Hi, and welcome to my home on the internets. “and that’s the way it was” is a blog devoted to writing about, well, anything that piques my curiosity, really, but if you stick around you’ll notice some definite themes. I write quite a bit about the Middle East (especially Iran and Turkey), Islam, terrorism, repressive governments, and America’s role in the world. Less frequently, I write about Europe, especially Russia, and Africa, at least insofar as things happen in Africa that intersect with some of the other things I write about (Islam, repressive governments, and terrorism). But I do try to stretch out whenever possible, especially when it requires me to digest a lot of information about something new. I like doing that.

There are a lot of sites out there that cover all of these things, so thanks for choosing mine. I think you’ll find the perspective unique. I put myself somewhere between realism and hippie idealism, in that I recognize America’s limitations and failures even as I see the potential for us to be better and smarter than we usually are. I also try to take a longer view of things, both backward and forward, than you might find elsewhere. I write a lot about history and the historical context of current events, particularly when it comes to the Middle East (that’s my educational background, after all), and I try to look beyond the immediate crisis to those long-term ramifications that often bite the United States in its collective rear when it comes to foreign policy. Where a die-hard realist might say it’s better to condone a repressive dictatorship in the name of present stability, I’ll often wonder if maybe the short-term instability of supporting democratic upheavals abroad isn’t worth it in the long-run. Maybe it’s not, but I think it’s important to ask the question.

So who am I? My name is Derek Davison. My credentials include Master’s degrees in public policy from Carnegie Mellon University and in Middle East Studies at the University of Chicago, as well as a stint working overseas, in Qatar, for about a year and a half, during but in no way related to the Iraq War. After feeling like I was spinning my wheels in a Ph.D. program in Chicago, my wife’s career led me to the DC-area, where I’ve been trying to make a career out of the two things I enjoy the most: research and writing. I do a lot of that here, but you can also find my work out there on the world wide web and, if you’re an aficionado of Arabic-language television, you might even see me there someday.

I started this blog intending that I would remain anonymous, because I wanted to keep it cordoned off from my studies and eventual job search, but as my life has changed direction this blog has sort of become my “job search,” or at least a way to show prospective employers what kind of work I can do. So I’m unveiling the unknown guy behind this modest little blog, and letting the world know that I’m out here, I love to write, and I would love to write for you if you need that sort of thing. Seriously, I’ll write about anything, although I’ve been burned by that sort of thing in the past.

So that’s me. On Twitter I am @dwdavison9318, and over on Facebook (*shudder*) I’ve created a page for this blog here. Please go “like” the blog there if you’re into that sort of thing, but don’t expect me to stop by there any more frequently than I do now, which is about once a week or whenever my phone buzzes with some alert or another. I’m also on Tumblr; I tend to just post links there to my writing here, but every once in a while I do put something original there. If you would like to email me for some reason, attwiw at gmail dot com usually works. Thanks for indulging me in this bit of self-absorption, and always thanks for reading. I hope you’ll stick around.

14 thoughts

  1. Interesting bio! I’m 25 young expat in Dubai dying to pen down my thoughts with this blog, but poorly enough. Im very liberal and diversified interests. I watching out for your analysis on politics cause no matter what the music industry says, its politics that eventually makes the world go round. Cheers!!!

  2. Hi Derek. I was going to share your blog with folks on LINKEDIN but when I tried to do this, they placed the first part of your self-description as the “news” for my post. (i.e. So who am I? My name is Derek Davison. I am a writer who is always looking for more things to write and a researcher who enjoys finding arcane things to research. I was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, a disturbingly long time ago, and lived most of my life without ever really leaving Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.) I’m afraid if I share it folks will think you’re just a nice fellow and might not know that you have important things to say. I’d like to share this great blog on LINKEDIN and it would be really easy for me to do it if had a few sentences in the very beginning of your description that told about the blog…). There may be another way to share this via linkedin without getting your personal information first but as I’m not very technically inclined, I wasn’t able to figure it out. Wonderful blog btw.

    1. Thanks Diana, I really appreciate it! I’ll rewrite the “About” page so this can work. I’ve been kind of under the weather the last couple of days, so maybe by Monday?

  3. Hi Derek–Kudos to you! New follower with an affinity for reading books that are centered in the Middle East, especially Iran. Since I no longer intend to pursue advanced degrees in the field, I’ve widened my reading interests and recently just started blogger here/on WordPress.

  4. Just sent you a couple bucks because that’s all I could really afford but I’ve really enjoyed reading this blog the last few months. Really enjoyable and informative, thanks

  5. WOW! What a marvelous blog! I have seemingly endless doc files, notes, maps, binders and folders. I follow threads thru history and so far have no idea how to weave them together. I had zero interest in history for most of my life (73) – history as taught was monumentally boring … just remember the dates of events with no connection to anything! My recent interest to the Battle of Aqaba led me to your blog…. then I scrolled thru to find many of my ‘threads’ in your blog. Thank you.
    Sonora, CA

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