Friday, April 14, 2006

Robert Fisk

I just finished reading Robert Fisk's latest book, The Great War for Civilization - The Conquest of the Middle East, all 1200 + pages! Although I felt before beginning it that it was going to be a challenge to get through, I found, on the contrary, that it was hard to put down. The challenge I had was absorbing all of the details and events that he covered. I should have known that it was worth a read after having read his previous "thick" book about Beirut, Pity the Nation. I find that I go through jags of reading books about the Middle East and then I have to resort to something lighter, that presently being Jhumpa Lahiri's, The Namesake...another good read. I also do a lot of reading on the internet and tackle at least a couple of articles from the online NYTimes daily. Which leads me to compare what I have access to today to what I had available to read when I arrived in Jordan in 1963!

We, inshallah (God willing) are going to build a house in the coming year and move out of the one that we have occupied since 1965. In the process I am going through stacks of "junk" that have accumulated over the years and today found an issue of The Jerusalem Times published on Sunday November 24, 1963 headlining World Mourns Kennedy. This 4 page paper, printed in Jerusalem was the only newspaper easily available in Amman. We could also get the New York Herald Tribune, European Edition (I have that November 23-24 edition too) or The Sunday Times, but they would be several days old before we finally received them.

Now Jordan has a daily, The Jordan Times, and a weekly The Star newspaper available plus innumerable locally published magazines in the English language for us to consume. We are also fortunate to have a great communications infrastructure that makes available on a subscription basis, the world wide web via both dial up or ADSL lines. That plus countless internet cafes allow nearly everyone who wishes to be, to be connected to the internet. What a contrast to Jordan 43 years ago!

I won’t begin to talk about how email has changed my life…that will have to wait for another blog on another day. I hope that you have liked my first attempt at doing this…perhaps I will become inspired to do it again before too long….let’s see what other junk I find while cleaning my closets that might jog my memory!!

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