In February this year I went to Libya to write about the calm (as it was then), beautiful city of Tripoli. A week after I returned the uprising began, and the hotel I was staying in, the al-Nasr Rixos, became the home – and later the focus – of the world’s media. When the journalists trapped inside had been safely freed, I wrote a story for al-Jazeera on hotels which have become synonymous with the wars, which has just been published.
My trip to Palestine earlier this year proved a fruitful one, and I came back with many stories to tell. One rather personal story was recently broadcast on the BBC’s ‘From Our Own Correspondent’ (second story), with this intoduction by the BBC’s Alan Johnson:
“You might say that in life, there are few more important things than finding the right person to love. But what’s the best way of doing that? Some say it’s all about personal feelings and romance – and luck letting the right two people meet at just the right time. But others aren’t keen on leaving everything to chance. They would say that with a bit of planning, marriage and love can both be arranged. In many cultures and countries, people are finding their own ways to blend both approaches and take a little from each. For them, both traditional and modern strategies for mate-finding have their advantages. Gail Simmons has been watching one such relationship develop amid the hills of the West Bank.”
(And here’s some more information about the programme, which has been running for over 50 years.)