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Of interactions and misconceptions………

February 21, 2010

By beenaqayyum

The best thing about interaction is that it clears away a lot of misunderstanding and gives a newer, fresher perspective. So those of us, who have been fortunate enough to travel, would agree with me that just the experience of traveling to a foreign land and meeting new people is an experience better than reading countless books about a particular place. In this day and age where everything is becoming more impersonal, and the virtual world, is almost with lightening speed taking over the real world, it is so refreshing just to interact with people and listen to their point of view, answer their queries and just simply putting it talking to each other with an open mind.

Everything Egypt

Egypt is one place that stirs up some very exciting images to ones mind, and I must say that it lives up to its reputation, where you see an amalgamation of civilizations, and trust me, one should visit Egypt at least once just for the experience of this beautiful country. I traveled there for a conference about ‘Freedom of Expression in the digital age’, organized by United Nations Alliance of Civilizations and International Center for Journalists. Needless to say, it was an experience that I shall not forget in a long time. Journalists, in any part of the world have a very different way of looking at things, they might not be the true representations of any one country but they are crucial in bringing about a change in society. They are very colourful which is what makes them so interesting! So take approximately forty or so journalists from all over the world and make them sit in one room, and there you have it……………the most fascinating and interesting discussions, that ‘normal people’ could only dream about, or probably have read about!

Interactions at the workshop

Why did I rant and rave about journalists being so interesting? Well at the risk of sounding pompous, I am one of them, and if you ask me, I would not trade this job for anything! So when the sessions started, I noticed that journalists from the same countries usually sat together. It is obviously, human nature, not to be able to get out of the comfort zone, but as the day progressed, in the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, I noticed, that after the first session, over a cup of coffee, people were intermingling with each other. Since I consider myself a mutant ………….(you know there is a mutant gene in all journalists) because I am never satisfied with what I have done, I always want to do more, and driven by immense curiosity, I was so happy to say that I was among my brethren, we were a community of people driven by a thirst of knowledge and I should reiterate that this quality is what sets our community (journalists) apart. Over a cup of coffee, political stance of the governments was discussed, religion, social issues, you named it ad it was talked about. Just being there was an enriching experience! Needless to say that I learned a lot, not only by the excellent trainings given to us on different methodologies and using new tools and polishing your skills, but just by interaction with these wonderful people, and it warmed my heart to see that I am part of a community of people who share so much more than just writings…………..being a journalist………..I wouldn’t want it any other way………..:)

7 Comments leave one →
  1. February 21, 2010 10:26 am

    very candid and ‘right from the heart’ type of piece Beena

  2. February 21, 2010 10:38 am

    “I was so happy to say that I was among my brethren, we were a community of people driven by a thirst of knowledge.” I find this quote essence of comradeship there. Most of the times, the participants transcended the divides of nationalities, religions and ethnicity . . . Alexandria surely would bring nostalgia to mood . . . Like many of delegates, it has been one-of-a-kind experience in my journalistic career with extensive travel around the planet earth . . . ICFJ and UNAOC can’t ask for more, I guess . . . 🙂

  3. February 21, 2010 1:04 pm

    Thank you Naveed and Amer, I believe that we are truly fortunate to be journalists because we do have a power to change…………….and when you meet your fellow journalists, who have more in common with you than you imagined……..well it just proves a point that we are not ‘alone’.
    I think the purpose of ICFJ and UNAOC was to have a dialogue between journalists of different cultures, which I believe was achieved…………….and with technology at our fingertips, we should keep it rolling!

  4. February 21, 2010 3:54 pm

    Thanks Beena! you are so eloquent in your thoughts…. I wouldn’t trade my profession for anything either!

  5. February 22, 2010 6:19 am

    Thank you Ruth for your comments. Yes, i believe, journalism is all about passion, its not just a nine to five job, and when you love what you do and also get paid doing it………..then there is nothing better than that!

  6. February 22, 2010 10:47 am


    A wonderful perspective and spot on about interacting and the mutant status of journalists. To me there’s always something a little threatening and at the same time exciting when I venture outside my comfort zone when doing a story. Inevitably I learn something about the person and the subject I’m covering and I learn a little more about myself through the discovery process.


  7. February 22, 2010 10:54 am

    Thank you Bill, its quite natural to feel uncomfortable when you come out of the comfort zone, but I guess that’s the thrill of this job, to be able to do just that, and it is a process of self discovery as you pointed out …………..I think that’s why journalists are creatures of passion…………….hence the mutant gene in all of us.

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