The Perfect Storm

images.jpgMet a snooty American journo yesterday who said he had no interest in writing about the Gillian Gibbons story. I find that astonishing. This is almost the perfect story for the following reasons:

  1. It involves a teacher – and we all love teachers

  2. It involves a teddy bear – and we all love teddy bears

  3. There is a sense that it is about East v West, Islam v Christianity

  4. But in fact it isn’t, it’s actually about a bitter employee with a grudge

  5. There’s a former imperial power pitted against its colony

  6. And there’s a clear baddy – Omar al-Bashir (see Darfur)

  7. Only it turns out the Islamists (cue stage boos) think he’s too soft

As far as I can see, there is only one way it could be a better story. And that’s if Gillian Gibbons had been working as a nurse on a paediatric ward looking after children with leukaemia.

This is a great story because it’s the sort of thing that makes people gather around watercoolers. It is terribly sad what has happened to Ms Gibbons. But if it’s reported responsibly, people will be discussing the power struggle inside the Sudanese government and what lessons are to be learned for putting pressure on Khartoum over Darfur as they fill their cups with, erm, cool water. Or am I being naive? Does it just make people think Muslims are bigots?

3 thoughts on “The Perfect Storm

  1. Well, this (and Meskel Sq.) is the first I’ve heard of the disgruntled colleague — and this story has been boiling for over a week now. So, I’d guess the chances of most people here in the US understanding the issues is between zero and none.

    It’s a bit of a no-win situation for the Sudanese government too, isn’t it? Their choices seem to be a) Continue pretending it’s about Islam, which plays into the “Muslims need to get a life” story, or b) admit they lent the machinery of government to harass a kindly teacher so they could needle the West about badgering them. (That is what you mean, right? What ARE the issues??)

    What a pig’s breakfast.

    The only good thing is that Gillian Gibbon’s immediate problem has been solved.

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