Posts Tagged With: Journalism

Long Time, No See…

By Kiki Keane

Hi everyone! I’m sure you’ve noticed our absence. Or not, which is okay, too. Anyway, it has been nearly 5 months since we have written anything. I don’t really have a good excuse, but Rachel does. I also have a couple confessions to make, so bare with me.

I won’t say what Rachel’s excuses are because I think they are for her to tell. Lets just say that she has had a major life change (a good one) and another will be happening soon (also good, I think) on top of all the many daily things she has to do. So, blogging is the last thing on her mind.

As for me, I left Cairo and moved to Hurghada, which is a small city on the Red Sea populated mostly by Russians. Needless to say, it has not been conducive to journalism or managing my laziness. I don’t why, but living next to the beach with all that blue water and blue sky makes a person want to crack open a good book and not spend time in front of a computer. It also makes a person come face to face with some not so pleasant facts, such as the following:

  1.  I have no money to continue my adventure.
  2.  I have no skills to get a job to get money for my adventure.
  3.  You need to either speak the local language or have money to hire someone who can translate in order to do decent journalism.
  4. I have neither of these things.
  5. I am a dinosaur. I do not have the understanding of technology or social media to participate in journalism as it is now. I do not have the patience to learn how to make it in this new world, which is why I am extinct before I even hit 30. I should have been born in the early part of last century to a family of means and liberal minds.
  6. I love journalism. I want to tell the stories of all those people who can’t tell their own. However, it seems it is not my calling, at least not at this point in time.

So, there you go. I am packing it in. I hate being a quitter, but I know when I’m beat. Maybe I set my goal to high. Maybe I set myself up for failure. That’s okay. If there is anything I have learned in life it is that it is never the way you planned it. I am open to whatever lies ahead. I think I am going to make another try for my MA and then maybe a PhD. Or maybe I’ll take another giant risk and open up that Noir themed bookstore I always wanted, complete with a little coffee shop with drinks named “The Big Sleep” or “Double Indemnity” and once a month Murder Mystery Dinners.

The other confession I have to make is something that I never thought would happen or wanted to happen, actually (until now). I got married on February 14. I know. I know. It was a fast courtship. No one is more surprised than me. But it feels right. Despite the language and cultural differences, we make a great team. We are working on getting him a visa to the US so that I can enjoy the freedom I am used to and to live a rent free life (for awhile, anyway). Also, I miss my fur baby, Alia. And English TV. And Libraries. And movies other than Twilight or Fast and the Furious.

I’m not sure if we will be keeping up with this blog. I mean one half of The Intrepids is to busy to keep it up and I have a terrible track record. Also, its purpose is gone. We made it to North Africa, at least. Rachel left and I will be gone soon, too. (Inshala, as they say here.) However, I think I will start another blog. One for myself. We’ll see. I will check in here once in awhile and if I ever do make another blog I will let you know.



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Seek Political Asylum For Emilio Gutierrez Soto!!!

By: Rachel Womek

I have something very serious to talk about.

As a citizen of Las Cruces, NM, this case really hits home for me. Right now Mexican journalist Emilio Gutierrez Soto and his son are seeking Political Asylum here in the U.S. Because of his dedication to Journalism and the pursuit of Truth, Mr.Gutierrez’ life is in severe danger should he be forced to return to his home country.

According to CJFE (Canadian Journalists for Free Expression), Mr. Gutierrez initially reported about corruption in the Mexican Military in 2005; after receiving multiple threats, including a home search, Gutierrez fled to the U.S. in 2008. Initially he was placed in a detention center but was released after 8 months due to the actions of journalist and human rights groups. Currently he is waiting on determination of his case. Political Asylum is very difficult to get in the U.S, especially for Mexicans. Unless we speak out this brave journalist and his son will be sent back to Mexico to await their uncertain fates.

Unless we speak out for Emilio Gutierrez Soto his case will be passed over. Please speak out for Free Speech and Journalist Rights.

I have an example letter to use as a base to send (I would encourage you to change the letter and personalize it):

Mr. Elias Gastelo, Chief Counsel
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
1545 Hawkins Boulevard, Suite 275
El Paso, Texas 79925

Re:Political Asylum in the Matters of:
Emilio Gutierrez Soto, Case No. A# 077-491-780 Oscar Gutierrez Soto, Case No. A# 094-954-970*
Dear Mr. Gastelo:
These cases involve my friends: Mexican journalist Emilio Gutierrez Soto and
his teen-age son Oscar, now a college student at NMSU, who four years ago
fled for their lives from Mexico into the U.S. as a result of death threats
from the Mexican army and narcotics cartels because of stories Emilio had
written in the newspaper El Diario.  The threats were and are real.  If
Emilio and Oscar had not fled they would have been murdered as have been at
least 74 other Mexican journalists.
When Emilio and Oscar arrived at Antelope Wells, NM Port of Entry seeking
political asylum both were incarcerated, Emilio for about 8 months, Oscar
for a shorter period. This case has received significant national and international
attention.  Surely the Gutierrez family meets the criteria for political asylum.  Like many of us who are fortunate to know and admire these two I am confounded as to why this case has taken so long to adjudicate.  It has been almost four years
and Emilio and Oscar still suffer under the threat of deportation all the
while making friends, leading honorable lives and being self-supporting.
Please expedite this case and put an end to the uncertainty.  Let Emilio
and Oscar remain in the U.S. and give them political asylum.
Thank you,

Rachel Womek

To learn more about Emilio Gutierrez Soto please look here and here.

