saying that people who represent that community are not welcome in the public sphere.

  • Jeffrey Brown:

    In the capital, still widely known as Pretoria, many street names have been changed from the white colonial and apartheid era figures to liberation struggle leaders, mostly black.

    The larger municipality itself is now officially called Tshwane, after an 18th century indigenous chief. And still the most prominent face of the new South Africa, a huge statue of Nelson Mandela stands in front of the official seat of the national government. The statue that previously stood here, of an Afrikaner nationalist leader, was moved to a far corner of the gardens.

    In Church Square in the center of the city, another contentious site is getting a makeover — the monument to 19th century Afrikaner leader Paul Kruger is now surrounded by fencing after being vandalized several times.

    Mayor Solly Msimanga plans to keep the statue, but transform the whole square into a new kind of monument that’s dedicated to free speech.

  • Mayor Solly Msimanga, Tshwane:

    We are advocating that you tell a complete history, not only one side of our history.

  • Jeffrey Brown:

    So you are against taking down the old statues?

  • Mayor Solly Msimanga:

    I am against taking down any kind of statue. I’m all for having all statues and using them to tell a part of history. I am not here because a certain part of history didn’t exist.

    I’m here because that history happened. I am sitting in this chair right now because a certain history happened, and I am acknowledging that.

  • Jeffrey Brown:

    Outside the city, a different kind of accommodation of histories. The huge Voortrekker Monument is dedicated to Afrikaner pioneers who migrated inland in the 19th century, chafing at then-British colonial rule.

    It opened in 1949, just a year after the official onset of apartheid.

    Nearby stands the much newer Freedom Park, a monument erected in the democratic era and dedicated to South Africans of all backgrounds killed in wars, as well as in the liberation struggle against apartheid.

    Last year, directors Cecilia Kruger and Jane Mufamadi strengthened ties between their two adjacent monuments.

  • Jane Mufamadi:

    As in our democracy, we had to compromise. We had to make compromises.

  • Jeffrey Brown:

    A lot of people just wonder what a monument is, right, and what’s it for.

  • Jane Mufamadi:

    It’s about the message that you’re sending to the nation through a particular monument. It’s about the lessons that we need to learn and draw from our past, so that we chart a better future and leave a better legacy for our children.

  • Cecilia Kruger:

    All heritage is part of somebody’s identity, somewhere. The minute you understand the monuments and what it symbolizes, you begin to understand each other’s identity.

  • Jeffrey Brown:

    A fine hope, but how much difference can a monument make? Those frustrated by a lack of change after the end of apartheid say, not much, when black people are the majority, but mainly remain in segregated poverty.

    Johannesburg-based architecture critic Mpho Matsipa.

  • Mpho Matsipa:

    Reconciliation without justice can only get you so far, and by that, at a very simple level, economic justice or spatial justice.

  • Jeffrey Brown:

    So, that’s much bigger than any one monument. You mean like the entire city.

  • Mpho Matsipa:

    The landscape. The landscape of a city like Johannesburg remains, in my mind, a monument to apartheid spatial planning and apartheid spatial thinking.

  • Jeffrey Brown:

    Just the way it’s laid out, where people live?

  • Mpho Matsipa:

    The way it’s laid out, the way people live, the way that inequality is spatialized and continues to be spatialized in the city serves as a monument to that history.

  • Jeffrey Brown:

    In the meantime, student protests have picked up again in recent days, with the Fees Must Fall movement claiming that high tuition puts college attendance beyond the means of many.

    Student activist Chumani Maxwele:

  • Chumani Maxwele:

    If you are giving us free education, we will be able to have cousins, sisters, brothers across and be able to work together because we have got skill. You are educated. You can be employed. That’s the whole essence of the fight.

  • Jeffrey Brown:

    Today, the empty plinth of Cecil Rhodes on the University of Cape Town campus serves as another kind of monument, as a struggle in this young democracy goes on.

    For the PBS NewsHour, I’m Jeffrey Brown in South Africa.

Guns and Hotdogs

How the U.S. Military Promotes Its Weapons Arsenal to the Public (July 9, 2016)

By Jon Schwarz

America’s wars take place far away — Kabul is 6,700 miles from New York or, traveling in the other direction, 7,400 miles from San Francisco.

They also involve fewer and fewer Americans — the Army now has about 475,000 active-duty soldiers, the lowest number since World War II.

This leaves the Pentagon free to promote itself to a country that largely has no idea what war actually entails.

 In addition to standard TV advertising and flyovers at the Super Bowl, the U.S. military spends tens of millions of dollars each year on live events that function half as recruitment pitches and half as visceral plugs for its spectacular high-tech weaponry. 

(Click for the pictures)

Andrew Bossone shared this link

The irony of propaganda: “A B-2 stealth bomber at Atlantic City’s Thunder Over the Boardwalk event in New Jersey in 2007.

Each B-2 costs approximately $1 billion; analysts now believe it is a “virtual certainty” that Atlantic City will be forced to declare bankruptcy.”

The U.S. military spends tens of millions each year on events that function as recruitment pitches and visceral plugs for spectacular high-tech weaponry.

Photojournalist Nina Berman has spent 10 years traveling to Fleet Weeks and air shows to document the peculiar collision between the Pentagon’s idealized self-image and the people who pay for it but have little comprehension of what they’re truly buying.

U.S. Marines arrive on a light armored vehicle in New York City’s Times Square during Fleet Week in 2015. In the background is an ad for Shandong, China, where U.S. Marines landed at the end of World War II to intervene on the side of Chiang Kai-shek’s Kuomintang in China’s civil war.

Civilians handle a pistol with a silencer during Fleet Week at Orchard Beach in the Bronx in 2007. Some of the young men had just signed up to join the Marines and potentially go to Iraq.

A U.S. Marine applies camouflage paint to a young woman’s face at an event at Orchard Beach in the Bronx in 2007.

A girl and boy dress up as Marines during Fleet Week at Orchard Beach in the Bronx in 2007. The boy is holding an M4 carbine, which is replacing the M16 as the Marine Corps standard rifle.

