Posts in Everyday me!

Forget Wikileaks for a bit and ponder this: Social media journalism

While many are arguing nowadays whether Wikileaks is a new kind of journalism, and whether journalists should learn from its founder Julian Assange or just stay away from him as much as possible, I want to discuss a new kind of journalism that has knocked my socks off: Social Media journalism.

This is a term I coined after reading a heart-wrenching Washington Post story about a DC area-based family who had to endure a tragic circumstance after the birth of their baby boy. I’m not going to ruin the story for you, but the most fascinating part for me was the format in which this story was told. The journalist who told the story chose a “Facebook format” in which he narrated tear-jerking events using real Facebook status updates that were written by the family members who were involved in the story.

After each update or comment, the author added factual information to make the story complete by explaining for example how the couple in this story met and how they relate to the people that they have as “friends” on their Facebook page.

The Facebook story format. Credit: Washington Post.

I’m not usually the emotional type, but after I read the story I did in fact tear up a bit.The reason for this is simple: the story hit close to home because it used a format that I use on a daily basis to interact with my family and friends: Facebook. By doing so, the author gave the people involved in the story a real life feel.They were not just faceless names mentioned in a newspaper article. They were people who had friends and family who “liked” their news and “LOL” ed their updates and “shared” their links.

This story wouldn’t have the same effect on me personally if it was written in a regular print format. I would have simply thought something along the lines of “How sad” and resumed checking my Tweetdeck Twitter updates.

After reading the story, I couldn’t stop thinking about the impact this social media format can have if let’s say it was used to tell the stories of war victims, or victims of violence or even honor crimes. I might be day dreaming here but these social media formats could probably prompt the audience to lobby to stop certain wars, or create tougher laws to punish those who commit honor crimes. Imagine how important the role of journalism would become in this case as it will improve or even save lives. Does Wikilieaks revelations have the same impact? Maybe, maybe not.I’m still not sure of that, but what I’m sure of is that such social media journalism format has made me shed a tear or two.

Journalism is not dead, long live journalism

Lately, I’ve been driving my husband crazy. I’m always distracted. My mind is simply elsewhere. I’m presently living “on planet Natasha,” to quote his description of my current state of mind. The reason is simple. There is so much innovation going on in the realm of digital journalism and its integration with social media that I’m both overwhelmed and elated. What’s happening in the online journalism arena is so cutting- edge, so creative, and extremely crucial in improving the current human condition that I’m constantly monitoring and watching (sadly, to the exclusion of other things in my life). Really, can you blame me for being distracted in this age of round-the-clock digital innovation?

Contrary to the popular belief that journalism is dying (yada, yada, yada), I think journalism is in its best shape ever. It’s not dying, but rather evolving. The old format of journalism might be dead, but the new one is so fresh and promising that the even the sky is not the limit.

Journalism graduates: Do not fear the future, embrace it!

As someone whose career is in media development, watching trends and monitoring new journalism innovation is what I do on a daily basis, believe me when I tell you that journalism is at the forefront of  digital novelties continuing to further advance the quality of people’s lives everywhere.

One new journalism “tool” that I have been experimenting with is “social curation” using  storify. The idea behind it is really simple: Editors of newspapers, websites or anyone can use this tool to search social media tools for a certain topic, then filter the best items, whether they were tweets, Facebook updates, Flickr, etc, to create a story that can be embedded on a website.

Here is one example. I created a search term for ARJI conference (Arab Reporters for Investigative Journalism) which is currently taking place in Amman. I chose what I thought were the best social media items and created a story here. Now I can easily embed the story on my blog like this:

Now, the neat thing is that I can go back to this story anytime and update it with any new development and then republish it. The embedded code will update itself automatically without me needing to overwrite it. This kind of innovation is a real gift for website editors who are constantly following breaking news and gauging the community response to a certain event.

Storify has been making waves lately and harnessing a good amount of coverage in the media (here is one example). The creators behind Storify believe that they are building “the future of publishing” by “finding meaning in the noise”. It is a pretty neat idea if you ask me. Here is a an interview with the two founders of Storify:

This is only one of the latest innovative tools currently found in the playground of online media. Recently, social media blog Mashable ran an article about how investigative journalism is prospering thanks to social media. The amount of tools and new creations by and for journalists is simply mind-boggling.

With that in mind, do you really blame me for being distracted all the time? Journalism is not dead. Long live journalism.

