I find myself spending 2 days in Brooklyn, New York, guest lecturing at Brooklyn college in the media department. I stand before rooms filled with students, as I have done so often over the past 6+ years, and I speak about being a citizen journalist and why I do what I do/how I do what I do. I spend lots of time telling recent stories from Afghanistan and Siberia, among other adventures. Thankfully I am met by interested, thoughtful, and open minded students, who not only allow me to tell stories and give my sometimes strange opinions, but who also share their own, in the process they unintentionally inspire me to do more of what I’ve been doing.
There is, of course, something wrong about me being a spokesperson for what is going on in Afghanistan. If there’s anything I’ve been very clear about since before my trip began, I am no expert on that country. Yes I am interested. Yes I had excellent friends and acquaintances there who took the time to teach about history, culture, in ways most of those outside the country don’t normally get to learn. Yes I can share my experience and tell a fairly entertaining story, but when I think about those who taught me so much in such a short time, they would be far better suited to do this thing I am doing. To speak about a place that deserves to be spoken about, regarding aspects that usually get cut out of the media reports.
I thought this tonight as I read the words of a good friend and an astute observer working near Kandahar at the moment. In his words I feel the excitement, the rush of adrenaline some reporters call it, as well as the despair for those that suffer and those who die. All of this wrapped up into another day at work story. Though as is so often the case in that part of the world, no day is JUST another day at work.