Category Archives: Contemporary Events

Lessons Outside Our Lady of Guadalupe

Our Lady of Guadalupe

Our Lady of Guadalupe

I want to create a scene for you. Or, I want to recreate a remarkable scene, theatrical in its coincidence. The elements of this scene come together in a way that demonstrates Jungian Synchronicity.  I continually flash back to it, the moment everything came together:

While staying in Nuevo Vallarta, I took a tour of Puerto Vallarta. Filled with old architecture, bustling with a mix of tourists and vendors, residents, participants, performers and indigenous folks, the tour simply could not encompass the chaos of all we were seeing. Until we stopped at the cathedral of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

Story has it that in 1531 the native (indigeno) Juan Diego came upon a beautiful woman who told him she was the Virgin Mary.

“When he told his story to the Spanish bishop, Fray Juan de Zumárraga, the bishop asked him to return and ask the lady for a miraculous sign to prove her claim. The Virgin then asked Juan Diego to gather some flowers from the top of Tepeyac Hill, even though it was winter when no flowers bloomed. There, he found Castilian roses (which were of the Bishop’s native home, but not indigenous to Tepeyac). He gathered them, and the Virgin herself re-arranged them in his tilma, or peasant cloak. When Juan Diego presented the roses to Zumárraga, the image of the Virgin of Guadalupe miraculously appeared imprinted on the cloth of Diego’s tilma. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Our_Lady_of_Guadalupe)”

Our tour guide stood on the Cathedral stairs telling us this story as behind him stood a statue of the Bishop. Historically Catholicism and the ancient Aztec’s religion melded in a way to give new birth to the Aztecs after the invasion of Spain. The Aztecs blended their social lives including their religion where they could to the symbolism of Catholicism.

“In 1611, the Dominican Martín de León, fourth viceroy of Mexico, denounced the cult of the Virgin of Guadalupe as a disguised worship of the Aztec goddess Tonantzin.[16] The missionary and anthropologist Bernardino de Sahagún held the same opinion: he wrote that the shrine at Tepeyac was extremely popular but worrisome because people called the Virgin of Guadalupe Tonantzin. Sahagún said that the worshipers claimed that Tonantzin was the proper Nahuatl for “Mother of God”—but he disagreed, saying that “Mother of God” in Nahuatl would be “Dios y Nantzin.”[19]” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Our_Lady_of_Guadalupe

Edwardo teaches us

Eduardo teaches us

As Eduardo, our guide, spoke to us, a young indigenous woman climbed the stairs toward us with a basket of dolls. Holding one in the air, and with a pleading look on her face, she was selling her wares apparently totally oblivious to the nature of the scene before her: we, listening to Eduardo our tour guide teaching us about the Mexican past. And Eduardo, who was a brilliant and wonderful guide, began talking to us not about her as she simultaneously climbed the stairs but about who she represented – about the 3 million indigenous peoples in Mexico who have not been incorporated into the contemporary Mexican fabric. Centuries after the invasion.

Was she pleading to us? Were we the present day Spaniards? Was this an historical re-enactment?

I don’t know. But it was remarkable. It’s like Coleridge’s ‘Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner’ – a poem about a story the Mariner retells because he doesn’t grasp its significance. Though he knows the story has one.

In this case there are two stories: that of the invaders and that of the indigenous people. Both coming together on the stairs of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

Admit It: We’re All Balloonboy Spammers & Scammers

Nobody HomeI was following a mashable.com story yesterday. Hate giving you the url because it just increases viewership for the stupid thing (MASHABLE.COM – ALERT: Twitter Bug Exposes Private Tweets – http://bit.ly/1WAHXL) But, in the end, we find there was NOTHING exposed. IE: “The New Twitter Hole That Probably Isn’t

Ironically, I also got culled into watching #balloonboy from almost start to finish. Only to observe the whole thing was a scam. Hmmm, I recall a tweeterer referring to those of my ilk as “fat lazy people watching cable tv all day”. Well, I wasn’t until someone tweeted about #balloonboy then, yes, I was.

OK? So here’s my beef:

Cable tv and internet bloggers have a lot at stake in 24 hour news cycles. Some days there’s nothing. And those of us who wake up and read and tweet and blog circulate the daily grind the same as regular news channels and announcers who make comments like: Sir, How fast do you think the balloon could rise at the beginning of the arc? Surmising fictions. Filling the air with vacuous air.

Who cares? News in process. Dudes! No one has the time to think.