A young boy “shoots” a machine gun from a Vietnam-era helicopter at the New York Air Show in 2015.

There are no certain statistics for the number of Vietnamese casualties during the war, but at least 1 million died, and potentially 2 million or more. A 1991 survey found that Americans estimated that about 100,000 Vietnamese had been killed.

A B-2 stealth bomber at Atlantic City’s Thunder Over the Boardwalk event in New Jersey in 2007. Each B-2 costs approximately $1 billion; analysts now believe it is a “virtual certainty” that Atlantic City will be forced to declare bankruptcy.

The gift shop by the Battleship New Jersey in Camden, New Jersey, in 2015. The now-famous “We Can Do It!” poster was created by Westinghouse, and during World War II, it was seen only by workers in several company factories; it became nationally known after being rediscovered during the 1980s.

About 50,000 people attended the parade in Raleigh, North Carolina, during the April 2008 Salute to Our Troops event. It is said to be the biggest military appreciation event in the city’s history.

Nina Berman is the author of Purple Hearts: Back from Iraq and Homeland and is a member of the NOOR photo collective.

 A different take on the slaughtered US journalists


There’s now two American journalists killed by the Islamic State ISIS.

People will probably be upset by the following words as callous. I don’t want to blame victims for their death, but their paths seem dangerously similar.

Both were freelancers. Both hopped around war zones.

Neither understood the languages of the places they covered. Neither knew those places well.

Tributes to them talk about how they were dedicated to telling the stories of people.

But if they were so dedicated to these individuals, why didn’t they stick around in the places they covered?

Why didn’t they live in these places rather than have “stints” in Yemen, Egypt, Libya, Afghanistan, Syria?

Why didn’t the deaths of far more experienced journalists and local reporters forewarn them?

And why didn’t the news outlets that published their materials give them a contract?

The Global Post had a rather suspect article titled “Here’s what James Foley meant to us.”

The outlet didn’t even sign the guy after he won an award.

And why do we focus on these people? Because they’re American?

Are the 190,000 Syrians killed not worth us knowing their names?

I feel bad for the people who knew them, and if I ever fall victim to their fate then these words may prove to haunt me.

But if we truly abhor the group that killed them, and feel bad for what has happened to these journalists, then let us not glorify them any further. They aren’t “the story.” So many freelancers were just lucky: many went to places they could not locate on a map

  • Note 1: So many didn’t even know the country, or knew the borders of the country or much of its history and culture.

    Lucky because those who assisted them were worth more than gold and barely got a hint of appreciation from the foreign journals
    We all have seen scores of people being slain like sheep and beheaded. But for such method to be applied on US citizens?
    Close combat is not appreciated by US military: the enemy must die by drones and airplanes in order to safeguard the illusion of not “really killing”
    Note 2: The Sotloff family appointed a lawyer claiming to be ready to dialogue with Abu Bakr on religion and Coran and he barely can speak Arabic.

Styles of compassionate reporting that bring fruits 

Does Jon Snow’s Gaza appeal risks reducing reporting to propaganda? Hardly.

Journalists have cried before ‘something must be done’.
But they must avoid emoting? Why?
What’s so objective in reporting anyway?

Andrew Bossone posted on FB:

Journalists are expected to be the voice of conscience and at the same time to suppress that voice.

When a journalist speaks up about an atrocity, it may cause a stir.

People in the U.S. have often said the turning point of public opinion in the Vietnam War was when Walter Cronkite, “the most trusted man in America” returned from there and criticized what happened.

I don’t know how we are expected to remain silent particularly when we see an atrocity with our own eyes.

The press is hardly objective. We put our influence just by choosing stories.

Here is an interesting documentary about an artist that pointed out how the US press ignored genocide and starvation in Africa:

An elderly Palestinian woman walks through ruins in Gaza
‘The horrors of Gaza have been bravely narrated by reporters fully equipped with compassion and empathy, but not wallowing in their own feelings.’ Photograph: Oliver Weiken/EPA

Faced by the horrors of Gaza, Guardian columnist Giles Fraser last week urged reporters to show more emotion, condemning calm rationality in the face of the slaughter as “a particular form of madness”.

Is this is a dangerous path?

Emotion is the stuff of propaganda, and news is against propaganda. Reporting should privilege the emotional responses of audiences, not indulge journalists.

At the same time, from a slightly different direction, Jon Snow used a Channel 4 studio, but not the channel itself, to show how reporting from Gaza had emotionally affected him. His call on YouTube was for engagement from his audience, promising “Together we can make a difference”.

The same cry that “something must be done” was heard from reporters at the beginning of President Assad’s murderous campaign to hold on to power in Syria – more muted once the full realisation dawned that what should be done was complex, and that the alternatives might be worse than Assad.

It also echoed Martin Bell 20 years ago in Bosnia, asking to be relieved of the duties of BBC impartiality, instead wanting a “journalism of attachment”.

In his appeal, Snow said the world had shown it was not that interested in the death of children in Gaza. Almost three-quarters of a million hits showed that many were interested.

But how did the audience know enough to care? Not from reporters who had put their emotions on show. Instead, the horrors of Gaza have been bravely narrated by reporters fully equipped with compassion and empathy, but not wallowing in their own feelings.

The piece that inspired Giles Fraser to his incoherent appeal that “screaming is the most rational thing to do” – Peter Beaumont’s description of a father gathering the remains of his baby son in a carrier bag – is not reported emotionally. Instead, the writing is poetic in its spare intensity. “ ‘This is my son,’ he said and nothing else, tears tracking down his face.”

The missile that entered the house made a hole “the size of a toaster”. The domestic details take us there, and when we arrive, we find Beaumont, one of the finest reporters of his generation, to be a helpful guide, not an obstacle. He is not in our way telling us how he feels.

