Courtney Radsch (Lebanon)

Courtney Radsch (Middle East Reporter, Lebanon) Courtney was studying in the Master of Science in Foreign Service program at Georgetown University when she volunteered for Middle East Reporter (MER) in Beirut, Lebanon and placed articles in the Daily Star newspaper. The Reporter published a daily English-language digest of Arabic news from Beirut and offered training to journalists in the Middle East. In her evaluation Courtney wrote: “While at the Daily Star I confronted the prospect of self-censorship and political pressure, and learned how to work as a team in a high-pressure deadline situation. I also gained a lot of practice making news decisions and writing news stories. I discovered that I am very interested in journalism, and perhaps in advocacy journalism. Working for a respected and independent paper in a region that is often portrayed in a hostile manner by the American media made me realize that even the most lauded media organizations must make difficult decisions about what to publish, what words to use and which details to include where."



Beauty Queens and a Burial Ground

09 Apr

As I climbed the ancient steps to the top of the ruins of Byblos, I was struck by the history of this one small Lebanese town. It is one of the oldest inhabited places on earth, having played host to thousands and thousands of years of peoples who desired to live on the spectacular Mediterranean coast. The contrast between the ancient ruins and the modern city of high-rises that has sprung up behind it was beautiful, and I wondered if the inhabitants of Byblos feel the weight of millennia on their town. I picked my way across the ruins, peeping into a massive tomb, staring down a burial shaft 30 yards deep that would be filled with sand before a coffin was placed inside. The sand was then dug out again in order to bury the coffin- it was so heavy there was no other way to lower it.

As I climbed down a ravine I noticed a procession of young women traipsing up the street, decorated with white sashes declaring “T.M.I Germany” or “T.M.I Nigeria.” I stopped to watch these women as they teetered on their stilettos, gingerly climbing up the ancient ruins as a photographer barked at them to smile. I haven’t any idea what T.M.I stands for, but I think it must have been some sort of commercialized beauty contest. The sapphire waves lapping the shore couldn’t provide a better background.

Posted By Courtney Radsch (Lebanon)

Posted Apr 9th, 2007

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