For my regular visitors, if you find that this blog hasn't been updating much lately, chances are pretty good I've been spending my writing energy on my companion blog. Feel free to pop over to Home is Where the Central Cardio-pulmonary Organ Is, and see what else has been going on.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

If I'd had any doubts before...

... I don't, anymore.

This morning, while going through the online columnists, as is my habit, I found this. As a former military wife, I was among those glad to hear it when our new government banned the media from certain military functions, such as the repatriation ceremony. Of course, the media whined and complained about it, and made the inevitable comparisons to Pres. Bush. You'd think it was a total ban from everything related to the military, rather than the reasonable and limited ban that is it. Leave it to the media to turn a mole hill into a mountain.

Now that Canada has lost its first female soldier in combat, I am extra glad of the ban, and this editorial has a lot to do with why. The author writes:

Cameras lined up behind a fence, jostling for position, peering through barbed wire to catch a distant frame in the darkness. People entrusted as our messengers to show this country's respect and support kept hundreds of metres away -- as if there were something to hide.


But at this moment of national mourning, as she returns home to us at CFB Trenton, we have been excluded, our embrace shunned. When all we want to do is say thank you.

and then at the end, she adds:

For she belongs first to her family, of course, but she was ours as well. Her sombre return to Canadian soil should have been a moment of national gratitude and grief, a public embrace of homecoming. She deserved nothing less. Instead, we were locked behind a wire fence, forced to mourn from afar.

Mandel writes that Goddard "belongs to us all," and this attitude expresses to me, more than anything else, why I believe the media doesn't belong anywhere near the repatriation ceremony. The ban certainly didn't stop someone getting a picture for this article.

To Ms. Mandel and others of her ilk, let me make this very clear to to. Cpt. Goddard does NOT belong to "us all." She belonged to no one but herself. She was, by every account, a fine soldier. She was a shining example, proving that women can, indeed, face combat as well as any man. By contract, she was part of the Canadian military. By blood and by marriage, she was part of her family. By association, she was part of a wider circle of friends and comrads, but she did not "belong" to anyone, least of all a bunch of media who'd love nothing more than to stick cameras in the faces of those who cared for her and use her death to push their own cause.

All you want to do is say thank you? As someone who's seen media behaviour and it's fall out first hand, I'm calling your bullshit. I know it has nothing to do with saying thanks and everything to do with selling papers.

You media folks want to express your thanks and respect? Stay on the other side of the fence. There are plenty of other opportunities to get your pictures close up. Leave the repatriation ceremony to those who actually deserve to be there.


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