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Kuwait City

The taboo alcoholic spirits continue to appear after sunset during Ramadan. But they still aren't coming from our stingy reporter; again our Kuwaiti translators are being the perfect hosts.

In honor of the departure of six of our group, a case of beer was delivered Tuesday night to the room of one of the engineers. I didn't finish editing until 2 a.m., but there were still beer and revelers left. I had my ration, then went to bed for a long and much-needed rest.

It was cut short a few hours later with a phone call from downstairs; an editor was direly needed and could I please come down? It turned out the royal Kuwaiti government had just resigned and a report had to be filed right away. And so the day went, for the next 14 hours. By bedtime I had cut stories for all four reporters (including the one who had just left that morning) as well as some voice-overs and sound bites to use during live shots. Not that I mind hard work, long hours, or short deadlines. But I fear that I have distinguished myself as an editor here and will be pressed into service at the console full time. Mike Haan, the other soundman/editor on duty with me, shares my concern, so we plan to approach John Towriss about including the other two sound techs in the edit pool. We all want to get out in the field more, so everyone should get a turn.

There was one benefit to being dragged out of bed early--I got to say my farewells to the friends who were leaving. I don't expect to do much visiting in London, Atlanta, or Beijing, but everyone wants to go to San Francisco and I have created the possibility of numerous house guests.

Graffiti: I love CNN
Kuwaiti graffiti
When I clocked out late tonight, Towriss and our guides were embroiled in a fervent discussion with a Kuwaiti information minister of some medium rank. The snatches of conversation I overheard concerned the weather, and its effect on the health and safety of journalists remaining here for very long. There seems some genuine concern about the air quality, but I read more into this meeting than our health. We have been hearing more criticism from the local bureaucrats regarding some of our reporting; we've merely aired some of the complaints we've heard from citizens about lack of services, mistreatment of Palestinians, and the delay in restoring the Parliament. Today, at least, there seemed a step toward new elections and real democracy. But the rulers here seem anxious to see a close to the Kuwait story as told by the western press. Schedule elections, declare victory, then kick the press out. It seems to be working for Saddam inside Iraq, and who's around to tell differently?

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© 2011 Chuck Afflerbach for The Hick Town Times