Hold It All

Month: October, 2008

Journalists (Monitoring Power)

Thought of the day from journalist Robert Fisk from his The Great War for Civilisation:

“I suppose, in the end, we journalists try–or should try–to be the first impartial witnesses to history. If we have any reason for our existence, the least must be our ability to report history as it happens, so that no one can say: ‘We didn’t know–no one told us.’ Amira Hass, the brilliant Israeli journalist on Haaretz newspaper whose reports on the occupied Palestinian territories have outshone anything written by non-Israeli reporters, discussed this with me more than two years ago. I was insisting that we have a vocation to write the first pages of history but she interrupted me. ‘No, Robert, you’re wrong,’ she said. ‘Our job is to monitor the centers of power.’ And I think, in the end, that is the best definition of journalism I have heard: to challenge authority–all authority–especially so when governments and politicians take us to war, when they have decided that they will kill and others will die.”

I Don’t Expect Obama Will Be Quoting This Any Time Soon

“Somehow this madness must cease. We must stop now. I speak as a child of God and brother to the suffering poor of Vietnam. I speak for those whose land is being laid waste, whose homes are being destroyed, whose culture is being subverted. I speak for the poor in America who are paying the double price of smashed hopes at home and death and corruption in Vietnam. I speak as a citizen of the world, for the world as it stands aghast at the path we have taken. I speak as an American to the leaders of my own nation. The great initiative in this war is ours. The initiative to stop it must be ours.”

–Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Vietnamese dead

[Another man approached me with the two children of his brother, killed by U.S. gunfire, by his side.] “This little boy and girl, their father was shot by the Americans. Who will take care of this family? Who will watch over these children? Who will feed them now? Who? Why did they kill my brother? What is the reason? Nobody told me. He was a truck driver. What is his crime? Why did they shoot him? They shot him with 150 bullets! Did they kill him just because they wanted to shoot a man? That’s it? This is the reason? Why didn’t anyone talk to me and tell me why they have killed my brother? Is killing people a normal thing now, happening every day? This is our future? This is the future that the United States promised Iraq?”

–Dahr Jamail, Beyond the Green Zone: Dispatches from an Unembedded Journalist in Occupied Iraq