This kind of reporting has an honourable pedigree. Of all the situations when screaming might have been the most understandable response, the enormity of the concentration camps in 1945 is high on the list. But instead, when he came to Belsen, Richard Dimbleby reported what he saw with chilling precision: “the awful, ghostly procession of emaciated, aimless people, with nothing to do and with no hope of life”.

There is one significant difference. Reporters now routinely personalise victims in a way that was not done by Dimbleby, or indeed Michael Buerk, reporting the “biblical famine” in Ethiopia in 1984. Then the dead were nameless. But Beaumont tells us that the baby in the carrier bag in Gaza is Mohammad, his father Salem Antez.

With more access to the world at their fingertips than the passive consumers of news in the past, the public demand more engagement and participation from reporters than before. Social media is full of material that is more graphic and more directly emotional than the mainstream media, in Britain at least. News organisations are responding with different ways of editing material gathered by non-professionals, as well as new ways of storytelling.

But Snow’s YouTube appeal carried an implicit message that is more threatening, at least to TV news, than Fraser’s call for emotional reporting. He considered that he could deliver this only online since it might contravene rules governing impartiality in news programmes. It resembled the homilies that used to be delivered by TV anchors such as Walter Cronkite at the end of the nightly news in the US.

These could be highly opinionated, especially during the Vietnam war, stretching the bounds of the fairness doctrine that regulated American broadcasting at the time, similar to Britain’s rules on impartiality.

Ronald Reagan’s abolition of the fairness doctrine contributed to a significant weakening of TV news in the US, releasing a flood of ignorance – a salutary warning to those campaigning for an end to impartiality rules here in order to encourage reporters to be more emotionally engaged.

• David Loyn is the BBC’s Afghanistan correspondent. His report on Afghan war crimes is on Radio 4 on Monday 4 August at 8pm


Finally, it’s happening. The waking up of what is Israel and Zionism

Zeina Saab posted on FB this July 31, 2014

“The world is waking up. Slowly. But it’s happening.

Magic Johnson and other NBA players have cancelled their trip to Israel.

Disney heiress has just divested from an Israeli company.

Several Latin American countries, including Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, and El Salvador have recalled the Israeli ambassadors or severed trade ties with Israel.

Major celebrities are speaking out.

Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem have written an open letter condemning Israel’s bombardment of Gaza.

Many others, including John Legend, Madonna, Mia Farrow, and Russell Brand are also clearly voicing their disgust with Israel’s policies.

Millions are protesting around the world.

None of these protests have stopped the widespread destruction of Gaza, not yet.

And it won’t bring back all the 1,300+ dead.

But if enough pressure is applied on Israel, eventually we may be able to hope that one day it will be held accountable for its crimes against humanity, so that “Never Again” really will mean “Never Again” for all.”

Tonnie Choueiri shared this

From 1978 to 1994, Rabbi Henry Siegman  served as executive director of the American Jewish Congress, long described as one of the US “big three” Jewish organizations along with the American Jewish Committee and the Anti-Defamation League:

Rabbi Henry Siegman – a German-Jewish refugee who fled Nazi occupation to later become a leading American Jewish voice and now vocal critic of Israel’s policies in the Occupied Territories – says the following on Gaza:

“When one thinks that this is what is necessary for Israel to survive, that the Zionist dream is based on the repeated slaughter of innocents on a scale that we’re watching these days on television, that is really a profound, profound crisis.

It should be a profound crisis in the thinking of all of us who were committed to the establishment of the state and to its success.”

 Responding to Israel’s U.S.-backed claim that its assault on Gaza is necessary because no country would tolerate the rocket fire from militants in Gaza, Siegman says:

“What undermines this principle is that no country and no people would live the way that Gazans have been made to live. …

The question of the morality of Israel’s action depends, in the first instance, on the question, couldn’t Israel be doing something [to prevent] this disaster that is playing out now, in terms of the destruction of human life?

Couldn’t Israel have done something that did not require that cost?

And the answer is, sure, they could have ended the occupation.”


” It’s disastrous. It’s disastrous, both in political terms, which is to say the situation cannot conceivably, certainly in the short run, lead to any positive results, to an improvement in the lives of either Israelis or Palestinians, and of course it’s disastrous in humanitarian terms, the kind of slaughter that’s taking place there.

It leads one virtually to a whole rethinking of this (Zionism) historical phenomenon


Andrew Bossone posted:

Does an entity “release” a statement if it gave the same exact statement two years earlier?
The Pentagon, 2014 on Israel accessing $1.2 billion ammunition stockpile:

“The United States is committed to the security of Israel, and it is vital to US national interests to assist Israel to develop and maintain a strong and ready self-defense capability.”

The Pentagon, 2012, on selling $647 million precision bomb kits and munitions to Israel:

“The United States is committed to the security of Israel, and it is vital to U.S. national interests to assist Israel to develop and maintain a strong and ready self-defense capability.”

Note: Evo Morales, Bolivia President lambasted Israel and the US as terrorist States.

Hey Vox: Can you Explain this Map?

Vox was co-founded by Melissa Bell and Ezra Klein, late of the Washington Post, and former Slate blogger Matt Yglesias (fun picture here! scroll down), the three of whom lured a posse of young-ish writers to join the staff, including, from the PostMax Fisher, who compiled the “40 Maps.”

Andrew Bossone shared this link

Another deconstruction of a bad @voxdotcom explainer map.

This one on Arabic dialects, by @meriponline

Vox is perhaps the most prominent of the new sites devoted to “explainer…
Chris Toensing published this May 24, 2014

In early May ,the website Vox made a small splash on the Internet with “40 Maps That Explain the Middle East.”

Vox is perhaps the most prominent of the new sites devoted to “explainer journalism,” a genre of primers that combine key data with brief analysis, often in attention-grabbing, multi-media formats.

The motivation for starting Vox, according to Klein, was to ameliorate the “anxiety” that he imagines readers must feel when approaching major news stories for the first time.

“There’s a problem in journalism,” he says in a YouTube promo. “We call certain topics that we cover the vegetables, or the spinach, as if they’re gross, and people should be reading them, but they’re not going to want to.”

