Sunday, December 30, 2012

Looking Out To See Within : 2013

First published:

The News Tribe
Harlem World NYC 
News Trust Baltimore
Help Others.Org

There are simple ways to bring positive into our world, a world strife with negativity. Such things do not cost you money and barely any time. You can accomplish any of these actions face to face, using technology, in your community and most importantly, with your family, your children and yourself.  


"A sympathetic consciousness of others' distress
 together with a desire to alleviate it."

Every human being experiences distress.  Some in extreme states, others, a lesser extent. Distress can range from a change in daily routine to an immense, irreplaceable loss. Regardless of the state of distress, every human being is created with the tools to alleviate distress. When helping another individual, one's own stress diminishes. Joy is produced from choosing to give. When we choose to give, we practice compassion.


"Recognition of the existence or truth of something. An expression of appreciation. A thing done or given in gratitude." 

When asked for help, if able to contribute, then do so.  Help can range from listening intently to another then acknowledging that you are there and you understand.  If you are unable to help according to what is asked of you, explain why. Offer alternatives that suit the situation. No one enjoys being ignored. 

A simple response indicates to another that you care.
  • Thank you 
  • Please
  • Be well
  • Take care
  • I understand
  • I am here
  • You are not alone 


"Something done or performed. An act that one consciously wills. Habitual or usual acts. Energetic activity."  

If you are able to take action, then do so. Think of every single person that took time to listen, respond, do a kind deed for you, send you a card, made a phone call or simply said, "Thanks."  Ask yourself:  Do you take some sort of positive action daily? If not, why?


"The state or quality of being kind. A kind act and behavior. A friendly feeling, liking."  

When did we, the human race, start vehemently attacking and hating one another for being human? Sure, history teaches us that dissent among humans has always occurred, yet today, I view a complete lack of morals, ethics and manners. How do we stop this cycle of negativity? Actions of every single individual is the responsibility and choice of that individual. Placing blame on anyone but yourself for your own actions is simply a form of denial. Think of how you are able to be kind. Right now, to you reading, I thank you for doing so. That is a form of kindness. It took 3 seconds to type that. I mean it too.


"A union or fellowship arising from common interests or responsibilities. A community of feelings and purpose."  

Why is it that we, people, show solidarity only during holidays and tragedy? Why don't we come together as people more often to support one another in the face of adversity? One need not fully agree with one's choice of politics, faith, or lifestyle. Solidarity is taking responsibility for your fellow human being, as well as yourself,  in a quest to better a situation. Every single one of us has seen the face of darkness. Every single one of us has seen the face of light. How nice it is to have at least one hand reach out in support.

As we leave 2012 behind, along with a dramatic decrease of people in all societies caring for the well being of another, attempt looking outward in order to see within. All of us together, regardless of what our governments are doing, regardless of what our faith demands or does not demand, regardless of the way you were brought up, instructed to think or not think, regardless of any external factors that have molded you, this adult reading this right now; practice compassion : the sympathetic consciousness of others' distress with a desire to alleviate it.

We are not perfect. We are not supposed to be. Why then are we trying to be? 



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Definitions cited:  Merriam-Webster and 
All photos are linked to original source. 

For Anonymous

Written by Nilanjana Roy 

That girl, the one without the name. The one just like us. The one whose battered body stood for all the anonymous women in this country whose rapes and deaths are a footnote in the left-hand column of the newspaper.

Sometimes, when we talk about the history of women in India, we speak in shorthand. The Mathura rape case. The Vishaka guidelines. The Bhanwari Devi case, the Suryanelli affair, the Soni Sori allegations, the business at Kunan Pushpora. Each of these, the names of women and places, mapping a geography of pain; unspeakable damage inflicted on women’s bodies, on the map of India, where you can, if you want, create a constantly updating map of violence against women.

