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I am guilty… of wanting my news quickly, in short, digestible snippets. That is why PBS’s News Hour with Jim Leher is difficult for me to get through. But every so often, I find myself wondering about the others. When the news media does a segment on the Holocaust, I question why the Armenian genocide is so often overlooked. Or when the New York Times does an expose on life in small town Elyria, Ohio, I wonder about small towns all across the United States that are slowly dying as the young, desperate for jobs, leave for life in the big city. Why are so many stories left untold despite their relevance?
I confronted another round of “whys” just a few weeks ago, when news broke that the Taliban had targeted Malala Yousufzai for her stance on the education of women. Her courage is undoubtedly unmeasurable. For a fifteen year old girl to capture the attention of the entire world speaks to her character, her commitment, her fortitude. For that, she deserves to be commended. She is an inspiration to us all and provides a beacon of hope in a region in which very few women can realistically dream of a better life. But what about the others who share her fight? Why do we so rarely hear the stories of the countless men, women and girls who defy Taliban authority on a daily basis to ensure that females in the region are properly educated?
I have come to conclude that my generation is indifferent to lengthy news reports that entail months, even years of preparation. Coming of age during the technological boom, we can barely remember a time when research meant pulling a book off of a shelf or heading to the library. Instead, with answers to our every question just a few mouse clicks away, we no longer seem to have the patience to stop and listen to the stories that so desperately need to be heard.
So today, while I have no real legal analysis, I wish to say the following:
To the voices that have thus far remained unheard: I am sorry, sorry for being so concerned about my own life to stop and listen. You have so much to offer about a world I could never imagine living in, and you deserve to have your time in the spotlight.
To the readers of this post: If you have a story that you think the world should hear, please post it as a comment so we can all sit up and listen. We owe you that much.
– Swathi Padmanabhan
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