“Explainer journalism” has drawn some fire for condescending to its audience, assuming as it does that readers don’t read regular coverage, at least not carefully enough to comprehend the story.

As James Hamblin puts it at The Awl, “An explainer is an article that breaks down an important topic into just the things you care about and need to know. It’s unlike all other kinds of articles in that way.”

Other critics complain that the genre is rather insulting to journalists as well, implying that old-school reporters are too lazy, jaded or unskilled to convey what readers need to situate daily news in proper context.

Says Democracy’s Nathan Pippenger: “This issue is even more sensitive when it comes to foreign affairs, since many old-fashioned print journalists (like Daniel Pearl and Anthony Shadid) have died in war zones in order to bring what Klein calls ‘vegetable’ stories to American readers.”

These objections notwithstanding, some might think that Vox is doing a service, explaining the background to current events in easily digested bite-size form. (MERIP might not exist, after all, if the corporate media was not often derelict in its duties.)

Alas, early offerings with regard to the Middle East suggest otherwise.

Yousef Munayyer, for instance, has thoroughly debunked a set of maps that purport to explain the 1948 Arab-Israeli war.

The adjacent map depicting the geographic distribution of Arabic dialects is equally misleading to the point of misinformation.

This map, which seems to have been compiled (or perhaps just lifted) from Wikipedia, is downright inaccurate in several places.

Chris Stone is associate professor of Arabic at Hunter College. Before he began his doctoral work, he lived in Yemen for three years, teaching English in the Peace Corps.

It would be bad enough, Stone says, “if the map claimed just one dialect for Yemen, but to claim that all of Yemen and coastal Somalia speak the same dialect is patently absurd.”

Yemeni dialects differ in pronunciation, cadence, vocabulary, idiom and syntax — not to the point of being mutually unintelligible but certainly to the point of requiring occasional translation.

The dialects spoken in northern Egypt and the areas marked olive green for Levantine countries (Syria, Lebanon, Palestine) likewise vary considerably, sometimes from valley to valley and village to village.

In Sudan and South Sudan, respectively, the map identifies Nubi Arabic in orange and Juba Arabic in deep beige. The first reference is a flat-out mistake: Some of the Nilotic peoples in the north of Sudan identify as Nubians, and they may speak the distinct language called Nubian as well as an Arabic similar to that spoken in Khartoum.

Nubi is an Arabic-based creole spoken in a few East African port towns. Meanwhile, according to MER editor Khalid Medani, who is from Sudan, there’s a missing dialect — Nuba Arabic, “a creole spoken in the Nuba Mountains in central Sudan. It is a mix of Arabic and Nuba not Nubian. Folks often get those two confused.”

Juba Arabic is also a creole, Medani continues, “spoken by the Nilotic Dinka, Nuer and Shilluk, especially in Juba where it is the second vernacular.” The Dinka, Nuer and Shilluk are not Arabs, by the way — more on that in a minute.

Surely the oddest error of fact appears in mustard yellow for Judeo-Arabic, which the map locates (solely) in central Israel. Indeed, linguists do speak of such a thing as spoken Judeo-Arabic, in which Arab Jews sprinkle ancient Hebrew and Aramaic terms.

Judeo-Arabic, however, normally refers to a written language, namely, classical Arabic written in Hebrew script. More to the point, while there were small communities of Arabic-speaking Jews in Palestine before the creation of the state of Israel, the large majority of Israeli Jews of Arab origin hail from other Arab countries and, if they still speak Arabic, they speak the dialect of those countries.

“Jews from Morocco, Iraq and Yemen speak the same Arabic dialect?” Stone queries. “I smell ideology.” (Incompetence seems just as likely, since all of the information in this paragraph is in the Wikipedia entry for “Judeo-Arabic languages.”

Maybe that entry needs an “explainer.” Or maybe the title does, since the plural is right there in the third word.)

We could list some more inaccuracies.

A bigger problem with the map is that the uninitiated Vox reader might think that Arabic is the only or most important language spoken across these swathes of bright color.

Berbers in blue North Africa would beg to differ, as would Kurds in the greenish-yellow lands of North Mesopotamian Arabic, Armenians in Lebanon and several other religio-ethnic communities, among them Hebrew-speaking Israeli Jews. And the Dinka, Nuer and Shilluk speak their own languages as the first vernacular, thank you very much.

The map’s cardinal sin, however, appears in the explanatory sidebar:

“Something to look at here: where the dialects do and do not line up with present-day political borders. In places where they don’t line up, you’re seeing national borders that are less likely to line up with actual communities, and in some cases more likely to create problems.”

In other words, Arabs are fighting other Arabs because of differences in dialect.

Sorry, Vox, this notion is cataclysmically wrong.

Leave aside the map’s implication that the conflict in Israel-Palestine is about the fact that Palestinian Arabs in the Galilee speak a different variety of their native tongue than the Judeo-Arabic speakers to their south.

Forget the idea that the Syrian civil war might be a clash of North Mesopotamian, Iraqi and Levantine dialects.

And don’t ask why civil strife continues to afflict central Iraq despite its uniform dark green dialectical hue.

Again, we’ll be charitable: Smart and patient Vox readers can refer to other maps in Fisher’s series and figure this stuff out for themselves.

But there are some other places where dialects do not line up with borders on the map and there is sometimes violent conflict.

One is the boundary between Morocco and Western Sahara. Nowhere in the “40 Maps” is there any clue as to the roots of this conflict in Spanish colonialism, the expansiveness of Moroccan territorial claims, the 1975 Green March, Sahrawi nationalism, the Moroccan Arab-Berber settlement of Western Sahara in violation of UN resolutions, the UN’s failure to enforce those resolutions, and French and US coddling of their client state in Rabat. Iron-deficient Vox readers are left to surmise that the conflict is about types of Arabic.

As for the two Sudans, indeed, the border between the state controlled by Khartoum and South Sudan, which became independent in 2011, roughly corresponds to the boundary line indicating where different sorts of Arabic are spoken.