For some, amnesia becomes a way of self-defence: there is only so much darkness you can swallow. They turn away from all the places that have become shorthand for violence beyond measure, preferring not to know about Kashmir or the outrages in Chattisgarh, choosing to forget the Bombay New Year assault, trying not to remember the deaths of a Pallavi Purkayastha, a Thangjam Manorama, Surekha and Priyanka Bhotmange, the mass rapes that marked the riots in Gujarat. 

Even for those who stay in touch, it isn’t possible for your empathy to keep abreast with the scale of male violence against women in India: who can follow all of the one-paragraph, three-line cases? The three-year-old raped before she can speak, the teenager assaulted by an uncle, the 65-year-old raped as closure to a property dispute, the slum householder raped and violently assaulted on her way to the bathroom. After a while, even memory hardens.

And then you reach a tipping point, and there’s that girl. For some reason, and I don’t really know why, she got through to us. Our words shrivelled in the face of what she’d been subjected to by the six men travelling on that bus, who spent an hour torturing and raping her, savagely beating up her male friend. Horrific, brutal, savage—these tired words point to a loss of language, and none of them express how deeply we identified with her.

She had not asked to become a symbol or a martyr, or a cause; she had intended to lead a normal life, practicing medicine, watching movies, going out with friends. She had not asked to be brave, to be the girl who was so courageous, the woman whose injuries symbolised the violence so many women across the country know so intimately. She had asked for one thing, after she was admitted to Safdarjung Hospital: “I want to live,” she had said to her mother.

We may have not noticed the reports that came in from Calcutta in February, of a woman abandoned on Howrah Bridge, so badly injured after a rape that involved, once again, the use of iron rods, that the police thought she had been run over by a car. 

We may have skimmed the story of the  16-year-old Dalit girl in Dabra, assaulted for three hours by eight men, who spoke up after her father committed suicide from the shame he had been made to feel by the village. Or some may have done something concrete about these things, changed laws, worked on gender violence, keeping their feelings out of it, trying to be objective. But there is always one that gets through the armour that we build around ourselves. 

In 1972, the first year in which the NCRB recorded rape cases, there were 2,487 rapes reported across India. One of them involved a teenager called Mathura, raped by policemen; we remember her, we remember the history and the laws she changed. (She would be 56 now.)

Some cases stop being cases. Sometimes, an atrocity bites so deep that we have no armour against it, and that was what happened with the 23-year-old physiotherapy student, the one who left a cinema hall and boarded the wrong bus, whose intestines were so badly damaged that the injuries listed on the FIR report made hardened doctors, and then the capital city, cry for her pain.

She died early this morning, in a Singapore hospital where she and her family had been dispatched by the government for what the papers called political, not compassionate, reasons.

The grief hit harder than I’d expected. And I had two thoughts, as across Delhi, I heard some of the finest and toughest men I know break down in their grief, as some of the calmest and strongest women I know called and SMSed to say that she—one of us, this girl who had once had a future and a life of her own to lead—was gone, that it was over.

The first was: enough. Let there be an end to this epidemic of violence, this culture where if we can’t kill off our girls before they are born, we ensure that they live these lives of constant fear. Like many women in India, I rely on a layer of privilege, a network of friends, paranoid security measures and a huge dose of amnesia just to get around the city, just to travel in this country. So many more women have neither the privilege, nor the luxury of amnesia, and this week, perhaps we all stood up to say, “Enough”, no matter how incoherently or angrily we said it.

The second was even simpler. I did not know the name of the girl in the bus, through these last few days. She had a name of her own–it was not Amanat, Damini or Nirbhaya, names the media gratuitously gave her, as though after the rape, she had been issued a new identity. I don’t need to know her name now, especially if her family doesn’t want to share their lives and their grief with us. I think of all the other anonymous women whose stories don’t make it to the front pages, when I think of this woman; I think of the courage that is forced on them, the way their lives are warped in a different direction from the one they had meant to take. 

Don’t tell me her name; I don’t need to know it, to cry for her.

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Saturday, October 27, 2012

An artist, holistic care and New York

I am asking you to help me give back.

