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VOF Week 4: Healing, Peace and being Whole again

During the last few weeks, I’ve been reading the posts of others on Pulse Wire and I’m pretty amazed at the diverse views, beliefs, values and goals that are expressed. This is precisely why I first visited Pulse Wire, and then stayed on!

As a Christian who believes that God created me for a purpose, and that I need to live out my life according to his values, my personal vision is pretty clear: it is to serve Him. But over the years, he’s led me into a ministry called Kithu Sevana (meaning, Under the Shadow of Christ) where I volunteer my time to work with children, and now, increasingly, women.

As I look at Sri Lanka, it’s a pretty despairing view. We’re surrounded by violence, whether perpetrated by our government, terrorists, or other political groups that have replaced democracy with thuggery, violent intimidation and arbitrary killings. This violence has spilled over to every aspect of social life in Sri Lanka. It has affected the most vulnerable in our communities: children, women, older people. You may question why I lump women together with children and older people, and the unfortunate reality in our social structure is that women, especially those who are not financially or socially independent, are entirely dependent on the men in their lives.

The Kithu Sevana ministry works with both children and women who are affected by violence and abuse, and as I work with them, my vision is to see meaningful healing in their lives. My vision for Sri Lankan communities as a whole is to have peace and healing replace the hatred and bitterness that has embittered and trapped our people for far too long. And for the world? Oh boy, I honestly haven’t got that far yet – I figure I’ve got my work cut out with simply working on Sri Lanka’s problems!

I registered for the VOF by accident, and only thought through things when a reminder was sent in early March asking me to confirm that I really did want to be part of this process. Hardly puts me in a positive light, does it?! I was drawn to VOF through a link sent by a friend who knew that I have been looking for online communities that dealt with women’s issues. Sometimes, when you’re stretched for time, inundated with needs and pressures, the last thing you can think of is resources to guide you, voices to sustain you.

And that’s what I see World Pulse as being – a resource. And, as a correspondent, I would like to have the opportunity to be a resource by sharing my experiences and learnings. As a Journalist, I have always tried to do what an old-hand at the business once told me when I started out: your job is to hold up a mirror to society, to the situation or issue you are covering. And going through some of the online articles in World Pulse (I’ve never come across a print version yet!), I realised that I can hold up a mirror to the realities that I come across every day, replay the voices of women, teenage girls and young children whose stories I listen to every week.

Sometimes I find that women write with too much emotion, and too little objectivity or analysis, especially when they write on a subject or issue that’s close to their heart. I’ve come across that in some of the articles in World Pulse, but I’ve been heartened to find that there are also writers who are able to communicate on issues, sometimes on a deeply emotional level, while still retaining a voice that is objective, unbiased and forward-looking. I would like to be one such voice. And I would like to listen to other voices, because the vision before me requires much learning and listening before action.

Comments

misscarly's picture

VOF Week 4 Assignment

Dear Manori,

I had the privilege of reading your final essay for Voices of the Future. Your writing is very clear, your thoughts well presented, in short a pleasure to read!

Your work with Kithu Sevana sounds amazing and you are among individuals who perhaps need a mirror in their midst, to project their stories and experiences to the world so that we can learn and share hope, a listening ear and practical solutions.

I completely agree with your perspective of the role of the journalist and also with your opinion of how to best do that as a woman. As women we cannot abandon our femininity while writing, and we should not want to. But the balance of emotions and reason needs to be there. You have a very good perspective that I admire. I wish you luck and look forward to reading your future writing!

with kindness,
Carly

Manori's picture

Thanks!

Thanks Carly for your encouraging words.

I'm often the outsider in many "feminist" or women's advocacy groups, as I keep asking women to stop being so caught up in the baggage of being a woman and the whole gender bandwagon, and simply focus on being more human, to give greater depth to being a "person". I'm very wary of women's rights forums and groups as a result, but I've been so encouraged by meeting other women on VOF who share the same frustrations.

Look forward to hearing from you and being your friend on Pulse!

Manori

Gemma's picture

Assignment 4

Manori:

Your post was very well written and honest. I learned a bit about you and your goals, the state of affairs in Sri Lanka and your objectives for being a correspondent. I am not a journalist and therefore am still contemplating your thought that your role is to hold a mirror to society. I find that idea compelling but wonder if it encompasses all that a journalist strives to do.

I agree with you that emotional writing that lacks objectivity and analysis may be difficult for the reader, but it does sometimes serve a purpose for the writer. As an attorney, I write highly analytical pieces. Often my objective is simply to educate the reader. Other times, I must advocate for my position. In an advocacy piece, I sometimes pour emotion into it to influence the reader. I wrote a piece recently advocating for the preservation of funds for a program that attempts to attract girls into the field of engineering. There is factual information that would be useful to support this position but for me, the piece needed to be all emotion. I wanted my audience to think about their daughters and grand daughters when reading it and decided that a decision from the heart would help me more than statistics and analysis.

In addition to practicing law, I also work with young women who use the written word to express themselves and often the raw emotion that comes to the page is extremely powerful for both the reader and the writer. There have been highly emotional pieces that are provocative and objective pieces that put me to sleep. I share this with you because I believe it is important to be open to individual expression and tolerant of how women express themselves in these online communities. Even though I am highly educated and very successful in my work, I have never met a human being who has not been able to teach me something. As women around the globe connect through this and other communities, we must embrace each individual and the unique voice they bring to the conversation.

Gemma

Manori's picture

Kaleidoscope

Hi Gemma

Thanks very much for sharing your views. I take on board everything you say!

I honestly didnt mean to imply that women should write un-emotionally. We need a Kaleidoscope of writings to bring out the true colours and vibrancy that all of us have. And i have come to appreciate the different styles of writing on Pulse which has opened my mind to issues.

Writing can be cathartic and healing, as you say. And its often a very emotional experience too. I look forward to reading more about your work with the young women, and how writing helps in our emotional healing. But i was referring to media products, and articles meant for a general audience in my article for week 4.

I guess my gripe comes from an experience last year when i was trying to find material written on the "healing for damaged emotions" of physically and sexually abused women & young girls in india. I figured that the Indian experience would be closest to our own experiences in Sri Lanka, and did extensive publication and online research. But i kept coming across very activist-style, emotionally-charged and sensationalised articles on the subject, which truly frustrated me. There are many facets to any issue, and i was so disheartened by finding the articles often biased in favour of only one facet.

I think thats when i realised the truth in what i had been told about holding up a mirror to society or to an issue. A journalist who allows one perspective to cloud out all others, in writing on an issue, will produce a opinion-piece or personal column, not a journalistic article. Because i believe that journalists are meant to report, to inform - and allow the reader or viewer to decide for themselves.

Coming back to my own research, i've now surmised that i'll have to gather the different factors and put it together for myself, rather than have it presented to me in one book or article!

I look forward to reading some of your writings - and to learning from you and others in this community at Pulse.

Manori

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