On Free Speech and Common Sense

Photo by Caique Silva on Pexels.com

Twenty-three years ago, I was a fresh graduate who was keen on saving the world from every form of evil and injustice. My armour was my pen, and I was operating within the laudable confines of free speech. I got a job with the local newspaper in my state and embarked on my journey.

I was unmarried then and as free as a bird. My salary was pitiable, but I was still living with my parents, and my bills were practically nonexistent. My dad was a firm believer in free speech with common sense, of course, so he taught me to write and report on issues affecting the ‘average person’ and that I should be upright and fearless. I took his advice and within a few months, I got promotion from roaming the fields looking for ‘breaking news’ to having a desk at the State House of Assembly (our House of Common here in the UK).

I was hungry for news and reported on mundane and boring things like the House Members sponsoring a Bill etc. One day, I was finishing my report when a member of the opposition party approached me, and dropped a paper on my desk.

‘See me at the Press Centre’, he said quietly.

Intrigued, I wanted to know more. As a respectable journalist, I believed in reporting the truth; I have to be impartial.

Later that evening, I met the gentleman, and he handed over some documents that were so hot, I turned bright red. The governor of the state had misappropriated over two hundred and forty-one million naira, (equivalent of almost a hundred million pounds), and although fear ripped through my body, I stuck by my principles and arranged an editorial meeting with my editor. 

My parents were petrified. My mum voiced her concerns for my safety, but I was unperturbed. I was dabbling into the unknown world of mucky politics. My dad tried everything he could to dissuade me from publishing the story, but failed. 

Although my editor was delighted for such a large ‘scoop,’ he was hesitant. However, I stuck to my guns. The public deserved to know the truth about the misappropriation of funds, and we published the story. The effect ripped through the state like a tsunami.

Luckily, I didn’t die through assassination attempts on my life like my dad had feared. After the ruckus died down, my dad was adamant that I should stick to writing articles and novels rather than investigating corrupt government officials. I took his advice, and I was glad I did.

What was I getting at? You may wonder. I believe in free speech but with the emergence of the internet and mobile technology, everyone has become a ‘source’ and misinformation and online bullying has reached a crescendo. People should be responsible online, words are powerful, it can build people up, or it may destroy them.

There are several ways we can change our world, and I think it starts with kindness, which is in short supply nowadays. 

As a journalist, I believe in the power of free speech, but ‘keyboard’ warriors spurting hatred, racism and misogyny abound on social media, and that is disheartening.

The world is changing but if we think before we type anything online, we might be saving a life.

Think about it.

The Human Story

(Firemen tackling the Australian bush fires)

The scene was total and absolute destruction. It’s more like a disaster movie. A BBC reporter claimed on the news today that the acres of land burnt in Australia is akin to fifteen million football pitches. Throughout the Christmas and New Year celebrations, I watched with growing apprehension as Australia burns with such ferocity, it was like the end of the world. And in other parts of the world such as Indonesia, Kenya, and a large swathe of Africa, people were losing their lives in natural disasters such as flooding, landslides, etc.

Thankfully, it has started to rain in Australia, but we’re not out of the woods yet. The worrying climate event around the world forms part of our human story.

 

Climate change is a reality. Temperatures are rising as large sheets of ice in the Arctic continues to melt. And yet, some governments around the world were paying lip service to improve pollution. We are literally killing our home, planet earth. All our bickering, superiority, and worries pale into insignificance if we lose our home. We lose everything.

 

When I compared the drama surrounding the semi-retirement of Prince Harry and his wife, Megan, from active royal duties, to the heartbreaking news of our climate, it was a welcome distraction. Don’t get me wrong; I think the press has unfairly vilified Megan, but she is also human as we all are, but the challenge that is facing us all dwarfs any drama playing out in the Royal family. Or the Middle East, for that matter.

Speaking of the Middle East, I was on my way home in a cab earlier this week when the driver suddenly retorted.

”Solemaini is alive, everything is a conspiracy, President Trump is colluding with the Iranians to increase the price of oil!”

