Find the 5w’s and the H in these two articles and explain how they relate to the film Reporter.

Posted on May 3, 2010


April 30th, 2010

Nicholas Kristof Talks of Oppression of Women Worldwide

Pulitzer Prize winning New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof told a story yesterday afternoon to a packed audience in Statler Hall about two 15-year-old Cambodian girls trapped in the despairing shackles of prostitution. He had spoken to both of them for an article he was working on as a reporter and was struck by the fact that after his article ran, they would return to their lives of physical and emotional abuse.

“I had a great front page story and these girls were going to stay behind and die of AIDS,” he said.

So he made a call to the legal counsel at The New York Times and asked if the newspaper had a policy on purchasing human beings. “It turns out they didn’t!” he said to warm laughter from the audience. He bought the girls’ freedom for a total of $350.

“When you get a receipt for buying a human being, it’s a disgrace on our century,” he said.

Kristof, who was joined on stage by his wife, and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and Cornell Board of Trustees member Sheryl WuDunn ’81, continually walked a narrow line between journalist and activist.

While telling the stories of young women who have endured widespread abuse in third-world nations, they made a heart-tugging plea to end the violence. Their claim that their work to save young girls was “unusual” for journalists was one of many similar statements that defined the unique nature of their jobs.

Kristof and WuDunn’s appearance, part of the the 20th anniversary celebration of the President’s Council for Cornell Women, focused on what they called the century’s most pressing problem — the worldwide oppression of women. This is also the subject of Half the Sky, their bestselling book released last year.

Kristof described the common humanitarian abuses that continue today as “not just a tragedy, but a real opportunity to take squandered assets and turn them into resources for families and communities.”

In order to solve these problems, the columnist outlined four agenda items: ending of human trafficking, lowering maternal mortality rates, using microfinance to help women make their own living, and providing education for all.

Kristof described human trafficking as a “modern form of slavery,” drawing parallels between the two practices while highlighting some ways that human trafficking is more destructive than slavery of the 18th century. While approximately 80,000 slaves were transported per year via the transatlantic slave trade, more than 800,000 people cross international borders annually as a result of human trafficking, Kristof noted. Additionally, victims of the human slave trade today are often more at risk due to their relative disposability.

“One of the things that protected slaves to some degree was their commercial value. They were worth a lot of money,” Kristof said. “Slave owers did not want them to die.”

An 18th century slave would be worth approximately $40,000 today, while a prostitute in a country like India or Pakistan would be worth only a few hundred dollars, according to Kristof.

“That is why brothel owners do gouge out their eyes or kill them,” he said.

Maternal health is another issue high on Kristof’s humanitarian to do list. He said that maternal mortality claims the lives of more than 350,000 women every year in poorer countries, especially in nations where women are marginalized.

Kristof advocated that microfinance and education are two causes that can lead the way in ending gender inequity worldwide.

One of the “major market failures” in poorer countries, Kristof explained, stems from misconceptions about microfinance. “Microfinance is not only about micro-lending,” Kristof said. “One of the crucial elements of it is micro-savings — giving families the capacity to save money.”

While Kristof admitted that there is no “silver bullet in development,” he expounded on how activists today are learning more about the role education plays in global development.

“We’re learning about how managing menstruation is a way to keep girls in school” he said, citing an Oxford University study that found that giving girls pads decreased their school absenteeism by half.

With 30 minutes in the talk remaining, Kristof and WuDunn took their seats on stage, allowing members of the audience to guide the conversation in a question and answer session.

A 16-year-old girl who identified herself as being from Ithaca High School described the oppression she and her friends and family have suffered — a devastating critique on our own culture if we can not help our own citizens to achieve gender equality, she said.

Article number 2
The New York Times
April 10, 2010, 10:05 pm <!– — Updated: 10:05 pm –>Zimbabwe and the Causes of African Poverty

In my Sunday column, I cite Zimbabwe as evidence that Africa’s basic problem has been bad governance. So here’s your chance to weigh in on the larger question of why Africa has been left behind.

Clearly colonialism — and the disastrous colonial borders left behind — have been a problem. Some people think colonialism is the central problem, and it’s certainly true that the lack of investment in human capital, the way roads and railways were just built from the interior to the coasts, the way certain ethnic groups were favored — all these left huge problems behind. But then again look at those countries that were not colonized. Thailand wasn’t colonized, and it’s no better off than Malaysia or Singapore next door. Liberia wasn’t formally colonized, although the immigration of former American slaves and the Firestone plantations were reminiscent of colonialism, and it’s no better off than Ivory Coast or Sierra Leone next door. Ethiopia was only lightly colonized, and it didn’t obviously benefit either from the limited colonial imprint. More broadly, Portugal barely touched areas like the interior of Mozambique, and yet they are no better off than French colonies that underwent a huge French imprint. Indeed, French colonies arguably benefited from the strong legacy of a unifying French language and the ties among Francophone Africa, not least the CFA franc.

Another theory that I allude to is Jared Diamond’s belief that Africa (and Australia) were harmed by the lack of large mammals that could be domesticated and then harnessed in agriculture. It certainly was a huge advantage for Asia and Europe that a livestock culture arose there (along with immunity to disease). But I think Diamond may overdo the intractability of African mammals. Years ago when I read his book “Guns, Germs and Steel,” I was impressed by his arguments about how zebras were untrainable — and then a few days later took my son to the circus, where zebras performed amazing tricks in the center ring. I’ve been skeptical ever since. And while Asian elephants probably are more docile than African elephants, on this trip I spoke to Zimbabwean elephant trainers who insisted that it is easier to train African elephants than Indian elephants.

In any case, it is clear that African countries can register enormous economic growth when they are well-governed. Botswana is a great example of that. Sure, Botswana is helped by its diamonds, but diamonds haven’t done anything for Congo. The difference is that Botswana since independence has had a series of wise, honest rulers, and partly as a result no conflict. What distinguishes the fastest-growing economies in Africa, also including Rwanda, is simply their good governance. And what distinguishes the worst-performing countries tends to be a combination of bad governance and (often related) incessant conflict.

The silver lining is that good governance is as contagious as bad governance. As it becomes evident that African countries can grow rapidly, there is more pressure from within and from outside for more transparent and efficient rule. The time is waning for Robert Mugabe and the other Big Men of Africa. In more countries we’re seeing the rise of smart, honest and efficient technocrats. (In Zimbabwe, Arthur Mutambara is an example of one, and he may well be a future leader of the country after Mugabe is gone.) East Asia went quite quickly from disaster area to a center of global economic dynamism, and it’s not impossible that the same could happen in Africa if it gets the kind of leaders it deserves.

In any case, this is a long aside from my Sunday column on Zimbabwe. Read the column and post your thoughts. Africans and people living in Africa particularly welcome

“We’re not trying to prioritize. We’re just trying to say there are problems around the world that people don’t know about,” WuDunn said. “We are living in a globalized world.”

One questioner asked Kristof how he felt after he purchased the two Cambodian girls out of prostitution, considering that so many other girls in the same circumstances were left behind.

Kristof noted that he was planning to purchase two girls, but one was with a client at the time and he did not want to purchase her until she was done, so he picked an alternate girl he had also spoken with. To this day, he said he wonders what happened to that first girl who was in the wrong place at the wrong time, and therefore did not gain freedom.

“You just have to take reassurance in the changes you can make and the lives you can help even if you’re wary of the lives you can’t help,” he said.

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