The tunnel business

The latest episode of the brilliant radio program This American Life ventures outside America to look at stories that happen around bridges and other passage-ways around the world. The second segment is about the tunnels between Gaza and Egypt. I'm not sure how up-to-date the interview with the forthright and loquacious owner of a Gaza tunnel is (there is no mention of the undgerground barrier) but it has lots of great details, including how much Hamas requires tunnel operators to pay the families of workers who are killed by collapses (or by gas pumped in by the Egyptians); the fact that profits from tunnels decreased (from $10,000 to $1,500 a month) as more and more people got into the business; and the smuggler's claim that most weapon smuggling takes place from Gaza to Egypt. 

The first story in the show--about a man in China who patrols a bridge where suicides are common--is also great. 

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Ursula Lindsey

Ursula Lindsey is the managing editor of the Arabist blog. She writes about culture, education and politics in the Arab world. She lived in Cairo from 2002 to 2013 and got her start at the ground-breaking independent magazine Cairo Times. She was the culture editor of Cairo magazine in 2005-2006 and served as special projects editor at the independent news site Mada Masr in 2013-2014. She is the Chronicle of Higher Education's Middle East correspondent. She contributes to the BBC-PRI radio program The World, and has written for Newsweek, The New York Times, The New Yorker online, Bookforum and the blog of the London Review of Books.