Pastor Terry Jones is still a familiar name for most of the Pakistanis as well as many Muslims around the world who are avid consumers of local media. Jones is a pastor of a nondenominational Christian Church in Florida who gained world attention in 2010 when he announced to burn Quran. He subsequently did it in 2011, 2012 and 2014 despite repeated appeals and warnings by U.S. political and military elites that his action might generate violent reaction in Muslim countries.
We all need validation.
People want to talk and be talked to. They want to be listened to, they want to love, and be loved, cherish and be cherished but, most often than not, they’re scared – scared of rejection, scared of looking weak or exposing their vulnerabilities. That’s the conclusion of a little social experiment I’ve undertaken with seemingly super-busy, robotic New Yorkers in the course of my fellowship year.
Given the importance of beaches to tourism and by extension our economy and prosperity as a nation, you would expect Jamaica to be very protective of its coastline. This couldn’t be further than the truth. A few years ago, I shot an amateur PSA on the south coast of Jamaica about protecting our beaches and just the sheer amount of garbage physically on our coastline was astounding.
In the United States, there are people who are born and raised here or have been here enough long time to acquire permanent residence or citizenship. These are assumed to have “natural” right to live in the U.S. and have many privileges in comparison with non-citizens or temporary residents, such as the “aliens”. The citizens or permanent residents can easily acquire jobs even if their skills are not as competitive as those who just landed in the U.S. and their the difference is applicable in medical insurance case as well. The trademark of graduating from a university in the U.S. is such a big thing, that sometimes it feels like the degree from GWU can break any doors easily regardless of the actual capacity and experience of the potential employee, which shows, at least for me, the fallacy of the system. The system that has been based upon pure capitalist understanding of who has power, s/he has the money or vice versa.
The main objective of the media, either secular or religious, is to inform and educate people. Besides performing this basic task while religious media connects people of same faith with each other and faith leaders with their followers, the secular media usually serves people of different or no faith.
As the religious media usually serves a certain community its coverage is not usually as diverse as of secular media. It sees issues with certain angle aligned with its ideology and thus lacks different points of view. It also usually avoids the issues being considered contentious by its consumers and doesn’t challenge clergy even when it is needed.
I have lived all my life in Pakistan which is not only a predominantly Muslim country but also a highly religious society. Though there are many traditional religious schools of thought being followed by Muslims in Pakistan (and elsewhere in the world) most of them are based on same principles and share same beliefs. So I never faced any difficulty in talking about my religious views publicly as these were aligned with those of the majority of population and people living around me.
Recently, one of my inspiring fellow fellows shared an exciting article on Facebook, and it spurred all sorts of thoughts in my head.
The title could not have been more fascinating: it was about the ways people can live on their own terms. From the title, you would probably expect the article to begin with “Stand for what you believe in”, or “Never give up”. Yet, it was harder. So hard that I felt discouraged after reading the first recommendation. It began with a modest and deceitfully easy “Stop consuming caffeine”.
Devex Global Development Career Forum was held in Washington, DC on March 24, 2017. Those of us who had over 7 years of experience related to International Development and were quick enough to register (the spots filled quickly) headed to a secret central location at 1 p.m. The exact venue was announced to the confirmed participants few days in advance.
Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center was buzzing. This was definitely THE international development career fair of the year! Overwrought crowds of seasoned experts flew from exhibitors hall on the left to the one on the right of the central hall where the registration took place. And there I was, in the middle of the traffic and full of questions. What should I tell at the stands? Where shall I begin?
As a journalist I have always asked myself how I will keep my objectivity intact while writing a story which goes against my beliefs and faith. And I have no shame in admitting that this question has always left me numb and in distress. It’s not an easy task to admit that you’re wrong. But it’s much harder to accept that the people you idolize might be wrong, too.
Though I have been a journalist for almost a decade I have somehow avoided a situation so far where I have to write a story which drastically hits my faith and religion. Should it be the case I know it must have been hard for me as being a devoted Muslim.
“My experience with the Jamaican education system as a Deaf Jamaican has not been a good one,” notes Shana-Kay Goodman. She is an outspoken colleague of mine. We work alongside each other as part of a youth core of over 20 youth advocates known as Y-KLICK, an initiative sponsored by Respect Jamaica and UNICEF.
Through Y-KLICK, the 21-year-old from Old Harbour, St Catherine advocates on behalf of Deaf Jamaicans across the country. Part of the challenge she personally strives to overcome as a Deaf Jamaican are issues with the education system and its inability to meet the growing needs of the Jamaicans within the deaf community.