Reflections on the Nile: The Hustle

It’s been more than a year since my troupe moved back to the U.S., but the adventures of our last 5 years still all seem very close and tangible.  These adventures touched us deeply, and as we face new challenges, it’s good to reflect and remember the past.

We were lucky enough, as a family, to travel to places like Athens and Crete, Britain and France. And I spent a brief time in Egypt on a reporting trip–a trip that was filled with discoveries for me.  Much of my reporting was meant to give a snapshot of that time in Cairo, which was (is?) still figuring out where it was heading in its revolution.

But in this post I wanted to jot down some of the money-making observations I made while hoofing through Cairo. I hesitate to call them scams, because most of them were just ways people had inserted themselves into the tourist economy to make a few bucks. (Egyptian Pounds.) For most of these observations ‘scam’ is too strong. ‘Hustle’ might be closer to what I mean. And in a lucky break, my identifying the hustle helped me leave Egypt with a little more money in my pocket than I expected.

Continue reading “Reflections on the Nile: The Hustle”

‘Arab Uprisings’

There’s plenty of attention here on the economies of developed countries but events in the Middle East and North Africa are not far from the minds of those here in Davos.

They were the subject of a keynote address by United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon

BAN: “I’d like to use this platform today to use a call to action on two immediate crises: the death-spiral in Syria and the widening turbulence in Mali and the Sahel.”

Mr. Ban said the international community needed to come together to end the ongoing violence in the two countries and ensure assistance is available to those in need.

But he also highlighted the wider uncertainty regarding the so-called “Arab Spring.” Continue reading “‘Arab Uprisings’”

A year in Swiss journalism (2012)

Money

It’s not uncommon for sitcoms to do flashback shows to fill space in a down-time, nor is it rare for end-of-year lists to flood shows or websites as the clock ticks toward New Year’s.  In that spirit of “everyone else is doing it,” I am here putting forth a look back at my year.

The catch?  I wanted to compile a list of some of my most important stories covered in 2012.  It is almost cliché for a journalist to say this, but my job is one which provides a lowly chap with a microphone (me) the “golden ticket” to unseen territory.  This could give access to the proverbial boardroom to interview business leaders; this could open the doors of Parliament for stories on tax debates and refugee rights; or it could give me access to a deeply personal aspect of someone’s life, who trusts that I will do my utmost to respect and accurately portray whatever glimpse I am afforded.  It is the latter-most point that I relish the most.  Regular readers of this website will know I have a tendency to want to bring voice to those not often heard, or included in the greater society.  That’s cliché though, too, isn’t it?  “Giving voice to the voiceless.”  I hope the difference between my work and the cliché is that I actually do it.  I talked to asylum seekers hoping not to be deported, one of whom said he walked from Greece.  I experienced Cairo with a Swiss-Egyptian, seeing his childhood home and the rough streets which frame his memories.  I am not saying I speak with the roughest characters, or the most excluded in our society–there is no contest in exploring lesser-seen fringes of our society.  But in the end I feel my work has been fair, and accurate, contributing to the greater discourse of what is happening in our communities.  Below are some of my highlights of a year gone by…

Continue reading “A year in Swiss journalism (2012)”

UNHCR: Helping Forgotten Refugees

UNHCR screenshot

While much attention was focused on North Africa during the so-called Arab Spring, some effects of revolution were not so obvious. In Egypt, for example, refugees from Libya flooded over the border after a civil war and the death of former leader Muammar Gaddafi. However, Egypt also sees refugees from other parts of Africa. Dealing with it day to day is the UN’s Refugee Agency, the UNHCR. WRS’s Tony Ganzer went to the UNHCR office outside Cairo to hear how things are going:

6 of October City is a suburb of sorts, or a satellite city from Cairo. It has 500,000 residents itself. But most of the 44,000 refugees helped by the UNHCR office here are scattered across Cairo. Continue reading “UNHCR: Helping Forgotten Refugees”