So I just applied to be a summer intern at The Seattle Times.
Here come the nerves and (misplaced) paranoid feelings that everything I sent is rife with typos.
Can you imagine A Day Without News?
One year ago, legendary correspondent Marie Colvin and photojournalist Remi Ochlik were killed in Homs, Syria. Evidence from eye witnesses suggests that the journalists were targeted by the Syrian regime in an attempt to limit exposure of the war’s atrocities. Their deaths struck an industry still reeling from a string of tragic losses, including the deaths of photojournalists Chris Hondros and Tim Hetherington in Misrata, Libya, in April 2011.
“It is unacceptable that those looking to report objectively from conflict zones around the world are deliberately singled out, targeted and murdered with impunity, with those responsible for their deaths not facing any repercussions. Without these journalists bearing witness, atrocities committed in war would go unremarked and it is an equal cruelty that their deaths go without justice. This is a situation that has to change. We are heading towards a day when it will be too dangerous for journalists to enter into or report from war zones.” - Aidan Sullivan, Vice President, Photo Assignments, Editorial Partnerships and Development for Getty Images and founder of A Day Without News?
A Day Without News?, launching today, will raise awareness of the risks faced by journalists and photojournalists in war zones, and lobby governments and tribunals to pursue and prosecute those who harm members of the news media. Many media professionals find themselves deliberately targeted when attempting to cover conflicts, and, while it is considered a war crime to do so, there has been little to no enforcement of this international humanitarianlaw. Over the past decade, 945 photojournalists and correspondents have been killed while covering conflict zones, 583 of these without any resulting prosecutions as war crimes. Ninety journalists were killed in 2012 alone, the deadliest year on record.
Please visit A Day Without News? to learn more and to add your name in support.
The people who risked life and limb to tell you about the stories you care about. Learn more about them—along with the risks involved.
I will always admire conflict reporters for the very reason above. While they are chasing stories, which I am sure has some adrenaline-fueled excitement attached to it, they do not know if they will be ever going home. All for the sake of truth.
Friday, July 20th, 2012
Mohammad Hossein Nikzad, a close personal friend and a senior student of political science just called me a few hours ago, worriedly talking about the dire situation of the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar and the atrocities the Buddhist Rakhines are committing in the East Asian nation.
He called my attention to the mainstream media’s flagrant inattention to the heartrending genocide of the Muslims in Myanmar, saying that they are only a few second-rate news websites and some of the Iranian news agencies which have given coverage to the course of events.
And unfortunately, he was right. My searching for factual reports and articles regarding the massacre of Muslims in Myanmar by the extremist Buddhists yielded no significant results. I only found some pictorial reports of the burning of Myanmarese children published by Iranian news websites, an article by Ramzy Baroud which was republished in some Asian newspapers and an editorial by Dr. Ismail Salami on Press TV. Neither Reuters, nor New York Times, nor Washington Post, nor Fox News nor their comrades and cronies in France, Germany, Britain, Australia and Canada had uttered a single word regarding the painful days the Muslims of Myanmar are experiencing.
Rohingyas are a Muslim people living in the Arakan region. As of 2012, 800,000 Rohingyas live in Myanmar. The United Nations says that they are one of the most persecuted minorities of the world. As a result of systematic discrimination they have endured over the past years, many of them have migrated to Bangladesh and Malaysia and currently 300,000 Rohingya Muslims live in Bangladesh and 24,000 in Malaysia.
The persecution of the Rohingya Muslims dates back to the early World War II when the Japanese forces invaded Burma which was then under the British colonial rule. It’s said that on March 28, 1942, about 5,000 Muslims were massacred in Minbya and Mrohaung Townships by the Rakhine nationalists. According to Amnesty International, the Rohingya Muslims have long suffered from human rights violations and as a result, scores of them immigrated to neighboring Bangladesh for better living conditions.
One instance of discrimination against the Muslims of Rohingya is that they are denied the right of citizenship by the government. Many of them have escaped to Bangladesh and as many as 111,000 of them live in the Thai-Myanmar border.
