Your Choices in "News": Don't Believe Everything You Read

Blast from the Past. Alex Desert Road.

This morning I received two different emails from two different friends, since Egypt is trending in the news lately.

One friend sent me the first story, writing in a panic to ask if I was safe. The other friend sent me the second story, in awe that I live in such an extraordinary country. 

After reading both stories, I could see why my friends reacted in such different ways.
How interesting and coincidental that each story speaks of the same neighborhood of Cairo.

I take this opportunity to display to you the different choices that are presented to you from the media world. You make choices every day to view the world about you...but I want to show you that you have a greater choice in your news sources. Always question. Can our world be that dark?

When you read your news stories, I ask that you pay attention to the words; particularly the adjectives. Violent adjectives? Neutral adjectives? Peaceful adjectives? The language does make a difference in how you view your world.

Here are summaries, with links to the complete stories, that speak of the same place, Zamalak. Same area, yet the description is diametrically opposed. I summarized the stories to the description that sets the tone of the story.

Story #1:
When I read this story, I was so concerned about this poor student. My thought from the first sentence was to wonder where this horrible isolated island is located on the Nile. I had never heard of such an island. Who is holding this helpless girl trapped there?

Harvard student trapped in Egypt, mourns friend killed
Michelle Hu lives on an island on the Nile River, two miles from where violent protests are unfolding in Egypt's Tahrir Square.
It's an island that, for now, has made the 21-year-old government student at Harvard an unintended prisoner, afraid to venture out as protesters clash over the removal of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi.  ....cut to edit to the point... She is an intern for Microsoft Egypt and lives in an island region called Zamalek, which is between Cairo and Giza on the Nile. She described her area as safe for her to walk around freely.

Story #2
When I read this story, I was agreeing that Zamalak is a very dynamic little spot of Cairo. I could identify with the author about the area. Egypt has great potential for businesses and residents. Hmmmm....a far cry from the "island" in the aforementioned story that has kept a poor foreign girl an unintended prisoner.

Why I Think Egypt is the Best Place to Live Today
In the upscale neighborhood of Zamalek more than 30 new boutique restaurants have opened since the revolution. Numerous gourmet burger places, a frozen yogurt shop, a few cupcake spots, juice shops, a place that sells high-end Egyptian street food and even a Mexican burrito joint.

In conclusion, presenting both stories about Zamalak, it is:
1) An Island Prison that holds foreigners prisoner.
2) An Upscale, Dynamic Neighborhood.

 Zamalak is an island in the Nile. However, a far cry from a prison. It's like a mini-cosmopolitan city. Most people, especially tourists, who visit the greater Cairo area describe Zamalak as upscale and friendly. It is mostly made up of the rich, upper class diplomats and residents of greater Cairo. Despite all the demonstrations in the Tahrir area, which are mostly peaceful, a person can walk around Zamalak and never know there is anything happening across the river.

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