VOICES OF A GENERATION in The Métropolitain

By Alain-Michel Ayache on February 5, 2009

Following a lecture I gave at Concordia, Professor Ayache suggested to his students that they write advocacy journalism essays for The Métropolitain as part of their course. Over the next few issues we will publish some forty of them. Pictured above are some of the authors. These are passionate and eloquent voices of a generation. Pay attention, they are the future.

~Beryl Wajsman, Editor & Publisher

 

Being a student is not often an easy task. Between part-time work to be able to pay the tuition, and often five courses each semester, to deal with, a student can barely see the end. 

I recall when I used to be a student and living the same ordeal, I did not have time to think what I really wanted to become. My parents wanted me to be a Medical Doctor/Surgeon; my girlfriend wanted me to be a Lawyer and earn lots of money… and me, the idealist I just wanted to liberate the world from tyranny. Well, let’s say I finally decided to become a part of these three professions. Indeed, without being really an MD/Surgeon, I ended up looking for the cause of the society’s problems that make it sick, sick from lies, from political games, etc. I ended up also being a lawyer but without gaining much money since the aim was becoming the advocate of the oppressed, and more precisely of freedom, freedom of speech, freedom of saying NO when I wanted to say no and YES when I wanted to say yes. I became what I wanted to be beyond all: An advocacy journalist. The choice was mine. No money, barely enough to eat sometimes, but rich with my freedom. No one had and ever will have the right to buy my conscience, and all the ideas that I had the chance to share via the media.

This was possible because of a man who gave me the chance to publish my first article in 1983. Indeed, François Lacroix to whom I owe my gratitude and my professional career in journalism gave me access to one of France’s major newspapers. It was the “déclic” that gave me the strength to pursue in this direction.

Today, as a Professor, whether with my students at the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQÀM) or at Concordia University, I try to convey the same love of this noble calling that is advocacy journalism, to all my students, giving them an equal opportunity to stand for their beliefs, to the truth, to express themselves regardless of their political affiliations or religions. I ask them to go beyond emotions, to seek for the facts, to dissociate themselves from the event and to look towards the other to better understand them. I ask them to look at both sides of the same truth and to speak out, to say loud what they have been trying to convey to the leaders, those who are busy in figuring out numbers that will enrich their portfolios and policies rather than those of the poor, oppressed or simply the student Today, my Concordia students in Poli-368/2A can finally bring to the debate new visions, their own, based on their ideas. 

However, to succeed this marvellous experience, we had the choice of doing two things: either go to the Hyde Park corner in London, England; or bring the Hyde Park to us. The latter was possible mainly because of a single man who believes in advocacy journalism and in freedom of speech. That man is Beryl Wajsman to whom I say thank you! 

Thank you Beryl for giving these students the chance to express themselves; I am certain that this unique experience will mark them and give many of them – if not all – the advocacy “virus” making out of them the future critics, journalists, politicians, and leaders of tomorrow which Canada needs. Thank you for believing in them and hoping that the Métroplitain will become the new Hyde Park for Canada… the same way my friend, Lebanese journalist and MP Gebran Tueni assassinated on December 12th 2005 by the Syrian apparatus and their allies in Lebanon, had given the youth of Lebanon their own Hyde Park. 

 

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