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A War Correspondent and a Community Organizer
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I have to say that the two guests on Where We Live this morning were not only fascinating but truly inspiring.  First we talked to NBC Tel Aviv correspondent Martin Fletcher about his new book Breaking News.  If you listened to the interview you were able to hear some of his incredible and sometimes horrific experiences.  He touched upon the moral issues he faced being thrown into a war torn country - like having to steal a car, or being wined and dined by Somalian warlord Mohamed Farah Aideed. 

So I grew, and thats part of the story of the book, facing the dilemas in a journalistic and in a moral sense. And coming to terms with it and finding answers which is very important.  I can sort of be wishy washy about who I am, but I have to make real decisions about what is the right thing to do and the wrong thing to do if I'm in Somalia or Sudan or Cambodia in different circumstances...

The most fascinating thing to me is this personal journey underneath all of the "swashbuckling adventures".  The first question John asked him was "Why do you do this?!"  It's the obvious question, but it touched upon the complexity of Fletcher's motivations.  From being a adrenaline chasing young man... to trying to make sense of his family's history in the Holocaust.  By watching and understanding other peoples pain, he says, he may somehow come to terms with what happened to his own family.  (Now I have to actually read the book...)

 

We also spoke with Amal Elsana Alh'jooj, a Bedouin Arab living in Israel.  She told us that when she was born, she was a "tragedy for her parents" because she was a girl.  Instead of feeling defeated and rejected, Amal fought to be educated, and became a community organizer at age 14 - teaching women to read and write.  Now she is the Director of the Arab Jewish Center for Equality, Empowerment and Cooperation.  She manages to balance her identities as an Arab, a Palestinian, a Bedouin, and an Israeli. 

For many years my community in Israel, the Arab minority in Israel, played that tune of victims.  Everywhere in the world people who are living as minorities and oppressed by the majority they are victims somehow.  I decided that playing the role of victim is very easy.  No body expects you to do anything.  As a little girl, I didnt agree to play the role of the victim and as a citizen of the state of Israel I decided not to agree to play the role of the victim...

We enjoyed Amal Elsana Alh'jooj so much that we decided to extend the interview after the show was over.  Stay tuned Friday morning to hear more.