Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Journalism with a :-(

My sister will come in September to visit. By the way, it happened again :-). I finish emailing someone this message: “I’ve got no life until mid august when school’s out. Work and volunteering keep me tired. But there are rewards, for sure”.

Next email in my inbox, my sister. Click. It reads: “I want to say something. I’m totally over-worked, and it’s only August 4th!!!!”

Eeery spooky funky cool :-)

Anyway. The man says to me: “ you know how they say the road to hell is paved with good intentions? The opposite is true. The road to heaven is paved with bad intentions”.

He’s someone I wanted to interview, a war-child, lived in Beirut all his life. I say to him, “I feel like I’m using you. I don’t know if you want to tell your story to the world, to people you don’t know”.

Him: “Of course I do. As long as I get to say it. Not someone else says it for me”.

Me: “ It’s part of my research and work to do this. But I want you to be comfortable.”

On and on. Kept apologizing. Felt like I’m using him to forward my career. He’s had journalists/ngo workers/researchers come to him by the dozens from all over the world for interviews. He’s a “hot market commodity” it seems. I wonder. Did I go to him for the same reasons? Why do I feel so bad? Like a grimy rat digging up a good research topic. Yuk!

So he says to me, “the road to heaven is paved with bad intentions. Not to say you’re using me, but there’s nothing wrong with looking out for yourself, kid, that’s life”.

I feel like poop. Still. :-(

All I wanted was to help. To get him to say his story to the world so I can sit and watch him heal… :-(



Yin-Yang said...

Hmm, the first e-mail sounds familiar :) I wonder who you e-mailed to about that, hehe.

I see where you are coming from with intentions. It's a hard thing. In the business world, it is just the same, if not harder.

But you can have many intentions in one action, no? I mean, there is nothing wrong with wanting to have his story heard (for the good intentions you mentioned) AND for furthering your research etc.

With the latter, you can then reach your goal of getting the degree you want/ the career you want, which can further help the cause, no?

I mean, there is really nothing wrong with being successful and prosperous. In fact, I think our community needs more of these people in order to make other aspects flourish.

Who has ever heard of a civilization blossoming under poverty? Like you say, it's the intention, the means to prosperity, and what you do when you are prosperous that matter.

And we continue with our struggle......... that never ends :)

quest said...

maybe i imagined it, but i could see it in his eyes, despite his 'comforting' words, him thinking -- " oh boy another journalist, yippy, another 'well-meaning' mother theresa who wants to 'save' me and write a book about it".

you're right. it's such a tricky career decision, we're talking people's lives here, their memories, their pain, their glory, their own life. Sometimes i think i've got no business interviewing war-children. i should take my good intentions about 'making their voice heard' and do something else with it.....

but it's funny how other war-children i've talked to really really really want me to interview them, to 'bring' their stories to the outside world. which confuses me. i guess it depends on the person... dunnooooooooo urghhhh .... i'm going to the camps again soon, let's see what happens.....

Neesh Q said...

Regardless of your intentions, your action will lead toward (Inshallah)a better sense of awareness in the world. I don't think you're doing anything wrong! :)