Tuesday, July 5, 2011

It's Pakistan, Anything Goes

Every Wednesday and Saturday, students have a current events quiz. They are expected to listen to news every night. Their quiz asks for two headlines in detail; the who, what, where, when, why and how of a story. A good journalist is informed, I taught them. In order to tell the truth about the world, you have to know what's happening in it.

During my daily 20 minutes on the New York Times website, I naturally clicked on the top headline of the day: "Pakistan’s Spies Tied to Slaying of a Journalist." Pakistan, journalism - how relevant I thought. Saleem Shahzad's death raises important questions about free press, democracy, rights of journalists, and the behavior of our government agencies in which we place our trust.

New York Times reported that Pakistani secret intelligence agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), administered the attacks on the journalist "in an effort to silence criticism." Can you imagine the outrage in America if CIA had ordered for a journalist to be killed? Just imagine the the riots and protests on Capitol Hill by journalists around the country. Can you imagine the embarrassment? But this isn't America. This is Pakistan. There's no First Amendment to protect such rights. One of my students said in class today, "Teacher, this is Pakistan. Anything and everything goes." How disheartened I was to hear that mainly because I knew he was right. It's frustrating because it's so sad. It's sad that the government can do whatever it likes and the people don't have a voice. It's sad that the people are too scared to speak up for what they believe in. It's said that the rich live off haram money while the poor continue to live in poverty. It's sad that when a journalists reports the truth, he is awarded with death by the very government it is trying to better.

Here's the article. I'm excited to hear your thoughts on this.

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