Sunday, January 06, 2013

Those pictures

COMMENT - I think the Girls Gone Wild craze has passed Zambia and Malawi by. The average corporate rap video is more revealing than what The Post published. So in a way this is a very charming discussion.

Those pictures
By The Post
Sun 06 Jan. 2013, 14:40 CAT

Since our publication of pictures from Kalingalinga's Mayela Nightclub on December 27, 2012, so many comments have been made. Some have gone all out to attack us, insult us and abuse us in all sorts of ways. It's tempting to throw up one's hands in exasperation. There is an interesting conundrum going on over this issue.

We have carefully listened to everything that has been said. We have truthfully and deeply meditated over this issue without any dogmas and with broadmindedness, listening to everyone, without thinking that we are the owners of the absolute truth, wisdom.

We respect the views that have been expressed on those pictures. But we don't agree with them. Some things need sober and deeper reflection. It's not just a question of being able to condemn or denounce something. This is the easiest thing for anyone to do - there is nothing difficult about denouncing or condemning anything.

We are not a reckless newspaper. We care about our country and our people and we have always defended their rights and freedoms. But we also have a duty to reflect to our people the state of their nation. We are a mirror. If you don't like the image of yourself in the mirror, don't break the mirror. Simply change your image.

The pictures that we had published were not arranged by us, nobody was asked by us to pose for a picture. It wasn't The Sun page 3 type of picture where one is asked to pose and then the newspaper publishes. What we published is the image of what goes on in our public places today.

The young men and women in those pictures come from your homes; they are your sons and daughters. And that's how they behave in public after they leave your homes. They are not sons and daughters of The Post; none of those people is an employee of The Post or a son or daughter of the editors and reporters of The Post. They are your sons and daughters. They come from your homes. They are a product of your own hands.

Our photographers did not enter any private place to take those pictures; they were in a public place, open to everyone. And in that place even under-18s were there.

If you have failed to control your children, to discipline your children, to bring up your children in a certain way, it is certainly not our fault. If you have a problem with those pictures, the solution is not to attack us, to denounce us, to try and discredit us. The solution lies in changing the behaviour of your children. If you have failed to inculcate a certain type of morality in your children, it is not the fault of The Post.

Some have even gone to suggest that we published nude pictures. This is not true. The simple Oxford Dictionary definition of nude is "...not wearing any clothes". Everyone in those pictures was wearing clothes.

This issue is a complex one. And if one is not careful, they can find themselves running in circles, in contradictions and hypocrisy. We see highly dignified people in this country officiating at beauty contests where the competing girls are in bikinis, underpants. We also see respected citizens officiating at contests of bodybuilders wearing only underpants.

And the Zambian media often publishes those pictures. Nobody raises issues. Why?

We have looked at the issue from a legal, political and religious angle. From the legal point of view, we don't think we have violated any law of this country.

If we have violated any law, we ask the authorities to effect an arrest on the editor of The Post and accordingly prosecute him for the offence. From the political angle, of course, there are always people who wait anxiously to find anything they can attack The Post on, and they jumped on this issue in desperation to harangue The Post. We are used to this type of thing. We know there are vultures, hyenas waiting for us to fall and feast on us. Their time hasn't come. They will not make much political capital against us out of those pictures.

And from the religious angle, we have considered the Gospel accounts. And we can clearly see that Jesus' spirituality wasn't one of withdrawal from the world, of moving away from everyday life in order to better serve God, of denying everyday realities. In John 17:15, Jesus asked his Father to keep his disciples from evil without taking them out of the world.

Jesus' entire existence was one of immersion in the ideological conflict, in the arena where different concepts and options for or against the oppressed were discussed. Nor was Jesus' spirituality that of moralism. That is the spirituality of the Pharisees, who turn their moral virtues into a sort of conquest of sanctity.

Many Christians have been trained along these lines and lose strength in their faith because they don't manage to adjust to the pharisaical moralism they seek. God seems to live on the top of a mountain, and spirituality is taught as a manual for mountain climbing to be used by Christians interested in scaling its steep slopes. Since we are of a fragile nature, we begin our climb over and over again - it is the constant repetition of the Sisyphus legend, rolling the stone uphill.

Now, then, one of the best examples of Jesus' non-moralism is the story of his encounter with the Samaritan woman. From the point of view of the morals prevailing in those times, she was an outcast - for being a woman, a Samaritan, and a concubine. It was to that woman, however, that Jesus first revealed the messianic nature of his mission.

And interesting dialogue took place between them: "The woman said to him, 'Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirsty, nor come here to draw.'
"Jesus said to her, 'Go, call your husband, and come here.' The woman answered him, "I have no husband." Jesus said to her, 'You are right in saying, "I have no husband"; for you have had five husbands, and he whom you now have is not your husband; this you said truly."

The woman said to him, "Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. Our fathers worshipped on this mountain; and you say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship." Jesus said to her, "Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father...But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth" (John 4:15-23).

At no time did Jesus recriminate her for having had six men in her life. He was interested in verifying that she was real. She didn't lie, didn't take a pharisaical position; therefore, she was able to adore "in spirit and truth," in a subjective opening to God and in an objective commitment to the truth. Thus, Jesus showed that Christian life wasn't a movement of man toward God; before that, there is God's love directed toward man.

God loves us irremediably. It only remains for us to know if we are more or less open to that love, for every love relationship demands reciprocity and entails absolute freedom. Christian morality, then, doesn't stem from our pharisaical intention of being sinless; it is a consequence of our love relationship with God, as love imposes fidelity in a couple.

There is hypocrisy in this issue. Some of the people who are on record complaining are of very low moral levels. Some of them are people whose sexual conduct is far from what they are trying to portray. Some of them are men and women who undress for very young girls and boys to have sex with them. What morality are they trying to preach?

We have also looked at the way our ancestors used to dress not very long ago. These people would arrest them today if they were to come back and dress the way they used to. Our museums have pictures of how our people used to dress from the early 1900 to the late 1950s. We can publish these pictures and hear what these so-called moralists would say.

Clearly, this is not a simple issue. It is a very complex matter that calls for sober reflection and meditation and not emotional outbursts.
If some people are really obsessed with what is going on, what has been depicted in those pictures, let them swing into action and stop it in our nightclubs and other public places. Trying to nail The Post to the cross over showing them what is going on will not stop that type of conduct.

It is interesting that some of these characters are not even concerned about those who were in the pictures, but they have directed their anger solely at The Post. They are wasting their time and they are not serious people to be taken serious.

If they are serious people, let them go to Kalingalinga every Friday and preach the morality they claim to possess and change things to suit their desires. Stopping the media from informing the nation about the nature of their society will not change what they don't like. The problem is not The Post publishing those pictures. The problem lies with what goes on. If you don't like those pictures, go and change things in Kalingalinga and other places where such things take place.

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At 1:32 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hate this about journalists. They always try to exploit sex and scandal. And the minute they get called out on it, they begin giving silly and childish lectures about free speech.These pictures look like the actions of a peeping tom.


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