Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Glass half full

As if the Iraqis didn't have enough trouble already, UN health officials report that a 15-yr old Iraqi girl died of bird flu. Iraq shares a border with the strangely appropriately named Turkey, which already has an outbreak of the disease. For crying out loud, what next? These Iraqis deserve a break.

A break from the western media would do them good, too. Despite the bleak picture of the Iraqi situation being painted by the Western press, Iraqis remain optimistic about their future. In a poll conducted by the BBC, 65% of Iraqi respondents believe their personal life is getting better, and 56% are optimistic about their economy. (In Afghanistan, it's 70% and 57%.) This reminds me of our very own Mindanao situation when the Manila media portray the place as the wild, wild west with shootouts and bombs going off everywhere, and Muslim Filipinos as violence prone, hair-triggered bandits. I've been to Zamboanga city, Pagadian, Malangas, Zamboanga del Sur, and other places there, and I've met Muslims and worked with them. They're just like the rest of us. Manila is just as 'dangerous' as Zamboanga city. Granted, in some isolated barangays, weird, violent stuff happen. But they happen in isolated barangays in Christian Luzon, too. I'm just afraid that because media portray Muslim Filipinos as hardly civilized barbarians, this reinforces some of them to behave this way; as swaggering siga-siga. "Hey, that FPJ movie portrays Muslims like that. Maybe that's how we ought to behave." Television especially is a powerful force in telling people how they should behave, how they should look, how they should speak, in order to reinforce a certain self-image. So you've got models on 'coolness' or 'bitchiness' as the case may be, and take that as a model on how you yourself should behave based on your own image of yourself. Media's excuse is that they just mirror life the way they see it. This is of course bunk. Their mirror is filtered by marketing consultants; by what sells. They're not mirroring; they're suggesting; they're dictating. And the people are buying it. Scary.
[A friend of mine called my attention to my recent posts and noticed that Ive been ranting a lot. I read back and, yes, I do sound like a very angry and very bad stand-up comic. Which just means I've practically broken almost all New Year's resolutions I made, and it isnt even February yet. Aside from the rants, I resolved not to begin a sentence with 'Ok', 'Well', 'Heck', 'Actually', or 'Basically.' I'm pretty sure Ive done that several times. Except for 'Basically'. Well, heck, ok? Basically Im just doing the best I can. Who follows resolutions anyway?]

1 comment:

grifter said...

yeah. you have two projects to see through. stop ranting. you'll live longer to complete those projects.