Derek Davison is creating and that's the way it was
314
patrons
I'm moving! Please check out my new home at Substack, starting April 1.

"and that's the way it was" is dedicated to helping people make sense of the world, especially but not limited to the Middle East. I've spent several years studying American government and foreign policy, and several more learning about and working in the Middle East, and one of the things I've noticed is that it's hard for most Americans to get a good handle on these places. That's partly because our media is frequently more concerned with tracking Donald Trump's Twitter feed than it is with covering very serious stories that happen every day all around the world, and partly because we tend to confine expertise about distant places and foreign peoples to specialized academic fields, with little of that knowledge ever filtering out of those niches. This makes it very easy for our foreign policy to be hijacked by forces that want perpetual war, a massive military state, and the continued forcible expansion of American empire. People can't fight back against something they don't know is there.

I'm trying to change that. I write about the history of the Middle East, North Africa, and elsewhere in a way that I hope is accessible and enjoyable and helps people understand the context behind what they might hear in the news. I track international news all day and compile it into nightly digests for people who want to know what's happening but don't have time to seek out the world news that's too-often buried under an avalanche of domestic news (and noise). I also look for lefty perspectives on world events and U.S. foreign policy and try to bring those perspectives to you. If people naturally fear the unknown, then the antidote to that is knowledge. If ignorance breed apathy, then the solution is less ignorance. That's what I'm trying to achieve.
Tiers
Ask Me Anything
$1 or more per month
At this level you will have access to my regular "Ask Me Anything" feature. If you've got a question, thought, comment about history, foreign policy, the Middle East, or pretty much anything else you can ask it here and I'll do my best to answer it. You'll also get access to short-form (15 minutes is the goal, shorter or longer as topics warrant) podcasts on interesting historical nuggets or news items that deserve a bit of a deeper dive than I can give on attwiw.com.
attwiw Podcast
$3 or more per month
At this level you'll be given exclusive access to the twice-weekly long-form attwiw podcast, where we dive into historical topics and occasionally into major news stories.
Suggest a Topic
$5 or more per month
At this level you can ask me to dive more deeply into a topic or topics of your interest. If it's something about which I can write with some conviction, I'll write an essay and post it here for $5 and up patrons only! And if I don't feel I can write about it, I'll do a little research and try to direct you to someplace where people are writing about it, or have written about it. You'll also get access to all of the content I'll be featuring at TheRihlah.com, my new project tracking the journeys of 14th century Muslim world traveler Ibn Battuta.
Goals
50% complete
Help me grow attwiw. There are a lot of important stories happening in the world that I can only cover superficially because they're not really in my area of (some) expertise. If you want more in-depth writing on those stories then get us up to this level and I'll be able to bring on some new voices with different expertise to make that happen.
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I'm moving! Please check out my new home at Substack, starting April 1.

"and that's the way it was" is dedicated to helping people make sense of the world, especially but not limited to the Middle East. I've spent several years studying American government and foreign policy, and several more learning about and working in the Middle East, and one of the things I've noticed is that it's hard for most Americans to get a good handle on these places. That's partly because our media is frequently more concerned with tracking Donald Trump's Twitter feed than it is with covering very serious stories that happen every day all around the world, and partly because we tend to confine expertise about distant places and foreign peoples to specialized academic fields, with little of that knowledge ever filtering out of those niches. This makes it very easy for our foreign policy to be hijacked by forces that want perpetual war, a massive military state, and the continued forcible expansion of American empire. People can't fight back against something they don't know is there.

I'm trying to change that. I write about the history of the Middle East, North Africa, and elsewhere in a way that I hope is accessible and enjoyable and helps people understand the context behind what they might hear in the news. I track international news all day and compile it into nightly digests for people who want to know what's happening but don't have time to seek out the world news that's too-often buried under an avalanche of domestic news (and noise). I also look for lefty perspectives on world events and U.S. foreign policy and try to bring those perspectives to you. If people naturally fear the unknown, then the antidote to that is knowledge. If ignorance breed apathy, then the solution is less ignorance. That's what I'm trying to achieve.

Recent posts by Derek Davison

Tiers
Ask Me Anything
$1 or more per month
At this level you will have access to my regular "Ask Me Anything" feature. If you've got a question, thought, comment about history, foreign policy, the Middle East, or pretty much anything else you can ask it here and I'll do my best to answer it. You'll also get access to short-form (15 minutes is the goal, shorter or longer as topics warrant) podcasts on interesting historical nuggets or news items that deserve a bit of a deeper dive than I can give on attwiw.com.
attwiw Podcast
$3 or more per month
At this level you'll be given exclusive access to the twice-weekly long-form attwiw podcast, where we dive into historical topics and occasionally into major news stories.
Suggest a Topic
$5 or more per month
At this level you can ask me to dive more deeply into a topic or topics of your interest. If it's something about which I can write with some conviction, I'll write an essay and post it here for $5 and up patrons only! And if I don't feel I can write about it, I'll do a little research and try to direct you to someplace where people are writing about it, or have written about it. You'll also get access to all of the content I'll be featuring at TheRihlah.com, my new project tracking the journeys of 14th century Muslim world traveler Ibn Battuta.