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Peace and Ghostly Matters
an article by Carrie Gillespie

I recently read a book called "Ghostly Matters" by an author named Avery Gordon. She does not speak of ghosts in a supernatural sense, but rather in a political and sociological sense. She defines ghosts as those who are pushed aside, ignored, oppressed or abused by the dominant power within a society. They must constantly struggle to be seen and heard. Gordon is referring to a long tradition in the West, where only the "winning" side gets to write history. The slaves, immigrants, the colonized, the poor. . .they all become "ghosts." They are denied the right to tell their own stories, or to write their own history.

Gordon has attempted to make these "ghosts" visible, through the creation of a cultural and intellectual discourse by and for the oppressed. She is not trying to assimilate them into the society that has rejected them, but is rather attempting to make them visible to each other, in order to create a dialogue that fosters unity across cultural, economic, and religious boundaries.

In Gordon's description of "ghostly matters" I found many parallels to the peace movement of today. Despite weekly protests, vigils, and various other actions, the mainstream media gives the impression that there is virtually no relevant peace movement in the United States. So perhaps it is time to make our own news. Those working for peace today cannot wait for FOX and CNN to tell their story. We must continue to tell stories, make art and music, protest, organize, and most importantly, to listen to each other. This is not to say that power should not be confronted, or that the media should be allowed to decide what is or is not newsworthy. But if we seek to understand oureselves and the struggles of others, we can begin to represent ourselves, rather than relying on others to write history for us.


Question(s) related to this article:

How can you participate in media reform?,

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Readers' comments are invited on this topic and report.  This topic relates to two reports: Media That Matters; and Youth Television Creates Peace.

This report was posted on October 31, 2006.