But it has also been a reality check. We watched as protests spread across the Middle East and North Africa after a video mocking Islam went viral. We saw flags being burned, chants of “Death to Obama” and angry faces screaming into news cameras.
We were in the same region, but on the ground there was nothing particularly out of the ordinary to report. Even when protests were in Casablanca (an hour north) and Sale (across the river), I walked down the street and received no more attention than usual.
I think this event has been my first opportunity to truly see the world behind the headlines that news often forgets. The calm, the context and the nuances often get lost when angry protests break out.
Naturally, I was interested in writing about my perspective, and getting the word out to worried parents and friends back home. I wrote up a piece for Minnesota Public Radio, as well as my Star Tribune blog, both of which cover my experiences as a student during this supposed unrest. It was a good exercise in taking all the thoughts I had on this time and condensing them into a 500 word post for MPR and a series of vignettes for the Strib. In the end, it helped me sort through my feelings and offer a snapshot behind the headlines for those back home. I hope to do some more writing like this, especially for MPR, as the semester goes on.
Check out my pieces here:
Minnesota Public Radio “American students in North Africa wait and watch to see if conflict will spread”
Star Tribune “A Series of Globe Spinning Events”