Jordanian Christians are in a fine shape but still a ‘minority’

The most recent horrific attack on Christians in Iraq struck a personal cord with me. Of all the attacks happening daily in Iraq, this one somehow hit home. It might have been the way the worshippers were ambushed during Sunday mass and then slaughtered that’s causing me to lose sleep. It is horrifying to realize that the only reason these Iraqis were butchered was because they belonged to the wrong religion. Being the over-dramatic type, I couldn’t stop thinking about my family in Jordan and wondering what if?

Iraqi Christians mourning their dead. Source (Reuters).

What if they were worshiping at a church in Amman and something similar happens. Al-Qaeda members seem to manage to cross borders so easily these days that a similar attack in Jordan might not be that remote. I know I’m probably going over the top since these things don’t normally happen in Jordan even after the Al-Qaeda-inspired attacks of 2005. But I did think about it, and for a brief moment I panicked.

This horrific massacre of Iraqi Christians has stirred debate of a potential exodus of Christians from the Middle East, with media outlets like Foreign Policy (The End of Christianity in the Middle East) and Voice of America (Al-Qaida Threatens Christians in Egypt, Elsewhere in Middle East) both drawing a very gloomy picture of Christians in the region.

The London-based Arabic publication Elaph also discussed the issue and highlighted this distinct fact: Jordan has become a safe haven for Christians in the region, including Iraqi and Palestinian Christians that are feeling extremism in their home countries.

The article also quoted a piece in the Independent by Robert Fisk in which he referred to Jordan as “the only flame of hope in the region” when it comes to the situation of Arab Christians.

Yes, Jordanian Christians are in a superb position compared with the rest of the region. No one denies this. Coexistence is the name of the game, with many Jordanian Christians occupying senior positions in the government and parliament. Christians and Muslims live in the same neighborhoods and in some cases interact as members of the same family.

However, I don’t think Jordan is completely off the hook. The fact that a Jordanian Christian can’t become a prime minster is a problem that should be resolved sooner than later. The former head of the Jordanian parliament, Abdul Hadi Majali, was actually asked about it in an interview with an Arab Satellite channel. His response was the “minority” can’t rule the majority.

Another fact still affecting Jordanian Christians is the issue of inheritance, where Sharia law still applies to them. The male sibling takes double the share of his sisters and male relatives take a share of the daughters’ inheritance in the absence of a male sibling.

Since I have a big mouth, I have discussed these ticklish issues with many of my friends and coworkers when I lived in Amman. The answer I got most of the time was that Jordan is a Muslim country and we can’t change the rules for a “minority.” Throwing the “minority” label at me never made me feel special, to the contrary, it made me feel like a pariah. I used to respond with: “Come on, you can’t deprive my unborn child from ever dreaming that one day he (yes, a he, she, is another story) will become prime minister. Even minorities should have equal rights.”

But that was back then, when I was young, naïve and passionate. It was back when I thought writing, talking, and arguing would take me somewhere.

I’m now a thirty-something, jaded Christian Arab who has joined the ranks of those who are in the “exodus.” I might not have lots of ground to stand on simply because I packed my bags and left. Ah well, I’m just blowing off some steam on a breezy Friday morning in the suburbs of Washington, DC. Blowing off steam is probably the most I can do at this point since I’m only a “minority”.

While young Muslims deliver flowers, the US media fails twice

While the US media was having a field day with a non-story about a fringe pastor who wanted to burn the Quran, and while Islamophobia and anti-Muslim incidents were skyrocketing including urinating in a mosque and attacking a Muslim cab driver, young Muslims in a small city in the Middle East delivered flowers to a church. This was a “gesture of peace and coexistence,” the group of young Jordanian Muslims who delivered the flowers said.

Photo credit: Thameen Kheetan - The Jordan Times

“Shall we burn a copy of the Bible as a response to that? No, this is not what should be done,” Zeid Oweidi who was among a group of ten Jordanians told reporters at the Greek Orthodox Church in Amman last week. His comments were made against the backdrop of threats by Terry Jones, the pastor of a Florida church who planned to burn copies of the Quran on the 9th anniversary of the September 11 attacks.

While extremists in places like Afghanistan demonstrated violently over the planned burning of the Quran, young Jordanians last week simply walked to a nearby church following the evening prayers and delivered flowers.

Following this gesture, I received an Email from someone belonging to the Christian community in Jordan urging fellow Christians to reciprocate by delivering flowers to Muslims after Friday prayers. I guess in this case instead of violence begetting violence, goodwill begets yet even more goodwill.