Yet here in Twitterland I see gizmos designed to assign you a social media / blog performance rating based on RT’s (retweets) and followers and the number of times your blog is updated and soon,

SOON it’s all hot air. HOT AIR! We’re all a bunch of #balloonboy parents filling the sky with UFO’s

UGH!!!!!!!! What’s with that?!

PS: Please, feel free to retweet :)

Speaking up for America

walt_whitman

Walt Whitman

When I was 18 I joined Appalachian Volunteers – a subgroup of Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA) called forth by John F. Kennedy (“ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country”) and Lynden B. Johnson. As young people we were asked to step outside our comfort zones out into the paths of poverty and hopelessness.

The president talked to us. We were motivated. Inspired. As we were also inspired by the Civil Rights Movement. We donned jeans and went out there and got in the middle of things and helped. We were for democracy, peace, equal rights. We were overcoming war, racism, anti-intellectualism. Women stood up for their rights. We were a force to contend with.

Re-read John F. Kennedy’s amazing speech and think about it in relationship to the work President Obama tries to do. “Ask Not What Your Country Can Do For You speech: “Inaugural Address by John F. Kennedy – January 20th 1961″ http://www.famousquotes.me.uk/speeches/John_F_Kennedy/5.htm

Why do I remember this now?

Because we were inspired by that speech. The president spoke to us and told us how we could participate in this government. How we could make this government ours and could also move toward peace in the world. We didn’t fear that his was a call to socialism. Or a call that would threaten our civil liberties. It was a call that would enhance freedom and enhance everyone’s civil liberties.

Yet all of this was premeditated by Walt Whitman in ‘Song of Myself’ (http://www.princeton.edu/~batke/logr/log_026.html). He saw the self as the bearer of the two horns of democracy -” I” and “thou” (Martin Buber comes to mind). And Whitman merged them each to each in a great and heartening synthesis, “every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.”

In “Song of Myself” Whitman becomes an amazing amalgam discussing how we feed each other – how we are each other, how we are recycled into each other.

“Do you see O my brothers and sisters?
It is not chaos or death – it is form, union, plan – it is eternal
life – it is Happiness.”

The ‘other’ is ‘thou’ – as holy as the self – and sometimes not distinguishable from the self.

Yet there are now those who oppose fearing the loss of individual rights and fearing the of loss of identity. The world for them is an argument between “I” and “IT” (Martin Buber comes to mind again Buber’s “IT” being an unsecured ‘other’ ‘not me’ having nothing to do with me).

Whitman says:

“Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself,
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)”

We are a dialogue, a synthesis of each other. Voices today that are fearful, speak to individual rights as though individual rights are threatened by a social movement. These voices have no sense of belonging to America as I know it, of actual belonging to what America is.

Can I be a bit sweetly patriotic?

The New Colossus

The New Colossus

The New Colossus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
—Emma Lazarus, 1883

What Whitman teaches me with every read, what Martin Buber expresses with great wisdom, what the poem at the base of the statue of liberty proclaims: we are one. That we become one. That our differences are our strength. That we lift a hand that a hand should be lifted -

that is the America I know. Made up of the wretched and the poor, the homeless who have come together here to be more than circumstance. Our country is not some ‘ancient land of storied pomp.” Obama can speak/give to all children: the gift of union and hope. He is telling children to have hope. He places the future directly into their hands. He is not making them helpless. He is telling them they are strong and can control their future. He is telling them not be be afraid.

For those who are so filled with fear – as Whitman says – They may think in our silence we are not here. But we are here. [We]

“I bequeath myself to the dirt to grow from the grass I love,
If you want me again look for me under your boot-soles.

You will hardly know who I am or what I mean,
But I shall be good health to you nevertheless,
And filter and fibre your blood.

Failing to fetch me at first keep encouraged,
Missing me one place search another,
I stop somewhere waiting for you.”

We who are silent – we who breathe each other take strength from each other. We do not operate out of fear. We operate out of love. Let’s not be silent, though. Let’s talk it up. There’s more than one kind of American. And more than one kind of Patriot.

Also read: “Memo to the Tea-Baggers: God and Country Aren’t with You

Journalists & Human Rights

righst
Bloggers Unite for Human Rights is July 17, 2009 – and I chose to write about writers – journalists, specifically, who actually go, ‘boots on ground’, into the countries wherein human rights are exploited and crimes against human rights are committed.

