Do You Know This Woman?

I’d like to shake things up a bit here at Wilson’s Words and Pictures and begin a series about writers, journalists and photographers who deserve to be highlighted and honored for their good – no, let’s say great – works in the world.

Mainstream news agencies in the United States seem to focus almost exclusively on news coverage  within the United States.  International news is incomplete at best.  In many ways news reporting is extremely isolationist and resembles a mirroring of itself back to itself – an endless feedback loop perpetuated by the big business of the media industry.  And during election time it only gets worse.

I’d like to do my part and focus on the news media heroes that are Truth Tellers.  And many of them literally live by the motto:  The truth will set you free and it may even get you killed.  Because when you learn the truth of something hideous you have two options: 1. Look at it square in the eye and do something about it, or 2. Look the other way and forget you ever saw it.

Of course, there are injustices in the United States, also, and many good news smiths are getting the investigative word out in this country.  Injustice and corruption do not happen somewhere out there – they are everywhere.  So any place and anybody is fair game for my series.  But enough with the introductions.

Lydia Cacho

Lydia Cacho is the woman. And if you haven’t heard of her I’d like to introduce her to you – a Mexican journalist who uncovered a child prostitution ring among the high levels of government in the fantasy resort land of Cancun. She wrote a book about it, Demons of Eden, and quickly found herself harrased by the implicated multimillionaire businessman, Succar Kuri, and Puebla governor, Mario Marin. The harrassment escalated to her nearly being killed, and she was rescued in the nick of time when her would be assassin received a call stating that she her story was breaking news.

Cacho Seeks Justice for Women and Children

When asked byMother Jones how she came to cover such issues as a journalist, she replied that she was raised a feminist by her mother and she always sees things through this lens of perception.  Which, according to Cacho, the male dominated journalistic world does not take seriously, because her reporting and stories are relegated to the area of “women’s issues.”

Cacho is president of the Center for Women’s Assistance, an agency that helps victims of domestic violence and gender discrimination.  Cacho also founded and directs the Refuge Center for Abused Women of Cancun.

She recently received Amnesty International’s Ginetta Sagan Award for Women and Children’s Rights.

According to the 2006 study by Reporters Without Borders, after Iraq, Mexico comes in second as the country most hostile to journalists.

If there is any journalist, writer, or photographer who you would like me to highlight in this ongoing series please let me know.  I’d be glad to accommodate your request.


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28 thoughts on “Do You Know This Woman?”

  1. Ellen, I love the idea behind this series – what a great way to introduce us to some people who have really made a difference. I’ve never heard of Lydia Cacho – thanks for the introduction. She sounds like quite a woman!

    I like the new look here too!

    Lances last blog post..The Impact We Have On Others

  2. Hi Ellen – have you had a redesign? Things look different round here.

    This sounds like it’s going to be an amazing series. I really admire this type of journalist. As you said, they’re often risking their lives but they bring some of these hidden injustices to the attention of the world.

    I’m really looking forward to reading more from your series.

    Cath Lawsons last blog post..Grilled Frog On Toast Anyone?

  3. @Vered – I picked up my copy of Amnesty International’s newletter and there she was. I had never heard of her either, but I thought, I need to write about this woman.

    @Tom – One of the reasons I read indie news services is because of the bias in the news here in the US. I’m glad I can shed some light on some great people who might get a tiny headline at best.

    @Lance – Thanks for the support. I think this will be an interesting and educational project. From the comments I’m receiving I think I can really help promote these kind of issues that need examining and the people who have made it possible.

    @Cath – Yes, I redesigned the site this past weekend. I really like it so far.

    I really admire journalists like Lydia Cacho, too – putting her life on the line so this kind of disgusting thing can be brought to life and hopefully stopped.

    @Harmony – My next stop will be the email!

  4. Ellen,

    I am really excited about this series. I had no idea about her and love to learn about woman ( and men) who make a positive difference in our world. SO often our news is so negative that I just don’t want to hear it anymore.

    By the way, your site does look great!

    Wendi Kellys last blog post..Dirty Dishes in the Sink

  5. Ellen, I am very excited about this series! I agree the US media has become a perpetual loop of sameness. I never hear about world issues from my own media but must turn to independent sources. In fact, many of our own issues are never reported by the mainstream media. I am so thankful you spotlighted Lydia Cacho and look forward to reading and learning about others. There are many, many reporters who tell the truth and put their lives at risk in doing so. I like the site changes too!

    Karen Swims last blog post..Hurricane Life

  6. It’s so sad and yet so necessary to read about things like child prostitution rings. And it’s amazing how brave Lydia Cacho has to be to have uncovered and brought to light something where so many rich and powerful men are involved. This series sounds great Ellen.

    Marelisas last blog post..Success – On Your Own Terms

  7. @Kim – We don’t hear enough about the heroes that should be mentioned. Totally agree. And I was going to check back to see if you had come up with an answer. Thanks!

    @Wendi – Hey, I’m glad your excited. I get more excited when I see others are excited! I agree with you about the news. Much of it is so negative. Good things happen in the world too. Glad you like my new template.

    @Karen – It is so sad that our US media is becoming no more than a grab bag of junky journalism. I can’t really pick on the journalists per se, because they write what they have to for the papers (businesses) they have to work for. What else can we do but turn to independents news sources?

    @Marelisa – It is said reading about this stuff. Child prostitution and the sex trade in general are big business. It’s amazing how much money is spent on it. What if all the money spent on the sex trade was used to end hunger? I think we could wipe it out!

    Lydia Cacho is an amazing woman. She recognizes that her life is in danger but she does what she has to do.

