A 9/11 Narrative

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Syed Abbas was 19 years old when he moved to the United States from Pakistan.

He was 38 years old and fully immersed in American culture when the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon occurred on September 11, 2001.

“I was working at home when my wife called and said that a plane crashed in New York. Just as I turned the TV on, the second plane hit and I was shocked. Then I drove to my friend’s house and we watched it together until about noon. At that time nobody knew who was behind it. The whole country just shut down, it was pretty scary. Then later the whole story came out that the hijackers came from Saudi Arabia.”

When I asked him about his family back in Pakistan, he said the reaction there was quite similar to people in the states.

“Everyone knew about it right away and they were shocked too. Some people here think some middle easterners wanted it to happen, but nobody wanted that. They were so sad for how things were being destroyed. They felt the same way as us, thinking the hijackers were bad people. The hijackers gave the Middle East a bad name, even though they have their own separate agenda. After 9/11 almost 45,000 Muslims have been killed in Pakistan by Al-Qaeda. They are still dealing with this terror over there.”

This New York Times article confirms what Abbas says, mentioning that Israelis and Palestinians “also took cold comfort in concluding that Americans would now share more of their fears.”

And this McClatchy DC article also confirms that drones are killing “others” and not just Al-Qaeda leaders in the Pakistani area.

When I asked him about how his life has changed since the tragic event, he was humble and understanding.

“When you’re flying in New York, they usually check where you went if they see you are traveling from a certain country such as Pakistan and make you sit in a specific room. Suspicious countries with a lot of terrorist activity like that are flagged, but after an hour or so you are clear to go. I dread coming and going from there, but I don’t have those issues anywhere else. Even still, my feelings aren’t hurt. I’d rather be safe, and Pakistan does even more profiling then most places, so it doesn’t bother me here.”

“What’s going on in Venezuela?”

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It seems as if media coverage of the political and social unrest happening in Venezuela popped up overnight. National student-run peaceful protests started just this month, and received global attention on February 12th when three people were killed. The death toll has since been increased to eight (according to BBC), and it doesn’t seem as if the situation is getting better anytime soon.

What’s the issue at hand? The protesters want tighter security, food in their grocery stores, and protection of freedom of speech. They also took to social media to tell their stories and spread the word about the horrors they are currently facing.

But the Venezuelan government seems to want the coverage of these events disappearing as fast as they appeared. The government has issued a “media-blackout” and is limiting the investigations by news sources covering the event.

CNN gave readers an easy-to-understand article addressing the main questions people have about what exactly is going on in Venezuela and why. But a recent BBC article explains that Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro has “vowed to expel CNN until they rectify their coverage,” and continues by saying that he “won’t accept war propaganda against Venezuela.”

But now that people know about the situation in Venezuela, or at least see something about it on their Facebook and Twitter feeds, I don’t think they will allow this type of censorship. The Caracas Chronicles wrote a piece about the lack of new coverage on international news sites and basically asked media to “step it up.”

To conclude, many are unaware as to what will happen next for the people of Venezuela. Here’s to hoping that we will actually be able to read about it.

Winter Storm causes misery for many

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It’s been quite a winter season for the east coast of the United States!

Winter storms have been hitting the country and causing a number of problems. Nicknamed “the polar vortex,” these storms have caused major traffic accidents, cancelled and delaying countless flights, and left thousands of homes without power.

According to Al-Jazeera, one of the storms that reached from the south to northeast was responsible for about 20 deaths. They also mentioned that over “75,000 domestic flights have been cancelled since December 1st.”

But now it seems as if this huge storm that has been affecting a large portion of the country has moved up north to Canada. BBC reported that a number of highways in Quebec have been shut down due to the snowfall, and that the worst of was expected to hit yesterday and today.

CNN focused on the people who spent most of their time in the airports waiting for their delayed flights. But they also mentioned at the end of the article “the U.S. had no lock on challenging weather.” They mentioned the heavy snow that is currently hitting Tokyo and the massive floods in the U.K. and England.

All of the separate news sites made note of the number of deaths the storm has caused, although all three had a different number (anywhere from 20-30 casualties.) Needless to say, the winter season has taken quite a toll on many states in the U.S. and it seems as if everyone is ready for the drastic weather to melt away in the sunshine.

A never ending battle for Amanda Knox

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It’s seems as if the nightmare just doesn’t end for Amanda Knox.

On Thursday, an Italian court sentenced US student Amanda Knox to 28 years and six months in prison, and former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito to 25 years. This is a new verdict in the retrial for the murder and sexual assault of British student Meredith Kercher.

Knox was originally freed in a 2011 appeal for the murder of her former roommate during a study abroad trip. But with the decision of the new trial, she told ABC’s “Good Morning America” she “won’t go back willingly.”

But what is the media’s response to this international crime story across the globe?

The Italian news source The Local gave in depth coverage of the entire trial. There were updates by the hour of what was going on in the courtroom, live twitter updates about the case, photos of the courtroom, and background dates with information about the crime itself.

The New York Magazine calls the Italian justice system “totally insane” and continues to mention that if the “conviction were upheld this time, an extradition fight would include the U.S. State Department.”

But the UK’s The Week doesn’t seem to agree with the rest of the “media taking Amanda Knox’s side.” She comments about how Knox watches the trial from “her mother’s comfortable home” and how the “whole thing is chronicled as some twisted reality show.”

I can’t say I agree with the “The Week,” but no matter if the attention is positive or negative, it’s definitely on Amanda Knox and her next move.