We need to stand against countries who imprison journalists. If we don’t do that, we can’t guarantee freedom of speech and we can’t, therefore, act on human rights crimes. In my post #iranelection & the search for truth I discuss the world’s need for journalists who are unencumbered by corporate missions and personal safety, and who will go into countries at a time when there is no communication. That time is also ripe for human rights violations. If we are not to be manipulated by government sponsored information releases, we need to hear from journalists. They should be protected commodities – and their mission should not make them eligible for arrest.

I stumbled across the BloggersUnite website and thought what a great concept – we can raise our own awareness at the same time we raise public awareness regarding Human Rights issues.  You might check out Reporters without Borders to understand and, perhaps, to commit yourself to the place reporters play as guardians of human rights and freedom.

Why don’t we read from Darfur

Reading
Making Sense of Darfur

Thoughts on Iran

I’ve been thinking about Darfur and why our responses to the human devastation there are not as broad and tense as those we feel for the Iranians. I wondered about Darfur itself:  There must be no means of communication there. There is no technology there. There is only violence and poverty, rape and screaming. The sounds of guns. That is what is inside my head.

But I wondered if we could hear them even if they spoke to us. If they in Darfur could attempt to communicate with us as the Iranians are doing would we actually hear them?

In the back of my mind I began to hear echoes of a poem I read years ago. I could not remember from where -

knowledge of the oppressor? this is the oppressor’s language

yet I need it to talk to you

And thought of communication. What is it to speak to someone about your life lived in a place where there is crying, where your children conceived in rape are the children of your enemy, where the language you must use is not your own, is the language of ‘the oppressor.’

More lines come back to me:

3. People suffer highly in poverty and it takes dignity and intelligence to overcome this suffering. Some of the suffering are: a child did not had dinner last night: a child steal because he did not have money to buy it: to hear a mother say she do not have money to buy food for her children and to see a child without cloth it will make tears in your eyes.

I searched online for these words and found them via the blog: ‘and a head full of songs

and found Adrienne Rich’s poem, ‘The Burning of Paper Instead of Children’.

The poem is an amazing scape of communication ranging from the Nazi’s burning of books in Germany, to the image of Joan of Arc, to women in Bangladesh, to herself trying to speak to a man.

She says,

(the fracture of order
the repair of speech
to overcome this suffering)

Of the pain of not being able to speak with true understanding on either side – she responds with only pain. She says,

though the books tell everything

burn the texts said Artaud

*****

Can we ask people suffering in Darfur to use 140 exquisite characters to express a fate we dare not think about let alone can relate to? And do they know our language well enough to throw it back into our faces as the Iranians do?

Iranians know us very well. Think of the posed photos of people looking at the camera, directly at us with a bloodied palm raised into the air. Posed not because what has happened is a photographic trick but because the photographs were taken to be shared with us. See how the faces look at the camera, the bloody hand poised.  Note the warning before the picture is unveiled. If the warning comes from the iranians, ironic, if from ourselves, even more so

http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/2009/06/irans_disputed_election.html (photo #39)

The Iranians know us. Warning: photograph may be too graphic. They know we can’t tolerate violence. Don’t ‘like’ violence. But their history is violence.

When my husband and I visited Rome the 2nd time, we had an Iranian cab driver. I shared our personal story of 911 and he shrugged. You Americans, he said. You think your own suffering is all that matters. We have lived in suffering’s history. We are used to blood. You are not.

In Iran, I venture, they know us better than we know ourselves. But we still haven’t a clue about them. Other than their yearning for their votes to count.

Darfur? Fractured speech. We are the oppressors: the English speaking Americans whose western ways create tumult in their country. And they can’t find a way to talk to us. And even if they could – in their fractured language could we relate?

One person posted in caps reading through #iranelection: “if half of this is true, it’s awful.’ Another, ‘I need to go there, I wish I were there.’

Somehow the stories of Darfur do not ring the ‘liberty bell’ of the imagination. Cultural, social, poverty, skin color – all get in the way of our hearing. But also, we know if we could hear, what would be spoken would be beyond belief.

This is a beginning for me to grasp a sense of what’s happening and of my own reticence. I am the oppressor – my language will always be your barrier or your weapon.

Adrienne Rich concludes in her struggle within ‘The Burning of Paper Instead of Children’

The typewriter is overheated, my mouth is burning. I cannot touch you and this is the oppressor’s language.

That, for me is the difference in my imagination between my response to Iran and Darfur. Or, at least, the beginning of understanding.

