UPDATE : I now have the podcast for the Interview with brother Zachariah Matthews
UPDATE: The podcast is of an unedited copy, so I'll have to take it offline for a day or two, apologies for inconvenience.
So last week I was forunate enough to come into contact with two amazing sources of inspiration. The first was Zacharia Matthews . A promiment muslim leader of Sydney's Islamic Community. I had the pleasure of interviewing him for my weekly program (Family and Society الأسرة والمجتمعon qkradio.com.au ). It's always a pleasure to talk to brother Dr Zac Mat. Because unlike the majority of Islamic leaders. He is the coolest brother you could meet. He's always so calm and collected with a wise smile- I can't even imagine him getting angry, and that's the prophetic sunna, isn't it ! Zac Mat's previous work and good relations with the various communties and leaders has given him a credibility amongst his peers. Which I think is why he decided to spearhead the latest Sydney based iniative JMA, Just Media Advocacy. JMA aims to work by establishing long term ties with media organisations and personalities through constant communication, corrections, and negative and positive feedback. Rather than follow CAIR's or the british MAB's example of law suite approach. For reasons relating to principle and logistics. JMA's approach will be civil and will be buit on mutual respect and appreciation.
I asked him about the recent sixty minutes episode that engaged in needless muslim bashing with a dash or empty rhetoric and some balance by humanizing the plight of members of The EDL who are generally friendly racist xenophobic bigots. Zac Mat mentioned that they've been trying to contact the staff of sixty minutes since about two weeks before the show was played on air and untill yesterday (28th March 2011) they were wanting to contact them to ask about the misconceptions peddled at that show and the skewed coverage that seems to be well placed ahead of the nsw elections. If they don't get back to the JMA. The latter will have to go to the government's media watchdog to lodge a formal complaint.
It will be a difficult road ahead for the JMA, in an Australia that is gettng to fear and distrust Muslims and Islam in general. Islam and Muslims have been easy prey for whoever wants a piece. To stand in the way of this tide is couragous and will need all our help. Contact Zac to see how you can help the JMA and the Muslims in Australia (help means cash)
The SECOND source of inspiration is a book, Megan stacks' Every Man in this Village is a liar. An incredible book chronicling the experiences of a war reporter during the first 7 years inside the War or Terror, starting with Afghanistan, then going through to Iraq, Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Lebanon, and Libya. Her descriptions of the absolute ravaging effects of the massive military machines on the multitutdes of unarmed civilians around the middle east is so powerful it makes you sometimes sick to your stomach. Hers is an account of a person so stunned by war, she is almost stunted. Very clear illustrations of peoples and places and yet an almost dreamlike method to her words. A very personal book that delves almost as much into her as it does into her subjects. This is the truth of the war on terror, far away from the clean surgical images the pentagon tried to give of happy children in schools and beardless men and women brandishing long hair and makeup.
In light of the domino effect of the uprisings happening in the arab world. This book gives amazing context into Egypt, Libya and the arab countries that during the last decade saw the educated social media ready masses of the middle and lower class boiling just under the surface. Bottom line ? buy this book !
It's only 245 pages so you should be able to finish it pretty quickly.
Also I'd like to make a special recomendation to my mother in law to read this book, knowing her, I know she would enjoy this book