When I'm reading a news story about Iraq, I always wonder what the heck the normal people there are experiencing and I wish they knew that I, and everyone I know, don't mean them harm. I'm thinking of the people who own the stores, who live in the houses, who argue passionately about religion and politics, and who at the end of the day just want to be able to go to the market or to school without feeling terrified. What's their story? Why does it seem missing from the rest of the news? I start to wonder if the only way to know is to go to Baghdad and find out.
Then I think of car bombs, kidnappings, and beheadings, and I feel terrified. Even reporters with whole news organizations behind them aren't getting many of those stories out. Those stories must be impossible to get! Those people must be impossible to interview!
But an amazing thing has been happening to me since the start of HumanKind. Almost as soon as I write off something as impossible, I hear that someone is doing it. "Hometown Baghdad" is a web-based TV show that follows three Iraqi young men -- Adel, Ahmed and Saif -- through daily life during some of the worst of the violence. A production company in New York City called Chat the Planet has been editing and airing the footage, filmed by Iraqis, and hundreds of thousands of people have been watching it online and now consider themselves to have three Iraqi friends. The series premiered in March 2007 with the matter-of-fact "Brains On Campus" and the last episode went live in June. I was going to write some of my favorites in here, but there are too many. You'll just have to find your own.
Those 38 episodes do something I thought wasn't possible. They tell the stories of a few everyday young men who are another part part of the story of Iraq, right up there with the violence and politics. They push the possibilities of of connecting with the lives of people like us, but not, living in Baghdad, not here, experiencing this war in a much different way than we are.
So, if these impossible stories really are possible to tell, what other stories can be told? What people in the world or in your own region are you wondering about? Is it possible that someone has already started to tell the story, and that you just have to find it? Is it possible that you are telling the story? Or that you could?
Here's something else on the global media front to look forward to. Check out Pangea Day. Isn't it exciting? We'll be writing more about this. In the meantime, I'm spending just 5% more time on stories about people I don't know in countries I haven't been to just to build up my global citizen muscles. Here's a link to Link-TV, a place for news you don't get, stories you haven't heard yet, people you haven't met yet, but who are a part of humankind. Do you have other sources of global connection? Let us know.
[Ed. note: This story was written by Liz, but hijacked and posted by Chris. We're versatile around here.]