Sadly, for the US media this was a non-story. Who cared about a small, stable country like Jordan? Who cared about a handful of young Muslims delivering flowers when there were others demonstrating violently? Which one would get readers’ attention, violence or flowers? Sadly, the US media chose violence. Who can compete with death and blood? The sexier always wins.

Covering this story and bringing it to the world’s attention is crucial these days. While the average American news consumer is currently being inundated with images of extremist Muslims, a small story like this one should have deserved at least a fraction of the coverage that the Florida priest fiasco received. I understand that this is not a national story and it didn’t happen on US soil but in this interconnected media sphere the location of the story doesn’t make a difference anymore. We have already experienced that. An angry mob in Beirut attacked a Western embassy in reaction to cartoons that appeared in a Danish newspaper, while demonstrators in Pakistan marched the streets in reaction to an off-beat announcement by a priest in small American city. Nowadays, every story is a global story.

The disappointing fact is that the US media failed twice in this case: first in blowing the story of the Florida priest out of proportion by giving this isolated, planned act (which never happened) more than its share of coverage, and bringing it to the attention of the global audience. The second was in ignoring acts of Muslim goodwill that would have clearly showed that while some Muslims might burn flags and effigies, there are others, like this group of young Jordanians, who would simply deliver flowers.

‘I voted’

For many, September 14 was your regular Tuesday with its heavy work load. For others it was the day when minor elections were taking place in several US states. But for me it was a milestone. It was the day I got out of my car, all dressed-up (in a grey suit and red- stripped shirt), and walked to the entrance of my neighborhood elementary school (to the sound of someone yelling “Kagan for Senate”). I walked through the long hallways and reached the operation center, where I cast my first ballot, ever, as an American citizen.

The election was the primary for the state of Maryland, and I, as an American citizen and Maryland resident, had a say in it. Yes, my lone vote could actually determine who runs this state. When I got to the registration desk the people asked for my name and asked me to confirm my party. I proudly said “Democrat.” I felt empowered to be vocal about my party affiliation, especially since where I was born, belonging to a party was not something to shout over rooftops. The word party, or Hizib in Arabic, had a bad connotation in the Middle East. It signaled membership in opposition groups, a la Muslim Brotherhood or the Communist Party. Party members were mostly seen as fringe that posed an imminent threat to the regime.

Here in the suburbs of the nation’s capital, though, it is a totally different experience. Everyone is encouraged to belong to a party to such an extent that in some states, not belonging to a party means you don’t have full voting rights in certain primaries.

When my registration was verified I was taken to the electronic voting booth by an older Asian woman. I explained to her that this was my first time voting and that I might need help figuring out how to use the machine. She told me: “Let me call my husband. He’s better at these things.” Very cute, I thought. Her husband, a senior as well, was very helpful. He showed me how to use the electronic registration card and how to eventually cast my ballot. What struck me was the fact that the man, just like me, had accented American English. Here we were: a foreign-born Asian-American man helping an Arab-American woman vote for the first time in the primary elections in the state of Maryland. Now, ladies and gentlemen, this is what I call a lesson in democracy.

After I was done, I returned my electronic registration card and was given a sticker that said in both English and Spanish: “I voted/Yo vote.” I stuck it on my suitcoat and left the room. I know this might sound cliché, but I was overwhelmed. Two years after taking my oath in Baltimore I finally feel that my American citizenship has been consummated. Travelling with a US passport is only part of it. You truly come full circle as a citizen of this great county when you cast your first ballot.

I remember when Obama was running for president I was still a green card holder and couldn’t cast my ballot. On the day of the elections I was going absolutely nuts. I couldn’t focus at work and kept checking voting results online. I paced back and forth around the office like a total maniac. Eventually, I walked into my colleague’s office, who seemed really consumed by whatever work she was doing. I asked her: “Michelle, how can you do this? I’m going crazy here and you’re acting like today is just another day.” She responded: “Natasha, I voted this morning. I did my part. I feel relaxed.” That was when I realized what I was missing.

The only other time I’ve voted was in Jordan in 2003 during the parliamentary elections. I was a bit peeved because for some reason I was registered to vote in the town where my parents were born and not in the town where we resided at that time. I was not sure how the election rules worked back then but I didn’t feel that my vote would actually impact my daily existence. My vote was not going to make any difference in fixing local issues, like the constant lack of clean water or bumpy streets in our neighborhood. I did vote eventually, though, so that I could say: “I voted.”

