Saturday, March 26, 2011

Middle East disruptions

It's a little hard to keep up with the unfolding events in what is roughly described as the Middle East these days. Protests and in some cases war seem to be everywhere. American news outlets, which have largely surrendered their willingness and ability to cover the news outside their own borders and own concerns, make it difficult to understand in sound bites what is going on. Al-Jazeera, the Arabic news network, is one of the few with reporters on the ground ... reporters who know their beat and speak the language.

Still, the BBC offers an interesting and informative map of the region. It tells in brief what's going on, what the corruption level is and -- what I found interesting -- the median age and percentage of literacy in each of the different countries.The median ages strike me as young and the literacy rates surprisingly high, assuming they are true. Also, I find it interesting that, although there are no demonstrations as yet, Israel, a frequent irritant in the region, is not included.

The map doesn't cross every T or dot every I, but it does give a pretty good glance at the totality of the disruptions in northern Africa and what used to be referred to as the Middle East.

And I wonder what my own country would look like if its corruptions were measured. How many of the weapons currently employed in the north-African/Middle Eastern disruptions are American-made, for example?

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