Edited: Aha...they actually printed my letter and yet, as always, the better bits removed. *sigh* I see they took out the reference to journalist being held at the airports. Hmmm......
Ok, the link isn't working but it's the gulf-daily-news.com March 3, 2011 letters section. Second letter down.
I've been reading a plethora of letters lamenting the one-sided views of recent events in Bahrain as depicted by the world media.
Apparently the writers believe that TV still remains the number one source of "fast breaking news". I would like to introduce these out-of-date writers to two fast breaking sources they may be unfamiliar with - Twitter and Facebook.
Anyone that has had an ounce of interest in what was happening, first in Tunisia, then Egypt, then Bahrain and now Libya, are aware of the power these sites have given the common man on the street - where all the action is taking place. Twitter has been full of people reporting being shot at by police while demonstrating peacefully - while it is happening! They report attacks, beatings, gunfire and so much bloodshed.
Twitter and Facebook are full of videos from the people right there, for the rest of the world to know what is happening.
Twitter followers and Facebook users have sat horrified at computers, watching events unfold as each new story, picture and video has brought to life the horrors the Middle East dictators have unleashed against their citizens.
We don't need BBC, CNN, Al Jazeera, etc to inform us, rightly or wrongly, of anything we can't find out from people there.
No longer can these rulers keep the truth from the world by blacking out the media and telling false stories of how events are unfolding (as they are still trying to do).
We are bystanders to these bloody revolutions going on as I write, but we are also witnesses, who may not be putting our lives in danger by facing trigger-happy government puppets, but we do what we can by sending on these tweets to everyone we can think of by linking our Facebook pages with pictures and videos so that the world can see the truth even if BBC and CNN choose to show something different.
You, as a viewer, have the option of choosing what you watch. If you think these media sources are one-sided, then join Twitter or Facebook if you haven't already and start following the people following those in the middle of the violence.
If you don't believe their first-hand accounts, then watch the videos. It is rather hard to Photoshop them while you are dodging gunfire.
You are not forced to watch these media. I can guarantee that most people around the world who want the truth - not some biased agenda seeking soap box, pearl-clutching version - are not watching them either. Be pro-active about what is unfolding rather than whine and moan about the unfairness of it. These people are protesting and willing to risk their lives due to the fact that "unfairness" permeates their lives. If they can do something about it, so can you. Lee Ann Fleetwood
I still read letters to the local paper in Bahrain and this past two weeks have been nothing but praise for the King and govt. while complaining vehemently about the one-sided media bias they accuse major news channels of displaying. After viewing Reem Antoon's completely clueless ramble in the Comment section of today's GDN http://gulf-daily-news.com/NewsDetails.aspx?storyid=300533 I couldn't maintain myself anymore and pounded out this letter in reply.
Now let's see if the GDN editor allows it. He is known for being a little one-sided himself.
Letter to the Editor
I've been reading the plethora of letters lamenting the one sided view of recent events in Bahrain as depicted by world wide media. Apparently these letter writers believe that T.V. still remains the number one news source for "fast breaking news". I would like to introduce these out of date letter writers to two fast breaking news sources that they may be unfamiliar with. Twitter and Facebook. Anyone that has had an ounce of interest in what was happening first in Tunisia, then in Egypt, and on to Bahrain and now Libya are fully aware of the power these two sites have given the common man or woman on the street. The street being where all the action is taking place. Twitter has been full of people reporting being shot at by police while demonstrating peacefully. While it is happening!!! They report attacks and beatings; gun fire and bloodshed...so much bloodshed. Twitter and Facebook are full of videos from those very same people who are RIGHT THERE and can video exactly what is going on and are demanding the rest of the world know it too. Twitter followers and Facebook users have sat horrified at computers watching events unfold as each new story, pic, and video has brought too life the horrors the dictators of the middle east have unleashed against their citizens. We do NOT need BBC, CNN, Al Jazeera etc to inform us, rightly or wrongly, of anything we can't find out for ourselves from those that are actually there. No longer can these corrupt rulers keep the truth from the world by blacking out news media (as they are still trying to do) and telling completely false stories of how events are unfolding (as they are still trying to do). We are bystanders to these bloody revolutions going on as I write this, but we are also witnesses, who may not be putting our own lives in danger by facing loaded guns and trigger happy government puppets, but we do what we can by sending on these tweets to everyone we can think of. By linking our Facebook pages with pics and videos so that the whole world can see the truth...even if BBC, CNN and, yes, even Bahrain TV, chooses to show something different. You, as a viewer, have the option of choosing what you watch. If you think those media sources are being one sided then take a moment to join Twitter, join Facebook if you haven't already and start following the people who are following those that are right there in the middle of the violence. If you don't believe their first hand accounts then watch the hundreds of videos. It is rather hard to photoshop those while your dodging gun fire.
