Sunday, May 15, 2011

Melissa Fung, one-on-one with Peter Mansbridge

Melissa Fund, CBC reporter, was kidnapped and taken hostage by some Taliban in Afghanistan, and held captive for some 28 days in a hole in the earth. She appeared yesterday in an interview with Peter Mansbridge and told her story from the perspective of four years later, and following the writing of her story, a deed she says she would likely not do again if she had the chance.
The pain of returning to the pain, by revisiting the details of her memories, for the purpose of the book, was the hardest for her, even though she was quite conscious that others had suffered much more than she.
"What is the most important thing to take away from the book?" asked Mansbridge. "That nothing is ever black and white, that everything consists in many greys and that is why I so enjoy being a reporter to explore and to discover those greys," Fung replied with some urgency, but certainily no melodrama.
What an irony! A seasoned national, international reporter telling the Senior Correspondent of a national news network that nothing is ever black and white, but a complicated array of greys she delights in pursuing as as reporter.
And yet, most news reporting comes to us as a divide: either the human subject of the news item is a hero (es) or some kind of evil perpetrator.
And yet, Fung came to learn about the human struggles and pain of her captor(s) and when the principal captor was leading her toward her release, he kept apologizing: "I'm so sorry! I'm so sorry! Please don't hate me! Please don't hate me"
To which she reports that she replied, "Of course I do not hate you!"
Her book, Under an Afghan Sky: A Memoir Of Captivity, tells the story of the kidnapping and her reflections. I intend to read it, if for no other reason than I was captivated by her authenticy, her sound judgement and her profound honour as a human being.
Footnote: Mansbridge seemed completely comfortable, and Fung indicated the two of them had talked several times about her experience. The questions flowed as if over a kitchen table, without any hint of the camera. And the audience was privileged to be a silent, inconspicuous "fly on the wall" in a very nearly sacred moment.
Just try to defund CBC, Mr. Harper, and you will find people like me taking to the streets in protest, no matter how ineffectual those protests. Here is one institution you need to keep the government's hands off, and even increase the government's support for the work it is doing. And if you don't believe me, try watching the Mansbridge interview with Melissa Fung, and then re-think your stubborn and despicable bias against this proud national institution.

1 comment:

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