Financial Times or Food Times?

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Washington – November 28, 2009 (Farid Ghadry Blog)The much appreciated Financial Times of London has just published a story talking about Syrian cuisine.

Of course, in our opinion, nothing equals the sight of a Syrian cook with his/her hands handcrafting perfect Kebbeh Erass or cooking with Samné Hamawieh the many recipes Damascene, Aleppian, and many mothers and fathers across Syria perfected over generations.

But, let’s approach this story with some realism.

Syria has been on a decline when it comes to important global indexes, one of which hits home in regard to the Financial Times’ mission as a newspaper: Transparency.

In Transparency International Index of Corruption, Syria is listed at the bottom with a ranking of 126. One would imagine, if FT has to write a story about Syria, that would be of direct interest to its international savvy readership, it would write about corruption and how it is affecting the investment environment.

Or maybe a story about how easy it is to bribe judges in Syria all too willing, under the Assad regime, to twist the laws to meet the needs of certain people willing to acquire their services.

In fact, a quick search of FT’s website indicate that no story has ever been written about corruption in Syria. Or a story shedding a bright light on our judicial system under the Assad regime. Or a story about our lax governance laws. That’s the job of Roula Khalaf.

On FT’s own website, the newspaper describes itself as follows: “The Financial Times, one of the world’s leading business news organisations, is recognised internationally for its authority, integrity and accuracy.” Even if it does not say relevance, we hope its editors are responsible enough to serve their readers well by writing a story about our incompetent government before writing a story about our cuisine.

We also hope if they want to write a story about Iran, its title is not: Silos of Iranian pistachios.

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