Thursday, 11 October 2007

The Burmese monks - not forgotten

I posted about this myself last week - Where are all the monks? but I see that The Osterley Times is wondering the same as me, with a link to today's Independent.

Once again I say - "Where is the world's press now?" They made plenty of fuss when there were thousands of brightly-clad monks on the streets protesting. It might even be said that the attention of the world's media gave the people the encouragement to protest longer than they would otherwise have had the courage to do. Then, when the monks disappeared from the streets so did the reports, generally speaking, apart from a few creditable exceptions, like the UK's Independent newspaper and Channel 4.

I can't help but think, and I am aghast that it might even be possible, that those brightly coloured robes made great pictures. Remove those photogenic images and TV loses interest and moves onto some other colourful story.

When are we going to get consistency from our media? Do they really care about the stories they bombard us with? They fire us up with passion on a story, then drop it like last year's Prada handbag when something new comes along. Try to keep up to date on a story once the media's lost interest - it ain't easy. Thank goodness for the internet and bloggers who won't give up on a story.


Greg said...

Isn't it just as valid to ask why are people (and bloggers) just now paying attention to the longest running active conflict? The conflict there has been going on since about 1948. Where was then attention before? A lot has to do with what information can be taken out of that country.

Pretty much all of the conflicts outside the Americas are the lingering effects of the world wars of the recent century.

Puddock said...

You are absolutely right of course Greg. I never used to get involved in these things. Maybe it's becoming a blogger that's flipped that switch. Maybe I am being as led by the media as everyone else. I certainly don't have enough knowledge of the background to all the world's disputes. And if I hadn't seen the pictures on the TV then I would probably not have known anything about it. To be honest, I still don't know much.

I guess I am just getting fed up at the little guy always getting it in the neck. In a way, it's the media I'm angry with almost as much as the Burmese government. They gorge themselves on the latest sexy topic, whether it's the McCann family or Burma or the Princess of Wales. They puff themselves up into preposterous states of indignation, then bugger off onto the next big thing and leave those in the story to fend for themselves. It makes me sick, frankly.

I never used to get so angry. I must be getting old.

But I absolutely take your point. I got caught up in the Burma thing myself, participating in the Blog support day - I've never done something like that before. As I said, I think I got involved because I felt the media had abandoned the story.

Puddock said...

Generally, I don't think interfering in other countries is the right thing to do. As you said, most disputes have their origins decades or even hundreds of years ago and we who are not involved have no right to pontificate on the matter. I usually ignore the media because of their simplistic approach. When I see politicians or the media climbing onto a bandwagon, I want to climb off.

I think in the case of Burma, I felt the ordinary people simply wanted their lives to be a little better and either the world's media think that's a cause worth reporting or they don't.

Greg said...

I wouldn't be so hard on yourself. In our age we have information overload. There is always war going on somewhere, it just lately that we have the technology to get so much information about the world.

It's easy to get caught up in issues where we can't be too effective. We have to train ourselves to focus on issues that we can actually become involved with in a physical sense. It all starts with your local community.

Bunc said...

One of teh great things about blogging is that it alloows us to set our own news agenda to some extent. even when the mainstream news loses interest we can keep it up and who knows maybe sometime force things back onto the agenda that would not otherwise have been given as much attention. I think bloggers have a great deal of potential powere when they turn their attention on masse to something.

Greg said...

I'm the opposite opinion of bunc. Writing doesn't do as much as people historically believe. It takes someone who is willing to act to create actual change. Writing might inspire people, but writing tends to reflect what people are already doing.

I really don't think those little blog for THIS events do anything at all. The real power of blogging is that it helps the blogger understand his or her own thoughts and helps crystallize them. I heard somewhere once that we never know what we think until we write it down.

So there is a cultural importance to blogging, but not as a force of change, maybe as a force of awakening and awareness.

Puddock said...

Greg, the trouble is that I hate my community!

Generally speaking, I believe in getting on with your own life and letting other people get on with theirs. I'm not a big fan of intervention and liberal hand-wringing. I'm just fed up with the little guy getting stomped on.

Puddock said...

bunc, thanks for your comment. I love your blog and as I used to live in Ayrshire I like dropping by to relive happy memories.

I agree with both you and Greg, if that's possible. I think blogging en masse is changing the way news travels round the world and I think that some individual bloggers can make a difference. I believe in the ripple effect, where I read something you've written, think about it, then write something with that knowledge in mind, which then hopefully influences someone else. It happens in conversation so I don't see why it can't happen in blogging. The very fact that Greg has made comments on my blog that have made me think proves that blogging is about more than simply personal expression, even if it isn't going to change the world. I love it and call it viral philosophy, like the marketeers call word-of-mouth viral marketing.

But I also agree with Greg about the highly personal nature of blogging. I haven't been doing it very long but already I have felt the effect that Greg describes of having to sort out and clarify my own thoughts as I put them down here. And of course I then have to react to comments and see if they affect my thinking. It makes me a clearer thinker if nothing else.