well, as I was warned, the old stuff in Europe is put to shame by the old stuff in the middle east. Check out Petra is the best advice i can give. It was a city hidden in a valley, which was ‘re-discovered’ in the early 1800’s. The place is totally beyond words–heres some pics:
There are still at least a dozen bedouin families living in these caves.
Most of the bedouin have been moved to a nearby village. We stayed in the park after sunset, and some of the locals invited us to their house for some tea and nargeeleh. We rode donkeys across the desert as the stars came out. At their home, we met Amal, an 18 year old who left school when she was 10 to sell trinkets to tourists. Shes damn smart.
I have a video of her and the rest of the crew, who were very hospitable, which i would like to post but im still figuring out how to do this movie editing stuff, and its too large a file. stay tuned…
We are back in Amman now, attending the AMARC worldwide community radio conference. People from more than 100 countries are here. For those who dont know what community radio is, we spent an hour trying to define it–basically its radio which is produced by members of the community, and addresses issues important to the members of the local community.
The first day was spent on community radio in North Africa and the Middle East, which is rare because of government refusal to allow it. Often even if there are laws permitting these stations, they still are stifled. The second day was discussing womens roles, how to increase their participation, and how the stations can be used to benefit women in particular. We will largely be in the conference bubble for the next week or so..other than that Jordan is great and everybody is really nice.
Oh, and of course–some people have written to me asking about reaction here in the arab world to the US elections.
In a nutshell, people were indeed watching closely, they are happy with the results, and they hope that its the end of a very dark era.
On a side note, I won an award this week for a radio story I did last year. Much props to my old school homie Ellerie for picking it up at the ceremony in Chicago. It was an excellence in radio award given by the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association. The story was about when the Hillsborough county commission banned any government participation or acknowledgment of Gay Pride.
You can listen by clicking here its the second to last story in the newscast.