Monday, February 7, 2011

Al Jazeera and me

I admit that my focus in life revolves around whether I have a ripe banana - not too ripe - to give DD for breakfast. I am also very dilligent about not running out of nappies or wet-wipes. However, all this homemaking has to be at the expense of something and, for me, it has been any notion of what is happening in the world outside my little suburb of Jerusalem. I'm not proud of this but I also didn't waste any angst over it either - there will always be news when I'm ready to re-engage, right?

This attitude is fine until you venture out into the realms of real people. In such company, quite frankly, it can be embarrassing. I have an student at the BBC in Jerusalem and, once a week, I go there to give her an English lesson. A few weeks ago she mentioned that they were very busy because of what was going on in Tunisia. I hadn't a clue what she was talking about. It was only a revolution in a (sort of) neighbouring country. I was really embarrassed and I vowed not to be so clueless in future.

So, at least once a week, usually before setting out for the BBC, I go into the internet and have a cursory glance at the state of the world. I come away with at least knowing what subjects are in the news even if I don't know the details. So, for instance, I know that Australia has been having a terrible time recently - but I'm not quite sure how floods the size of Germany have turned into raging bush fires.

In addition, my student and I choose one or two current topics from a selection of UK newspapers to read about and discuss. Last week and this week we have been discussing the situation in Egypt. When I say 'discussing' I mean that she tells me what is happening and I correct her English.

Thus, when I emerged from the office this morning and was asked by a TV film crew if I wouldn't mind answering some questions about the Egyptian protests, I found myself saying yes. And there I was, giving my opinion about Mubarak, The Moslem Brotherhood, Hilary Clinton, The Middle East, World Peace... It crossed my mind that I should look into the camera rather than at the interviewer, but it felt too arrogant to suddenly change my pose - as if I really had a point to make.

At the bus stop I met a friend. "I've just been interviewed by a TV station," I told him. "I don't know who they are but the interviewer spoke Hebrew with an Arabic accent." "Oh over there by the bank, it's Al Jazeera," he said.

All the way home I kept thinking: I spoke to Al Jazeera, I spoke to Al Jazeera... It's not that I think mothers of toddlers cannot have educated opinions, it's just that this mum didn't even know there had been a revolution in Tunisia.

P.S. Part of me is waiting for the backlash in the form of a clip on You Tube entitled: Stupid Israeli housewife talks out of her *****!