Listening Closely – news from “the ground”

On July 9th, toward the end of a conference call about building a Peacemakers’ Network, Chencho told us that he was just back from Honduras – where a military-led coup had ousted President Jose Manuel Zelaya 11 days before.

Having read passing coverage of the event and analysis of its causes, we were unfamiliar with the story Chencho told: that half a million protesters organized by 36 civil society organizations were marching; that priests and teachers feared a return to the times of the guerrilla wars and regional instability; that accusations of a power grab were not only false, but also illogical in light of the referendum and election timelines. Chencho concluded by stating simply: “if the voice of the people can be heard, it would better the situation in Honduras.”

Scouring the news, it was only the next day that I could find even one “mainstream” article, in the Washington Post, that echoed the information that Chencho shared from “the ground.” The title of the article directly spoke to our Peacemaker’s concern: “In Honduras, One-Sided News of Crisis.”

The assertion that half the story has been neglected, and at times actively silenced, was repeated yesterday by CNN. But, to be blunt, it took a while. Once again, I find myself confronted with the fact that the top journalists don’t always have all the answers – sometimes we have to listen closely to less prominent sources.