Amy Zukoff is a licensed medical massage therapist [as well as Thai Massage] who came back to Buffalo, after living in Europe for several years, to practice and give back to the city. She bought a home in Elmwood Village and it doubles as an art studio. The atmosphere is simply out of this world. Every time I visit there, I am taking pictures of her artwork.

Amy is by far, one of the biggest supporters I have come across in a long time who truly cares about health while keeping finances and small business in the city, as well as art. She may have chosen to stay in another city or nation, yet she came back to Buffalo.

Amy designed the studio herself. I adore it here. Below is her contact info.

Connection Studio:

Amy helped me immensely [and continues to] after a debilitating car accident in May 2012 where I were horribly rear ended. It was devastating. Another car was stuck beneath my SUV. I am most grateful to her.

Get a hold of Amy as a client, to cover her as media and to connect on Facebook and Twitter to simply say hello. You will be seeing a lot of press soon, as well as a new website.

Stay Healthy.



Sunday, October 21, 2012

Rustling the Leaves: Talking Leaves [Poetry]

Randy Rumley, [Raiders of Niagara] along with Talking Leaves independent bookstore since 1971, in conjunction with Just Buffalo Literary Center presented "Rustling the Leaves" with Ken Feltges, Susan Marie and Mark Fulk.

Below is live audio of poetry readings, an excellent article by Max Crillen and a photo stream.

"Rustling the Leaves"

1) Mark Fulk
  click here or direct download right click here

2) Sue Marie
click here or direct download right click here

3) Ken Feltges
  click here or direct download right click here

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Thank you, as always, for supporting the arts. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

US Presidential Elections 2012: To Vote or Not To Vote?

 First Published:

“Nothing strengthens authority so much as silence.” – Leonardo da Vinci

We have heard the speeches, read the articles and sat by the television as numerous candidates, including the current President, promised the American people, as well as the world, better days ahead.

This is nothing new.

In America, a Presidential election is held every four years. Why are the 2012 elections any different than the rest?

There are diverse opinions of why “this” candidate is better, or "that" viewpoint is not suitable, however, I ask you, dear reader:

  • Do you know anything about who you are voting for?
  • Are you aware of what they stand for, not just one issue but all issues?
  • Do you research the history of each candidate enough to know that your solitary vote is responsible for alleviating or causing continued economic downfall and suffering?


Are you even going to vote? 


"Vote for Them" written and performed by International Slam Poet, Carlos Andrés Gómez @CarlosAGLive. Produced by Semicolon Productions @SemiColonProd


Here’s the deal:


Willard “Mitt” Romney: Republican Party

Promises, if elected: [See Mother Jones for Full Length Fund Raiser Video]

1. To form a committee to overturn Roe v. Wade, a groundbreaking decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1973 that ruled unconstitutional a state law that banned abortions except to save the life of the mother.

This promise by Romney means taking away rights [based on the 9th and 14th amendments to the U.S. Constitution], eradicating law in place, giving women no choice over their own bodies, thus regressing the rights of American society back to and before 1972.

“I’d like to see Roe v. Wade overturned and allow the states and the elected representatives of the people, and the people themselves, have the ability to put in place pro-life legislation.” – Mitt Romney, Republican Presidential Debate, New Hampshire

2. To fix the federal deficit, as well as a solution to health care, dismantle Obamacare [Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010] then to increase the age of future Social Security benefits past the age of 65. Romney also supports a state to state mandated health care system that forces people to buy insurance. Mitt also wants to give seniors a “voucher” for Medicare.

This means that once one [under the age of 55 and not currently retired] has worked their entire lives and paid taxes into Medicare [and other benefits] they must keep working until they fall down dead, are ill, or until a set age is decided upon.

“There’s no change for anyone who is retired or nearing retirement. It’s only dealing with people in their 30s, 20s, 40s, and early 50s. That’s the group we’re dealing with and saying what’s the best deal for them? It strikes me the best deal for them is to either buy current Medicare or to have a private plan.” – Romney on Meet the Press

3. To hike military spending in the name of National Security [a mechanism designed to protect the nation and its interests from an internal or foreign political, military and/or economic threat.] This is a 4% increase of the country’s GDP [Gross Domestic Product] that also includes a government mandated increase in active duty military work force by ten thousand.

