Most organizations — unis, think tanks or media — claim that they cover “the Middle East and North Africa” but it’s all a big lie. Its not even accurate to say they cover the Middle East. In practice, they cover Cairo, Beirut, and Iraq, and ignore the other 90% of the region. When’s the last time you read an article in the Times or Post from Libya? Or from Algeria that doesn’t involve stuff getting blown up?
By contrast, sometimes I get the sense that everybody and their brother in Cairo has been the subject of a feature piece. Seriously. If you can do a good job cleaning S*** in Cairo people will write about it. Like me. I almost succeeded in convincing an editor to let me write an article on the guy in charge of sewage disposal in Egypt. Readers are probably wondering why this is important. Try this: Imagine life in Cairo if all the nasty stuff didn’t go where its supposed to. That’s something to keep in mind for those who criticize the Egyptian government. 20 million people taking S**** every day and it all goes to the right spot. That’s no small logistical and engineering feat and I shudder to think what would happen it they got that one wrong… life in Egypt would really stink.
Anyway, back to my original point. I’ve got good news for people who want more coverage of North Africa. Help is on the way. Two esteemed MediaShack readers and North Africa gurus, Kal and Alle, have started up a group blog called Maghreb_Politics_Review. All those looking for more analysis of the Maghreb, or, perhaps more accurately, any, should read this blog. These guys clearly know what they’re talking about.