But to suggest that the long civil war between north and south, or the decision of South Sudanese to secede, has to do with dialectical distinctions is to enter the realm of the ridiculous.

South Sudanese developed their Juba Arabic creole to cope with their northern rulers and do business with the northern merchants who set up shop in southern cities. Differences in dialect were a byproduct of conquest and conflict — not the cause thereof.

Again, we could go on. But why?

The kicker, as Stone says, is the map’s assumption of an “inverse relationship between linguistic unity and ‘problems.

Have the authors of the map not heard of India, where we are not only talking about a vast number of dialects, but actually different languages? What about Switzerland?”

In the end, this map reinforces the old Orientalist saws that Middle East conflict is understandable chiefly in terms of ethnic identity and that primordial ties are uniquely constitutive of politics (and certainly not the other way around).

If we can muster the energy, we may scrutinize a few more of the “40 Maps,” cursory inspection of which reveals more amazing feats of interpretive malpractice. Probably not, though — we should stay focused on our own efforts to go behind the headlines.

We do, however, have a question for Vox:

What good is “explainer journalism” if one fortieth of one piece requires 1,068 words of third-party explanation to correct just a few of its errors, without yet rendering it legible? (We’re not counting the words spent explaining explainers, or our editorializing here, just the “spinach” about the map itself.)

Please explain.

Note: Why Vox do not hire learned local people to do the investigations in the countries they want to explain?

Thankless work of a ‘fixer’ Foreign journalist

Andrew Bossone, a contributing editor based in Beirut and Cairo for the mobile news organization Circa, published this April 30, 2014 

The best journalists in the Middle East are from the Middle East. Thanks for your continued great work Mohannad Sabry, Moe Ali, Nayel Nabih Bulos and for helping me get my first byline in the Columbia Journalism Review

The thankless work of a ‘fixer’ Foreign journalists know they’d be lost, or even dead, without the locals they hire, but do they give them credit back home?

Foreign journalists usually find fixers from colleagues in the area or through online forums and groups like Facebook’s “Vulture Club.” If a media outlet has a bureau, it often has on staff a salaried local journalist called a news assistant. In places where there is no bureau, it may have a stringer who receives a monthly retainer to be on call and feed news regularly. Fixers, by contrast, tend to be employed ad hoc.

I first met Mohannad Sabry in 2005, when I arrived in Egypt for an unpaid internship with The Associated Press. We became fast friends through my roommates, and he joined me in Alexandria on a reporting trip to cover parliamentary elections.

I knew little about Egypt and its players at the time, and since I couldn’t put together a sentence in Arabic, he went with me even though I couldn’t afford to pay him.

Only because of Sabry skills and knowledge was I able to report from inside a polling station and at the office of the Muslim Brotherhood. It was the first of many times I received invaluable help and insight from fixers, the resourceful, well-informed locals who assist foreign correspondents. Most in this region are fluent in Arabic and many are aspiring journalists.

In Egypt they command roughly $50 to $250 per day, depending on whether big news is raising demand. A fixer’s day may include monitoring local outlets and Twitter and writing up a news brief, arranging logistics, securing and translating interviews but also conducting them, and providing background.

In the Middle East, fixers are essentially journalists but, all too often, they receive little or no recognition, even when they are entirely responsible for the scoops credited to their foreign peers. These people are not mere translators who provide a service in exchange for payment.

Our work—and, on occasion, our safety—depends on them. I moved to Beirut in late 2010 to gain experience outside Egypt, but four months later the Egyptian revolution started. I landed in Cairo on January 28, 2011—the “Friday of Rage.”

Internet service and telephone lines were cut across the country. When service was partially restored the next day, I called Mohannad to meet for coffee. The second night of curfew was approaching. We left for a friend’s apartment to spend the night. We stopped for food along the way, but forgot tea to keep us awake, and garlic and onions for the dish we were preparing—molokheya, an Egyptian specialty.

So Mohannad and I headed back to the street near the start of curfew. Vegetable sellers were rushing to restock their shops and close for the night. As we left a shop, goods in hand, a young policeman stood in our path. He cocked his shotgun and shouted at us. “We just want to pass!” Mohannad said. “We just want to go home!” “Which way?” the policeman asked. “Straight ahead,” Mohannad answered, pointing toward the apartment. “Run. If you go left or right, I’ll shoot you.” We ran.

Mohannad told me to go straight. I followed him. Although I had studied Arabic, the fact that I didn’t fully understand the officer’s orders reinforced for me just how essential fluent Arabic is. The influx of print and broadcast journalists into Egypt during the revolution provided work for a lot of fixers.

McClatchy hired Mohannad as a news assistant. Soon he was getting bylines and managing the Cairo bureau while the correspondent was reporting elsewhere. But when another correspondent came in to run the bureau, it was clear Mohannad couldn’t advance further. “I’ve seen a lot of local correspondents who are more worthy of having a foreign correspondent position than a lot of foreign correspondents covering their country,” Mohannad said. “What you need is someone who knows the country’s politics, knows the country’s history, knows the country’s geography . . .

This is something that’s pretty impossible for someone who doesn’t speak the language.” While at McClatchy, Mohannad received a reporting fellowship from the news website GlobalPost for a project to pair and train young foreign and local journalists around the world. It began in Egypt, and Mohannad was chosen as the managing editor. When mass protests led to the military’s ouster of President Mohamed Morsi in 2013, longtime foreign correspondent and GlobalPost co-founder Charles Sennott turned to Mohannad to report with him for a GlobalPost-PBS Frontline segment.

“I never could have accomplished my work [around the world] without the help of a colleague—a journalist—who is local and who speaks the language fluently and can work with me and understands how we as journalists work,” Sennott said. “Those people are sometimes called ‘fixers,’ and I put that word in quotes, because it’s not a word I like. They do so much more than fix things. They make it happen.”

