Articles & Publications

The Influence of the Media

By: Hajar Al Khouzaii

January 21, 2014

Media and the influence of the current era is a huge concern in our society today.  Nowadays, our communities and societies are based on the ideologies of our governments. The government has control over specific messages it wants to send to the population through various techniques it uses to get their messages across. Therefore, stereotypes have increased by having some individuals in society look at specific groups and judge them based on their ethnicity, religion and faith. However, the new emerging generation and specifically youth such the youth of Bahrain, Yemen, Libya, Tunisia, and others, are opening their eyes to the truth and are calling for a revolution. However there is rarely any support by the western media or there is none at all specifically in the area of Bahrain.

Media has spread everywhere and is aimed at sending messages across the nation. Whether it is magazines, television, radio, newspapers, or the Internet, individuals have access to an excessive amount of information from un-trustable resources, which contain many biases as well. Some are falls and I’ll give you some examples… Bahraini channels are not showing the real images that other television stations are showing. At the beginning of the revolution in Bahrain, a Bahraini channel showed a Bahraini politician who said that some Arab channels are lying and are showing false images and that there is nothing going on in Bahrain and that the Saudi Arabian military came in slowly and the protestors left the place slowly and no one got hurt. However, individuals are becoming aware of the control of information emerging from such resources. People like you and I and every individual who has made a revolution is sending on a message that they are fed up with these lies that are made by the American system which is also supported by the media that is supposed to be showing and passing on our messages as individuals in society. Thus emerging groups and certain people who maintain the same beliefs as those revolutionaries are beginning to get their voices heard and are trying to make a change by raising awareness across the nation.

Governments such as the United States, Bahraini, Saudi Arabian and Qatar’s governments are using the negative methods of propaganda. This should not be allowed because propaganda is a method, which the government is supposed to use to promote a policy, idea or a cause. Members of society are now discussing how they do not want to be “American Idiots” as if they are trying to say they that they don’t want to be controlled or blinded from the truth not knowing what is really going on, just like idiots. Propaganda has been evident throughout history. Governments have used the media and Propaganda to manipulate people like you and I. For an example during WWI, propaganda was used to encourage people to join the military. Therefore, the government tried to manipulate information in order to make society support a certain cause and I only wish if it was a cause that supports humanity. But unfortunately it doesn’t. Thanks to the negative use of propaganda and the media. Some bad people in our society are “now doing the propaganda and are also singing along in the age of paranoia.” This explains how society is been divided by propaganda which leads them to delusion of thought that are influenced by anxiety or fear enforced by the American system.

Those who believe in the lies that are made up by these dumb governments are being alienated. The government is using alienation to control them. Alienation is when two natural things that are meant to be together, get separated. What I am referring to is the separation of a person’s own beliefs and values. This means that the ignorance that’s inside some individuals in this society is under the influence of propaganda and the mass influence of the media making them unable to think or judge situation for themselves.

The central message of this article is that, the influence of outsiders and minor groups such as the governments that are trying to change some of the individuals in society and make them ignorant need to be stopped. Some groups living in our country today have had some difficulties having the media involved to pass on their messages that deal with their humanitarian cases, and therefore they need an organization, someone, or something to send on their messages and get their voices heard.

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Forced and Displaced

By: Paula Alvarez

November 14, 2011

Colombia is a country located in the Northwestern part of South America; the door of the southern country. It is composed of important natural resources and very fertile lands in which it is possible to cultivate every plant imaginable.

For the past 30 years, Colombia, which was meant to exist for greater things, has been mishandled by those who embraced thoughts of quick money and crime; namely, the illegal drug trafficking business. The resources were there, while the economy wasn’t flowing: this seemed to be the fastest answer to the unresolved economic issues faced within the country.

Drug traffickers started with their own “cartels” and already existing guerrilla groups saw this as a funding opportunity.  An internal war was generated between these two groups for personal interests. As drug trafficking developed, illegal armed groups began to possess peasant land and forced the people of the rural communities to leave everything behind. This not only stimulated a rise in homeless families, but also forced their displacement to big cities or towns for shelter and support.

