Social Action Research

In my community I try to participate at the Community Psychology Project which tries at the moment to conduct a Social Action Research. Now, the first interviews are conducted and hopefully we will have some exceptional truthfull conclusions soon on the issues of unemployment and training, education, careers advice and work agencies and how all these government strategies fail because of ignoring the actual practical needs of the jobseekers in the council estates.
However, sometimes it seems we are actually too disorganised to achieve what we want.

I could not yet do my audio editing for the podcasting experiment as busy with other things over the weekend.

The discussions about the Muhammad caricatures is going on my nerves. Not only The Left is split. The Jungle World, especially Ivo Bozic, seem to be rather pleased they discovered a point of view to attack muslims and put them in the wrong, as to in some weird consequence try to increase support for Israel, and trying to reinforce the anti-national, pro-israeli point of view. This German-only political sect’s argumentation works in weird ways and can actually not be understood internationally at all. Usually it is easiest to say that these people feel guilty for the Holocaust and thereby legitimise Israel’s human rights abuses towards the Palestinians with it, and even support Bush and the US foreign policy because the most powerful status of Israel is their main priority as they are afraid that the existance of the state of Israel would be threatened by basically everbody else. It is a pretty lonely ideology. Originally this political sect came out of the internationalist wing of the Left, and they are used to overtheorizing everything a bit, many have been writing for left wing publications for years before 9/11, such as for Jungle World and others. In my opinion it is one of the main reasons, why fewer and fewer people read and buy this weekly newspaper. So they seemed to hold back a bit on that particular topic, but with the cartoons, they now splashed their “Freedom Of Speech” (but only for us) argument over four pages.

Now on Radio Z, in an interview with Dritte Welt Saar, the interviewee seems to enforce the view that only the fundamentalist extremists would be against the caricatures, and the rest “should be convinced and dialogue should be sought.”

Anyways I asked my boyfriend what he thinks, and he made a good statement (he always does):_
“The protests are not just driven by the cartoons. Multiple grievances exist which this issue has drawn together in a general feeling that powerful forces of the West are attacking the worldwide community of Muslims (Ummah).”
“Unless people have free access to the media, then there can not be true open dialogue which undermines the defence of “freedom of speech” argument.”_

That is exactly what I meant when trying to discuss the topic, but I never can express it as well as he does. I have more or less said, that it is discriminatory to not respect people’s belief of not depicting the prophet, especially if the publication does it with the full knowledge and purpose of inciting muslims. And that the whole affair has been more a misunderstanding on the part of the then following Western media, than a culture war, which it is now made out to be. And that if media is really keen to show some of the “real” cartoons for the purpose of discussion, then they should put it on the website only and take these off after the discussion is finished or too many complaints received.

Anyways, as usual I am a bit shocked of my collegues at uni, if they do not research the issue and facts before discussing and writing news about it. But at least it is better than at the Royal Dick, where nobody seemed to have any other opinion than the one stated by the lecturer. About the cartton discussion: I had been badly informed, too, as I did not know when, where and how the riots started breaking out and with what consequenses and no idea about the different countries and timetable of the protest. But I found it even worse that such background research is not encouraged either, just the rewriting of a press release, and use of other sources is discouraged. That makes me pretty fed up, even though it seems the whole mainstream media here in the UK works like that.
For example at the Dalkeith Park, the whole media were crowded together, nobody really said anything to anybody else and the whole journalist crowd were waiting for people to go to them to tell them their opinion, rather than them having a bit of self-initiative to go and find interviewees on their own. At one point I had to shuffle an MSP right under their noses as they refused to leave their priviledged press compound.
Even then, can you imagine, the cameraman of ITV said:
“I can not do anything unless my reporter is back. ” (He was gone shopping.)
Arrrgh! What kind of attitude is that! No indymedia person would ever say and do that! We are always ready for action!
On another day I tried to convince the ITV reporter, who has produced the previous days quite sympathetic, but repetative coverage, to actually not just stand there and get bored, but to interview the person who is actually responsible for the destruction of the park and to give this politician a hard time and hold him to account.
But he would not do it as he seeemed to lazy, and it involved phoning up this person, arranging another interview, then putting some more work into background research and maybe then even missing one of the protesters getting carried down from a tree. The BBC was even less intrested in anything which involved actually some hard-hitting, arse-kicking interviews via the help of in-depth background research.
They are so much more comfortable standing around for several hours in one spot, not talking to each other out of competativeness and seem to have as much passion to fight injustice as a cup of cold coffee or warm beer.

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