It has been more years than I want to count since I’ve had to cover a hard core story as a journalist, yet I still watch four news channels at the same time and scour numerous websites each morning for the headlines. This week I have watched, along with the rest of the world, as Cairo exploded.
When the Sandinistas staged a revolution in Nicaragua, I wanted to grab a flight and head there with my cameraman. Remember, Pat? When the Berlin Wall fell, I made sure I was there on the night of their first free elections. I have seen bullets fly overhead (and that was just in Harlem); yet I have never wanted to travel to the Middle East. As an American, as a journalist, we walk with targets on our backs. The extremists who stage these revolutions don’t understand the power of a free press in getting their message out. They have mainly been exposed to a censored media acting as a mouthpiece of the repressive regime they try to overthrow. I understand that but to expect them to understand our freedoms may be asking too much too soon.
What is happening, however, is an explosion of frustration on a global scale unlike any other in recent memory. People are unemployed and underemployed. The disparity between poverty and wealth is greater than ever. Families struggle to keep a roof over their heads and food on the tables. There is a tremendous lack of confidence in political leaders. There seems to be no sense of an improving economic situation on the horizon. Frustration festers as pundits spout baseless opinions of economic recovery. This is what they fight for in Cairo? No, this is what is happening in these very United States.
We have more in common with the Egyptians than many of us realize. They do not want us there, as we would not want them here to solve our problems. Perhaps the U.S. should focus on its own crisis and stop bailing out countries who don’t want our help anyway.
As a journalist, I’ve lost my hunger to place my life on the line for a job any longer. I don’t understand how many of my former colleagues, the anchors, the correspondents who are mothers place their lives on the line to cover a story. No headline should come before your child’s future but that’s just me. I am perfectly happy now as a travel consultant, covering stories about the Amalfi Coast and exotic ports o’ call. Call me crazy!