Here, saying, “I voted,” has a totally different meaning. My vote did actually make a difference. The incumbent governor I voted for actually won the primary (Go O’Malley!). I will make sure to vote for him in the mid-term elections in November against his republican opponent.

All that said, I’ m not totally giving up hope of having a transparent, effective democratic process in the country where I was born. Unlike the early 2000’s, I see more awareness about upcoming elections in Jordan with more civic societies spreading awareness and encouraging potential voters to engage in public debates. Jordan’s upcoming parliamentary elections might be different this time. At least people are discussing them via Twitter. Now, that’s something.

‘So, how was your summer?’

Since I moved to the US, I have gradually become one of those who dread Mondays. I don’t dread Mondays for the obvious reasons:  The start of a new hectic week, the end of a weekend, etc. I dread it because it’s the day that I have to submit my social life report first thing in the morning. It’s the day that I’m expected to find a very good answer to the most dreadful question: “How was your weekend?”

When people ask me this question (and they always do), I usually stutter, trying to find the most exciting response. It’s really nerve-racking as I have to come up with an answer along the lines of “It was great. I hiked the Appalachian Trail, and swam in the Atlantic, then had a BQQ on a boat with exciting cosmopolitan, friends who discussed the merits of eating beef from grass-fed cows.”

The sad reality is that I always fail in this instance by giving the wrong answer to this inevitable question. My answer is usually something like: “It was nice, relaxing”. Really, why impose that pressure on me? What if I spent my weekend drinking coffee, and watching reruns of Sex and the City in my Victoria’s Secret Pajamas? What if the highlight of my weekend was using Weed and Feed for the first time? Can I still submit this in the weekend report on Monday morning without eyebrows being raised and quick smiles being exchanged?

Living in a town where motivation and moving up the ladder is the name of the game, having a lame weekend would not bode well for my career. I feel tremendous pressure to fit it, to be able to concur the weekend like the rest of the Washingtonians so that I can submit a stellar report first thing on the very fist day of the working week.

The sad news is that this pressure doubles when it’s summer time, when people not only ask you about your weekend but also ask you about your summer. Now that’s when I start sweating (and not only because of the record-breaking heat). It’s usually the time of the year when people expect me to come up with answers that include words such as “Hawaii”, “Disney Land” “Beach”  “cruise” and “Europe”. See, I failed miserably this summer since I can’t provide any of the correct answers. What I did this summer was absolutely nothing. I went to work, watched reruns of Sex and the City and did projects around the house. In normal circumstances I shouldn’t feel bad about it, should I? But not here, not in this town where the brightest and the most competitive dwell. Not in this cut-throat city where high scores need to be achieved, all-year around especially during summer time. Do you see my debacle nowadays? Not only do I have to give a report about my weekend, but I also need to constantly update everyone on my progress for the whole duration of the summer (three months or more). I have to keep them updated on how exciting (or unexciting) my life is. It is a double whammy really, and I’m one of those with feeble hearts who will eventually succumb to this scary pressure and collapse.

The good news is that it’s September and summer is almost over. This means I will go to submitting only one weekly report that I usually fail. Ah, well, what can I do? You can’t have it all. And on that note, hope everyone is having a good summer!

My own food revolution

As I write this, I’m seated on a train headed back to DC from New York City. This basically means that I can’t keep making up excuses about not having time to update the blog. I do have time (four hours to be exact), and I can’t keep delaying something I wanted to share for a while. No I’m not with a child, for those who are so eager for me to procreate. The news is a major change of my lifestyle. It can simply be summarized as my own food revolution, mostly inspired by a celebrity chef.

But before I talk about the chef and his effect on me, I would like to go back in time to when the journey downhill all started. The story of my deterioration began with my first pay check. Yep, you  heard me right, it all went downhill when I got my first pay check, and decided to be fully independent by detaching myself from  my mom’s home-cooked food.

I thought dinning out and paying for whatever junk I put into my body was all it took to show that I made it into the adulthood world. So I quickly replaced mom’s Magloubeh‘s and Mlukhyeeh’s with fried chicken and big Mac’s. Please note that I’m talking about the early 90’s, the decade when Amman got introduced to the fast food industry with the advent of what I like to call the ” junk food firsts”, the first McDonald, the first Burger King, and the first Subway.

