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Annapolis Breakdown

[We asked cousins Mimi Asnes and Ben Keller to cover yesterday's peace conference at Annapolis, Mimi from the outside and Ben from within. Read all their coverage here (first post at bottom of page).]
Mimi: Cousin, you awake? I know you had a long day. Ben: I just started to nod off, but you brought me back to life. Mimi: No, seriously I am excited to hear about your day as I edit my impressions of mine. Ben: Yours was probably crazier than mine. Mimi: So, give me a brief rundown of your day. Ben: I got there at 1am, through security at 4:30, in the building by 5am, and waited around until 8am for everyone else to arrive. They started working on their stories until the main presentation by Bush, Abbas, and Olmert at 11am. Then they had lunch and a long closed-door session. There were some photo ops and people started leaving around 6. Then Condi gave a speech at the end to wrap it up at 7pm and we were forced out by cleaning crews by 8pm. It was long, mostly boring with sprinkles of excitement, and I hurt from sitting around all day long. Mimi: I took a look at the docs you scanned; what is the handwritten Arabic one from? Ben: From these guys at an Arabic magazine, they said it's the most popular weekly magazine in the Arab world. But they were doing an interview with the Baltimore Sun and the guy asked "Are you Jew? I don't talk to Jew." Mimi: That's really offensive. Ben: Yeah, I know. He said he's been covering this conflict his entire career as a journalist and went to Camp David, Oslo, Madrid, and experienced all the wars as a Palestinian. But I still had to sit next to him for 12 hours. Mimi: So the scene outside was much more intense than what you describe as boring waiting around on the inside. There was a lot of the opposite going on outside, people attacking the more left-wing or progressive voices as being murderers or terrorists. But in general, a lot of influential groups, in fact I think the majority of the center-to-right on the Jewish side and the entire Arab side just wiffed. Ben: Who had the most protesters? Mimi: The accumulative mass of "dark coats," the different Ultra-Orthodox people who were also demonstrating against each other. Ben: Against each other? Those guys can be so confusing sometimes. Half of them want one thing and half want the other. Mimi: No kidding. Do you remember the name of the journalist behind you? Ben: No clue. Mimi: Any other interesting interactions? Ben: Yeah, just how a lot of journalists thought they were there for nothing and how Bush seemed like the only enthusiastic one in attendance. Mimi: Like a birthday party where no one likes the birthday boy and Mom Condi trying to smile and hold it all together.
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