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October 22, 2008

Christiane Amanpour at The Women's Conference

There are some seriously powerful women here!  Christiane Amanpour, CNN's Chief International Correspondent is up!  She's starts things off talking about how the things she reports about such as war and famine most directly impact women and children. 

Love how she's talking about Rwanda.  She references how Rwanda is on the cutting edge of improvements for women.  That's good news we don't always hear about that country. 

She tells us how she came from a privileged background, grew up in Iran where her mom showed her there was nothing a woman couldn't do.  But when the revolution came, her world turned upside down.  "But I decided to turn that loss into my driving force."   She decided to become a journalist so she could tell her story and the story of other refugees. 

I have heard so many stories like this because I have many, many Iranian friends who escaped from Iran with nothing and, like Christiane, have "made it" because they want to excel and they wanted to honor the memories of their relatives who did not get out and were imprisoned or executed.

Christiane says about today's journalism that it's, "Long on sensation, short on serious."  But she continues on in the profession because the history of human civilization is built on storytelling.  She sees herself as a storyteller and tells her son that if the storytellers quit, the bad guys will win.

She's convinced that journalists can be a force for good in the world.  "You've seen what happens when journalism fails.  References how in 1994, the Rwandan genocide happened and one million people were slaughtered because journalists failed.  Her second example is how journalists didn't ask the right questions and so the war in Iraq happened. 

Tells us how so much of the world would like to vote in our election, "Because when America sneezes, we catch your cold."  Gosh, that's a good point, isn't it.  SO true! 

The president needs to make it cool again for the world to share America's great ideals and he needs to rescue America's good name.  She notes that it's not popular to say that but polls show that 83% of Americans agree that improving America's standing in the world should be a top policy goal.

She believes that we should not have pre-conditions for talking to places like her homeland, Iran.  She says that more than 50% of university students in Iran are mobilized and 10 years ago the young people voted and put a reformer into the office and it makes a difference.  She says it bewilders her that there are more women elected to higher office in the outside world than there are here in the States.  So she believes it is a good thing in principle to have a woman on the ticket BUT she believes that the professional qualifications of the woman seeking that office matters.  HUGE applause from the crowd. 

"It's not enough just to have a good life story and shoot from the gut!  The stakes are too high!"  I think I've developed a new crush!  I love her! 

"I'm truly alarmed by the citizen journalist!"  She wants expertise.  "We seem to be in the era of the idiot amateur."  Wait, Christiane, are you talking about us?  Why can't there be a place for bloggers too?  We have a voice too, especially us moms! 

She's encouraging us to get out in the world and volunteer in other places.  It will change the way Americans are seen around the world.  "An army of citizens going out to spread a new kind of fire...  Spreading a soft kind of power."  I agree, especially because we women are able to connect on so many common issues, even if we do argue about vaccination and extended breastfeeding like nothing else!

She leaves us with an amazing quote:  "Sitting on the sidelines is so yesterday. Change will come when people decide it's more important to be a citizen than just inhabiting our planet."

This is an original Los Angeles Moms Blog Post.  Liz D. also blogs at Los Angelista.


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