". . . But the past does not exist independently from the present. Indeed, the past is only past because there is a present, just as I can point to something over there only because I am here. But nothing is inherently over there or here. In that sense, the past has no content. The past -- or more accurately, pastness -- is a position. Thus, in no way can we identify the past as past." p. 15

". . . But we may want to keep in mind that deeds and words are not as distinguishable as often we presume. History does not belong only to its narrators, professional or amateur. While some of us debate what history is or was, others take it into their own hands." p. 153

Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History (1995) by Michel-Rolph Trouillot

Monday, June 15, 2009

Iran's Electoral Protests

So far most of the information on Iranian election protests has come from the corporate media. Recall, they have an agenda. They lie. Not every time. But so much of the time.

Here's a different take. This is a non-professional, Greek American living in California. I am not saying she's right. But I am saying that I've heard what she says from others who are far closer to the Iranian ground than she is. And certainly closer to it than I am.

One of the reasons I've tended to be a bit, at least, skeptical about the reportage from the NY Times and the London Times is because of this story in today's NY Times, and others like it -- "A World of Risk for a New Brand of Journalist."

Look at this blatancy of advocacy for the way of life, of doing things, by the old, corporate media, a trashing of new media under the pretext of reporting on the young investigative journalists tried, convicted and imprisoned by North Korea -- not least, this is in the section titled Media and Advertising, not even World News:

[ At a big news outlet or a wire service, “they have resources that they can call upon to come to the aid” of journalists, said Robert Mahoney, the deputy director of the Committee to Protect Journalists.
For example, he said, “they have access to the airwaves that is not to be underestimated.” When Alan Johnston, a reporter for the BBC, was kidnapped in Gaza in 2007, the network held rallies, organized petitions, arranged for a simulcast on competing networks, and placed advertisements in newspapers to put pressure on his captors and call for his release. He was released after nearly four months in custody.

Major outlets are also able to call on their existing diplomatic and military contacts for help.

“All that is fairly easy when you have a big organization standing behind you,” Mr. Mahoney said. “You have a huge treasure of resources behind you.”

Conversely, smaller outlets may not have as much support. The Committee to Protect Journalists found that in 2008, at least 56 of the 125 jailed journalists worked for online outlets and that 45 of the total were freelancers.“These freelancers are not employees of media companies and often do not have the legal resources or political connections that might help them gain their freedom,” the committee reported.

To this we say two words: Daniel Pearl. He had not only the the big corporate 'news' interests on his side, he had a variety of intelligence organizations too, including that of Pakistan and India, and the U.S.A.

However, the NY Times story concluded with this:

[ News distributors are known to come to the aid of freelancers, as they did this year when Roxana Saberi was charged with espionage in Iran. The BBC, ABC, Fox News and National Public Radio released a joint statement and worked behind the scenes to secure her release. She was freed last month. Through a spokeswoman, she declined to comment, but she has said in interviews that she wants Ms. Ling and Ms. Lee to know that “you are not alone.”]

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