Farnaz Fassihi Discusses Her Cultural Heritage as a Mechanism For Successful Reporting
Farnaz Fassihi is the deputy bureau chief of Middle East and Africa for The Wall Street Journal and the author of Waiting for An Ordinary Day, a memoir of her four years covering the Iraq war and witnessing the unraveling of life for Iraqi citizens. In May 2006, Fassihi was awarded the prestigious Henry Pringle Lecture Award for her Iraq coverage by Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. Her coverage of the EgyptAir flight 990 crash won the New England News Executive Award as well as a finalist nomination for the Livingston Award.
Question: As a Middle-Easterner, do you feel an affinity with Iraqis?
Fassihi: Oh, sure. I’m Iranian-American. I was born in the US to Iranian parents and spent part of my childhood in Iran and kind of witnessed the Iranian revolution and the war with Iraq when I was child. I think the reason that perhaps Iraqis identified with me or that I was comfortable talking to them and covering them was because I am from that region, you know, my heritage is from a country right next door. I still have relatives living there. I have also, like many of the Iraqis, experienced war and uncertainty and immigration, and I have families who’d lived in Iran, who’ve sort of, you know, lived through sanctions. So, when I would tell them that I’m from Iran and I often go back to Iran and I have relatives there, I think that they felt comfortable with me, you know. I think, that they felt like I could perhaps really understand what was happening to their lives. I wasn’t just from this privileged nation very far away.
Farnaz Fassihi says being from Iran helps with approaching Iraqis.
The 21st century is experiencing an Asianization of politics, business, and culture.
- Our theories about the world, even about history or the geopolitics of the present, tend to be shaped by Anglo perspectives of the Western industrial democracies, particularly those in the United States and the United Kingdom.
- The West, however, is not united. Canada, for instance, acts in many ways that are not in line with American or British policies, particularly in regard to populism. Even if it were united, though, it would not represent most of the world's population.
- European ideas, such as parliamentary democracy and civil service, spread across the world in the 19th century. In the 20th century, American values such as entrepreneurialism went global. In the 21st century, however, what we're seeing now is an Asianization — an Asian confidence that they can determine their own political systems, their own models, and adapt to their own circumstances.
Research has shown that men today have less testosterone than they used to. What's happening?
- Several studies have confirmed that testosterone counts in men are lower than what they used to be just a few decades ago.
- While most men still have perfectly healthy testosterone levels, its reduction puts men at risk for many negative health outcomes.
- The cause of this drop in testosterone isn't entirely clear, but evidence suggests that it is a multifaceted result of modern, industrialized life.
Can sensitive coral reefs survive another human generation?
- Coral reefs may not be able to survive another human decade because of the environmental stress we have placed on them, says author David Wallace-Wells. He posits that without meaningful changes to policies, the trend of them dying out, even in light of recent advances, will continue.
- The World Wildlife Fund says that 60 percent of all vertebrate mammals have died since just 1970. On top of this, recent studies suggest that insect populations may have fallen by as much as 75 percent over the last few decades.
- If it were not for our oceans, the planet would probably be already several degrees warmer than it is today due to the emissions we've expelled into the atmosphere.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.