Mohannad introduced me to another Egyptian fixer in Cairo, Merna Thomas. As she described her work, I was surprised that she didn’t consider herself a journalist. Like other fixers interviewed for this piece, she suggests how to get stories done, lines up sources and conducts interviews independently.

Basically, Merna does everything short of writings articles. It’s not as if she couldn’t write, though; she was an English major in college. She says she fell into journalism by chance. Yet on her first assignment she landed difficult-to-get sources, like Bassem Youssef-often referred to as the “Egyptian Jon Stewart”-early in his TV career, as well as a member of the “Black Bloc” protesters who disguised themselves in black and were often on the front lines of clashes with police.

“A lot of times, what a journalist can or cannot get depends on a fixer’s personal relationship with these people,” Merna said. “I have interviewed a lot of people who don’t normally give interviews except that they know me and they respect me.” In two years of working with journalists, Merna has received credit in print just twice. She doesn’t ask for recognition, but some journalists have misled her into thinking their outlets don’t give credit to fixers.

Amelia Newcomb, the foreign editor of the Christian Science Monitor, where Merna’s work has appeared, told me it is absolutely not the policy of the paper to exclude credit for fixers. “We leave it up to the reporter,” she said.

Of the outlets I contacted—the Monitor, The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Guardian—none have an official policy on naming local journalists who work with correspondents. Some are more fastidious than others.

The Guardian said credit is given when “people have contributed to the journalism,” but did not specify what qualifies as contribution. The Times and the Post provide credit to fixers when it’s determined they have made a “significant” contribution to the story. Tasks like logistics and basic translation do not warrant a contributor line.

Both the Times correspondent in Beirut, Anne Barnard, and the Post’s foreign editor, Doug Jehl, said the work of fixers is essential, and that they deserve credit for it. “Foreign correspondents have always relied heavily on local staffers to help with translation, navigation, sourcing and reporting,” Jehl said. “Until recently, those local staffers’ contributions often remained invisible; now, in order to be more transparent with our readers, we tend to recognize those contributions.”

Naming contributors is a positive step for transparency.

But it leads you to the next question: Why shouldn’t the very best fixers and news assistants be correspondents themselves?

“If I went to the United States I wouldn’t get hired if I didn’t speak the language,” said Moe Ali Nayel, a freelance journalist and fixer in Beirut. “Why is it the other way around [in the Mideast]? Why do journalists get sent to this part of the world when they don’t speak the language?”

Moe lived in the US for six years before returning home to Lebanon. He said that Americans’ lack of knowledge about the Middle East motivated him to become a journalist. Although he still works as a fixer, Moe has become an outspoken critic of foreign journalists. After one too many dealings with correspondents who he says mischaracterized context and people or outright distorted facts, he wrote a searing piece on his blog in 2010.

Moe admits that fixers who are less than scrupulous sometimes mislead journalists, but says ultimately the facts and ethics of journalism are the responsibility of those who put their names on stories. The fixers’ worst horror stories involve journalists on temporary assignment.

Merna said she has worked with many who come unprepared. Another fixer in Cairo told me that one journalist arrived asking to interview “Banna,” or Hassan Al-Banna, the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood—who died in 1949.

Nabih Bulos, who reports for the Los Angeles Times, said a writer told him she was coming to report on Beirut’s alternative arts scene. When they met, she said she also wanted to visit the “opium fields of Hezbollah.” “It’s frightening,” he said. Let me be clear. Many foreign correspondents in the Mideast are performing superbly. (The ones who come most readily to mind, not coincidentally, speak fluent Arabic.)

Too often, though, news organizations are sending reporters who lack expertise. As I look at the fixers who call the Mideast home and are among the best journalists here, I couldn’t complain if I were replaced by one of them.

Says Mohannad, “If you give them the credit they deserve, give them the training that you owe them and endorse them, you will be building fantastic journalists and correspondents that would one day write stories that will win the world’s elite awards.”

Arwa Gaballa commented on FB:
A few months ago, I was fixing for a big-name journalist at a big-name newspaper. I got the journalist an interview with a minister, which of course he didn’t appreciate because he thinks ministers in Egypt just gladly agree to host journalists at their officers for hours. He couldn’t imagine just who I had to know/call to make that happen.
Anyway, we get there, and he starts asking his embarrassing (that’s the politest description I could think of) questions, including whether said minister thinks Sisi is doing a good job as a president! The minister stared at me in confusion as he explained to him that Sisi wasn’t president yet!
I had prepared a list of questions for him, but he dismissed it (after asking for it) and went with his own. The supposed-to-be journalist staying at the 5-star hotel and getting paid in dollars while I get paid pennies was incompetent and awkwardly ignorant of Middle East affairs and politics.
At the end, I got zero recognition of course, even though, like many fixers here tend to do, I conducted some of the interviews.

Bossone Twitter handle is @abossone – See more at:

America’s 25 Most Awkward Allies

Last December, National Security Adviser Susan Rice offered a remarkably candid insight into Barack Obama’s foreign policy. “Let’s be honest,” she said, “at times … we do business with governments that do not respect the rights…
Politico posted:
American presidents have long wrestled with this dilemma. During the Cold War, whether it was Dwight Eisenhower overthrowing Iran’s duly elected prime minister or Richard Nixon winking at Chile’s Augusto Pinochet, they often made unsavory moral compromises.
Even Jimmy Carter, who said America’s “commitment to human rights must be absolute,” cut deals with dictators.

But Obama, an idealist at home, has turned out to be more cold-blooded than most recent presidents about the tough choices to be made in the world, downgrading democracy and human rights accordingly.

From Syria to Ukraine, Egypt to Venezuela, this president has shied away from the pay-any-price, bear-any-burden global ambitions of his predecessors, preferring quiet diplomacy to the bully pulpit—when he is engaged at all.

He has his reasons.

A decade of occupying Iraq and Afghanistan soured Americans on George W. Bush’s “freedom agenda,” taking invasion off the table as a policy tool. And there are broader global forces at work too: the meteoric rise of China, new tools for repressing dissent, the malign effect of high oil prices.

