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Friday, March 19, 2010

Change Has Many Companions

When historians get around to 2010, I hope they will say it was the year the era of one-sidedness died. In the U.S., we have a terrible tendency for the quick judgment; a two-second headline read and a glimpse at a juicy sound bite and we have the story.

I used to fear that people only revealed one side of the story. I blamed MTV and the thirst to get the story in three minutes. I blamed our media for skewing to one side only. Then I started with ALO magazine. My mindset changed a bit as I saw the world differently. I traveled to new lands; read more foreign media; met intelligent folks who changed perspectives.

Change is impossible to write about without falling into cliché. But there it is: Nothing is as certain as change, and it has come to America on the coattails of a new president. When we elected President Obama, it was a call of change for race and economy. Now, “change” is spreading to reporting and news dissemination.

Goodness knows I dislike a complainer. I’m not one to complain, and I’m sure you’re not the sort to, either, but aren’t you growing just a bit tired of all of the politics upon politics? It’s no wonder travel is down from the U.S.

It seems that every country I want to go to in the Middle East has a travel warning against it. This is not to say that the secret knowledge passed through to us by the U.S. State Department travel warnings is not vital to the health and vigor of the nation as a whole, or that our government is not an essential force in keeping a watchful eye on us. It is.

If you want to be a complainer, then do it with knowledge; the more you are informed the more you will change. An open mind facilitates change. That’s all I ask.

Some things, though, will not change one bit, including my commitment to bring some new perspectives. Change has many companions. Opportunity is one of them. Being able to show you all sides of the Middle East is the opportunity of a lifetime. I relish the chance to continue the introduction to the wondrous, surprising and sometimes delightfully strange facets of this region through the pictures and stories we publish.

Above: Crusader Helmet circa 1100 from the Saladin (Ṣalāḥ al-Dīn Yūsuf ibn Ayyūb) era.