”Well, we can’t be sure,” I muttered nonplussed, and I didn’t know how to react. Then he continued,

‘The world is a stage; there are men in power who control everything that happens in the world.”

”You’re right, but what about climate change?”

”I don’t know about that,” he replied.

His response got me thinking. The average person may have an opinion about every topic and incidents around the world, but Global warming is still not that important. Sir David Attenborough hammered home another warning today, and we need to act now. I genuinely hope our human story will not end in tears because we live in such a beautiful world!

 

 

I’ll touch on other matters now. It’s a bit surreal that while I was busy running around, working, attending hospital appointments, I haven’t updated my website for months, although I feel guilty life’s been, well life. This is my first article in a long while, and I’m sorry if I’m ranting.

I am currently working on a short film, a documentary called ‘Chasing Humans,’ for one of my Master’s degree modules. The film touched on core topics around safety in London. I wrote and directed it, and I’ll keep updating on the progress of the film.

I have missed many awesome articles from my WordPress family. I will visit every one in a couple of weeks after meeting some of my deadlines.

It’s so good to be back. I hope 2020 would be an excellent year for us all.

Much love, always! 🙂

 

Paradise And Inferno

 

To reach paradise, man must pass through inferno. – Bertrand Zobrist” 
― Dan BrownInferno

The past few weeks have been tedious on the world stage. Hurricanes, severe rain, and flood have pummelled vast part of the world. My prayers to every nation of the world going through one turmoil or another.

According to NASA,

”Hurricanes are the most violent storms on Earth. People call these storms by other names, such as typhoons or cyclones, depending on where they occur. The scientific term for all these storms is a tropical cyclone. Only tropical cyclones that form over the Atlantic Ocean or the eastern Pacific Ocean are called “hurricanes.”

Apart from the severe weather, the thought of a nuclear war sends a shiver down my spine, the fact that we have a thoughtless kid in power in North Korea is certainly unnerving! My husband has shrugged it off that it’s not possible, but the threat of a nuclear war at the Korean peninsula is growing with each passing second. I don’t want to be a prophet of doom but it’s increasingly clear that we live in a more dangerous world.

And Yet, most parts of our world are akin to paradise.

We have lakes, stunning landscapes, breath-taking islands with natural outstanding beauty but we also have inferno too. Diseases, wars, and natural disasters are common place which is sadly the way the world works. I sincerely hope everyone caught in Hurricane Irma and Jose will find a safe haven from the rage of Mother Nature. And may there be hope between the rubbles in Mexico as they start rebuilding their lives aftermath the earthquake which devastated the country couple of days ago.

I’m sending prayers to everyone in the Caribbean, the connecting islands, Cuba and the US, I hope everyone in Florida and the surrounding areas will be safe.

May God be with us all.

 

 

A Loud, Noisy World…

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(Photo credit: Flickr)

A loud, noisy world.

Cacophony of sounds

reverberated everywhere.

Hatred danced openly,

while love is in remission.

Wars and rumours

of war danced freely on our streets.

Toddlers were afraid to chuckle.

A little peace, a little love

We Plead.

But instead

We got

Bullet wounds.

Snipers.

Terrorists.

And paedophiles,

Roamed freely.

A loud, Noisy World.

I hope for peace

and pray for love.

Elusive as it is…

I won’t give up!

It seems killings, deaths, wars has become a bit of a pastime in the world now, Kenya‘s mall killings, Pakistani Christians (women and children murdered), the naval base killings in the U.S, Syria‘s on going war, turmoil in Egypt, Philippine‘s rebels. The list is endless. My daughter asked me yesterday, ‘mum, why can’t we have peace in the world?’ I had no answer to her question. She’s just seven, yet, I can’t shield her from the cruelty of our world. The noise is a constant ringing sound… but you know me, I’m a diehard optimist – I still believe we can live in peace, we just need to start acting it. Like that picture, I hopefully long for peace and quietness in our world…

I pray you’ll all have a peaceful week, and please keep safe!

Much love, always!

🙂