Appraisal of ‘People like us’ - Joris Luyendijk

This is not what I'm searching for. Written on 09-06-2011 by VanDaalen

Often I find school literature boring and a good read is something I don’t associate with books read for school either. With “People like Us” by Joris Luyendijk my study has proven that interesting and nice literature can be put on the reading list. But does Joris' story make me happy? You will read it in this review.     

People like us

In People like us, the Middle East correspondent Joris Luyendijk writes about his experiences as correspondent working for the Dutch newspapers De Volkskrant, NRC and the broadcasting company NOS. Joris does not merely relate what he experienced during his years as a reporter in Israel and Egypt, but he also reports extensively about how he experienced the war between Jews and Muslims in Israel and how the media capitalized on it. He also makes a clear statement on how the media helps to create the image we have in the Netherlands of the Eastern countries and how manipulative the media sometimes is. Can you really still trust the newspapers? Don’t they just make the stories juicier? Are they receptive to stories that give us a more positive view of the countries in the East? Joris Luyendijk answers all these questions in this interesting and revealing book.

Reflection on trade

In my opinion, my school has made a good choice by putting this book on the list for the subject reflection on trade. It set me thinking about my future profession. I always thought it would be cool to be a foreign correspondent. To me it seemed an exiting and interesting profession: everywhere you would be the first to be there and you were the specialist in the area of ‘your’ country. Joris Luyendijk has shattered my dream - a dream that not merely consisted of foreign correspondence, but included the other aspects of the trade. Luyendijk exposes things like news selection (what is news and how is it selected), sources (to what extend are sources reliable?) and how often is the truth depicted instead of a faked situation? Because of the examples Luyendijk gives I have begun to think about my profession. How do I feel about the way newspapers handle the news? How do I feel about the way journalists work? How do I feel about the limited freedom a journalist sometimes has? How do I feel about the ‘juicy’ stories in the newspaper? All these questions are of importance to how I develop in my profession. It is a development that will determine my ultimate course.

Image of the Middle East

In the beginning of the book I sympathised very much with the population of the Eastern countries. After all, the inhabitants are also victims of a dictatorship. It seems awful to me to live in such a state. Always afraid of everything that can be said, afraid of the wrong answers, afraid of suicide attacks, afraid of the next terror.  People like us has given me a clearer and, I think, a more objective view of the citizens of these countries. People who definitely differ much from the people in the West, but can be understood to a certain extend when you put yourself in their position. They are people like us, but they are used to a different social climate and have become hard through living under a dictatorship. Like us, they like to laugh and tell jokes that Luyendijk is glad to share with us. Jokes that made me laugh out loud regularly. I think one of the advantages of this book is that it shows Arabs in a different way: a positive one.


To me this book was a very instructive read. Not merely did I learn more about how things are really going in journalism, I also learned a lot about the history of the Arabic countries and how people live there. It was also interesting to read that as a journalist you are very limited in performing your job adequately because you are working in a dictatorship. All of this can be found in a book that reads like a novel – a book that deserves a B+ at least.    


This is not what I'm searching for.
Copyright Duplication of this text is not allowed without permission explicitly granted by the writer. (VanDaalen).
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