Copyright © 2017 by Leslye Joy Allen
(The following blog is something to think about in the aftermath of the recent U. S. presidential election.)
Today I spoke with a graduate student named Wardah. She is originally from Karachi, Pakistan. In the course of our conversation, I told her one of my favorite professors is originally from Lahore, Pakistan. As I mentioned his activism, she soon mentioned the string of terrorist attacks that have recently rattled Pakistan. She said, “You know, when I am home, I’m not afraid of these attacks. But when I am a long way from home and I hear about these attacks, I become extremely worried and afraid.” She was young and energetic and polite, and it rubbed me the wrong way that I missed this news about Pakistan. As our conversation ended, I wished her good luck with her studies and she wished me good luck with finishing my dissertation. I frequently read online foreign newspapers, but this subject slipped passed me.
I bring up my conversation with her so that you—whoever you are—can think about whether you heard anything about these attacks in Pakistan on any American news outlets. Did these attacks appear in the news feeds that run at the bottom of your television screens? And if you did see these news stories, how much did the stories resonate with you? You do not need to answer these questions. This is not a test or some trick. I do, however, offer a suggestion.
So many people are either upset about our current president or glad our current president is in the White House or spend much of their time venting about what he will or will not do, that they do not bother to look anywhere else or at anything else. Like a record player’s needle stuck in a damaged part of a long-playing record album, they repeat the same fears over and over again. Are we being told the truth? Occasionally, we are told the truth. Yet, the truth is, the world does not begin and end at the White House; it never has. This unfortunate preoccupation with “fake news” (which too many people are willing to accept as fact) must not make us blind to the fact that there is “alternative news.” What is my definition of “alternative news”? Alternative news is simply news from other sources, typically foreign sources, that discuss other matters happening in the rest of the world, but also news outlets that discuss events that happen in the United States that our stateside news sources conveniently and routinely ignore. It is news that affects us ALL whether we see our connections to the rest of the world’s peoples or not.
It is quite easy to rant about a man that many of us believe will do serious harm to human rights, democracy, and the U. S. Constitution. Yet, if you have been paying attention you should know that he is not going to change any more than a leopard can change its spots. Worried? Worry is certain. Yet, the business of living and being productive citizens requires that we invest in ourselves and our progeny, and in other people in other parts of the world, not in a man who probably does not care about any of this or any of them. Protest and work—yes. Paralysis and fear—no.
So, since the new occupant of our White House has described U. S. media as being irreparably biased against the new occupant of the White House, why not do yourself a favor and read some other news sources outside of the United States. If you have not done so (or, if you do not do it on a regular basis), this might be the time to start. Reuters, The Guardian, Al Jazeera, The Africa Report, and The Independent are just a few non-U. S. news sources that you might want to read. ALL of them have something to say about the current state of affairs in the United States and the events happening all around the world. You will find information you can really use; you will find opinions and analyses that might open your eyes to some other possibilities for resolving problems; and you are certain to discover that you have allies all around the world that you never knew you had. Àṣé!
Copyright © 2017 by Leslye Joy Allen. All Rights Reserved.
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