Should public schools pay for private education?

Reading List:

Boost for disabled kids
Twenty-Five Years of Progress in Educating Children with Disabilities Through IDEA
New Supreme Court decision woefully fails to address burden of special education costs and services

I have heard people say IDEA is out of date. That it presents an undue burden on the local schools. That the bill needs to be reconsidered. My fear is we all – schools and community members without special needs children forget what IDEA which was originally Public Law 94-142 was all about. 1975 really isn’t that long ago but our memories are very short.

What did we discover after the passage of that law? Well, the law said schools needed to search their communities to find and identify, test and assess handicapped children. Handicapped children were discovered locked in the basements and closets of private homes, and chained in cells in institutions where they were hosed down – kept in the dark and out of the public eye because they were an embarrassment, a burden, and an unknown entity.

After the Landmark decision, the search revealed these hidden children who, when brought out into the light, were discovered to have abilities and to be teachable.  Some were actually of normal intelligence. Some could be taught to talk and walk, to eat, to work, when taught by folks who had appropriate backgrounds.

Handicapped children benefited from having social lives, and so did the ‘normal children’ who were learning that normal had a range much broader than once thought.

“Before the enactment of Public Law 94-142, the fate of many individuals with disabilities was likely to be dim. Too many individuals lived in state institutions for persons with mental retardation or mental illness. In 1967, for example, state institutions were homes for almost 200,000 persons with significant disabilities. Many of these restrictive settings provided only minimal food, clothing, and shelter. Too often, persons with disabilities, such as Allan, were merely accommodated rather than assessed, educated, and rehabilitated. (See side bar: Allan’s Story.)”

A similar finding:

Public Law 94-142 was a response to Congressional concern for two groups of children: the more than 1 million children with disabilities who were excluded entirely from the education system and the children with disabilities who had only limited access “to the education system and were therefore denied an appropriate education. This latter group comprised more than half of all children with disabilities who were living in the United States at that time. These issues of improved access became guiding principles for further advances in educating children with disabilities over the last quarter of the 20th Century. “

Without this protection children with disabilities go back into hiding, go back to leading non-lives, wherein their talents are erased, wherein sexual neutering takes place, wherein they are locked up, locked out, hosed down and unfed. Wherein they are not accessed and uneducated.

In 1975 the stories were appalling. But in 2009? Inexcusable. That handicapped children are still considered a burden on the system. Consider – the Oregon SCHOOL psychologist saw nothing wrong with the child in the Oregon case. But there was something wrong. What’s the problem, then, with the school psychologist? The school was happy to get rid of that child. A burden. Without Federal Law where would he go, what would become of him? And even with it – his parents had to place him in a special environment.

Let the schools come up with programs. Find teachers. Include the handicapped. It is outrageous that that Oregon family should have to send their child away to an ‘academy’ After all these years – have we spent the time figuring out how to avoid IDEA instead of figuring out how to implement it? Do we not feel handicapped children are actual members of society?

Take a look at the governor of Ohio’s spending cutbacks. How many of those cut backs are for Special Needs? Why are the special needs programs the first to be cut? Because special needs people often can’t speak for themselves. They have no advocate. This is why under IDEA or PL 94-142 – parents too are provided protection. Because they need to advocate, to be voices. If not they – who?

One indicator of a truly civilized society is how that society cares for its least able. IDEA is not the problem. It exists, however, because there is a problem. We still do not feel special needs children are part of the community.  And we refuse to design programs that 1) will include them and 2) after time become part of the mainstream of offerings.

IDEA doesn’t have to be a punishing law for communities. If, at some point, communities get the IDEA.

My life goes on while people in Iran are dying

Related posts
Why Iran?

This is a quick post. But I have to record my experience. I am online all the time posting to Twitter. And reading posts : ‘went book shopping today’,  ‘have convinced xxx to take me for Dairy Queen’,  ”Up’ made me cry, but this made me cry even more’,

In the meantime I poke my nose into #iranelection and see  ‘confirmed – IF I AM ARRESTED THE NATION IS TO STRIKE INDEFINITELY’, ‘I am prepared For martyrdom, go on strike if I am arrested’, ‘Neda, the girl murdered by Basij today, and now the voice of the new revolution, has become trending topic on Twitter. #iranelection’, ‘Hospital sources put dead in Tehran at 19. #IranElection #GR88′

and I am pulled in. I find myself RT’ing, making blog posts, replying to supposed Iranians. I am afraid for them and I want to help. Then i go back to my ‘Home’ Twitter page and I read  ‘Give us your presentation pitches for the ExpressionEngine Roadshow’,  ‘Spent a lovely day doing nothing important. Relaxing. You?’, ‘Everyone on the planet needs to go see Food Inc the movie this weekend.  Seriously.’

and I am lost. When I was 16 my infant brother died a crib death. I recall sitting inside my house thinking ‘ traffic as normal, and the sun is shining, it is not raining’ and I felt alone and as if I knew or understood nothing.

