'Not From Here,' stories by Nathan Deuel

We're moving from Saudi to Turkey

Hagia Sofia

My new neighbor: Istanbul's Hagia Sofia. (Image by qyphon via Flickr)

Dear readers,

I’m sorry about my infrequent posting lately. Below are two reasons why, and by way of continuing apology, a link to my latest piece — a feature in the Brown Alumni Magazine about being alone in a room in Saudi Arabia with a young woman who wants to attend an ivy league university.

1. As I wrote with some emotion last month, my beloved dad Al Deuel passed away April 13 after a brief battle with cancer. We are all still crushed. And among other things, his passing came just days after my wife and I left Riyadh, which we no longer call home.

2. Instead, Kelly McEvers and I are most likely moving to Istanbul, where I will be based as she looks to rotate into Iraq as National Public Radio’s new Baghdad correspondent.

So over the next weeks and months, my focus will begin shifting from Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and the Gulf, to Turkey, Iraq, and the greater Middle East. If you have any advice, questions, or avenues of research you’d like Kelly or I to pursue, please don’t be shy.

For now, here’s a sample of that BAM piece about interviewing young women in Saudi for undergraduate admission to Brown — and also an appeal for your continued patience. Everything’s different now.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Filed under: Iraq, Islam, Kelly McEvers, Middle East, NPR, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, World, Writing, , , , , , ,

What you don't know about Saudi's Yemen war

Saudi security forces on parade

Saudi military might. (Image by Al Jazeera English via Flickr)

Look: You probably don’t understand Saudi Arabia. I barely do, and I live here. And that war with rebels in Yemen?

1. It’s not a proxy war with Iran. (Yet.)

2. It’s not evidence that Hezbollah is schooling rebels in Yemen. (Not intentionally, at least.)

3. It’s not an effort to root out “Al Qaeda.” (Riyadh is not D.C.)

Saudi Arabia is a wonderfully bizarre and surprising place. People drink Starbucks here, kids use iPhones, and the information minister has Facebook friends. Geopolitically, the big guys trade words with Tom Friedman and the military has expensive planes and big bombs. And when Saudi goes to war, just like when anyone does, there are refugees.

But the camps that house Saudi refugees, as my wife Kelly McEvers reports this morning on Morning Edition, aren’t what you’d expect.

Check out her NPR story. It turns out a Saudi refugee camp has air-conditioned tents, three hot squares, a freshly laid parking lot for residents’ SUVs, and pens for their goats.

Follow me onĀ Twitter.

Filed under: Kelly McEvers, NPR, Saudi Arabia, War, World, Yemen, , , , , ,