Jen Marlowe has a new blog on the ever disputed Levant on PBS’s World Focus site. Her first post relates a personal experience of al-Nakhba (“the catastrophe”) by a Palestinian friend of hers. I will be plugging some of Jen’s other posts as well from Palestine.
I’m sitting around trying to finish my book project before my birthday this fall (a goal I set on my last birthday). I’m googling this and that from my journeys before and during the Bush years and am very pleased to see that the website of a long deceased colleague is still operating. If you’re an Afghanophile or war photography junkie, please visit Postcards from Hell by A. Raffaelle Ciriello. Raffe was a man who’s impetuous, adventurous life was ended by a young Jewish conscript while reporting on a battle in downtown Ramallah. It is interesting and kind of weird that someone can be dead for seven years and their life’s work is still online for all to see if all know where to look. The dark irony about his site is a lot of it is dedicated to other reporters that died. Only an Italian can genuinely look stylish in a war zone and somehow not appear to be pretentious. Ciao Raffe! Sei mancato ragazzo!
Raffe’s Last Video March 13th, 2002 Ramallah, Palestine
I’ve got a new piece (sort of) on the death of MJ. I swear this is the last of my Jackson mania coverage! It is in the Dispatches section of the July issue of the Digital Journalist.
I dug up and scanned this picture from exactly a decade ago. As a youthful stunt, I scrawled “God Bless America” on a t-shirt and ran in front of the “Den of Spies” aka the former American embassy in Tehran. I handed the cab driver a tiny point-and-shoot camera and he took my picture from across the street. I’m obviously too far away to read the shirt but you can still see the old U.S. government seal over my shoulder. The taxi driver was freaked out at the idea of being caught but when we sped away he thought it was funny that I got away with it. I was in Tehran a few weeks after the student uprising of July 1999 and the whole city was on edge. I tipped him an extra 10,000 Rials for his trouble. Ahh the Clinton years were fun weren’t they? Too bad Bubba and Khatami never did have their “Dialogue of Civilizations.” Today is the 10th anniversary of the five-day long uprising that rocked Tehran and spread to other cities after the closure of a pro-reform newspaper. When I visited Iran a few weeks later, virtually no one spoke of the government’s horrendous repression and business seemed to be going on as usual in the bazaars and mosques during my stay.
I was shocked back into geopolitics today (thank god!) with another cheery call from London. I appeared on the BBC World Service today in the wake of President Obama’s trip to Moscow to ink a new nuclear disarmament deal with Russian President (and some might say Putin puppet) Dmitry Medvedyev. I particularly love when I’m jarred out of sleep or some other do-nothing activity and forced to turn my brain on at warp speed. It seems the times I’m most often asked to appear are the odd moments when I have yet to scan the days news which forces me to put my foreign policy hat on with little or in today’s case, no, perparation. I was mortified when I listened to the podcast that I flubbed Putin’s name in place of poor old Boris Yeltsin. Oh well, I’ll have to be more en pointe next time around. Keep those calls coming Beeb producers! I thoroughly enjoy the challenge.
Here is the podcast. I come in at the very beginning. Forgive my mistake with the name flub. Oh the humanity! Who among us is without fault?