A Diamond’s Eye View of the World

a multi-faceted look at the middle east, and the middle west

exercising caution in Beirut

Posted by adiamondinsunlight on November 23, 2007

As I have mentioned before, I never get the US Embassy in Lebanon’s warden messages. I rely on the US Embassy in Kuwait, which does an excellent job, and on the kindness of friends to pass along the warnings they receive.

After hearing from G that the embassy issued a warning last Friday, I got a bit peeved. I fired off an email to the Beirut American Citizens Services address, asking why I never receive these warnings. And I “signed up to receive all copies of Embassy warden notices” via the Beirut warden message listserver.

When a message came back to me almost immediately, I was delighted. Here was proof that the warden system was working: I subscribed and immediately was sent the latest warning.

When I looked at the email, however, my delight faded. This is how the email began:

PUBLIC ANNOUNCEMENT – WORLDWIDE CAUTION

1. This Public Announcement updates information on the
continuing threat of terrorist actions and violence
against Americans and interests overseas. This supersedes
the Worldwide Caution dated March 8, 2005 and expires on
February 2, 2006.

Yes, indeed. The Beirut warden listserver did not send me the Novemer 16, 2007 warden message – but it did keep me well advised of the State Department’s concerns in August 2005.

One Response to “exercising caution in Beirut”

  1. WH said

    This is almost related, might be of interest…

    “Waging Peace”: A New Paradigm for Public Diplomacy
    By Karen P. Hughes
    Mediterranean Quarterly: Spring 2007

    The Embassy of the Future Will Be More Decentralized

    The old model for embassies, consulates, and libraries was to locate them
    in historic buildings in city centers that have required additional security in
    the context of threats in the world today. The new model for diplomacy will
    require more flexible embassy spaces, balancing the need for security and
    public accessibility for such things as information programs. In some ways,
    the public diplomacy model of the future may resemble the Starbucks busi-
    ness model of going to where the customer is in multiple venues.
    This is already happening through American Presence Posts, which are
    offices in secondary cities in larger countries, with outreach as their primary
    role. We are also establishing more American Corners, which are essentially
    reading rooms, usually at a public library. The embassy library of tomor-
    row may be more like a computer Internet cafe with high-speed, broad-based
    Internet access and data bases for student research. More and more, we are
    using technology to go over the walls to people:
    1. Webpages are being aimed at specific regions.
    2. Online chats with US officials are explaining visa regulations or policy
    issues.
    3. Cell phone text-messages are being sent to exchange-program alumni
    or journalists.
    4. Podcasts carry video of speeches and projects around the world.
    Since more than half of the population in the Middle East is under the
    age of twenty-five, it is imperative that we reach young people through media
    they favor before their views become entrenched. That’s why we are putting
    TV cameras in the hands of our exchange students, so their experiences can
    become part of the YouTube phenomenon. And believe it or not, that’s why
    the State Department of Dean Acheson and John Foster Dulles is developing
    a democracy video game, designed to lure young people away from extrem-
    ism and toward democratic values.

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