Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania

Readers keep newspapers vibrant

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By Ray Hanania

At a time when newspapers are dying, it is gratifying to hear from so many people in the southwest suburbs and in the city who read our important community newspapers.

So, I want to say thank you to our readers. Community newspapers are so important to the viability of our communities. You can judge the health of a community by the health of its local newspaper. Some communities, unfortunately, don’t have community newspapers and you can see how that hurts them.

I want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy and Prosperous New Year.

It doesn’t matter what your political allegiances are, or your ethnicity or race or nationality. We’re all Americans and we live in the greatest country in the world.

Of course, I wish there were a little less hate from both sides. We can have discussions, disagreements and even passionate debates without hating each other.

I avoid most of the news and talk shows on television these days. They are driven by anger and fuel the hatred that divides this country.

RayHanania

Ray Hanania

If we don’t do something about it, to stop the hate, end the animosity over politics and focus instead on how to help each other, we might find ourselves in a lot of trouble, folks.

My trip to Dubai

I traveled to Dubai last week to attend a journalism conference hosted by Arab News, the Gulf newspaper I work for as the U.S. special correspondent.

While the American news media continues to deteriorate, the Middle East news media is growing. They had more than 160 journalists there from 10 bureaus in Saudi Arabia, the UAE (Dubai), France, Pakistan, Japan, England, Asia and, with me, the United States. All anyone talks about overseas is the polarization that has crippled America and the fragile leadership that is so divided, angry and unproductive.

But that’s not the worst thing that shocked me during the trip. The absolutely most shocking thing I experienced was the deterioration of O’Hare International Airport.

O’Hare was filthy. The bathrooms were disgusting. The process of moving passengers through customs and to their planes is bogged down in laziness and poor employee service.

Honestly, the place smelled. It was a pit. I wanted to take a shower and use an in-hand sanitizer when I was out of there.

The parking system is broken. The shuttles they use to pick up passengers from those parking lots were filthy and broken. The shuttle seats were so dirty. The speaker system was inaudible. The road signs directing motorists to the parking lots were few and far between.

It was the worst experience of my life. Customs was terrible. On returning from Dubai, I had to stand in a line of people that zig-zagged through a maze of 22 roped areas (walking back and forth) for nearly three hours. The place smelled. I wanted to barf it was so bad.

The attitude of the customs officials was so terrible. Like they were angry I was returning to this country.

The baggage area was a mess with luggage piled on top of each other. The conveyor belt was jammed with bags because they couldn’t process the travelers quickly enough. It was crowded and the room was small.

I couldn’t wait to get out of there.

Contrast that to Dubai, where the system was so clean, efficient and fast. They were welcoming to everyone.

Is Dubai that much better than America?

Worse is that through all that filth at O’Hare, I had to walk past dozens of TV terminals broadcasting an expensive advertisement over and over again promoting Mayor Lori Lightfoot.

Even worse is that while I struggled to enter this country as a law-abiding, legal traveler, I couldn’t stop thinking about how much more attention and support those who sneak into this country illegally get when they cross the southern border.

Next time, I’ll enter the country illegally and avoid customs. I am sure I will be treated better and even given a free ride to my home with so many benefits: food, healthcare, insurance, education for my kids and even money to make my illegal experience productive.

Check out my Tiktok video comparing O’Hare to Dubai on my page at Titktok.com/@RayHanania. (Even if you don’t like politics, you can see the videos of me making Middle Eastern foods, which I hope you will enjoy.)

Check out Ray Hanania’s columns and political podcasts at hanania.com.

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