Remembering the nameless others

These past few weeks have been filled with news articles, television features and radio airwaves featuring 3 women who were and still are in very difficult circumstances.

The first one was Vivian Alvarez Solon, the Filipino Australian mother who has been wrongly deported to the Philippines in 2001. The mistake was realised in 2003 but it took an email sent by Vivian’s ex-husband to Immigration Minister Amanda Vanstone on April 4 to start the publicity that paved the way for her discovery, read my previous entry here. A Senate hearing is now underway to determine what exactly happened.

Tuesday last week, news about Kylie Minogue’s breast cancer diagnosis hogged the headlines. Her much anticipated sold-out Showgirl concert tour was postponed. Understandably though, nobody complained. Instead, well-wishers converged on her website, which crashed after too much traffic. Much space and airtime was also devoted to breast cancer information, detection and statistics – suddenly people can’t get enough information about breast cancer. Amid paparazzi concerns, engagement and baby rumours, she had the cancer removed and is currently recovering.

The media coverage for accused drug smuggler Schapelle Corby culminated today with her conviction in an Indonesian court. She is a 27-year old beauty student from Queensland who was arrested for possession of narcotics at the Bali airport late last year. Schapelle always maintained her innocence, stating that she didn’t know how a 4.1 kg bag of marijuana ended up in her boogie board bag. A remand prisoner’s testimony, allegations of airport baggage handlers involvement and a letter from the government helped little as Indonesian judges handed down the guilty verdict. Shock and anger greeted the verdict both in Australian and Indonesian shores (if the interview of the Indonesian prosecution team on TV is anything to go by) amid talks of an appeal and even a possible prisoner exchange deal.

These cases are wildly different yet similar. Vivian’s case is about citizenship, Kylie’s is about health while Schapelle’s ordeal is about drugs and law. Situations don’t sell newspapers, it’s the personalities involved in those situations that do. Which is why the media has given the public a face to attach the issues to and with it the sobering message – it could be you. Yes indeed, it could have been anyone of us and that causes us to empathise with these women and what they’re going through. On the other hand, we should keep in mind that these brave ladies are not the only ones facing these problems, there are countless faceless, nameless others out there who share a similar (or worse) fate. Remember them too.

Published in: on May 27, 2005 at 10:50 pm  Leave a Comment  

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