Mitt Romney, former adviser to President George W. Bush, pro Afghanistan, openly advocates to keep Guantanamo open, pro Iraq, favors increased military spending, funding and occupation, pro death penalty, pro life, anti-LGBT [Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender] rights; this surely is a man who speaks of separation of church and state, rational good will, peace and equality for all American citizens, as well as citizens of the world.

You decide.

Barack Obama: Democratic Party 

Promises, if elected:

1. To reform the tax code so that it’s simple, to have the wealthiest households pay higher taxes on incomes over $250,000 [the rate Bill Clinton utilized when President] the same rate that created almost 23 million new jobs.

2. No new tax breaks for the wealthy.

3. That middle class families never give up their deductions for owning a home or raising children to pay for a millionaire’s tax cut.

4. To refuse to ask students to pay more for college, to never kick children out of Head Start programs.

5. To never eliminate health insurance for millions of Americans who are poor, elderly, or disabled. To never turn Medicare into a voucher. That no American should ever have to spend their golden years at the mercy of insurance companies. That retirement is with care and dignity that has been earned. To reform and strengthen Medicare by reducing the cost of health care, by not by asking seniors to pay thousands of dollars more. To keep the promise of Social Security by taking the responsible steps to strengthen it, not turn it over to Wall Street.

“America, I never said this journey would be easy, and I won’t promise that now . . . Only you have the power to move us forward.’ – Barack Obama, 2012 Democratic National Convention Acceptance Speech

The first U.S. President to openly advocate same sex marriage and civil unions, pro choice, pro LGBT rights, a civil rights lawyer, and helped regenerate the UAW [United Auto Workers.] With the help of VP, Joe Biden, ended Iraq [with a promise to end Afghanistan.] Obama has yet to speak directly about Guantanamo, however, in the very least, we know what we are in for. We survived the last 4 years, the next must be about changing America, in that, bettering this world in the process.

You decide.

Jill Stein: Green Party

 Promises, if elected:

1. The “New Green Deal” to address global warming and financial crisis where renewable energy jobs would be created by employing “every American willing and able to work.” This deal is to be funded by a 30% reduction in the U.S. military budget, returning all US troops home, as well as ending presence of American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. The secondary financial support for this deal is to eliminate “waste” in the health care system. This is supposed to create 25 million new jobs.

2. To legalize the use of marijuana for adults, regulating then taxing marijuana, then lifting restrictions on hemp products. Stein attended HempFest 2012, a pro hemp, pro marijuana rally.

Jill stated: “Poor people are being thrown into prison for the recreational use of a substance that is not dangerous, and that is a crime.”

3. To create sustainable building materials through recycled energy. To increase bike and pedestrian traffic and implement regional food systems based on organic agriculture.

At age 62, Ms. Stein, a physician on leave from her practice, was quoted by the NY Times, stating: “I’m now practicing political medicine because politics is the mother of all illnesses.”

During the Green Party Campaign launch October 2011, she stated at a press conference: “We are all realizing that we, the people, have to take charge because the political parties that are serving the top 1 percent are not going to solve the problems that the rest of us face.”

In August 2012, Stein and her running mate, anti-poverty protester, Honkala, were arrested during a sit in at a bank protesting house foreclosures. Google TV later attempted to block Stein’s campaign messages from airing in September 2012 because the ads included obscenity and foul language, yet eventually ran them because they complied with FCC [Federal Communications Commission] regulations.

Lastly, Stein stated in Grist Magazine: “If you put us [Americans] all together, we have the potential for a Tahrir Square type event, and [to] turn the White House into a Green House in November.”

You decide.

If you do not know about the candidates or you do not plan to vote, PLEASE take the time to research. 

Simple formats to find out what candidate resonates with you can be found on 2012 Presidential Candidates.Org and the websites.

It is what it is, and if you do not have a viable, rational solution for the betterment of America; then it is up to you to make an informed decision based upon the choices before you.