According to IDMC (Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre) an internally displaced person is: persons or groups of persons who have been forced or obliged to flee or to leave their homes or places of habitual residence, in particular as a result of or in order to avoid the effects of armed conflict, situations of generalized violence, violations of human rights or natural or human-made disasters, and who have not crossed an internationally recognized State border.

Colombians have had to face the issue of displacement over the past decade. Main cities like Bogota, Medellin, Cali, and Barranquilla have had to start new programs and policies to support these groups of mobilizing citizens that have gone through the crisis.

The issues affecting this population consist of adjusting to a new lifestyle in a unknown to them, a lack of work opportunities,  and terrible conditions of shelters they must live in. They move to the cities to make a new “home” that does not include any sewage system, electricity, or even a simple bed to rest on. The living conditions are inhumane.

Because the displaced Colombians have skills that pertain to a rural lifestyle, they are faced with challenges and obstacles when it comes to finding a job in the urban cities.  They do not have the capabilities to work in a more technological and industrialized economy. Unfortunately, they are constantly seen as beggars on the streets, and children stop going to school to help their families in obtaining capital for the household.

A lack of prosperity has become the quality of their daily life.  Even food and clothing may become a privilege as a result of little income.  Currently, nongovernmental organizations supply these communities with certain necessities; however, the government involvement is minimal, compared to what the reach could be.

Through the program called Acción Social (Social Action), the Colombian government provides the victims a monthly income of $60 000 Colombian pesos ($30 CAD) which is a very low amount of money to sustain a family for a month. The program also intends to provide families with legal assistance when searching for a recompense of damages incurred as a result of the displacement.  However, government action is not sufficient. The amount of population being internally displaced is very high compared to the amount of the assistance the government provides; there is bureaucracy and a lack of commitment to the people’s processes.

The lack of assistance from government institutions in facing these issues has caused poverty augmentation. Politicians today are able to achieve power without providing any hope of aid such as specific projects for the victims.  Foreign investment is happening in Colombia but only a small amount of the population is benefitting from it.  Majority of the people are still living in extreme poverty, they don’t have an education, they don’t have jobs, and they don’t have their basic needs being met.  This issue resonates in too many parts of the world.

Are we willing to let the people live, or the poverty?

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Never Again?

By: Zain Jinnah

October, 2011

This week I returned home from an intensive two-week conference on genocide and human rights, taught by some of the top academics and practitioners in the field. We were taken on a long journey, from the beginning of the twentieth century and the massacre of over one million Armenians during the First World War, through the Holocaust and the killing of two million Cambodians by their own government during the 1970s, to the massacre of hundreds of thousands of Rwandans by their fellow countrymen only 17 years ago. Following that, an expert on the situation in Sudan spoke to us about the current campaign being waged by the government and militias in Darfur that have left hundreds of thousands dead, yet apparently haven’t been gruesome enough to draw significant international action.

It was a shocking experience, albeit a very eye-opening one, to learn about the extreme lack of concern that governments have had and continue to have towards mass atrocities committed by governments against their own citizens. During the course we were taught about international law, and the commitment that the majority of the world’s states made by signing onto the 1948 Convention for the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. That document made genocide a crime under international law, and the International Criminal Court that came into existence 54 years later in 2002 means that the international community now has the means to prosecute those responsible for the crime. Yet, despite the cries of “never again” that echoed from states around the globe following the unspeakable horrors of the Holocaust, the world’s leaders simply don’t seem keen on bringing those responsible to justice, even if for the sole reason of making an example of them to deter future massacres from taking place. Granted, there are ongoing tribunals in Cambodia, the former Yugoslavia, and Rwanda for some form of justice and reconciliation to take place. But there just isn’t enough emphasis placed on the unacceptable nature of these crimes for potential perpetrators to feel compelled to avoid engaging in conflict with their own populations.

For 63 years, the crime of genocide has been one defined and prohibited under international law. Just as with any other international law, however, punishment is selective and only undertaken when it suits the needs of the world’s superpowers. The situation may change when the world realizes that Sudan must be stabilized in order to secure the rich oil reserves it sits atop, but until that day the cries of “never again” are likely to ring hollow through that country and many others as they continue to suffer mass violence witnessed by an apathetic global community.

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