According to the website of Arakan Rohingya National Organization (ARNO), Rohingya Muslims require government permission to marry, are forbidden from having more than two children per family and are subjected to modern-day slavery through forced labor. Because the national government denies them the right to citizenship in their homeland, many Rohingyas have their land confiscated and they are restricted from travel.
The Human Rights Watch considers the denial of the right of citizenship the most important problem the Muslims of Rohingya face. The government of Myanmar considers the Rohingyas to be “resident foreigners.” This lack of full citizenship rights means that the Rohingya are subject to other abuses, including restrictions on their freedom of movement, discriminatory limitations on access to education, and arbitrary confiscation of property.
Some independent sources have told the Human Rights Watch that the government authorities continue to require Rohingya Muslims to perform forced labor. According to HRW, those who refuse or complain are physically threatened, sometimes with death, and children as young as seven years old have been seen on forced labor teams.
But what brought to light the deplorable situation of the Rohingya Muslims once again was the “2012 Rakhine State riots” which led to the killing of 10 Rohingya Muslims who were murdered by a Rakhine mob of 300 while on their way back from the country’s former capital Rangoon. It said that three Rohingya youths raped and killed a Rakhine woman and as the government sentenced two of them to death, a self-directed group of extremist Rakhine nationalists attacked a bus of Rohingya Muslims and killed ten of them. According to a group of UK-based NGOs, 650 Rohingya Muslims were killed from June 10 to 28, 1,200 went missing and more than 80,000 others were displaced as a result of rioting, arson and rape.
As reported by Associated Press, 1,336 homes belonging to the Rohingya Muslims were burnt during the unrest. However, The Platform, a UK-based human rights organization puts the number at 6,000. The Burmese army and police were accused of playing a leading role in targeting the Rohingyas through mass arrests and arbitrary violence.
Due to a media blackout in Myanmar and the lack of direct access by the independent journalists to the region, it’s impossible to verify the number of those who have been killed or the homes which were destroyed in the recent riots; however, what is clear is that the Rohingya Muslims are undergoing intolerable hardships and should be paid due attention by the international community.
In the recent weeks, the Burmese opposition leader and 1991 Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi made the headlines when it was announced that she finally delivered her Nobel acceptance speech at Oslo’s City Hall two decades after being awarded the prize and almost two years after being released from house arrest. Suu Kyi, however, unpardonably ignored the plight of the Rohingya Muslims and never spoke a word about the hardships and injustices that have befallen them.
In a blatant act of censorship, the Western mainstream media have also stayed away from the massacre of Rohingya Muslims, showing their strong anti-Muslim bias and their duplicitous attitude toward the concept of human rights.
The Rohingya Muslims of Myanmar are living under extremely appalling circumstances. The dictatorial government of Myanmar has deliberately neglected their ordeal and the international community is overlooking their suffering. Is it in compliance with our human values to remain indifferent and apathetic to this unspeakable tragedy? The Western mass media are run by a number of Islamophobes associated with the Israeli lobby. Isn’t it our duty to stand up and protest their indifference to the suffering of Myanmar Muslims?
Copyright © 2012 Veterans Today. All Rights Reserved.
[Image: An ethnic Rohingya, from Myanmar and living in Malaysia, cries during a rally to stop the killings and violence toward the Muslim Rohingyas in Myanmar, near the Myanmar’s embassy in Kuala Lumpur June 15, 2012. (© Bazuki Muhammad/Reuters, via bazuki.com)]
Well, this is incredibly upsetting. By “this” I am not only referring to the obvious human rights violations, but to the lack of Western reporting about the topic. It is infuriating to me that Western media is labelled as “anti-Muslim” and it is infuriating because I believe that label is entirely true. How can journalism programs advocate an un-biased press when media people turn blind eyes to atrocities like this?
One of the best things about being a journalist is receiving (positive) feedback from those you have written about.
For my story about a local roller derby league, which can be found here, the two women I wrote about were just so grateful and gracious (especially with the flood of e-mails I was sending them). Hearing that they liked my coverage of their sport, something that is a very key part of their lives, was just amazing.
