Wednesday, July 6, 2011

"You help the soldier, you help the civilian. It is the same person."

Journalist Marc Herman, my far more courageous counterpart in high school, has just returned from a visit to Tunisia and western Libya, where he interviewed people traveling back and forth across the border about their activities in the war there. The first of his dispatches appears in the Atlantic and is pretty fascinating, attesting to the blurring of the soldier/civilian categories. It includes an interview with the owner of a supermarket in Tataoine, Tunisia,* who sells to both pro- and anti-Qaddafi forces. Others in the story are using refugee supplies to specifically aid anti-Qaddafi fighters. Are these people part of the war effort? Are they businesspeople? Humanitarians? As Marc's reporting suggests, these distinctions don't have a great deal of meaning on the ground there.

*I have learned from Marc that the scenes from "Star Wars" set on Tatooine were filmed near the real city of Tataoine, and George Lucas borrowed the name.

UPDATE: I also learn from Marc's Twitter feed that Kenny Rogers and The Onion are huge in Libya right now. If it weren't for all the tyranny, death, and heat, I'd be all over that place.

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