Blogs can go either way -- both good. Sometimes we react quickly, perhaps too quickly, to events. But when news is breaking, as was the case with the flotilla, blogs are a way to share information and emotion immediately. Now, later in the week, after the paper has gone to bed, a blog can be a place to reflect that even if the vast majority of the world is against Israel, the world has plenty of surprises.
Here, for example, is an Arab journalist from Kuwait, who understands the Israeli perspective; one of the most important Turkish Islamic leaders who thinks the flotilla was ill-advised; and a further look into a Turkish newspaper, the Hurryet, where we see that there's far more internal debate in Turkey about relations with Israel than we first might have believed.
Maybe Israeli-Turkish relations are not beyond repair, after all.
One of the most wonderful things about working at a Jewish newspaper in this Internet era is the e-mails and correspondence that comes from corners of the world where we once could never have come into casual contact. A few months ago, I became e-mail pals with Sirajin M. Rollings-Kamara (from Freetown, Sierra Leone), who tells me he represents the Sierra Leone Israel Friendship Society. He first contacted me regarding a Jewish soccer player, and I was far more intrigued by the news that in Sierra Leone there was this fantastic pro-Israel organization.
Today, at a time when many of us think that Israel has "no friends" out there, comes an e-mail from Sirajin:
[Here is an article from the Society] published in some of the local tabloids here in Freetown. I did a 15 minutes radio interview today and it will be aired tomorrow morning. I am also engaging one of the newspapers to have a column there at least once a week. So I will appreciate [if you] have time to be sending me relevant information [about Israel] to educate the Sierra Leone public and others who read the newspaper online."
Here's an excerpt from the article he submitted to his local paper:
I met a friend at a café who said to me: “You are being heavily bombarded in the media these days.” I responded that there has never been a time that Israel is a friend of the press. I have never heard any media say good things about Israel at any given time. We are used to this global propaganda.
.... Despite more than 12,000 rockets and mortars that have been fired at Israel since its unilateral withdrawal in 2005, Israel has passed thousands of tons of humanitarian supplies to Gaza. Among the goods delivered to civilians in Gaza the week of 23 May alone included 810,209 liters of heavy-duty diesel fuel; 21 truckloads of milk powder and baby food; 897 tons of cooking gas; 66 truckloads of fruits and vegetables; 51 truckloads of wheat; 27 truckloads of meat, chicken and fish products; 40 truckloads of dairy products; 117 truckloads of animal feed; 36 truckloads of hygiene products; 38 trucks of clothing; 22 trucks of sugar and 4 trucks of medicine and medical equipment. This was a typical week.
In addition to that, 781 medical patients and accompanying individuals from the Gaza Strip crossed into Israel to receive treatment in various hospitals. The Sierra Leone Israel Friendship Society deplores the opportunistic use of this situation by the Palestinian Authority and their supporters to mount yet another attack on Israel's legitimacy.... So in the midst of all these disparagements and denigrations, the Sierra Leone Israel Friendship Society stands firm and strong with the People and the Land of Israel.
May all who love and bless Israel be abundantly blessed.
I wrote to "Dear Sirajin, May all of our very appreciated friends in Sierra Leone know only love and blessings, as well. It's wonderful to know that you're in the world."
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