You must decide.

“I’ll tip my hat to the new constitution – take a bow for the new revolution – smile and grin at the change all around me – pick up my guitar and play – just like yesterday – and I’ll get on my knees and pray . . . we don’t get fooled again.” – The Who “Won’t Get Fooled Again” [1971]

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Love is the Answer: Youth and Social Change

Published On:

Forest Call celebrated its one-year anniversary by honoring the work of our youth. Neil, a teen intern with Service Space, interviewed 17 year old Ian Watt. A filmmaker who founded, “Love is the Answer" on Forest Call.

"Love is the Answer" is a web based platform developed by kids in order to direct their creative talents towards a movement. Several goals include: celebrating creativity, building a community of passionate problem solvers, and to reshape the ways that people can actively become involved in change.

The motto of “Love is the Answer” is basic:
“ ______ is the problem. love is the answer. Your creativity. Your movement. Let us be your voice."

Ian, along with a friend, spent time with K.I. Nepal, an NGO involved in anti-human trafficking where they rescue girls at border stations  between Nepal and India. K.I. Nepal invests in the rescued girls, in the same manner Ian's parents invested in him.  This experience proved to be the crux of "Love is the Answer":

"This whole idea of the "loveistheanswer" movement is to come here [Nepal] and to really plug in."

Ian recalls his moment of inspiration that transpired into a continuous journey:

"We were sitting in the new Delhi airport in India and we were just thinking about the model that organizations use and it was really just brainstorming about ways to get involved besides using our finances. I thought, the whole reason I am going to Nepal is to shoot a film so what if I use film? We broadened the idea eventually to all creative talents."

Once at K.I.Nepal, Ian learned how a border station operates:

"We went to one border station and we got out of the car, I was filming, walked down to the actual border, saw border guards and the people just crowding through and if anyone's ever been to India or Nepal, there is really no traffic pattern. There are no toll booths or no real security checks. The traffic just pours through like a funnel so it's almost impossible to intercept girls that are potentially being trafficked."

In detail, Ian describes his first experience at a border station:

"I went to the K.I.Nepal border station, and what they do is have counselors who stand at the border station and seek out girls who are suspects for being trafficked. They are authorized by the local police force to interrogate these people. The counselors were once trafficked. They have been so empowered by K.I.Nepal that they come back to serve. These girls know exactly what to look for because they have been through it."
What transpired next was an emotionally charged, life changing event for Ian:

"This 12 -year-old girl was rescued that morning and to look at a 12-year-old girl, I have a sister who is 12 and to see someone that age, it just didn't make sense to me to see someone that young be trapped in such a system of evil. It was really heartbreaking. She came in the truck with us and sat right next to me and we went to the safe house and dropped her off and there is a community of girls living in this safe house who are learning skills and building relationships with each other. Just to see them welcome this girl with open arms, it just brought tears to my eyes.

We came back three days later, and this 12-year-old girl who had just before been broken, had been totally crushed, not a hint of a smile, her eyes were just glazed over fear; I saw the most amazing transformation. This girl was given such hope from the community and the safe house that she was beaming! She was singing and dancing with the other girls. I was speechless."

After his return from Nepal, Ian was that much more driven to serve. When asked about his upbringing, Ian makes it abundantly clear that he understands not only his role, but the roles of others:

"I am privileged to have grown up in a really strong and centered family. Our lives are here to serve others, it's not to get as much as we can out of life. I think it's important to understand, our purpose is not to gain things for ourselves, but to serve others. I would just like to thank my parents, they have always been an inspiration to me."

Ian's school sponsored a contest that he won that propelled him to continue to use film to help people realize the true purpose of their lives. Ian does not seek to be the “best director” or to be “famous” rather to inspire others to create. 

Furthermore, Ian's school made his vision a greater possibility by allowing him to finish his education online in order to continue traveling to bring more awareness through collaboration for a greater cause.

