Archive for the ‘middle east’ Category

Thursday, May 14th, 2009

Dick Cheney on war in 1994

by Warren

Hmm, not quite the song and dance of the last eight years.

Sunday, April 12th, 2009

The dark side of Dubai

by Warren

Now that the credit crunch has put the brakes on Dubai’s go-go economy, the dark side of the Middle Eastern paradise is starting to seep out. Not without dissenters, of course, but all the same, the harsh laws and questionable labour practices everyone was happy to ignore when times were good seem to be getting closer scrutiny.

Sunday, March 29th, 2009

Dubai’s media gold rush is over

by Warren

Time was that Dubai was a new hope for journalists getting laid off left and right here in North America and Europe. There was money everywhere, new publications founded at a rapid pace and big names like David Frost going to Al Jazeera and Martin Newland of the Telegraph and Canada’s own National Post moving to Abu Dhabi’s The National.

Well, the credit crunch put an end to all that. A lot of the ads running in UAE newspapers were for skyrocketing property, which has plummeted in the last few months, dragging the papers down with them.

So what’s ext for Dubai? Well, I wouldn’t write it off just yet. It’s already established itself as a beacon of development in the Middle East, and just as surely as the current crop of expats is jumping ship, once things pick up a new batch will be back to pursue opportunities they wouldn’t otherwise have. Though I doubt Dubai will reach the crazy heights of yesteryear…because none of us will.

Wednesday, March 4th, 2009

Egypt 2008 trip: Part 1 Cairo

by Warren

So Mel and I went to Egypt this Christmas, and I finally found the time to put together some highlights from the first part of our trip. In this video you’ll see downtown Cairo, the Coptic area (home to some of the oldest Christian churches in the city and the oldest synagogue in Egypt) and, of course, the Pyramids. I shot the video on my Canon HV20 and graded it with Magic Bullet Looks, which was well worth my hard earned cash. Head to the Vimeo page and go to the lower right hand side to download the HD version of this video.

Egypt 2008: Part 1 Cairo from Warren Frey on Vimeo.

Saturday, January 3rd, 2009

Egypt diary, part the second

by Warren

After a week of very, very sporadic internet access, Mel and I finished up our tour of Egypt. We started our tour with a group of really cool Americans and were able to take in the Egyptian Museum (home of King Tut’s treasures, assorted mummies and untold other ancient artifacts), as well as the Pyramids and the Sphinx. We took an overnight train to Aswan, which was a bit of an ordeal. Even though we were in the best sleeper train, it was still a faded, Soviet-era hulk where they served mystery meat for dinner. Aswan, however, made up for the trip. Not only was it a beautiful resort town on the Nile, it was also close to Abu Simbel, one of the most breathtaking of Egypt’s ancient temples. We spent New Year’s Eve lounging around on a felluca, a traditional Egyptian boat, and saw the new year in with Nubian villagers.

After Aswan, we checked out Luxor, with forays into the Valley of the Kings, and a trip to the cheesy but still sorta cool sound and light show at Karnak.

Now we’re holed up in a nice hotel, with somewhat less sporadic (but expensive, so we’ll be rationing) internet access. We get home on the 7th, with a hellish plane trip back to Vancouver, and we’re taking it easy up until then.   

Tuesday, August 26th, 2008

Al Jazeera English is some good watchin’

by Warren

After checking out the english version of Al Jazeera has some decent viewing in the form of podcasts of its more popular shows, like Listening Post and Riz Khan. I’ve noticed that a bunch of the on-air talent are former BBC (and other British media) staffers, and their programming is generally as thorough as the Beeb’s better news shows (and of course way better than most American news programs.) Worth checking out, fellow news addicts.

Monday, June 23rd, 2008

Is Al Queda in decline?

by Warren

Peter Bergen, who wrote the excellent Holy War, Inc., has penned a mammoth investigative report for the Independent that points to the possible decline of Al Queda as a force in the Middle East. Interestingly, it’s not American military pressure but Muslim religious leaders who are turning the tide away from extremism. Al Queda’s predilection for slaughtering plenty of innocent Muslims along with whoever else they have on their hit list isn’t going down too well, and opinion i turning against jihadism. It’s interesting that after pulling off the most spectacular terrorist attack in history and subsequently evading the American military for the better part of a decade, the one thing Bin Laden and Co. didn’t account for is human decency.

Tuesday, June 17th, 2008

Freyburg Media 06/17/08

by Warren

Friday, June 6th, 2008

The new, new city

by Warren

The New York Times Magazine has an interesting article about how the 20th century model for cities is pretty much played out, and how the urban centres of the future will have more in common with Shenzen or Dubai than wit mainstays like New York, London or Tokyo. Apparently apart from being playgrounds for the rich, these new cities are also where experimentation in new forms of urban living is at its strongest. Living in Vancouver, a city that pioneered mixed use, densification and sustainability practices, I can’t say any of this is particularly new to me, though it is an interesting read.

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2008

War on Terror won? Not so fast…

by Warren

CIA director Michael Hayden recently announced that Al Queda is on the ropes, a spent force, and that the group has failed to gain traction in Iraq. Well, not so fast. A recent editorial in the Guardian points out that mass uprisings may not be what Bin Laden has in mind when he calls for jihadist revolution, and more importantly, terrorists don’t even need mass support to achieve their goals. All they need is the loyalty of a hard-core group of supporters, and they can continue their operations indefinitely. Will the leaders of those die-hards be Al Queda? Maybe not, as recent intelligence has indicated some disillusionment with Bin Laden and Zawahiri. At any rate, the last time the United States took their eye off the ball, they ended up suffering the most devastating attack in the US history, invading Afghanistan and Iraq, and basically ruining their standing in the world. For their own sake, a little more vigilance and a lot less swagger might be a good idea.