Malala Yousafzai, a 16-year-old activist in Pakistan, who fought for education opportunities for women, got shot and was threatened by the Talibs, who recounted her difficult life since 14, and who got nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. Consequently, the award was given to this group who curbs Syrian chemical weapons use. Malala didn’t get it, and people felt more for her after her media questing with Jon Stewart, who made such a sensation after commenting he would adopt Malala.
Zamboanga, a place in the southernmost part of the Philippines, that has been thwarted in development brought about by sudden attacks by the Moro National Liberation Front, and has recently been under hostage by the same group. After a signed agreement with the government, and for just a single item-clause that seemingly was not achieved, the MNLF decided to take threat and disruption as the best means to air the grievance.
Such peculiar juxtaposition of a 16-year-old and a city, it is. But one thing can be learned from them.
Malala for one has never been a media darling, until the interview with Jon Stuart. Had it not been for such media exposure, Malala to me would have been just a girl who is in such dilemma and difficulty in the suppressing Pakistan. But now, she has gained people’s attention and sympathy. She can now be heard clearly more than ever.
Zamboanga on the other hand was a media top-of-the-list of course. But it never appealed to the viewers. Megan Young’s Miss World winning and the some racial comments about her in social media got better attention. But the reality shows that the bombings, the bomb scares, the displaced families, people who died, and those people who are continuously living in threat and fear are far heavier than some pageants.
Similarly, both Malala and Zamboanga were in such life-and-death circumstance, to put it simply. But one made it to the media circuit, the other just remained the ordinary undertaking of anywho and anywhere, and that luck is just entitled to some and not all.
But this has something to do with how media just depicts social events, people, places, and day-to-day happenings. It chooses which may appeal or not, and deconstructs how people take it all in. Media portrays what it chooses. And if the subject is appealing, then it will stay for some time. If it doesn’t, it will continue to be showcased in the manner ordinary news is portrayed. It is but unfortunate that the mass viewers get to decide which subject is more popular, thus saying being more important and significant. It is but unfortunate how commercializing lives, events, and disasters just alters and distorts realities, thereby changing how people perceive things. And this is gruesome because these realities shouldn’t be made sensational based on appeal and popularity. They should be acknowledged and resolved on the level of moral responsibility, ethics, and human welfare. And by acknowledging as such, society may speak or act. This is where resolution starts.
Society will continue to hear people’s lives and certain events in every day that will direct history. But what should be put into mind is that reality shouldn’t be altered in the way that a sector in society is authorized to do. We should get to know it ourselves more than just sitting at home while watching TV, feeling cozy and comfy. Reality out there is far bigger than what one man thinks it is.