A direct result can be seen in Ian's advice for kids who do not have the same privilege or exposure:

"To the people who think they don't have the potential or think they don't have the capacity to serve others, you totally can, it's less of finding the money or finding the opportunity, it's more of what's going on inside, where's your heart? Everyone is here for a reason and there is a certain calling we all have to use our lives to serve others to make our world a better place for the next generation."

Ian recognizes the need for technology, yet drives home an essential message of utilizing that same technology for positive actions:

"We should be the change instead of technology, technology is a tool that we should use. A lot of the advancements that we have made as a society has been under detrimental purposes. The same technology used to prevent human trafficking is being used to support human trafficking."

On the "Love is the Answer" website, there are new artists constantly signing on. People can submit their art or movement for cultivation or sponsorship.

In September 2012, Ian's new film is being released based upon his experience of “plugging in” to street artists that created wall murals to highlight causes.

To find people in the world, who are interested in becoming involved in the world, is the mission of "Love is the Answer." 

In the words of one 17-year-old artist: 

"Is this life about me or is it about us? As a global community, we are responsible for each other." - Ian Watt

Ian's experience in Nepal is documented on Northern Lights titled, “loveistheanswer” a short documentary created by diverse young artists collaborating with one another. You can also follow him on Twitter: lveistheanswr.  Here's a film that speaks about their journey and work:

Friday, August 17, 2012

History and Plight of the Rohingyas: Restless Beings


Mabrur Ahmed
Co-Director & Co-Founder ~ RestlessBeings


We ask you to continue to work alongside us on this issue to get the news out to the mass public and media.

History of the Rohingyas from Restless Beings.Org

The Rohingyas are one of the most persecuted communities in the world. Although, they have been living in the state of Arakan since the 8th century (which is now part of Burma), the Rohingyas have been under extreme scrutiny by the Burmese government. They haven't been recognised as citizens of The Union of Burma since Burmese independence in 1948, instead they are known as 'non citizens'.

The Burmese Junta have discriminated the Rohingya because:
  • They are not similar in looks
  • Speak a different language 
  • Have a different religion. 

As a means of clamping down on the Rohingya, the Junta have restricted even the most basic of rights such as education, marriage and citizenship.

The Burmese government endorse the Burmese culture and the Buddhist faith for their national citizens; the Rohingyas fall outside of this ideal criteria because they want to retain their own culture and the Muslim faith. As a result, the Rohingyas, sidelined and marginalised, have to live with their derogatory national status of 'non-citizens'.
Between 1978 and 1992, approximately 200,000 Rohingyas left Burma to escape the tyranny of the Burmese military. Most of them moved to southern Bangladesh where they remain as refugees. In one of the most densely populated countries in the world, life in Bangladesh proved just as hard as it did in Burma.

In Bangladesh, the Rohingyas are faced with hardly any protection from their host country. A burden to the densely populated country, the Rohingyas are denied humanitarian aid which forces them to turn to other means of income such as drug trafficking.

There is one registered camp situated meters away from the registered camp where 90,000 refugees live. Another camp 15 miles away, in Leda Bazaar where approximately 25,000 Rohingya live, is where Restless Beings focus has been.

In 1962, the Rohingyas were systematically denied of political, civil, economic and social human rights. Today, the Rohingyas in Burma cannot commute from one village to another due to the security forces known as 'Nasaka' who patrol their movement at various checkpoints. This affects their education and access to medication.

Rohingyas are denied citizenship despite living in Arakan for centuries because Muslims are portrayed as 'relics of a colonial past'. This stems from the fact that Muslims supported the British during the colonial period because they were promised autonomy in Rakhine previously known as Arakan.

Rohingyas have been subject to the systematic use of rape as a weapon of war, forced labour, and land confiscation. Over 3,500 villages have been destroyed since 1996.

Similar to the Rohingyas living in Burma, the Rohingya refugees are limited in their movement and subject to exploitation. In refugee camps, the Rohingya women are victims of sexual violence, children are denied education and there is limited access to health and medical aid.