This is how I feel on Twitter today.


Learning the Twitter Rules of Engagement

hash tags: #iranelection #gr88 #tehran


Reading List:

A journalistic conundrum: When does Twitter count as a reliable source?

U.S. Government Asks Twitter to Stay Up for #IranElection Crisis

Twitter Reschedules Maintenance Around #IranElection Controversy

State Dept. to Twitter: Iran too important, site fix can wait

“Inane and Half-Baked” Twitter Is the Forrest Gump of International Relations

Iran Election for Beginners


If Twitter is being used for the first time to provide a tool for revolutionaries, it, as a tool, has unnamed dangers. Those dangers have to be learned in the process of Twitter being used. As the dangers surface so do the reactive rules.

But the first rule regards by-standers:

Messages, requests, cries for help fly across the Twitter page in massive numbers. Confused by-standers  in the process of witnessing through reading the history processing in front of their eyes find remaining a bystander difficult. People don’t want to be by-standers. They want to help,  want to participate, be part of what is happening. The media form is too raw, the voices too direct.


So the First Rule of Twitter Engagement has to be: if you have no idea what’s going on, stay out of it. As enticing as it is to want to help, you can put others in harm’s way which is  something many  are learning now and over the last four or five days.


Next I offer, here, a list of rules as they were expressed by different voices who I have not identified. As they exist they are the new Rules of Engagement in using Twitter for any revolutionary operation. I’ve taken these directly from the Twitter posts.

Again to all who wish to help, PLEASE DO NOT BROADCAST PROXY SERVERS! Set them up but only DM to people in Iran #IranElection

Jun 15, 2009 11:58 PM GMT ·

Don’t overload #iranelection with things not about iran as it is becoming hard to follow and share news inside Iran

Jun 15, 2009 11:54 PM GMT

Iranian government is watching Twitter; when RTing Iranians, replace username with “Iran” (“RT from Iran”). #IranElection Please RT

Jun 15, 2009 11:57 PM GMT

WARNING! Do NOT go to shortened links or RT unless you know the Twitter ID who originates #IranElection #gr88 #Tehran RT PLZ

Jun 16, 2009 11:40 PM GMT

BE AWARE! @FreeMediaNews is a liar and spreading governmental propaganda! #IranElection

Jun 16, 2009 11:58 PM GMT ·

Links of Twitter accounts that are possible spies or trolls: http://twitspam.org/?p=1403 Check out. #iranelection #gr88

12 minutes ago from web

These lessons of revealed names and addresses are obvious in retrospect but the use of the tool was so new that the realization that both censors and those who wished for a changed Iran could use the interface. Not only was Twitter being used as a means of getting information out – but as a way to track down the revolutionaries.


One of the more remarkable posters for me and one who caught my attention early on was @persiankiwi. @persiankiwi’s proxies were being broadcast in an attempt to keep lines open or to indicate which lines were shut down. Folks who wanted to help were providing available proxies in replies. But the government or the censors were blocking the IP’s as quickly as they were made available.

Here is one extended series of Tweets from @persiankiwi as this person (or persons) seemed to learn consequences of tweets as quickly as requests were being made. You should read from the last post up:

29. several arrests today after tracking thru twiter proxys – #Iranelectionabout 15 hours ago from web   

30. any proxy addss shown on twitter is possible trap – freedom twitters in Iran DO NOT follow – YOUR LOCATION IS VISIBLE – #Iranelectionabout 15 hours ago from web   

31. any proxy addss twittered is blocked almost immediately – #Iranelectionabout 15 hours ago from web   

32. sorry for delay – no ISP could be accessed for long time – are now in a different location for very short time with ++ access #Iranelectionabout 15 hours ago from web   

33. DO NOT RT any other tweeters posts unless u are 100% sure they are GENUINE – #Iranelection – cont……..about 16 hours ago from mobile web

34. RT all my posts as much as possble to help confuse censors – #Iranelection – cont………about 17 hours ago from mobile web

