My Week In Media: Saree Makdisi


Last week I watched...



Hadrian on BBC2. I love that type of historical documentary, and I'm going to the exhibition at the British Museum. He had such a big impact on Britain, both because of the wall and his imperial policy. I also watched some of the rerun of Ewan McGregor's motorcycle trip around the world, Long Way Down. It's something I've always wanted to do, as I'm fascinated by the idea of a long overland journey.

Last week I listened to...

Radio 4, for which there is no equivalent in the US (although National Public Radio might think it comes close, it doesn't). One of the shows I listened to was Benjamin Zephaniah's show on Linton Kwesi Johnson's album Dread Beat an' Blood, which offered a thoughtful assessment not only of the cultural and political significance of Johnson's music and poetry, but also of how things have (and haven't) changed in the years since then (the late Seventies).

I also have a fascination with BBC London and its mix of news, weather and traffic reports. There's something amazing about the way the traffic reports are conveyed with a degree of excitement and panache, which is funny to me, not sat in traffic, but no doubt less so if you are stuck on a motorway.

Last week I read...

The story I followed most closely, in The Independent, was the capture of Radovan Karadzic, which brought back all the terrible memories of the war in Bosnia, the massacre at Srebrenica, and the siege of Sarajevo. I'm glad he's being brought to justice, but dismayed that, first, his capture by the Serbian authorities seems to have been driven by the wrong motivations (ie EU ambitions); and, second, that some war criminals are brought to justice while others not only get away with what they've done, they keep on doing more. I find that profoundly depressing.

Last week I surfed...

My daily routine is to check the Israeli and Lebanese media, first Haaretz ( www. haaretz.com), then Al Akhbar ( www.al-akhbar.com). Obama's visit to the Middle East has been the big news, overshadowing even Gordon Brown's visit. The UN's humanitarian affairs website ( ww.ocha online.un.org) has press reports on Palestine and weekly updates on checkpoints.

'Palestine Inside Out: An Everyday Occupation', by Saree Makdisi, is published by W W Norton, £15.99

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