Sunday, 27 January 2008

Hospitality in a suspicious world

Hospitality in a suspicious world (BBC News, Saturday, 26 January 2008)

This is one of the rare honest articles about Iraq and Afghanistan to appear on the BBC News site. Reporting about personal experiences, it reveals things that tend to get lost in the more frequent kinds of articles that offer mostly meaningless statistics, not uncommonly with misleading suggestions that the situation is improving.

One particularly apt passage is:

"Who tells the stories of civilians in Iraq or southern Afghanistan? Indeed, who tells the stories of Taleban foot soldiers?

And if that is not done, who is to know whether the American military or the British government or the Afghan president sitting in Kabul or indeed the Taleban spokesmen are telling the truth or not?"

Actually, in many countries there is just such kind of reporting. For example, the Dutch NOS news site runs a weekly 'blog' by an ordinary Iraqi, who writes about daily life in the capital. Many of his articles are heart-breaking. A recurrent theme is his wife's desire to start a family, and his feeling that it would be cruel to let children grow up in present-day Iraq, which is illustrated by many horrific incidents.

Regrettably, as language education in this country is shite, the less propaganda-infested news sites from continental Europe are inaccessible to the majority of us.

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