35. our lives are in real danger now – we are the eyes – they need to stop us – #Iranelection cont….about 17 hours ago from mobile web

36. pls everyone change your location on tweeter to IRAN inc timezone GMT+3.30 hrs – #Iranelection – cont….about 17 hours ago from mobile web

37. for all followers outside iran pls follow my next tweet – v\important – #Iranelectionabout 17 hours ago from mobile web

38. you will know them by looking at their past tweets – cont…. – #Iranelectionabout 18 hours ago from mobile web

39. i cannot name the reliable sources because we are now the main attention of censors – but .. cont…. #Iranelectionabout 18 hours ago from mobile web

40. ignore all instructions from new twitters or twitters with no history of accurate posts – cont…. #Iranelectionsabout 19 hours ago from mobile web

41. do NOT follow any instructions on twitter except from the trusted sources – cont…… #Iranelectionabout 19 hours ago from mobile web

42. IMPORTANT to all tweeters in iran – follow my next message carefuully – #Iranelectionabout 19 hours ago from mobile web

At one point @persiankiwi asked if the world outside Iran had any sense of what was going on. Little did @persiankiwi understand that at that time those posts were the posts folks were getting information from.

We are all learning how this tool can be used. And in whose hands. Clearly the tool can be crafted by and for both sides in any political endeavor. As for by-standers, go ahead and watch, read, wear green, talk to each other. But if you aren’t, as @persiankiwi says,

DO NOT RT any other tweeters posts unless u are 100% sure they are GENUINE

And that knowledge is hard to come by on Twitter.

#iranelection & the search for truth

1.
Not wide awake this morning, I sat down with my coffee, launched Twitter and was instantly hooked onto #iranelection which was trending. I hadn’t heard much about Iran’s election aftermath before going to bed so I followed the hatch. Powerful.
Into Iran real time, hearing the voices of people engaged in the actual revolution. Riveting, really. For me, I was reminded of the protests in the United States to bring down the Viet Nam war or the protests during the Civil Rights work in the 50’s and 60’s.
I found myself moved by the faces of young people determined to take hold of their futures. The familiar young faces of students who the old guard will often strike at first because they represent the intellectuals, the people who will ask questions and not be satisfied with answers based on past practices.
And in the middle of those #iranelection streams I heard voices asking if news services were covering the events, whether journalists were getting the stories for people outside  Iran to see. And, though, yes, the news services were starting to post bits and pieces, it was hours into the events of Iran before any news in the US actually acknowledged what was happening.
2.
Other disturbing comments were coming out of the trending #iranelection related to how we know that what we’re hearing is the truth? How do we know that this is a voice from an actual experiencer in Iran? How do we know that what is happening has actually happened? For quite some time early reports went unverified – that dormitories were overtaken, that people were actually marching.
Ruminating, I thought back to the American Iraq invasion. What happened to truth in Iraq when American reporters were engaged as embedded journalists? Reporters told us they were safer that way – and since the American press wasn’t asking any questions – they thought themselves safe from the ‘enemy.’ Little did they know that the U.S. was the enemy. But since security was the reporters’ and journalists’ concern, the actual story of Iraq took a long time to tell. To our detriment.
This morning, though, to break my train of thought, I was listening to and reading and following posted urls attached to #iranelections. In the middle of which I  read
we are accessing twitter from open proxies. they are closing them as fast as we can find them.
It appears Iranian protestors needed proxies to upload film and photographs and to keep the tweet paths open.
We, here on this side of the Twitter screen including those who doubted the reality of the posts as well as the protests, needed photographs and film. We needed to see the events unfold for ourselves. We needed to see the actual people behind the events.
Still, in Iraq, reporters were on the ground, embedded and safe. They sent home photographs and films. But the truth didn’t get out either.
3.
Has anyone seen ‘The Year of Living Dangerously.’ That movie was about the truth and how difficult it is to recognize the truth. Linda Hunt plays an androgynous photographer named Billy who navigates a young reporter through Indonesia. Just as Billy’s ambiguous sexuality is symbolic, so are vision, and love.  And so is the truth. Billy, wrongfully thinking Sukamo was a people’s hero discovers the pathetic truth. He dies.
The reporter Billy was navigating, later suffered a detached retina in his search. Exhausted and injured he rests in Billy’s room recalling Billy’s passage from Bhagavad Gita ,”all is clouded by desire”.
4.
The truth is not something that is (as in X-Files) ‘out there’. The question really is, is there truth and if there is are we capable of seeing or knowing it?  How often has truth turned out to be wishful thinking? ‘All is clouded by desire’. Back then in Iraq, didn’t many of us want Iraq to be the actual truth? Did we want Iraq to be the cause of our suffering?
Passage is truth. So is humility. But rather than restore the art of journalism to its jungle stomping, we have converted our journalists into corporate employees. And our first concern? That they be safe.
Journalists are truth soldiers, folks. It’s that simple. But the simplicity of it has been lost to business, marketing, and power. Our constitution did not want the government to tell journalists what to say. But what about corporations, can they?
What has the struggle been over the years of web development? The great browser wars, the Yahoo and Google and MS – those wars. What are and were they about? The control of information.  Not browser superiority but control over information. And control over truth. We have already seen Google back down to China.
And we want Google to serve the news?
5.
A brief other related thought. For some reason, while thinking about all of this ‘heady’ stuff, I recalled Yossarian’s question, ‘Where are the Snowden’s of yesteryear from Heller’s Catch 22. I couldn’t recall the Villon poem the line was a play on so did the Google thing and found this:
The expression itself is a clever pun on the phrase “Where are the snows of yesteryear?” from Francois Villon’s 1462 poem “Des Dames du Temps Jadis ” or “Ballade of the Ladies of Bygone Times.” Villon used the phrase repetitively throughout the four stanzas of his poem to emphasise the passing of time and beauty than once lost can never be regained. (http://everything2.com/title/Where%2520are%2520the%2520Snowdens%2520of%2520yesteryear%253F)
I recognized it represented a lost vision we had as a young country whose goals were so ideal. We had lost the way. We lost the sense of our humanity and the ways of knowledge. Yet, this morning in the middle of my #iranelection musings, I did hear truth. I could fathom the role of the journalist inside the turmoil, inside the yearnings for control over one’s own future. Inside the feeling that such a quest was something to witness. Inside the desire for a voice to the outside.
We need proxy, the Iranian said, who has proxy.
Proxy is a  tech term, yes. But it also means to speak in the absence of someone. To speak for someone. To give the disembodied a voice. That had reverberating meaning to me this morning. Because, in that light, I understood what journalism and truth were all about. The job of the news, the job of the journalist is to give voice to those who cannot speak for themselves. To record the struggle that, gone unreported, would go unrecorded.
That is the job of the soldier journalist who is empowered by the First amendment to the Constitution. And though his or her vision may be clouded, and though we may seek out simpler times, still the journalist must be a foot soldier in the fields of war. And should give voice to whom is out there. So we, in our clouded minds, can see them for the humans they are and hear thier voices.