You are not forced to watch those media sources and I can guarantee that most of the people around the world that really do want the truth and not some biased agenda seeking soap box pearl clutching version of it, are not watching them either. Be pro-active about what is unfolding rather than whine and moan about the unfairness of it all. The fact that these people are protesting and willing to risk their lives is due to the fact that "unfairness" permeates their lives. If they can do something about it so can you.
One more comment to make to Reem Antoon. She asked where all the foreign journalist were. Why we hadn't heard from them while the media was so busy being one-sided. I'm guessing they found it rather hard to report on what was really happening in Bahrain due to the fact they were not allowed to leave Bahrains Airport upon arrival. Yes, they were detained. No, that didn't stop them from telling the world that they were being prevented from entering Bahrain. Go figure. Wonder why that was?
Even one-sided stories have two sides.
Lee Ann Fleetwood
Saturday, February 26, 2011
Thursday, February 24, 2011
UNLESS YOUR GAY!!!
Ask any child that resides in the state of Wyoming today about our state motto and it's fairly certain he or she will give the same answer that has been taught to them since kindergarten; Wyoming is the state of Equality due to the fact that women were given the right to vote in this state before any other state even considered them close to being capable of making such an intellectually challenging choice on election day. Apparently that was the first and last time that word "equality" meant anything other than an easy answer on a grade school government test. Right now Wyoming's Legislature is busy trying to invade our bedrooms and relationships by defining what it means to be a legalized couple in the eyes of the law.
House bill 74 is all about defining what "marriage" means and according to our constitution marriage has always been defined as that existing between "one man and one woman". Those who support this bill love to repeat this phrase over and over again..."marriage is defined as..." as if that is the end of the matter and there is nothing further to say. Here is my question regarding that long held definition. What does a definition of a word really mean at the end of the day?
We humans, in our cerebral capacity, invented language as a means of easier communication. Telling someone what you need is faster and more accurate then subjecting them to a round of charades in which they must spend precious amounts of time trying to understand your arm waving and facial contortions. While we were busy inventing language we also invented the definitions of each word our new language acquired. To have a universal definition for a word facilitated comprehension and communication.
Here is a fact about our language...it's not as set in stone as some would like to believe. We take on new words and new meanings almost as fast as we take on new fashion trends and bad habits. While we were busy inventing new words we also invented this one particular new word; redefine. Redefining a word means taking one that already exists, such as "marriage", and making it mean something similar but adding a twist so to speak. It still means basically the same thing but due to how our culture changes and how we interact with each other and with the world at large, old words have this ability to take on slightly new meanings. Now, for instance, marriage as defined by the state of Wyoming, means a union existing between one man and one woman; but we must remember that that definition was created by a culture of people that assumed heterosexuality was the only form of sexuality that mattered. Heterosexuals were the "norm" and they happened to also be the ones defining words for us as they created law. Homosexuality was viewed as deviant and abnormal and was commonly thought to be a form of criminal behavior akin to pedophilia and bestiality. Who would even consider defining marriage in such a way to include such pariahs of society? Not the writer's of our constitution obviously; or should I say not the readers of it.
However, while the writer's of our constitution may not have been invisioning a day when acceptable relationships did not mean just one man and one woman, they did make way for the possibility that marriage would some day need to be redefined by including Article 1 Section 2 that states that "all members of the human race are created equal" and Article 1 Section 3 which states that "the laws of this state affecting the political rights and privileges of its citizens shall be without distinction of race, color, or sex...". This leads us back to the definition of marriage that supporters of House Bill 74 are insisting is the only acceptable definition as stated in our constitution. To any casual reader of our constitution this claim cannot stand based only on that "evidence". When we look at the history of Wyoming, or even the history of the United States, we are well aware of how homosexuals have been viewed and treated in the past. Not only was their persecution unconstitutional, they were hounded by the religious establishment as perversions of humanity that were destined for hell and the sooner the better. We also know that most likely how religion has chosen to define words has greatly influenced how laws are made or, at the very least, written. Our forefathers and constitution writers defined marriage in such as way as to exclude and discriminate against and deem unequal in the eyes of the law a certain group of the human race. They also created law that denied them their political rights and privileges and, until now, that definition was never called into question.
We are all aware that homosexuality has come a long way since Wyoming's constitution was written. All though those that do not accept homosexuality as a normal human feeling and trait still abound and are just as busy today trying to send these "perversions of humanity" to hell as in the past, by and large Wyoming residents have accepted that homosexuals do exist and do deserve the same rights and privileges that heterosexuals enjoy. Unfortunately, residents of Wyoming apparently have no say in whether House bill 74 will become law or not.
