My homeboy from years in Mexico, Joel Millman, at the Wall Street Journal, has written a fantastic story of kidnapping of Eritreans, who are then traded by networks of kidnapping gangs, sometimes several times and across several borders.
The Eritreans are migrants/refugees fleeing their country and looking for work in nearby countries and are kidnapped by Bedouins.
The kidnapping gangs have blossomed in the vacuum of political supervision in Egypt’s Sinai desert as Egypt has been dealing with its many other issues in the last year.
Remarkable story about the global economy and the vast lagoons of impunity that exist due to political borders and agencies that have faltered or have not changed with the same velocity as economics — which might be exactly the prescription for what spawns criminal gangs and mafias.
Check out the video of Joel talking with one kidnapping victim, and explaining the genesis of his story.
By the way, Joel’s been doing these kinds of stories about migrants and the borderless world for many years now and he’s one of the best around.
His book, The Other Americans, is a great series of vignettes about folks from around the world changing our country. His chapter on the Patel motel clan is worth the price of the book.
Photo: Sinai Desert; Photo Credit: Wall Street Journal
Map: Middle East; Credit: Google Maps
A new doughnut chain will be coming to Los Angeles. Dunkin’ Donuts has announced that it will open stores in 2015 here in L.A. and around California.
The question is whether it will fare better than other chains who’ve had difficulty competing with the vast Cambodian-immigrant doughnut-shop network that dates to the late 1970s and early 1980s.
I told the story of how it is so many independent doughnut shops in Southern California are owned by Cambodians (well, Chinese-Cambodians really), from a country where doughnuts do not exist, in a tale about Ted Ngoy, the ill-fated Cambodian Doughtnut King, whose ambition led to his great rise and spectacular fall from grace.
Doughnut shops allowed those Cambodians who owned them to work their way into America — forcing them to speak English, deal with city halls and business licenses and landlords — in a way that other (mostly Khmer) Cambodians often did not.
Cambodian doughnut shops almost led to the downfall of Winchell’s. It’s also possible that Cambodians may be tiring of doughnut work, which requires owners to get up at 2-3 a.m. and where the profit margins are slim. Still, everywhere I go, independent doughnut shops remain owned by Cambodians.