Essential Pittsburgh
4:50 pm
Fri August 1, 2014

A Pittsburgh Journalist In The Middle East

Credit Betsy Hiel / Twitter

The Middle East has been at the center of global attention for at least the past decade, and the state of affairs have become increasingly chaotic following the uprisings that took place in several countries during 2011.

2014 is shaping up to be another monumental year, with rebels threatening to overthrow the Iraqi government, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict reaching deadly heights, and a crucial presidential election in Turkey, just to name a few.

As important to world news as these events are, most local papers do not feel these happenings are relevant to their coverage.

An exception to that would be the Tribune-Review, which has Betsy Hiel, a Pittsburgher based in Cairo. Hiel has covered everything from protests, to the Olympics, and sometimes had to get in harms way to find her story. She joined us from Istanbul to talk about her experience in the middle east and break down what is really going on over there.

Hiel says she does not expect the conflict in the Gaza Strip to end anytime soon.

“People have been trying to mediate, you had the Egyptians trying to mediate. Some are saying that Hamas [kidnapped an officer] to get more groundwork to negotiate with a stronger hand once it came to negotiating with the Israelis. But right now you have the Israelis that will react in full force, and it just means more of the cycle of violence, the horrific cycle of violence will continue.”

Hiel also said she has grown accustomed to dealing with danger in the region.

“So, yes, there is that, but now I’m in Istanbul and it's totally fine. The worst thing you might have to worry about right now is tear gas if there’s a protest. It depends on the situation but yeah, there are moments of danger, and you just have to learn to keep yourself safe because dead journalists don’t tell stories.”