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Tags: Travel | india | saudi arabia

Patriotic American by Choice: Journalist Malika Bowling

Patriotic American by Choice: Journalist Malika Bowling
Courtesy of Malika Bowling. 

Tamar Fleishman By Tuesday, 21 September 2021 01:39 PM Current | Bio | Archive

Malika Bowling is an Atlanta-based, internationally renowned journalist.

She's the author of "Food Lovers' Guide to Atlanta" and has been featured on HGTV. She’s contributed to Lonely Planet and Chowhound, among other publications.

Ms. Bowling served as a judge at various culinary competitions and food festivals, including the World Food Championships.

Although she travels the globe — I met her in Poland before the pandemic — she’s proud that America is her home.

Bowling has a unique perspective on fleeing to the U.S. under difficult circumstances, much like the babies thrust into U.S. Marines’ arms in recent photos from the withdrawal from the Afghanistan war.

Her parents decided to adopt a child from India. They contacted an orphanage and sent money for six-month-old Ms. Bowling’s care, but the funds were apparently spread amongst all the orphans.

Ms. Bowling describes her father as "by the book," but he had an unshakeable feeling that the couple needed to go to India immediately – despite not having necessary adoption paperwork in place. He was right: the orphanage wasn’t feeding her.

Ms. Bowling relates that they said, "This baby is going to die, you should just pick another one." Her father was firm, this was their child. He took her and employed a nurse who informed him that she also had helped Gandhi!

Lacking documents, they lucked out at each checkpoint: infant Ms. Bowling screamed until the family was waved through to the flight.

Lawyers in New York smoothed the way for them to enter the U.S. by the time the plane landed.

Ms. Bowling, now a naturalized American, is strong in expressing her and her family’s patriotism: "This is our country." They are thankful for the country that took them in. Ms. Bowling studied marketing at Kennesaw State University.

That perhaps gives her special insight as to tourism offices she contacts to assist her for stories — what works and what doesn’t. She’s talked to me about destinations that turn away from inviting her to cover them because she is a conservative.

She replied, "I don't write about politics. Period. It's not in anything I've written, nor will you find it on my social media. I prefer to write about things that inspire and bring people together like food and travel."

"These are places in the U.S. and abroad that have turned me down for trips. As a freelance writer, you have to go on the trip and pitch the story to outlets after the trip has happened. I had an opportunity to go on a small cruise line that sails out of Europe."

She continued, "As they were looking for guaranteed placement, I told them I could only guarantee it on an affluent site that was conservative (since the editor has given me free reign). They said no, despite the fact the site gets 1 million views per month and has a wealthy demographic."

"When I wrote about Iceland's Blue Lagoon, my article was on the first page of Google. Another city, this one in the U.S., had invited me to their destination and my article on the best restaurants was met with disappointment rather than praise, solely based on the site in which the article was hosted," she told me.

"One of the restaurants reached out to the PR rep and asked me to take down the article, as they didn't want to be associated with such a site," she noted. 

"They absolutely want tourism of any kind, but it is more about virtue signaling. I believe they fear backlash about how the destination is being perceived if they are in a conservative outlet. It is a shame because, as I tell them, 'Money is green, not red or blue.'"

Ms. Bowling says she is probably most proud of “(A)n interview I did with a teacher friend of mine living in Saudi Arabia. (A) friend I went to high school with became an international teacher because of her love of travel and her interest in raising children who had grown up in different lands.

The country that would take both her and her husband (both teachers) was Saudi Arabia. In the article, I share Val's perspective on what it is to be an American living in Saudi Arabia, especially one with two young girls. She even found herself there during the middle of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Funny enough, this was the one article I got the most pushback. Over and over, I was told the story of Val and her journey as a white American teacher living in Saudi Arabia was "spreading propaganda." For example, (the editor of a nationally-known financial publication) said, 'I’m hesitant to valorize a country that has acted so brutally toward dissidents and journalists.' I'm disappointed that so many outlets are so close minded. Rather than report what is happening in the nation, albeit slowly, they refuse to open their eyes. If we live in a world where change is not possible, what a sad world that is."

Tamar Alexia Fleishman was the Chicago Symphony Orchestra's youngest female solo violinist. A world-traveler, Fleishman provides readers with international flavor and culture. She's debated Bill Maher, Greta Van Susteren and Dr. Phil. Fleishman practices law in Maryland with a J.D. from the University of Baltimore, a B.A. in Political Science from Goucher College. Read Tamar Alexia Fleishman's Reports — More Here.

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TamarFleishman
With recent events in Afghanistan, Bowling has a unique perspective on fleeing to the U.S. under difficult circumstances, much like the babies thrust into U.S. Marines’ arms.
india, saudi arabia
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2021-39-21
Tuesday, 21 September 2021 01:39 PM
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