  8. Bring this series on! The Lion and I, even just being raised in two different provinces within the same country, find a huge difference in our knowledge. He’ll talk about some big flood that happened 10 years ago that EVERYONE knows about, and I’ll just look at him blankly. But then I’ll mention the devasting tornado that ripped through southern Ontario he’ll look at me blankly. We all just look at our own little piece of pie.

    Urban Panthers last blog post..Half light

  9. [Dang it… my long comment just vanished with the wrong button pushed!]

    What I was saying…

    Honorable spotlight here.

    Doing the right thing is usually a risky thing to do and takes much courage. It is great for the rest of us to support those people who have risked their lives, especially in the name of children, animals, nature, and other innocent and defenseless.

    For good real unfettered news, Independent Media Center is a great (yet unattractive) source:

    Jaden @ Screenwriting for Hollywoods last blog post..Sunday Picture Post 28

  10. @Urban Elizabeth – Oh, you hit the nail upon the head! How can we become global when we live in these insulated societies where we don’t know what’s happening elsewhere? Who controls the media and information outlets controls society. And in the US it’s big business.

    @Jaden – I think you’re using the mind probe on me now, anticipating what I’m going to write on next! Thanks for that link. We need to spread the NEWS.

    @Amy and Bunny – I wish there were more Lydia Cachos in the world. These kind of people give me strength.

  11. @Ellen

    You make a good point of the big businesses controlling the media.

    20 years ago, people didn’t have much choice about what news was made available to them. There were only so many TV channels, and so many papers at the news stand.

    But with the Internet today, and all the on-line newspapers, news sites, and live feeds, and blogging, the information is out there, and available for people who want to make the effort to find it.

    I think it’s gotten to the point that we can’t just blame the mainstream media anymore.

    If we’re uninformed, we’re also partly to blame.

    Friars last blog post..Motivating Yourself with More Inspirational Quotes

  12. Thanks for opening my eyes to Lydia Chaco and her story. I think her book will be an interesting read. She certainly has courage.

    I look forward to learning more from this important series. Great idea, Ellen!

  13. Hi Ellen,

    The media is a scary thing. On the one hand, we have no real clue about what is happening on the other side of the world unless it involves a volcano or a bombing or Paris Hilton. On the other hand, we know *too much* about what is happening in other parts of the country or world.

    For example, we used to roam the streets when I was a kid. Get kicked out of the house and told to come back at supper time. Ride our bikes helmetless, hang out in old quarries or condemned buildings, and rummage for beer bottles to get arcade money.

    But now you hear about a kidnapping or a shooting at a school 4,000 miles away and you’re paranoid that your own kid is next.

    Yes, perhaps our children today are slightly less likely to be whisked away because we have our eyes on them 24/7. But at what cost? How will they be prepared for the world around them when it is finally time to send them on their merry way?

    But back on topic… If you are looking for other possible subjects, there are two who have been kidnapped in Somalia: Canadian freelance journalist Amanda Lindhout and Australian photojournalist Nigel Brennan.

    Great idea for a series, btw. Most of us really don’t know what it takes to dig out the “big” stories in dangerous countries such as these. It takes a lot of courage to do what they do.


  14. @Friar – Most people believe that the news sources are completely objective. This is simply not the case. I think you’re correct though. We can’t blame the media, but people should realize there is a lack of objectivity in reporting and writing. Fox News is an extreme case. But then it makes me wonder, do people WANT to believe this kind of coverage? Maybe this is where the slogan of Rush is Right, regarding Rush Limbaugh comes from.

    @Linda – Thanks Linda. I’m glad you like it.

    @Graham – Unfortunately this kind of coverage does not bode well for the US. It is extremely ridiculous and makes the American people look like silly children who are incapable of deep or complex thought. And yes, I know way too much about Paris Hilton but nothing about these other journalists you’ve mentioned. Thanks for those mentions. I’ll look them up!

  15. Ellen,

    This is a great story – really great – and I look forward to seeing more like this.

    (And I apologize for not keeping up here – I thought I’d sorted out my RSS issues, somehow I lost your feed a while back, thought I’d fixed it but I guess not….)

    We need more people “down in the weeds” telling the truth, because the big guns seem more interested in keeping you entertained between commercials.

    (Really – think about it – whatever the heck it is that you’re “watching” – news, sports, sitcoms or whatever – it just has to keep you sufficiently amused so you’ll stick around to receive the advertising message…)

    Brett Legrees last blog you’ve got yourself a gmail account – now what? backup!

  16. Brett,

    That is a very good point – whatever we are watching, etc., etc., there is always an advertisement that pays for it all. That’s why during the Superbowl advertisers pay 1 million for a 30 second commercial.

    Don’t sweat keeping up. I understand. RSS issues? I don’t have those yet but I’ll have to send you an email for an update.

  17. I haven’t heard of her but I love my feminist sisters all across the world 😉 What a great sacrifice she made for the greater good! And these prostitution rings are a serious problem in our world today.

  18. Ellen,

    I must be a bad boy then because I either watch shows without commercial advertising (don’t ask how I get them, but it is International Talk Like A Pirate Day…), or I keep a book with me between show segments.

    No issue here at your end I don’t think – I must have done something wrong with my feed reader – all is well now, and I’m getting your stuff!

    Brett Legrees last blog you’ve got yourself a gmail account – now what? backup!

  19. @Melissa – Yeah, feminists should have a global network. We need to dispel the myth that feminists are anti-male.

    I forgot to mention that the person who was partnering with her on the book backed down when she found out who she was taking on.

    @Brett – Canadians must be hipper than Americans when it comes to erasing commercials.

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