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A Proust Questionnaire Because I’m to Lazy to Think of Something Original to Write…

By Kiki Keane

What is your idea of perfect happiness? Fulfilling my dream/purpose and becoming a foreign correspondent. What is your greatest fear? Clowns, drowning, impalement, never being alone again, always being alone Which historical figure do you most identify with? Stella Benson (mostly forgotten writer) and Jeanne Baret (Botanist who dressed as a man and became the first woman to go around the world) Which living person do you most admire? Richard Engel and anyone who has had the courage to follow their dream What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? Snarkiness, fear and laziness What is the trait you most deplore in others? Fear and laziness What is your greatest extravagance? Spending a semester in Hawaii to get a degree I didn’t want What is your favorite journey? The one I haven’t taken What do you consider the most overrated virtue? Caution On what occasion do you lie? To get out of a date or social engagement What do you dislike most about your appearance? My bad posture Which living person do you most despise? It depends on my mood Which words or phrases do you most overuse? “Ya know?” “Does that make sense?” “I don’t know what that means…” “hon'” Which talent would you most like to have? Musical — I want to play the violin and sing Opera What is your current state of mind? kind of panicky and a bit tired If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? I wish I could learn to forgive my mistakes If you could change one thing about your family, what would it be? To be closer What do you consider your greatest achievement? Being honest with myself and having the courage to fulfill my dream If you could choose what to come back as, what would it be? My cat–she’s got it made What is your most treasured possession? Whatever writing utensil I can get my hands on and my books Where would you like to live? Anywhere, so long as it isn’t for more than a few months What is your favorite occupation? Journalism What is the quality you most like in a man? Loyalty and kindness What is the quality you most like in a woman? Courage What do you most value in your friends? Their honesty, loyalty and courage Who are your favorite authors? Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, C. Bronte, Isaac Asimov, Robert D. Kaplan, Neil Gaiman, George R. R. Martin, Homer Who is your favorite hero of fiction? Elijah Baley, Edward Rochester, Tyrion Lannister and Data Who are your heroes in real life? Journalists and others who run toward danger, not away from it What is it that you most dislike? Meanness How would you like to die? Alone, listening to Bartok’s String Quartet No. 1

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Shopping for my Nose

By Rachel Womek

I am trying to choose a few new nose studs. I am so indecisive. Most of the available choices seem superior to the tiny stud I have now, and yet I’ve been browsing for over an hour just to pick one cheap bit of jewelry. A bit sad. There are several styles and materials to choose from and being relatively new to the nose piercing scene (I’ve had it about two months) I am uncertain about the best choice. I do know that my nose requires a change of scenery.

I need to stop browsing soon. I have class quite early in the morning. I don’t think choosing body jewelry qualifies as a philosophical dilemma. Perhaps I can argue that the jewelry is illusory and only exists within my perception of it.

Well off to bed. Perhaps with a fresh perspective I will choose something a bit more classy than a ” Pink Blue Beach Ball” to ornament myself with.

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Charles Dickens, or Why We Want to be British (at Least for Today)…

By Kiki Keane and Rachel Womek

Rachel and I are happy to be Americans… Well, I am. Rachel refuses national identifiers. Generally, I do too, but I’m less likely to launch into a sermon.* Anyway, this year is Charles Dickens’ Bicentennial and as self-professed bookworms and Anglophiles we are saddened that we are NOT British. Further, we are not able to be part of the festivities. Even worse we live in a city of tumbleweeds (No really! They actually tumble down the streets on windy days) and retirees, so, as you can imagine, Dickens’ is not a cultural figurehead. He is thought about only in the collective moans of high school English students.

We imagine ourselves to be victims of cruel Fate. Perhaps the universe is mocking us. We long to be in a smoking lounge, with a pipe in one hand and Great Expectations in the other. We like to think we are more British than the British (I think we’ve already established that we are delusional). At least, I (Rachel) have British ancestry, the crest of my father’s name is a pack of boars frolicking across a woodland.

At least the pleasure of the book is a possibility, if nothing else.

Oh! And he was journalist… So, perhaps we are not the victims of cruel Fate after all…


*Rachel: I feel that excessive attachment to the Super Nation-State is one of the greatest banes to human progress.

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Job Hunting and the Art of BS

By: Kiki Keane and Rachel Womek

In today’s economy, finding a job is like being in an endless parade of circus freaks and you are the clown. You have to put on your clown makeup and smile your phony smile and hope you don’t end up with elephant poo all over your face. There are a lot of clowns looking for a tiny car to squeeze into and we didn’t even graduate from clown school. After a few rounds of this endless parade, we have come to the conclusion that Bullshit is the primary skill sought and if you aren’t fluent, you don’t get the car.

Certain jobs require more Bull than others. The larger companies are especially fond of it. What is worse is that they don’t really want Bull about you, they want you to regurgitate the Bull they feed you in some twisted bid for confirmation about the validity of their existence. They want to hear their own overbearing notions repeated back to them with overzealous enthusiasm, as if there was a possibility of authenticity. In desperation we seek to fulfill their every desire. We stroke their inflated ego and silently appeal to the universe for employment in their cookie cutter institution. And what is worse, we are grateful for the opportunity.

We mention this because we are on a quest to fulfill a dream–a madcap adventure to the Middle East and Africa to try our hand at Freelance Journalism. This, of course, depends on the accumulation of cash and thus we posture at the whimsy of corporations. Our future success will validate any ass-kissing and soul-selling we might presently engage in. We hope.

Stay tuned for updates on our adventures and misadventures!

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