The War on Those Bearing Witness, Colltalers
Another war, another renewed threat to the journalism profession. News that reporters covering the Crimean conflict got beaten up last Friday, by Russian militiamen supporting the takeover of the Sevastopol Ukrainian military base, are just the latest of a rising and deeply disturbing trend.
In fact, news scribblers who take chances at trenches of what’s happening to reveal what otherwise no one would ever know, have been under siege as much as the multiplication of armed confrontations around the world seem to be reaching numbing levels of carnage and complexity.
There’s no need to place the plight of journalists above that of those caught in the crossfire, the refugees, the children, even those who signed up to bear a weapon and go after the ‘enemies of their country,’ as any conflict is frequently sold to those who enlist. But even if misery for all involved goes on, regardless whether there’s someone to report it or not, public awareness is arguably the most needed step to be taken in order to stop it.
In other words, it’s hard to feel sympathy for those massacred in the name of who knows what’s today’s word of order, if we don’t know who they are, how they’re getting crushed and, as it’s often the case, how their reaction to their predicament resembles one’s one family, son and daughter.
Just to extend the Russian fodder, that particular country and region has been rife with threats lately not just to journalists but to, you guessed it, gays, as the recent Sochi games offered an unvarnished look into the ongoing persecution of people who don’t fit the official behavioral mold.
The analogy between gays, for what it’s perceived as a challenge to so-called ‘family values’ (which are never shy of enforcing prejudice and genocide, when it comes down to it) and reporters, for what they ‘shouldn’t’ be reporting, is not without purpose. Both groups face daily threats of violence and mortal danger only on the account of their mere existence, a frightening notion that should put on the highest alert the whole society.
We could go on and on about the witch hunt against gays and basic freedom of expression in far reaching regions of the world, Africa being the most blatant example of a newly minted institutionalized persecution against people for their sexual choices, and against those who dare to report it.
But the stinging reality is that it’s in contemporary U.S. that one finds some of the most glaring attempts at curbing constitutionally-sanctioned press freedom, with a shameful record in increased Continue reading