A Diamond in the Rough

Go read A Diamond in the Rough, a front-page LA Times story by my friend Ashraf Khalil, who is taking a break from Iraq in Cairo before he goes back in two weeks. It's a wonderful little gem.

This is the kind of story is what foreign editors love these days, especially if it comes from the Middle East. As one of my own editors once told me, with so much bad news and full pages dedicated to covering the bloodshed in Iraq, a little levity is a good thing. This also often extends to outside the war zones, so that in the rest of the Middle East, stories on "serious" issues like political reform or economic crisis will be less popular than ones of belly dancers or archeological trivia. With so much sad news coming out from this part of the world, foreign pages of newspapers need something to lighten up.

Issandr El Amrani

Issandr El Amrani is a Cairo-based writer and consultant. His reporting and commentary on the Middle East and North Africa has appeared in The Economist, London Review of Books, Financial Times, The National, The Guardian, Time and other publications. He also publishes one of the longest-running blog in the region, www.arabist.net.