Freedom in the world has declined for 8 straight years, according to Freedom House—not just under Obama.

But if the president is troubled by these trends, he shows few signs of it. “We live in a world of imperfect choices,” Obama shrugged last year—and his administration has made many, currying favor with a rogue’s gallery of tyrants and autocrats.

Here, Politico Magazine has assembled a list of America’s 25 most awkward friends and allies, from Pakistan to Saudi Arabia, Honduras to Uzbekistan—and put together a damning, revelatory collection of reports on the following pages about the “imperfect choices” the United States has made in each. “I will not pretend that some short-term tradeoffs do not exist,” Rice admitted. Neither will we.

1. Pakistan

America’s worst ally—being home to Osama bin Laden will do that to your reputation—Pakistan has gobbled up billions of dollars in U.S. aid and “reimbursements” for services rendered in the war on terror.

And while Pakistan’s powerful military and spy services have often collaborated with their American counterparts on drone strikes and militant arrests, they’ve just as often made mischief, hosting the Taliban and other extremist groups, planting false anti-American stories in the press and undermining the civilian government.

“The cancer is in Pakistan,” Obama reportedly told his staff in 2009—but he has yet to figure out how to excise it.

2. Saudi Arabia

Ever since 1945, when President Franklin D. Roosevelt huddled with King Saud bin Abdulaziz for five awkward hours on a U.S. warship, the United States has had uncomfortably intimate relations with Saudi Arabia.

Seventy years later, the two countries are trapped in a loveless marriage. No country buys more U.S. weapons than the autocratic, oil-rich Persian Gulf monarchy, and no country—with its obscurantist interpretation of Islam, medieval punishments and harsh treatment of women—makes for a more embarrassing U.S. ally.

But the relationship is in increasing need of counseling as the Saudis grow exasperated with U.S. policies in the Middle East, especially in Syria, and threaten to find other partners. As the Saudi foreign minister put it, “It’s a Muslim marriage, not a Catholic marriage.”

3. Afghanistan

Bribery, embezzlement, corruption. And that’s just on the part of America’s partners in Afghanistan.

As the United States prepares to wind down its 13-year war on the unforgiving Afghan plains and craggy mountain hideaways, it has given up on almost any pretense of nation-building in a country where President George W. Bush once promised to help build a “free and stable democracy.”

The United States is even, it turns out, giving tens of millions of dollars in cash directly from the CIA to Hamid Karzai, the mercurial tribal leader it installed as president in 2001. Sure, there have been lectures about good governance and reams of reports tsk-tsking over the colossal waste, fraud and abuse of the roughly $100 billion in U.S. aid and reconstruction money that has flowed into Afghan coffers, but little has changed, and the United States has basically stopped trying.

Standing next to Karzai last year, Obama summed up America’s diminished expectations, asking, “Have we achieved everything that some might have imagined us achieving in the best of scenarios? Probably not.”

4. Iraq

In November 2013, President Obama praised Iraq Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki for “ensuring a strong, prosperous, inclusive and democratic Iraq.”

One has to wonder just which Maliki—and which Iraq—Obama was talking about. Since his selection in 2006, Maliki has consolidated power to the point where many alienated Sunnis call him the “Shiite Saddam,” while the country has exploded anew with sectarian violence that killed more than 8,000 people in 2013.

Just weeks after Maliki’s visit to the White House, al Qaeda was taking over large swaths of Fallujah and Ramadi, two cities where American forces had fought pitched battles in the streets.

Never mind that the United States has sold Iraq some $14 billion in military hardware since 2005 and quietly left behind dozens of military and CIA advisers since its 2011 pullout—the spillover from Syria’s civil war has proven too much for the Iraqis to handle. And in more ways than one: U.S. officials also accuse Maliki’s government of looking the other way as its close neighbor, Iran, supplies the murderous Syrian regime with cash, weapons and advisers.

5. Egypt

Coup or no coup, the United States still showers the Arab world’s most populous state with $1.3 billion in military aid each year—a tradition owing to Egypt’s strategic position astride the Suez Canal and next door to Israel.

Since haranguing Egypt’s longtime dictator, Hosni Mubarak, to step down “now” in February 2011 amid the inspiring protests in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, the Obama administration has largely been reduced to hand-wringing as the men in khaki reclaimed power, killing hundreds of Islamist protesters along the way.

6. Equatorial Guinea

 Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo—who claims, “There is total freedom of expression, there has never been repression” in his country—is in fact a famously corrupt thug; after toppling his own uncle in 1979 to seize power in Equatorial Guinea, he has amassed a fortune estimated at several hundred million dollars, while more than three-quarters of Equatorial Guineans live in abject squalor and outright repression.

Washington has also cashed in on the tiny country’s massive if ill-distributed wealth, with American lobbyists, defense contractors and banks variously taking on Obiang as a client during his more than 34 years of strongman rule. In 1995, the United States shuttered its embassy in Malabo after threats to the life of the U.S. ambassador, an outspoken human rights defender.

A 1999 State Department report found that Obiang’s sadistic security forces had, among other horrors, rubbed prisoners’ bodies with grease to attract stinging ants. But no matter: In 2003, the United States agreed to reopen the embassy, and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice later warmly welcomed Obiang to Washington as a “good friend.”

Even President Obama has posed for a photo op with the dictator, who once won reelection with 103 percent of the vote in some precincts. Why all the love? Equatorial Guinea’s $9 billion oil and gas bonanza, almost all of it produced by U.S. companies, has made it one of the largest destinations for U.S. investment in Africa, and much of that oil, naturally, finds its way across the Atlantic.

