Friday, February 4, 2011

The Negative Side of the Media

Technology has really come a long way.  With the many advances in the internet and multimedia, the world seems like a much smaller place.  The technology we have available to us today enables us to make friends   from all over the world.  We can now conduct business without ever leaving our homes.  However, a lot of the advances in technology have been used to spread negative things about people and countries across the globe.  This has certainly been the case for Sudan.

Coming  from a western country, I know first-hand the image that the media has painted of the Sudan:  the country that hosted Usama Bin Laden and allowed him to establish training camps; the country that flogs women for wearing pants and keeps them uneducated; the country with the longest war in African history because  the people are extremist and fundamentalists and want to commit genocide of their own people who are of pure African descent .Well, because I am muslim, a lot of this fell on deaf ears so to speak.  But, I realized after moving her that some things had formed and shaped my opinion of the Sudan.

One of the areas that I found I had accepted the opinions of the media was in regards to the status of women in this society.  I did not realize that I had a negative view towards women in this country until I began working in a local school and started administering placement tests.  I would ask the question, “Do you have a job and what do you do.” I found myself being shocked when a lady, looking just like me, dressed just like me would say, “I am a doctor.  I am a dentist.  I am a pharmacist.  I am a lawyer.”  I thought to myself, “Me of all people, why am I amazed?  I am black, a woman, a muslim, and educated.”  But, after thinking for some time, I realized that I had never seen anything positive on TV in America abourt Sudan.

When I first arrived, it shocked me that the uniforms of the women working in the airport were pants.  What was all this media coverage about a lady being flogged for wearing pants?  Pants are worn by women on a daily basis with freedom and no condemnation.  Of course, they are not worn in the manner they are worn in the United States and other Western countries.  They are usually worn with knee-length or ankle-length shirts.  But, the reality is, they are worn; not as it is made to believe in the media.

Although many of this site’s readers are Sudanese, this message is for the non-Sudanese readers; my family, friends and acquaintances and anyone who dares care about justice and realities.  Think twice when you look at a news clip of Sudan on your televisions or the internet.  Think twice before you accept everything you hear on the radio.  Am I saying that everything you here about the Sudan is false?  Of course I’m not saying that.  Am I saying that there are absolutely no terroristic thoughts from anyone in the whole country?  No, I’m not.  There are extremists all over the world.  There are extremists and terrorists in places like America, Britain and New Zealand but no one labels them as a terrorist country.

Some may say, “She has moved to Sudan and become one of them, she’s just speaking from the heart.”  No, I am more American than many realize.  However, I speak from my heart and from the evidence that my eyes have seen.  The majority of Sudanese are: 1. Proud to be Sudanese.  2. Striving to make a good life for them and their families.