If you don’t already know, my name is Derek, and in addition to freelance work and occasional appearances on Alhurra TV, I write this here blog called “and that’s the way it was.”
“and that’s the way it was” is dedicated to helping people make sense of the world, especially but not limited to the Middle East. I’ve spent several years studying American government and foreign policy, and several more learning about and working in the Middle East, and one of the things I’ve noticed is that it’s hard for most Americans to get a good handle on these places. That’s partly because our media is frequently more concerned with tracking Donald Trump’s Twitter feed than it is with covering very serious stories that happen every day all around the world, and partly because we tend to confine expertise about distant places and foreign peoples to specialized academic fields, with little of that knowledge ever filtering out of those niches. This makes it very easy for our foreign policy to be hijacked by forces that want perpetual war, a massive military state, and the continued forcible expansion of American empire. People can’t fight back against something they don’t know is there.
I’m trying to change that. I write about the history of the Middle East, North Africa, and elsewhere in a way that I hope is accessible and enjoyable and helps people understand the context behind what they might hear in the news. I track international news all day and compile it into nightly digests for people who want to know what’s happening but don’t have time to seek out the world news that’s too-often buried under an avalanche of domestic news (and noise). I look for other perspectives on world events and U.S. foreign policy that can’t necessarily be found in the New York Times or the Washington Post and try to bring those perspectives to you. If people naturally fear the unknown, then the antidote to that is knowledge. If ignorance breed apathy, then the solution is less ignorance. That’s what I’m trying to achieve.
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. After Chicago, my wife’s career led me to the DC-area, where I’ve been trying to make it doing 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 podcasts and/or Arabic-language television, you might even see or hear me sometime.