Since his boyhood in Qadhafi s Libya, and later as a reporter for more than thirteen years in cities stretching from Tehran to Marrakesh, Neil MacFarquhar has developed a counterintuitive sense that the Middle East, despite all the bloodshed in its contemporary history, is a place of warmth, humanity, and generous eccentricity. In The Media Relations Department of Hizbollah Wishes You a Happy Birthday MacFarquhar shares a lesser known side of the region, the story he always wanted to file. MacFarquhar shows the daily lives and attitudes of people frequently obscured behind the curtain of violence: the stories of chefs and sex therapists, bloggers and academics struggling to reform on their own terms.
Neil MacFarquhar served as New York Times Cairo bureau chief from 2001 through 2005. An Arabic speaker, he grew up in Libya and covered the region for the AP, including stints in Israel and Kuwait. He is the author of a novel, The Sand Cafe.