People Like Us: Misrepresenting the Middle East

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Soft Skull Press, Sep 9, 2009 - Social Science - 256 pages
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In People Like Us, which became a bestseller in Holland, Joris Luyendijk tells the story of his five years as a correspondent in the Middle East. Extremely young for a correspondent but fluent in Arabic, he spoke with stone throwers and terrorists, taxi drivers and professors, victims and aggressors, and all of their families. He chronicles first-hand experiences of dictatorship, occupation, terror, and war. His stories cast light on a number of major crises, from the Iraq War to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, along with less-reported issues such as underage orphan trash-collectors in Cairo.

The more he witnessed, the less he understood, and he became increasingly aware of the yawning gap between what he saw on the ground and what was later reported in the media. As a correspondent, he was privy to a multitude of narratives with conflicting implications, and he saw over and over again that the media favored the stories that would be sure to confirm the popularly held, oversimplified beliefs of westerners. In People Like Us, Luyendijk deploys powerful examples, leavened with humor, to demonstrate the ways in which the media gives us a filtered, altered, and manipulated image of reality in the Middle East.

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Chapter Two No News
Chapter Four Hamiha Haramiha
Chapter Six September 11 and the Blank Spots in the Dictatorship
Chapter Eight The Law of the Scissors
Chapter Ten A Bloody Occupation
Chapter Eleven The Middlemans Dilemma
Chapter Thirteen New Puppets Old Strings

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About the author (2009)

Joris Luyendijk studied Arabic and politics at the University of Amsterdam and the University of Cairo. He was editor in chief of Move Your World Magazine and has published articles in NRC Handelsblad and Het Parool. He has conducted television interviews with some of the world's leading interational figures, including Naomi Klein, Desmond Tutu, Jeffrey Sachs, Gary Gasparov, Tariq Ramadan, and Al-Jazeera director Wadah Khanfar. His previously published books include Het Zijn Net Mensen (They seem almost human), which was translated into German, Italian, and Hungarian, and is forthcoming in Danish and Arabic. The book also won the Dirk Scherpenzeel Prize for outstanding coverage of the non-Western world (2007) and the National book award (2007). In 2006, he was awarded the Journalist of the Year prize by De Journalist, selected from the top forty most influential international journalists by the NVJ (the Dutch Association of Journalists).

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