I must be honest, I don't usually follow the news much. I have my reasons. First of all, I've seen the way the Middle East (among other topics) is typically portrayed in western media, and I've seen for myself that many such portrayals tend to be exaggerated and/or biased.
Secondly, I find that the news tends to be terribly impersonal and without feeling. I care too much about people for that. When a disaster happens, such as a city being bombed or destroyed by some natural phenomenon, the first thing I want to know is what are the survivors really going through? How many children now don't have homes? or parents? What about the widower who will now drink his coffee alone every morning? How are the now-single mothers going to take care of their children? I once heard someone say that one death is a tragedy, a million deaths is a statistic. I don't think that way, and I hope I never do. I care about the individual tragedies, whether one or one million. So whenever I do watch any news, I add my own feelings by asking myself questions.
In today's news, I happened to hear about an Iranian actress, Marzieh Vafamehr, who was recently sentenced to a year in prison and 90 lashes for appearing in a film (My Tehran For Sale) about government censorship in Iran. The following is my chain of questions:
Where is Marzieh right now?
What is she thinking? Is she afraid?
Did she have any idea what the consequences of this film might be?
Was it worth it?
What if that was me?
Would I survive 90 lashes?
What would 90 lashes do to my body?
Does she have a family?
I wish I could hug her and tell her 'well done!'
I wish to God I could help her.
But the news report I read didn't ask or answer any of these questions. Why not? How might people think differently if they were given the full story each time they watched the news? What might happen if we all started to ask our own questions about what the media feeds us?
Thank you Marzieh. I hope your suffering is not in vain.