Here is what I propose to those in our legislature that are so against allowing homosexuals the right to marry, or at the very least to have their marriage recognized in this state upon becoming residents (if they ever choose to subject themselves to that discriminatory proposed law); why not use that word we invented, "redefine", to change what the accepted definition of marrieage means into something different. Why don't you exercise this power and redefine what marriage means in the state of Wyoming to include all those who wish to find comfort in the legalized and state recognized sanctity of their union? Why is it so important to you that the definition of marriage remains that of "one man and one woman" when you are well aware that not every couple consists of that gender binary?
Our constitution declares that NO citizen of this state will be subject to unfair and discriminatory laws and will not be made to feel unequal in the eyes of the law based on race, color, or sex. House Bill 74 is an oxymoron in this regard. By continuing to define marriage in such a way as to legalize and recognize only those marriages you deem valid and acceptable you are not only diminishing and reducing the rights of those that do not conform to your "one man one woman" pair, you are declaring their relationship and desire for commitment as irrelevant and illegal; even those that were performed and legalized in other states.
To add insult to injury, Gov. Matt Mead has openly declared that he is "against gay marriage" which means that the highest elected official of this so called Equality State, obviously does not see the citizens that elected him into that illustrious post as equal in his own eyes. How is it possible he holds the position that he does then? How can we feel assured that he has our, this includes ALL citizens of Wyoming, best interests in mind when he openly declares that he does not?
You do not have to be accepting of gay marriage even while you create law that assures homosexuals equal rights under that law. Gov. Mead's personal feelings towards gay marriage is not only irrelevant when considering this House bill 74 but also crosses the line into invading ones personal lives to the point of excluding them from living a free and full filling one that entitles them to all the rights and privileges our constitution assumingly gives them. If he and other elected representatives can insist on one singular definition of one specific word despite the overwhelming discrimination to a percentage of our population because of it, and despite the fact that we can and do redefine words as the culture surrounding that word changes and flows in a different direction, and despite the fact that he and other elected officials were elected to specifically uphold the rights and privileges of every citizen on this state, they are still arrogantly assuming they and they alone have the power to declare what marriage is...and more importantly what it is not.
As citizens of this Equality State that is fast becoming anything but, it is imperative that we strongly protest this Bill 74 before it becomes a fact because, while this particular bill may not affect those of us that are not gay, the next one might. If we don't unite as citizens and defend the rights of all Wyoming residents how can we cry foul when our own rights are summarily stripped away by those who obviously do not have our collective best interests at heart?
Sunday, February 20, 2011
Sometimes mobs are a good thing and have an important message to spread. Now why don't we do things like this here in Wyo? Oh yeah, I forgot, we are working more in the direction of making sure our children know that if your different (as in gay etc) then you're not equal under the law. Wyoming legislature is working very hard to pass an anti-gay bill which means that homosexual marriages (or any sort of marriage not sanctioned by the state of Wyo, in other words, one man and one woman) is not legally binding in the state of Wyoming. Of course this also means that if you got married to your same sex spouse in a state that DID recognize such unions...then upon taking up residence in our state of "Equality", your marriage now becomes illegal under this proposed legislation.
Why our legislatures have such a vested interest in the married lives(or lack there of) of those that are not JUST LIKE THEM is beyond me. Considering WYO has the highest teen pregnancy rate, highest gun ownership numbers, highest teen suicides AND highest using a gun as a weapon to commit suicide, not to mention our educational system is getting a kick in the ass lately....I'm wondering why our elected officials are putting so much effort into legislating who can marry who? Or making illegal what other states have saw fit to be fair and equitable and make law.
As politicians, is THAT the most important issue that keeps you up at night?
Bullying is an epidemic the entire world has to deal with...and the bullies are not age specific...they can be school ground kids, corrupt leaders of nations...or elected officials in government.
We need more flash mobs like these children...but then again...who is paying attention to them beyond smiling and clapping when they are done?
Being very ignorant of the law here in the states (learning but slowly) I'm trying to understand what others do to take part in being active in government law making...as in protest rallies, petitions etc. I take great strength in what has and is transpiring in the middle east right now. However, being the United States our right to protest is generally not with the knowledge that a bullet might just be the only answer we get. All the more to be impressed and awestruck by the people in the middle east's desire to change their own lives. I sit here feeling rather inept wondering what I can do to facilitate change in my neck of the woods.
These children did something about it...maybe it's not a huge thing given the scale that bullying affects their lives...but I would harbor a guess that it has made them feel useful, empowered, and likely to continue on in their lives being pro-active towards issues they feel emotional about. More schools should get their students involved in just such activities for exactly this reason.
Get them while they are young and you have them hooked for the rest of their lives.
Question: what have any of you done to be pro-active towards political (or any) issues you felt compelled to act upon? I need some ideas and guidance on this matter. Anyone?
Friday, February 18, 2011
I dare you to watch this and not cry or be horrified...and then...awestruck by the tenacity and determination of the Egyptian people.
I have had few heroes in my world...now I have a nation of them. Mabruk Egypt!!