So long Prague, RFE/RL (for now)

Well, today was the last day of my internship at Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, and this Saturday I leave Prague for Leuven. It’s been a great experience. I really felt part of the Central Newsroom team and I really enjoyed interacting with the various language services so closely. The company is far from a perfect or uncontroversial place, but it’s remarkable how many positive things it’s accomplished over the years, and continues to accomplish. I’m happy to report that I’ll be remaining on board as a stringer, one of the company’s only two in the Brussels area, where I’ll be continuing my WikiLeaks beat, and hopefully expanding into cultural and European political reporting, as well.

And as for Prague, the city is also remarkable in its own way. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get to know many Czechs (unlike my previous experiences in Israel, Belgium, and South Africa, where I worked hard to get to know the locals, this time around I was mostly with expats) but I was nevertheless able to get some taste of the city. On the one hand, there’s its obvious dark side, which Kafka knew so well — the desperate drug addicts, the lethal bureaucracy, the burden of history — but on the other hand, there is still something pleasant and welcoming about it. One could easily fall into the city’s embrace, and a warm embrace it often is.

Most of all, my two months here have taught me about the humanity of journalism, the foibles and hopes of news reporter and news maker alike. It also helped re-focus my mind and my heart. I can thank Keith, Andrey, Tolkun, Larisa, Salimjon, Daud, Alaa, Mohammed, Naz, Mike, Ron, Luke, and Jay for this, but most of all, Peter and Camilla. I can also thank Assange in a way. And it’s not lost upon the mystic in me that last week was Rosh Hashannah, and that my journey back to Belgium this Saturday precisely coincides with Yom Kippur. Inshallah, I am going back atoned, refreshed, and renewed. But whatever happens this coming academic year, I am thankful for all the goodwill that has flowed toward me this summer.


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