The hostile environment for Rohingyas in Bangladesh urges the refugees in Bangladesh and Burma to seek help in other parts of Asia such as Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia; however, these parts are not usually welcoming.

Reports have been flooding in this afternoon of a new wave of attacks on Rohingya this afternoon leaving hundreds homeless and looking for shelter on foot during torrential monsoon rains whilst others were left dead. The recent clashes have been reported from 4 villages near Rauthedoung were as many as 12 have been killed with 1,000 Rohingya displaced as well as in 3 villages south of Maungdaw where 3 people have been killed this Thursday, August 16, 2012.

In the minutes leading up to sunset as many Rohingya were preparing to open their fasts (Ramadhan) hundreds of Rakhine activists armed with sticks, batons and other weaponry forced their way into Rohingya houses in three adjacent villages. As the villagers attempted to fight back against the Rakhine who had violated their homes, Lun Htin and Nasaka (Burmese armed forces and paramilitary) opened live rounds of fire on the villagers.

Three men and one woman have been shot dead whilst many others have been injured. In total the three entire villages are being evacuated with the Rohingya unsure of where they are to move to next. Whilst one of the sources was describing the events , shooting and wailing could be heard in the background.

In a separate incident, but most likely part of this new wave of violence, four villages near Rathedoung were attacked late last night, Wednesday, leaving more than 12 dead and over 1,000 Rohingya displaced. Similar to incidents in Maungdaw today, Rakhine had attacked the villages and were backed up by Burmese armed forces and paramilitary servicemen.

The forces pushed the Rohingya villages from their homes, across the river and now the camp of 1,000 are moving north through mountainous terrains and during monsoon season looking for shelter. 12 people have been confirmed dead - 8 were shot dead and 4 more have lost their lives battling against the elements whilst being shelter less.

As international media have recently been reporting from the region and as an aid deal has been agreed by the President with OIC, this is seen as the final, brutal wave against the Rohingya during the recent clashes. It is feared that this move will be drawn out over many days surely, many more lives will be lost.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Social Media vs Journalism

First published:


Prompted by a question asked to me by Kashif Ahmad on twitter

I responded with:

The term “Journalism” is a well defined term. Due to “social media” everyone thinks they are a journalist.

Journalism is [Merriam-Webster] : Writing characterized by a direct presentation of facts or description of events without an attempt at interpretation.

Journalism is a diverse field with varying degrees of reporting such as: journalism by field [medical, business, political, education, art], and journalism by genre [broadcast, photo, combat, investigative, citizen, documentary.]

Social media is [Merriam-Webster] : forms of electronic communication through which users create online communities to share information, ideas, personal messages, and other content.

Examples of social media are: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Flickr, YouTube, Blogger, Vimeo, and WordPress.

Journalism and social media are clearly two different matters of concern.

Social Media can be utilized to propel journalism via technology through public relations and networking.  Due to technology, information is able to reach the world in seconds, including all of the people one is connected to, as well as all of the people that share ones information and whom they are connected to.

For example, if I were sent trusted, educational, newsworthy information; my network is designed to reach every online network in mere seconds. That is employing social media in regards to public relations and networking. That is not journalism.

Social Media involves utilizing technology to reach an audience in order to make any information public.  Social Media is what most of us use everyday.

Journalism is reporting, writing, and broadcasting information that is informative and factual to the public for a specific purpose.

The difference between the two depends solely on the information that is being shared. Is it educational, researched, factual, informative and necessary for the public to know about? Or is it a picture of you at your cousins birthday party?

While there is nothing wrong with either forms of utilizing social media, there is a distinct line between referring to oneself as a “social journalist” simply due to accessing and being published by the means of social media.

In order to be “journalistic”, writing in a blog, having an article accepted by a newspaper and sharing information online must be comparable to research, speaking to people involved [recording, broadcasting, writing] and reading about a single subject matter in order to educate the public in an objective fashion, as well as yourself.

There is nothing in this article that is my opinion. It is researched fact, informative and educational. That is a form of journalism.

Anything faltering from the above is simply expression or opinion.