Once our commander in chief has been chosen, media coverage of politics will undoubtedly continue, with pundits scrutinizing every last presidential detail en route to the January inauguration. But once we’ve had our fill of White House fodder, what will we shift our focus to? There are many worthy subjects in need of media attention. Here are a few options:
Africa’s Humanitarian Crises
Darfur has become a popular celebrity cause, but according to New York Times journalist Nicholas D. Kristof, world leaders are still too slow to respond to strife in the war-torn region—most recently, the late October attack on a refugee camp in North Darfur.
In Somalia, violent clashes involving Ethiopia and sectors of the Islamic Courts Union have reached a boiling point. Clouded in religion and politics, the conflicts are decades old, but now have distinctly anti-American undertones. Late last month, a typically peaceful area of northern Somalia was hit by five suicide bomb attacks within 15 minutes. Blame fell on a group with possible al-Qaida affiliations.
Piecing Together the Economy
Whether we blame Fannie and Freddie, Wall St., Reaganomics, President Bush or Alan Greenspan for the economic downward spiral, the bottom line is that it must be fixed. To Steven R. Weisman of The New Republic, “This has been the Great Incomprehensible Recession of 2008. Incomprehensibility was at the root of the problem, and it is at the root of our difficulty getting out of it.”
Bolstering Environmental Awareness
Will environmental policies fall by the wayside in the wake of economic hard times? In Europe, the global financial crisis has already threatened “plans to slash greenhouse gas emissions” in Germany and Italy. But French president Nicolas Sarkozy is pushing the EU to maintain “the fundamental framework” of its environmental policies, despite the burden it could infringe on companies, reports Agence France-Presse.
Islam is often a central issue in African and Middle Eastern conflicts, and many Americans are uninformed on the subject. Without a basic understanding of the complex religion, how are we to establish progressive diplomatic relationships with Muslim countries, and with practicing Muslims at home? Mahnaz Shabbir, a second-generation American Muslim woman, raised the issue of the media’s portrayal of Muslims in a talk at Kansas State University last month, and emphasized the cruciality of education. “Knowing about other people and other religions starts with how you’re taught,” she said.