Thira- Today is my last day stranded in paradise here in Santorini. It has been a fantastic couple of weeks living in a volcanic cave at the aptly named Caveland in Karterados village. Soon I will be in the humdrum of an occupied Wall Street in Manhattan. My friend @RaymondPagnucco has a rocking clip today on CNN’s iReport from Martyr’s Square in Tripoli.
Thira- I have no two new articles out today. I felt compelled to write something on the ignominious death of Qaddafi in Sirte yesterday. Funnily I was actually going to do a piece on the unrest here in Greece if solely for the reason I have been stuck here longer than I planned. There was even a demonstration here on the island yesterday and rubbish is spilling out into the streets as part of the uprising. But Qaddafi was as dramatic in death as he was in life and his killing carried the day in the news cycle. I balanced it out with a very underreported story out of Pakistani Balochistan. The Shia Hazara minority have been being slaughtered by Lashkar-e-Jhangvi militants for years now but there has been a huge spike in violence in recent months and I felt the topic was worthy of more attention. The common thread between the two stories is the terrible violence that takes place in a supposedly pacifying world. Qaddafi suffered a very public, humiliating death while the Hazaras of Pakistan are lucky to have their suffering mentioned in the Pakistani media itself.
Thira- Looks like the last chapter in the Guide’s Green Book has finally been written. Wish that I was in Sirte right now. Instead I am in a paralyzed Greece. My buddy @RaymondPagnucco arrived in Tripoli this morning to finish a documentary about Libya that will be like no other. There won’t another cameraman there with the same story.
Thira- My friend Belen Fernandez has been busy deconstructing the life and work of the New York Times’ Thomas Friedman, the disproportionately wealthy pundit fond of touring Asian Potemkin villages and advocating for ad hoc globalization. Her forthcoming book The Imperial Messenger: Thomas Friedman at Work will be released November 7th.
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Thira- Just finished reading The Eleventh Day by Anthony Summers and Robbyn Swan, a masterful account of 9/11 and was thrilled to see one of my articles was used as source material for the bit about Hamburg’s Mahmoun Darkazanli (pp.275-276) in the endnotes on page 523. I’m glad to have contributed in a small way to this work, much of which aims to dispel the unfounded talk of conspiracy theorists. This book is a must read. The first section called simply “Attack” is so vivid it is nearly difficult to read. It is an immense story in both size and scope and the author’s have done their utmost to put it together in what comes off as a very readable, gripping narrative.
Thira- Sitting here in the very tranquil village of Karterados on the island of Thira in the Santorini archipelago is an uneasy contrast the strikes and protests rocking mainland Greece. The country is on the verge of bankruptcy which is roiling global financial markets and yet here, if you didn’t bring up the subject with locals nor tuned into Al Jazeera online, you might be able to stick your head in the black sand and wish it all away. Of course I am the quintessential news junkie and could never do such a thing. I am putting a paltry few Euros into the economy, though the dollar has actually been gaining against the Euro for the first time in a while-good news for me and perhaps me only.
After mulling over the reported killing of Anwar al-Awlaki on Friday and the consequences of what it means well beyond US-Yemeni relations, I could not help but write something after thinking of my visit to his old mosque in San Diego last spring while doing some research. I became more and more disturbed by this policy decision-cum-travesty of justice-and not for the obvious reason many readers might think. I just had to say something. Something that could be easily misinterpreted or disagreed with. I wasn’t planning on writing any articles from here as I am working on some long form writing. This incident (which of course is already being disputed by members of the Awaliq tribe who have visited the scene of the crime in al-Jawf) necessitated a more nuanced commentary apart from the overhype about AQAP and the debate of al-Awlaki’s actual role in the group.