Monday, April 25, 2005

Double Trauma

Here in Romania there are two big stories dominating the news. Flooding in the western "county" of Timis, around the large city of Timisoara and the abduction of the Romanian journalists in Iraq.

First, the flooding. I find the news coverage of this here very interesting because it's very dramatic with moving music and very sad pictures. It's been going on for about a week, but it's still a major story. I was surprised at how strongly everyone is reacting to it and then I realized: "You don't get much flooding here in Romania, do you?"
Nope. They don't. So this is a disaster for that area. And it's not like America where there are tons of charities and government organizations with money to hand out to places deemed "disaster areas." I did see some footage of water bring brought to the people who lost their homes. But the poor state of the infrastructure around the country, especially in the outlying villages makes it all the more tragic for the victims. Many people prayed for this situation out loud in church yesterday.

Second, Romanian Journalists.
I've been frustrated with the coverage of this story because it seems so confusing. I have no idea what is being shown in America, but I'm assuming it's not a big story or my mom would be writing and saying something like "I'm so worried about you there because Romanians were kidnapped, did you know???" :)
I've never seen it on the front page of yahoo news, even on the front page of world news, but I found stories here and here that are relatively recent.
My frustration though stems from the fact that reporters are putting out stories without knowing very much. First I heard they were released, rescued by Americans or something. Then I saw the stories about the hostages being part of a plot and now it seems certain that both of the first two are not true and there is real danger.
The interesting thing about this story is that even high school-age people are knowledgeable and interested. I was at a birthday party for an 18 year old girl yesterday and when news of the hostages came on, all the kids said to be quiet because they wanted to hear what happened. My friend Lena, who is also 18, knows about this from reading the paper and says that the current Romanian president is the best they ever had and Romanian troops will not be withdrawal from Iraq because of Terrorists demands. However, one of the hostages is from the nearby city of Sibiu and so that is also increasing the level of concern here.

I haven't seen it in any online news story, but I heard on the news here that a tape was made to help the journalists and sent to Al-Jazeera in the hopes that Al-Jazeera would be, I suppose "fair and balanced", and run tapes from both sides. I haven't heard the result of this, but I would welcome any comments as to the coverage of this story in State-side media.

Meanwhile, we continue to pray.