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This week one of my friends asked what I thought about the selectivity of the mainstream media in reporting news. My friend also asked whether I have a plan on writing something on this critical matter. And so, based on this friendly provocation, I decided to write not just a single response to my friend, but rather, to extend the bridge of my alphabet and write to all of you. Here is what I have to say about the matter: if catchy writing about who the mainstream media have decided to vilify is the only thing that counts as “newsworthy”, then I will rebel against this worn out style of reporting and the intentions behind it. I have nothing “newsworthy” to report to you this week. I will not write about “hot news topics” as we know them. I have learned that our understanding of what is really “newsworthy” is a misunderstanding. This week I choose to capture many other life-changing, eye-opening, brain-turning, and heart-wrenching moments that are much more newsworthy than what the mainstream media all over the world care to capture for us. I want to take a serious break from politics and politicians, from hate speeches and violence everywhere.
I want to take a break from all actions, inactions, and empty rhetoric never intended to bring joy to our sad and broken hearts and souls. I want to console you and myself in these dark times we are going through. I want to extract some meaning from many precious moments that go unreported. Those moments that easily fall through the cracks of forgetfulness and go unnoticed, but are worthy of our attention because they ultimately constitute our lives. I want to reflect on and entangle myself with events and people, other living creatures, and deep things that are either hidden or too visible to be noticed, but they do make this world more beautiful and more tolerable every minute. They are moments that regenerate hope in our lives and give us the reason to repair the broken pieces of our ships and keep sailing into the unknown. I want to also capture some moments like those we experience on some deafeningly quiet moonlit nights in which no sounds, no echoes, and no human consolations can be heard or felt for countless people who work, live, and suffer away from the eyes of the puppets and barking dogs of the mainstream media.
This week I want to put my hands lovingly on the shoulders of all those who are mourning the loss of a dear friend, a family member, or a pet who once filled their lives and homes with joy. I want to silently look in the eyes of all those caught up in situations, places, and unfulfilling lives from which they still have no courage to walk away. I want to give a friendly hug to all those standing at a train station on a dreadful rainy day waiting for the “right” love to come by. I want to embrace all those who have learned late in life that they were taught everything except the arts of loving, living, giving, and objecting the oppressors. I want to sit down and have a conversation with you about the real secret we weren’t told about the vicious and self-destructive game of “winning”, but we forget that, as Bob Marley puts it, “the day you stop racing, is the day you win the race,” because the game is nothing but a trap, a distraction from what really matters.
I want to have a cup of tea with all those whose eyes are fixated on leaving to the next place without realizing that all the beloved persons, places, and things left burning behind are waiting to confront them at the next destination. I want to visit those who are in hospitals, and who do not know how much time they have left on this earth. I want to share time and listen to the stories of the countless cashiers, doctors and other medical workers called late at night to run to patients in critical conditions, bar tenders, restaurant waiters, receptionists, mail men and women, front desk workers, public transportation drivers, construction workers, flight attendants, customer service representatives, artists, musicians, the homeless people whose dreams have been shattered against the rock of reality, and many other precious people whose smiles always bring so much joy to our hearts every time we encounter them. These are the people who make our world meaningful, but whose voices and stories we rarely hear, except when some of them commit mistakes or small petty crimes that get caught by the big white-collar criminals who control media and have the power and money to impose on us what is “newsworthy”.
Yes, my friends, I don’t want to write about any usual “newsworthy” stuff this week. You might think I am losing my mind, but no, I have learned that all these people are more newsworthy than we have been told all along. Do you know why? Because these people are us. I am all of these people. You are all of these people. But the media seldom represents our worthiness fairly in the news. The media may only decide we are newsworthy when using us as bait stories to go to wars, to put the show of a fake democracy as part of the big lie called “voting” and “electing” the next liar to commit more crimes in our names, by killing more innocent people in the next selected “evil” country in the world. This week, I want us to take a break. No, in fact, I want us to break away from all types of media that either tell us we are enemies or simply report to us absurd and trivial news similar to what the English writer Gilbert Chesterton sharply captured, commenting on journalism, when he said: “Journalism largely consists of saying ‘Lord Jones is Dead’ to people who never knew that Lord Jones was alive.” Let us seek after all media that tell us that we are alive and capable of loving and healing each other.
Oh my friends, I am writing about you and me because we are all newsworthy and everything else of which all media try to otherwise force feed us is not newsworthy. So, after all this, do you still ask me what is newsworthy? Anything and everything that will genuinely increases our awareness of why we are on our at once beautiful and broken planet is newsworthy. Every news article that reminds us that we must love each other more and more is newsworthy. Every single line that reminds us that our only enemies are those trying to convince us that we should hate each other is newsworthy. Every painful story about the hidden people suffering in darkness, people disguised and buried by media-intentionally or unintentionally- is newsworthy.
I am writing to you this week because I am painfully aware of how sad and discouraged many of us are feeling with so many confusing things happening in every corner around the world. I know the feeling well from my Iraqi past marked with so much love, joy and laughers, but equally with countless images of wars, blood, rubble, shattered glass, and burned walls from which a “survivor” never really heals. I am writing to you from the heart of destruction where I have learned to adapt and write despite everything and against all odds. I am writing to share what I have learned about how our existence on this planet is like a an encounter between a chest and life’s sharp knife of awareness pushed one inch deeper into our fleshes every day. Let us not forget this. Don’t let the politicians bought and sold in the political markets, the chosen “analysts”, the assigned “experts”, the co-opted writers on the Empire’s payroll tell you what is newsworthy. Don’t listen to all those who are more interested in fame, in standing on the podiums of arrogance and sitting to dine at the tables of triviality tell you what is newsworthy.
More importantly, in times like these, we need to remember the powerful words of the Swedish poet, Tomas Tranströmer, who noted that “the language marches in step with the executioners. Therefore we must get a new language.” This is precisely why the mainstream media’s language has failed us, it has not been telling us what we really need to know, because their language marches in step with that of the bankers, warmongers, oppressors, and executioners. We need a new language of radical love not radical hate. And so, for now, this is the most newsworthy thing I have to report to you this week: if love hasn’t alleviated our pain yet, it is because we have failed to love each other adequately. Loving each other is the only breaking news worth reporting this week! Therefore, let us stay focused to be really worthy of our struggles and lives.