I am a journalist. I had to choose what to “be” at an early age (16-17 years old), and I was deeply impressed by the work of Sebastião Salgado, a brazilian photographer who documented the civil war in Rwanda in the 90s.
I am talking about it here, although it is a “yoga blog” because although I do love yoga, and meditation and healing, and this has become my life, there are so much more in my life I would love to include here, because they are all part of me too. I also love design thinking, traveling, communication, languages, and so much more, and if you are a follower of this blog, you are probably going to see more of those subjects here too (I hope you dont mind!).
Anyway, the work by Sebastião Salgado deeply impressed me. The amount of brutality in that war was beyond anything my young self had never seen. People there used huge knifes to kill. And the pictures portrayed all the horror of the war. Later, Salgado got very ill, because all the awful things he saw.
I decided I would also be a war reporter, and would show the world the atrocities of war, so that we could mobilize the world in order to promote peace. I thought that by mobilizing we could join forces in order to make peace prevail.
It didnt take much time for me to realize that I didnt want to go to war. It was too dangerous, too risky and, probably it wasnt the best way to fight for peace. So many times I regreted and thought if I was being a coward. But as I got older, I realized I wanted other things in life, like marriage, kids, a normal routine, stability and so on, and going to war wasnt really the best way to invest in these things.
Sebastião Salgado, Arundhaty Roy, Gandhi, Mandela, all inspirational people to me, all brave hearts. So may times I wonder: “Am I a coward?” “Am I hiding from life?” “Am I pretending to live?”
I dont think so. There is more that I can do than to be a journalist. I am a good journalist, I know I am. I have this sensibility, that, for me, is the most important thing you must have to be a journalist — or anything else!
I love communication and I believe we all have the right to have a voice, and to have the space to speak our truth, and to be validated, and honored.
Journalists do this. They give voice to people who dont have it. People in jails, homeless people, prostitutes, people who are considered to be at the margins of society. You dont “see” them in the media. They are known as “invisible” people. They are portrayed as the mainstream want to, as stereotypical carachters that have little to do with reality.
What I, as a journalist, can do is to give the person space, a safe space to express himself, or herself. So, a good journalist, in my opinion, dont have to speak much. Rather, we listen. We give the power, the space, the oportunity for the other to open up, to express freely. And to be heard.
When this happens is beautiful, its truly magical. I worked as a reporter for such a little time, but have interviewd so many people. When you make a question, and the person begins to speak, there is something sacred about it. Sometimes, it feels almost like a confession. All people I interviewed always took so seriously what they would say, even if they were speaking to such a young girl.
I soon understood the power I had in my hands, and I confess that I felt afraid.
“What if I cant handle it?”
Well, I think I could, and I can. But I looked for other areas to work with, areas with less intensity, and here, I think I was a little coward, but not too much.
My love for journalism will be always with me, in my veins, and I will never stop writing.
What about you, do you love what you do?