By KATHLEEN T. OKUBO
At the International Association of Women in Broadcast and Television 37th Biennial Assembly last week in Quezon City, I met a vibrant and warm people of the women broadcast community from all over the world. It also was where places in Africa as Zimbabwe, Kenya and Sierra Leone became real for me; not just a news clip on TV news or video documents, but somebody in front and a solid living community representative and a woman.
The IAWRT is an international organization of women in the profession of broadcast and television who stand up for the promotion of press freedom, ethical journalism, equal rights for women in media work that came together in 1949 as a friendship organization of women broadcast journalists. It is said to now have at least twelve country-chapters all over the world and even the women who founded and built the UN radio group as members. The Philippine chapter hosted this year’s assembly.
Last Tuesday, its newly elected president and two members of the board of directors decided to visit Baguio very briefly which makes me sad that I had only time to join them for dinner with the members of the NDW staff.
It was also during this dinner that I noted a deep sadness in the posture of Violet, the newly elected IAWRT president. I thought it was exhaustion from the hectic schedule, the visit to this country, was taking its toll. Shiela, the broadcaster who begun UN radio told us at the dinner table that that very moment the military of Zimbabwe has put their 93 year old president and his family under house arrest and is taking over “to clean the criminals around the president”. Oh, I heard that before and it was bad.
At this announcement, I glanced toward Violet and a chill ran from my nape down to my spine. She did not hear what Shiela said as she was focused on her phone and looked deeply sad and very troubled, almost like she was going to cry. But no, she did not cry. She just kept quiet and smiled around once in a while like she knew what we were saying but her eyes said she was far away.
The chill on my nape was triggered by the memory of martial law, the day two or three six-by-six truckloads of soldiers raided the KM office where I was and took, arrested everyone in it while newsmen and their editor were questioning the then Major of the provincial command why. The answer was, “It is martial law!” and ordered their arrest too. I was so full of fear then and was angry that I was.
I am angry now but couldn’t express it. I ran the mantra, “Never again, never again to martial law”, through my head to calm me down. I slowly realized that I was saying a prayer, I never want or wish martial law on anyone, for my country, any country or for any people, even for the People of Violet (whom I had just come to know).
It is right to be angry at this effect of “globalization” that has promoted the creation of puppet dictators and tyrants and mercenaries here and all over the world. All the more it is the responsibility for everyone to resist globalization and save a little more of the earth’s resources for our generation and for the next generation. Women in media must continue to build solidarity ties with the oppressed women, and oppressed people in their country and of the world. Especially that we are observing the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women! Now. # nordis.net