On top of that, one of the editors I wrote for this past quarter offered to let me freelance for her paper. So that is pretty damn cool.
Things are going well.
I have been working on my roller derby story for several days now.
Why can’t I finish it? Gah.
In other news, roller derby is really interesting and I am stoked to go see a scrimmage in Bellevue on Tuesday.
The writing might stress me the hell out, but talking to interesting people really makes up for all that.
It has been one of those days. I pretty much bombed my German 302 exam. I really should have taken 301. (In happier news: I have finally declared German as my minor!)
Thankfully, B. came over to make dinner and mope with me. We ended up making enchiladas and kale chips. It was delicious.
After he took off, I managed to file my tax return with the help of Dasha. I feel like an adult and I have mixed feelings about it.
Two hours later and I have finally finished editing over 100 pictures I took at the Naramore show at the SAM. Blah. Now to caption them for my slideshow…
I am now realizing I have about a thousand other things I need to be doing. To remind myself/have a written reminder of my procrastination, here goes:
I am putting my multi-tasking skills to the test.
Today did not have the best of starts. It was just more of my freaking out about not doing well in my classes and feeling as if I had not prepared enough for my Law midterm.
I skipped out on German just for today in order to squeeze in a bit more studying, but I still went to my New Writing class. It turned out to be particularly interesting because we talked about editorials, columns, and reviews/criticism, which are all topics I find much more interesting than the same day-to-day reporting. So that was nice.
Then came time for Law. I did a bit more studying before the class started, which I feel freaked me out unnecessarily. The rest of my study group seemed like they were also very nervous for the exam. I did not really know whether to be comforted or even more worried. The exam went out and the multiple choice questions went well, but I had to BS a couple of the short answer questions. I felt I did a better than decent job on the case studies, so that was reassuring.
To reward myself for not having a nervous breakdown mid-exam, I went to Starbucks and had yogurt and iced mint tea. I also started working on my second article and I think it is going fairly well thus far. I need to interview a couple more sources, but that should not be too difficult (I hope).
While I was working on my article, B. called me and said that he wanted to make lentil soup together. So he met up with me at Starbucks and we headed back to my place. We ended up making some delicious soyrizo lentil soup (which I now have a ton of in the fridge) and had a nice talk about everything from school-related stress and our families to holiday plans and Arabic.
It is always nice to see him during the week. Having him over for dinner definitely made my day much better.
Guess who is sick again! -_______-
Today was one of those Mondays on which you are already desperately pining for the weekend. I have my first German exam and case briefing paper for Mass Media Law both on/due Thursday, which is fantastic.
However, I plan to end this on a more pleasant note, so here are two nice things:
Can it be Thursday now?
I will get the big news out of the way first: I am officially a journalism major! I received my acceptance e-mail yesterday afternoon. I wish it was a physical letter, but hey, I will take what I can get. I cannot quite explain how excited I am. The past couple of months I have been seriously questioning what I want to do here in Seattle. This acceptance into my department—I can actually say my department now—was honestly the self-confidence renewal I needed.
Aside from this, life is still going well.
A few friends and I will be signing our lease sometime this week for our townhouse for next year. I am so stoked to not be living on campus next year. Having an actual house means having a kitchen to cook in! Though it does not sound like it, being able to cook my own food was a huge contributor in finally convincing my mother to let me move out from the dorms. I will have my own room (thank goodness), live with close friends, have a ten minute walk to campus, and a five minute walk to Trader Joe’s. Excited is a bit of an understatement.
In other news, the weather in Seattle is finally warming up. The sun has been out pretty much all week, condoning spring cardigan-wearing again. The funny part of sunny days here is that people do not take it for granted. Coming from southern California where the sun is ever-present, a blue sky day is not really a big deal. Here though, when the sun comes out, the quad is filled with students playing Frisbee, picnicking, and laying out to enjoy the moment of sunlight.
Seattle spring is absolutely gorgeous—the nickname of “Emerald City” is no misnomer. I will have to post some pictures at some point.
That is all, really. I am content.