Reading list:

Journalistic Narcissism
How the Iranian Elections Turned “CNN Fail” Into a Media Success

A journalistic conundrum: When does Twitter count as a reliable source?

1.

Not wide awake this morning, I sat down with my coffee, launched Twitter and was instantly hooked onto #iranelection which was trending. I hadn’t heard much about Iran’s election aftermath before going to bed so I followed the hash. Powerful.

Into Iran real time, hearing the voices of people engaged in the actual revolution. Riveting, really. For me, I was reminded of the protests in the United States to bring down the Viet Nam war or the protests during the Civil Rights work in the 50’s and 60’s.

I found myself moved by the faces of young people determined to take hold of their futures. The familiar young faces of students who the old guard will often strike at first because they represent the intellectuals, the people who will ask questions and not be satisfied with answers based on past practices.

And in the middle of those #iranelection streams I heard voices asking if news services were covering the events, whether journalists were getting the stories for people outside  Iran to see. And, though, yes, the news services were starting to post bits and pieces, it was hours into the events of Iran before any news in the US actually acknowledged what was happening.

2.

Other disturbing comments were coming out of the trending #iranelection related to how we know that what we’re hearing is the truth? How do we know that this is a voice from an actual experiencer in Iran? How do we know that what is happening has actually happened? For quite some time early reports went unverified – that dormitories were overtaken, that people were actually marching.

Ruminating, I thought back to the American Iraq invasion. What happened to truth in Iraq when American reporters were engaged as embedded journalists? Reporters told us they were safer that way – and since the American press wasn’t asking any questions – they thought themselves safe from the ‘enemy.’ Little did they know that the U.S. was the enemy. But since security was the reporters’ and journalists’ concern, the actual story of Iraq took a long time to tell. To our detriment.

