Thursday, December 27, 2007

On the assassination of Benazir Bhutto

Most will already be aware of Benazir Bhutto's death and will not require the likes of me to elaborate further. Having just spent eight hours on a train I'm in no mood to try and make sense of today's events but I do fear the consequences will be catastrophic for Pakistan.

Thoughts on who might be responsible for the attack are here and here.

A fitting panegyric by Christopher Hitchens for Slate is here. (update: 00.19)


At 8:50 am , Blogger Chavette said...

This isn't actually about the post here, but I read your post on CiF (Dec. 31st, Sarfraz Mansoor's article) saying you're a frustrated journalist and, although it was probably just a throwaway comment, I thought I'd write, as a fellow Scot (who used to pass the Finnieston Crane on my way to work:)) currently working on a national English language paper in Kuwait (my CiF nick's QuineinQ8) and ask if you'd ever considered applying to papers in the Middle East, especially the Gulf countries - there are more and more such papers appearing, especially since it's economic boom time here - to work as a journalist? Sorry for the presumption - and the convoluted, bloody long sentences, just that they're always crying out for good native English-speaking/writing writers on the English-language papers here, no journalistic experience necessary. Hell, the paper I'm at (The Daily Star, the Kuwait franchise of the Lebanese paper) took me on as a proofreader/copy editor/Polly Filler column writer a year back, I now work as a features writer/reporter and I don't even have a degree, let alone any previous journalistic experience - the paper's international editor hadn't written anything since completing his thesis (nor had he considered going into journalism), but had a business degree so got the job straight away. This is the norm, not the exception, as far as I can tell, on English language papers in the region. As an excellent and extremely well-informed (and obviously highly qualified) writer, any of these papers would snap you up as a reporter/editor(and they do pay reasonably well, though not at British NUJ rates, unfortunately), here, in the UAE or elsewhere in the region - language really isn't a problem; obviously it's best to learn Arabic as quickly as possible, but I started with about forty words of it, around half of them obscenities (I'm married to a Palestinian here who's broadened my bilingual profanity repertoire extensively) - most press conferences are held in English (there are around 140 nationalities here, so it's the unofficial lingua franca) and translators can be provided for Arabic language events, when you need to interview local people in Arabic, etc. It's also a possible side entrance (or jemmying the back window maybe) way in to the old boys' journalism network in the UK or elsewhere that there's very little possiblity of breaking into otherwise, especially as a beginner, without the right qualifications and a helluva lot of luck and good connections - if you got experience and union accreditation here, it would be a lot easier to get work as a journalist back in Britain or elsewhere, I'd think. As most of these papers' journalism goes, think the Greenock Telegraph with an Arab slant (and heavily censored as to subject matter, especially politically - this is the Gulf, genuine press freedom or serious investigative reporting remains a lovely but distant ideal, unfortunately - which can be infuriating given the massive and widely-known but never officially acknowledged corruption) rather than the Guardian, but it's a start. Anyway, sorry for going on so much. I realize it's probably not practical for you and was just a passing comment, but I just thought I'd suggest it as a possible option to consider. Will probably fully sober up post-New Year and think oh shite, what was I blethering on there for? Anyway, my name's Ruth and you can contact me at: if you're interested in the idea or just want to instruct me never to write screeds of irrelevant, inane, off-topic babble in your blog ever again. Oh, and Happy New Year.


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