Yep, back then it was cool and hip to be seen devouring American food. It was empowering to be able to leave with my coworkers during lunch and delve into KFC’s “Zinger” and Arby’s curly fries. Yes, I made it , I thought to myself. I’m an emancipated woman who had just distanced herself from fresh produce and organic farming. Of course, that’s was when I started raking the calories, no surprise here. It was also when I started to feel lethargic, easily irritated and moody. While my downhill journey was just beginning, Amman Junk food stores kept mushrooming.

My deterioration continued for almost a decade until I decided to put an end to the fast food era. Not sure what made the first change. It might have been  my moving to a region in the US where health awareness was widespread, or it might have been the fact that I turned thirty and felt my body deteriorating. I started watching my diet and began doing some moderate exercise. This slightly improved my well-being but not to the level that was needed. I knew there was something still wrong in my eating habits. Getting rid of junk food was simply not enough, for some reason.

However,  in the past few months or so, I got a brand new inspiration. This might sound a bit cheesy and borders on the cliche, but I don’t care. My inspiration came from a TV  reality show. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, a mere reality show has changed my life. The show is called Food Revolution and it is about British celebrity chef Jamie Oliver who went to the most obese city in the US: Huntington, West Virginia to try o change the school’s lunch system. In his show he promotes healthy eating, and encourages the love of cooking. Nothing new, no? True, but the most striking thing for me was the issue of processed food. Yes, that was the missing link. Since I moved to the US, I had fell hard for the convenience of American living by buying whatever processed food I could find to make a quick semi-tasty meal. I thought when in Rome, buy processed. My freezer was filled with frozen pizza, chicken nuggets, potato wedges, pasta meals and others. At least, I was not eating a Whopper, I thought. Little did I know how some processed food can have even a worse impact than some of the nastiest junk food out there.

It was really until I watched this show, and realized how important whole food cooking is that I ultimately decided to make a drastic change in my life. I made a conscious decision to only eat food that is made from scratch. It was easier than I thought. I gathered all the cook books that I owed and made weekly grocery lists to achieve the goal. I didn’t stop here. I made sure to double the size of our moderate garden beds to include a large variety of vegetables that I can grow in our backyard. I rode the now yuppie wave of organic food, and even took the time to watch Food Inc.

The result was remarkable. Not only do I feel better, but  I look better. I lost almost 10 pounds mostly by focusing on wholesome food. I have to admit, cooking from scratch everyday can be a burden but the sense of sataifaction that I get after I finish any meal is usually my ultimate pay off. The most fascinating part for me was how I came full circle by actually embracing the home-cooked food that I rebelled against in my early twenties. I found myself looking for my mom’s recipes and making sure that I include them in my weekly meal planning. Yeah, yeah, mothers are always right!

Before I end this rant, I’d like to leave you with this TED talk in which Jamie Oliver talks about the show and his food revolution. I encourage everyone to watch it until the end.

Disclaimer: I never got to finish this post on the train. I got distracted and lost my inspiration. On a positive note, I managed to finish this post two days later, right after I devoured a shrimp linguini made by yours truly and yes, totally from scratch.

Transatlantic Arabic reading

My friend Bassam disagrees with me. He tells me he avoids reading any Arabic publications on planes heading to the US.

“It’s out of respect for their fear,” he tells me. “What’s that supposed to mean? ” I ask.

“Well, you know. I don’t want to make people feel uncomfortable while flying. You know how things are now.” “Come on, you’re not doing anything wrong,” I reply. “You should read the book that you like. It’s your right.”

Of course, we didn’t agree, because very few people agree with me on anything but that’s okay.

Unlike Bassam, I didn’t have any respect for anyone last month and decided to take the Egyptian bestselling novel Azazil (عزازيل) with me on a flight from Amman to DC. The first leg of the flight was from Amman to London. Reading a book that clearly displays “the scary language” was not a worry for me leaving from Amman. ِAfter all, the plane was filled with Arabic speakers who are used to seeing and reading “the language that should not be named.”

It was a great flight. I had three seats to myself. I kicked back and read for five hours while drinking wine and being served food and snacks. Nothing was expected from me and I felt elated.

The second leg of the flight was when I became nervous and started thinking about my friend Bassam and his no-Arabic-publication on-US flights policy. Do I really need to do this? I mean, I could just watch the in-flight entertainment and save myself all the trouble.

Cover of 'Azil'
The cover of 'Azazil'

Of course, as soon as the plane from London to DC took off, I pulled Azazil from my carry-on bag and put it on my lap. I had to get myself in trouble because that’s who I am. The middle-aged, all-American looking woman sitting next to me was reading a book that had the word Afghanistan in its title. A good sign, I told myself.