This morning, though, to break my train of thought, I was listening to and reading and following posted urls attached to #iranelections. In the middle of which I  read

we are accessing twitter from open proxies. they are closing them as fast as we can find them.

It appears Iranian protestors needed proxies to upload film and photographs and to keep the tweet paths open.

We, here on this side of the Twitter screen including those who doubted the reality of the posts as well as the protests, needed photographs and film. We needed to see the events unfold for ourselves. We needed to see the actual people behind the events.

Still, in Iraq, reporters were on the ground, embedded and safe. They sent home photographs and films. But the truth didn’t get out either.

3.

Has anyone seen ‘The Year of Living Dangerously.’ That movie was about the truth and how difficult it is to recognize the truth. Linda Hunt plays an androgynous photographer named Billy who navigates a young reporter through Indonesia. Just as Billy’s ambiguous sexuality is symbolic, so are vision, and love.  And so is the truth. Billy, wrongfully thinking Sukamo was a people’s hero discovers the pathetic truth. He dies.

The reporter Billy was navigating, later suffered a detached retina in his search. Exhausted and injured he rests in Billy’s room recalling Billy’s passage from Bhagavad Gita ,”all is clouded by desire”.

4.

The truth is not something that is (as in X-Files) ‘out there’. The question really is, is there truth and if there is are we capable of seeing or knowing it?  How often has truth turned out to be wishful thinking? ‘All is clouded by desire’. Back then in Iraq, didn’t many of us want Iraq to be the actual truth? Didn’t we want Iraq to be the cause of our suffering?

Passage is truth. So is humility. But rather than restore the art of journalism to its jungle stomping, we have converted our journalists into corporate employees. And our first concern? That they be safe.

Journalists are truth soldiers, folks. It’s that simple. But the simplicity of it has been lost to business, marketing, and power. Our constitution did not want the government to tell journalists what to say. But what about corporations, can they?

What has the struggle been over the years of web development? The great browser wars, the Yahoo and Google and MS – those wars. What are and were they about? The control of information.  Not browser superiority but control over information. And control over truth. We have already seen Google back down to China.

And we want Google to serve the news?

5.

A brief other related thought. For some reason, while thinking about all of this ‘heady’ stuff, I recalled Yossarian’s question, ‘Where are the Snowden’s of yesteryear from Heller’s Catch 22. I couldn’t recall the Villon poem the line was a play on so did the Google thing and found this:

The expression itself is a clever pun on the phrase “Where are the snows of yesteryear?” from Francois Villon’s 1462 poem “Des Dames du Temps Jadis ” or “Ballade of the Ladies of Bygone Times.” Villon used the phrase repetitively throughout the four stanzas of his poem to emphasise the passing of time and beauty than once lost can never be regained.

I recognized it represented a lost vision we had as a young country whose goals were so ideal. We had lost the way. We lost the sense of our humanity and the ways of knowledge. Yet, this morning in the middle of my #iranelection musings, I did hear truth. I could fathom the role of the journalist inside the turmoil, inside the yearnings for control over one’s own future. Inside the feeling that such a quest was something to witness. Inside the desire for a voice to the outside.

We need proxy, the Iranian said, who has proxy.

Proxy is a  tech term, yes. But it also means to speak in the absence of someone. To speak for someone. To give the disembodied a voice. That had reverberating meaning to me this morning. Because, in that light, I understood what journalism and truth were all about. The job of the news, the job of the journalist is to give voice to those who cannot speak for themselves. To record the struggle that, gone unreported, would go unrecorded.

That is the job of the soldier journalist who is empowered by the First amendment to the Constitution. And though his or her vision may be clouded, and though we may seek out simpler times, still the journalist must be a foot soldier in the fields of war. And should give voice to whom is out there. So we, in our clouded minds, can see them for the humans they are and hear their voices.

Journalism & Technology

A continuing ramble but paging through the web yesterday and found this little nutshell. Don’t know what to do with it other than make a note.

Q: What were changes in journalism in the 20th century fueled by?

A: Changes in journalism in the 20th cent. were fueled by technological advances: the teletypewriter (1904); long-range radio reception (1913); television (1930s-40s); communications satellite (1960s) transmission of data, voice, and video

http://qanda.encyclopedia.com/question/were-changes-journalism-20th-century-fueled-91323.html


Form, of course is an open door and inspires the content in these cases. Same as Build it and they will come. To what extent, however, does the technology change the nature of the information we receive?