Missing Pieces and Western Press

Banksy- Cameraman and flower; Park City, Utah, 2010

Banksy ~ Cameraman and Flower                       Park City, Utah, 2010

2. “The journey of a researcher” does not follow a simple path. Select a quote from the preface or introduction, which considers the author’s journey, starting questions, or identification. Explain why the quote is significant.

"But are we missing pieces?" is the question Segall poses in response to news segments about mass protests and democratic transition (Segall, xv). While a simple question, it holds great significance to Performing Democracy in Iraq and South America because it is the driving force behind the book. This question was one Segall's starting questions that led to her deep investigation of performing democracy. Striving to fill in the missing pieces, because there are missing pieces, is the goal of the book, so the question of "are we missing pieces?" is the starting point for the rest of the book.

This question calls to the little voice in the back of many people's minds that wonders if we are getting all the information, and knows deep down that there are gaps. Blatantly stating "are we missing pieces?" pulls the reader in by drawing on their doubts about the reliability of the news and invites the reader to expand their worldview. A person's cultural background shapes their perception of reality, creating a jigsaw puzzle that is some missing pieces. This question asks us to step outside of our comfort zone and look at the world from another angle, which gives us an entirely different set of puzzle pieces. It engages the reader and draws them into a larger world. Just as this question was the basis for the author's journey, it also is the beginning of the reader's.

1. Preface: What stories had been "largely forgotten" by the western press, in this example? How do the highlights of the western press influence a sense of global memory/forgetting?

The majority of the stories about Kurdistan have been "largely forgotten" by the western press. The articles that were published about the area only focused on the Turkish war against the Kurds, so the news that the western press presented did not even focus on their side of the story. In the West, "no headlines about the young democracy appeared," and because Kurdistan was not recognized by Western politicians, the area became "nationless" (Segall, xi). No mention of the chemical weapons used in the Anfal, or ethnic cleansing, appeared either. The stories of Kurdistan have been almost entirely forgotten by the western press.

People often assume that the western press reports on all the "important" or "major" issues in the world, so the focus of the press has tremendous influence over global memory. The issues they highlight are immortalized, while the issues they don't report on or don't place emphasis on are forgotten. Additionally, only one perspective is often the focus of the press's attention so the other side's story is forgotten. Nowadays, the saying 'the winners write history' could be rewritten to 'the western press writes history.' Oversimplification is also a major problem in the news and impacts global memory as generalizations are remembered and the intricacies of the situation are forgotten. The highlights of the western press influence global memory, or memory loss, as people only focus on the issues and opinions that it presents.

Julie Bowers

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