Somehow, I felt I needed to explain myself before I started reading my scary book. I felt I needed to talk to her to make her feel comfortable as she will be spending the next eight hours of her life in very close proximity to me (you know, United economy can get very cozy) .

To my surprise, she was the one who broke the ice and started the conversation. She started telling me about the book she was reading and how much she was enjoying it. Of course, that was my chance to show her my true colors. I showed her my novel and told her point blank that I was a bit nervous about reading it on the plane.

“Why”? she asked.

“Well you know. It’s in Arabic, and I have been reading lots of stories lately about people being stopped at airports and taken off planes just for carrying Arabic books. You know, some passengers get nervous if they see Arabic script on the plane.”

“Quite honestly, I’m very impressed that you actually can read it,” she said.

This is a very good sign.

A few minutes after our brief conversation, the flight attendant passed by us offering drinks.

“I can’t believe that on US flights they make you pay for alcohol,” I told the woman next to me (whose names I can’t remember now because I’m old). I felt I had to say something to keep the conversation going.

“I know,” she said. “You know what? let get me you a drink.”

” What? No you shouldn’t. Come on. You hardly know me”

“What do you like?”

“Are you sure?”

“Of course!”

“Okay. I will have some red wine.”

Just like that, a total stranger bought me a drink for absolutely no reason. It was such a random act of kindness and a nice welcome home to my newly adopted country, where people are genuine, friendly, and generous. Somehow, I proved my friend Bassam wrong. Not only can you read  Arabic on the plane, but some flyers find this impressive and might even buy you a drink or two.

I was hoping that by reading on the plane, I might shatter some people’s stereotypes of Arabic readers, but what happened was the other way around. My own stereotypes of Americans being scared of my native language on a transatlantic flight was deconstructed. There is no reason to fear or hide from who I am.  The fact of the matter is I am who I am and it is a great thing. After all, people buy me drinks!

Thoughts on courage from an angry person on a snowy day

My nickname in high school was the “angry smurf.” Yes, ladies and gentlemen, that’s me, the angry one. I hate things, issues, and people. And worst of all I’m very vocal about it. I’m just not your typical happy, optimistic person, and this drives many, many people around me crazy. So, of course, when the “epic snowstorm” hit the DC metro area I got angry. I was stuck home, with no internet, no cable TV and nowhere to go. My work got delayed and my plans for my upcoming work trip to the Middle East got shattered. All this talk about the snow and how wonderful it is annoyed me to no end. All of these pictures of happy people playing in the snow and enjoying Mother Nature made me furious. How can you enjoy anything when your life just gets interrupted with no back-up plan? How can you be cheerful when you have this unplanned extra time with nothing to do?

I was angry and suffering from a sever case of cabin fever. I cursed the snow, and Mother Nature. I kicked the cats and yelled at the husband. I started harassing Comcast through Twitter (via my phone) telling them that their service is mediocre and that they can’t leave people stranded with no internet and no TV (OMG!) for days like this. I sent angry emails to the office of the mayor in my city complaining about their failure to plow our street in a timely manner. The angry smurf in me was in full effect.

Since I had no TV or internet to distract me, I picked up a book. Yes, a book, one of life’s pleasures that I have been ignoring lately, and replacing with reruns of  Lost and Desperate Housewives.

The book I picked was Rana Husseini’s Murder in the Name of Honor. The book tells the story of Rana’s courageous investigative work to expose the heinous ‘honor’ crimes that happen in Jordan. It also sheds light on the unjust judicial system that allows the killers to walk away unpunished. This courageous journalist continues to face a setback after a setback but keeps going. She was threatened, called a traitor and a Western agent, but worst of all the crimes continues to happen with no end in sight. See, she is not as angry, jaded, and cynical like me, which is really good news. I saw the injustices and the violation of human rights in my hometown and instead of staying and fighting the fight like Rana, I cussed and yelled and shouted, and then packed my bags and left. Just like that I gave up and left everything behind me seeking a better life in a new country, where I continued my yelling and cussing.

See, Rana might have shouted, yelled and cried, but eventually she decided to stay and continue the fight. This needs courage and enough determination and will-power that I don’t have. For this, Rana is one of a kind; a courageous journalist that had a mission and kept pursuing it. She is someone who has done service to many female victims not only in Jordan but also over the world. I’m still on chapter five and I have already been inspired by her work. Yes, this book has managed to move even the angry person in me. Rana deserves kudos. Rana is not angry. She is a doer. Read her book.