I recently had the privilege of meeting Afghanistan’s Ryan Seacrest, Daoud Seddiqi, and watching the documentary, Afghan Star. Daoud is the host of the show on Tolo TV, an independent television station in Afghanistan. From 1996 to 2001 music was illegal in Afghanistan. Watching TV and dancing were illegal. You can imagine the death threats and danger the contestants on Afghanistan’s version of American Idol faced (and the women especially still do).
One third of the country watched the finale of Afghan Star and voted for the multiple ethnicities up for the top prize. It was a fulfilling democratic experience for them.
Daoud says that he is a Muslim but these guys who say music is banned are just using this made up rule as a way to control others and grab power where they can. For 1000 years before the Taliban, Afghanistan was Muslim and music was okay. There is a tradition of music in Islamic societies. Countries like Egypt and Saudi Arabia don’t know what the Taliban is talking about. The key to change is young people. Afghanistan is a young society. The key is media. None gets through in very controlled areas of the country.
So the Haredim I referred to in my July column are right? Even if they are, I say you shouldn’t be afraid that your way of life won’t stand up to outside influences.
More importantly, this is an important reminder of the power of the media to build democracy in a time where it is struggling to survive. As I note in my July column, we should use the media to learn about our differences and then learn how to be together.
More articles on the future of the Jewish press….
Jerusalem Post (Correction: The AJPA conference was down only 30% from last year’s level, and that conference had an all-time-high attendance level).
An ‘ever-dying’ medium by Andrew Silow-Carroll, New Jersey Jewish News Editor-in-Chief
We are back from Chicago! Whitney’s memorial service was a fitting tribute, especially in that we got to hang with her Mom, Vicki and stepdad, Mort. Their generous spirits are a testament to why Whitney was/is the beautiful soul she was/is. I guess I’m a grown up because I’ve now given my first eulogy. Whitney’s Eulogy I had no idea until we got there that I was going to be the only one to speak. Sometimes it is hard to know if the way I see something is the way everyone else does. The murmurs of agreement let me know that I was voicing what others felt too. Whitney had her “Tasha” file of memorabilia, and I’ve got my “Whitney” file now. I was so grateful to Vicki for bringing some of these items, including birthday cards written enthusiastically but never sent and her original ticket stub from when we went to the very first Lilith Fair! It was so hard for her to navigate that night the way she felt, but she did it, with our help, and it remains one of my best memories with my girlfriends at that time. I may have turned down that expensive ticket to the last Dead show, but I was at the first Lilith Fair! lol…
The AJPA Conference is over. It was a terrific program that I truly believe will assist Jewish journalism in moving forward to the future. I was also happy that the Washington Jewish Week on display was the one with my most recent column about Israel and the “peace” process. June 2009 Column
Avital had a great time in “the old country” of Chicago and was even inspired to learn to crawl, wave and high-five during the week. Ask the AJPA attendees, that girl can work a room! I appreciated the charm when she would cry on the plane, then stand up and wave and giggle at the audience behind her. We’d put her down and she’d cry again, lift her up to see her audience, and she’d wave and smile at them again. She is a Kosher Ham! Forget, Slash, “Kosher Ham” is her new nickhame.
I’ve felt way too much pressure in starting this blog. What’s important enough for the first topic? Leon Wieseltier recently said something funny about blogging and the ridiculousness of journalists, or anyone else for that matter, thinking that our initial thoughts and unedited musings are suddenly brilliant because its now called something (“blogging”) rather than simply being considered a first draft. That’s a mix of his and my thoughts… but his entire keynote presentation to the American Jewish Press Association was brilliantly quotable. It also caused me to think to so much that now my thoughts and his are intermingled. So Leon, forgive me for any distortion.
Speaking of brilliant writers, I just spent three wonderful days at the Washington DCJCC Writer’s Workshop. The usual inspiring teachers were back. Faye Moskowitz, Michelle Brafman and Miriam Morsel Nathan.
Besides the renewed creative energy and ideas, I also got to see a friend I made at the Hazon Food Conference last year. I remembered when I got there that I had met a girl named Netts. Her husband helps to run the organic farm at Pearlstone. Last year the Hazon Food Conference was at another beautiful retreat center. Isabella Freedman in Connecticut. This year it will be in Monterey, CA over xmas. I am hoping to return – although not have to watch a goat slaughter this time. It was good for three newspaper covers…but was it worth it? Jury is still out!
This week Jews observed Tisha B’Av, a day of mourning for the destruction of the Temple. It may be hard to relate to animal sacrifices in an ancient temple, but its easy to mourn the loss of a center of a community and a nation.
What about our own center? We know most of us won’t get a three week European summer vacation, where we can truly unwind. Quick weekends away are becoming almost pointless because it takes a day just to recover from the stress of air travel and power-hungry TSA morons.
Try one day an hour from the city to re-discover the possibilities of your brain, your spirit and your life. Then find a way to incorporate that into your life every day for 10 minutes. We all waste ten minutes. Whatever your passion is – whatever you like to do – even if that’s just to THINK about what you want to think about – not what your boss wants you to – give it ten minutes a day. Then build to ten minutes twice per day. Close your eyes and let inspiration come to you. If we don’t allow our minds to wander, they will never discover anything.