A one-party state that ranks among the world’s poorest countries, Djibouti is essentially a French satrapy with a drone base, leased to the United States.
The country has little to offer other than its strategic location on the Horn of Africa, north of war-torn Somalia and west of al Qaeda-infested Yemen. But for a United States more concerned with its security than with Djiboutian freedoms—and there aren’t many to speak of—that turns out to be good enough.
23. Morocco 
 When uprisings spread across Arab countries in 2011, Morocco worked hard to convince the world that it was a stable exception. To appease protesters in dozens of cities and towns across the country, King Mohammed VI quickly reworked his constitution—winning much praise from a Washington desperate for an Arab Spring success story, including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who called Morocco “a model” for the region.
As it turned out, the king retained much of his power, which he duly exercises through a Potemkin parliament, police abuses against dissidents, press constraints and his own investment holding company, which has stakes in virtually every sector of the country’s economy.
The king’s ardor for reform may have cooled, but the United States has upgraded ties anyway, holding a “strategic dialogue” with Morocco in September 2012 and, a little over a year later, rewarding “King Mo” with a prized White House visit for the first time in nine years.
24. Kazakhstan
Nursultan Nazarbayev, who has ruled this Central Asian powerhouse since 1989—that’s two years before the fall of the Soviet Union—is nothing if not a clever autocrat.
He’s marketed himself brilliantly as a man the West can do business with, from giving up his post-Soviet nuclear stockpiles two decades ago to splashing money around Washington, D.C., to helping the United States ship supplies in and out of Afghanistan.
Much of Kazakhstan’s immense oil wealth, meanwhile, reportedly makes its way into the hands of Nazarbayev’s cronies. At a March 2012 meeting in Seoul, South Korea, President Obama said it was “wonderful” to see Nazarbayev again, tactfully not mentioning that his government has rigged elections and imprisoned political opponents to stay in power, or that his party holds nearly all the seats in both houses of the legislature.
U.S. companies have invested heavily in Kazakh oil: Chevron led the way in 1993, and last year ExxonMobil and ConocoPhillips started pumping crude in a Kazakh oil field that is the world’s largest outside the Middle East.
25. Turkey
 Obama seems to have a soft spot for Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the voluble and volatile Islamist leader of this longtime U.S. and NATO ally. As Erdogan has trampled on basic freedoms, fended off dubious “coup attempts” and feuded with Israel, Obama has indulged his Turkish friend while keeping public criticism to a minimum.
No longer, at least, do U.S. officials voice their always questionable hope that a Muslim, democratic Turkey could inspire an Arab world in the throes of revolution.
Note 1: Andrew Bossone commented in his link:
Politico’s mindless garbage “America’s 25 Most Awkward Allies” summarizes entire nations in a graf or two of cliches.
And yeah it’s missing some governments like: UK, Israel, Yemen (although it does give a shout out to it as “al Qaeda infested“), Ukraine, Mexico, Colombia, Nicaragua, Chile… I could go on. Basically it’s an opportunity to bash a bunch of Middle East countries, toss in a couple Caucuses nations, and add Honduras just so South America is represented.
Obviously written by a snarky poli-sci graduate who hangs in Adams Morgan.
The article doesn’t put any blame on the US gov’t for anything other than having these other governments as allies.
Note 2: Photos from list via Associated Press unless otherwise noted. Pablo Martinez Monsivais; Ron Edmonds; Charles Dharapak; Pablo Martinez Monsivais; Jim Watson/AFP; Lawrence Jackson/White House; U.S. State Department; Sameh Refaat/U.S. Embassy Egypt; Charles Dharapak; Spencer Platt/Getty Images; U.S. State Department; Charles Dharapak; Lawrence Jackson/White House; Lawrence Jackson/White House; Carolyn Kaster; Charles Dharapak; Lawrence Jackson/White House; Pablo Martinez Monsivais; Pete Souza/White House; Cherie A. Thurlby/U.S. Department of Defense; Sayyid Azim; Pablo Martinez Monsivais; Evan Vucci; Pablo Martinez Monsivais; Pablo Martinez Monsivais.

Note 3: Read more:

Afghanistan: The Money Pit
By Sarah Chayes
Egypt: The Revolutionary Police State
By Andrew Hammond
Uzbekistan: The Corruption Corridor
By David Trilling
Bahrain: The Base
By Justin Gengler
Myanmar: The Ex-Pariah
By Bertil Lintner
Vietnam: The Ex-Enemy
By John Sifton
Tajikistan: The Narcostate
By Joshua Kucera
Rwanda: The Darling Tyrant
By Anjan Sundaram
Cambodia: The Chinese Puppet
By Dustin Roasa
Honduras: The Thugocracy Next Door
By Dana Frank
Qatar: The Frenemy
By Jonathan Schanzer
Kyrgyzstan: The Launch Pad
By Joanna Lillis
Djibouti: The Airstrip with a Subway
By Aly Verjee
Morocco: The Arab Exception
By Ahmed Benchemsi
Turkey: The Muslim Democracy
By Steven A. Cook

Info-graphic On Suicide Bombings in Lebanon. And Frontline Documentary in Syria
A link from Andrew Bossone on FB
On this edition of Media on the MarginsMalihe Razazan speaks with Syrian-born Frontline correspondent Muhammad Ali about his most recent reporting trip from the town of al-Atārib near Aleppo in northern Syria, which is the subject of his Frontline documentary, “Syria’s Second Front.”
Since the start of the uprising in 2011, Ali, a 32-year-old Damascus native, has been to Syira on assignment 13 times.
He called his latest trip “a suicide mission.” According to an annual report from the Committee to Protect JournalistsSyria remained the most deadly place for journalists on the job in 2013.
The Associated Press reports that 30 journalists have been kidnapped or gone missing since April of last year.
Media on the Margins” is a regular Jadaliyya program dedicated to the stories behind the news, on the fault-lines of journalism and the fringes of public discourse.
In each episode, Malihe Razazan, the winner of the Society for Professional Journalists’ 2012 Community Journalism Award, speaks to reporters, editors, citizen journalists, and photographers to unpack their craft, interrogate their work, and uncover how the news comes to represent the world.
The show shines a spotlight on stories missed, ignored, and omitted as well as the people who tell them. “Media on the Margins” is where “journalism grapples with journalism.” Click to watch the documentary in its entirety on PBS. 




June 2023

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