Activists: who would I most like to interview as a Journalist?
As an aspiring journalist, I often think about who I would like to interview and why, from politicians to authors, activists to historic figures. Some of the people I would like to interview are no longer alive, whilst some remain at the forefront of media attention today.
I am inspired and amazed by the work of so many individuals across the world and the past by the work they do to achieve what they believe, whether this be for peace, equality, or freedom. Below I explain which activists, if given free choice, would I interview, my reasons why, and what I would ask them.
The woman behind the Suffragette Movement, Emmeline Pankhurst fought for political equality - the right for women to vote. I admire Pankhurst and the women she worked with immensely; as someone who is interested in the political system and our country's democracy now I am of age to vote, I cannot imagine how different life would be if women had not been granted the right to vote. I also love the slogan her group founded - 'Deeds not Words' - as it really captures what I feel our relationships with other people and the world in general is about. Although, Pankhurst did not achieve feels suffrage easily, shown through how her campaigning grew increasingly militant as arson and vandalism became fundamental tactics. I would have asked her whether her political achievements could have been achieved through non-violent methods, or if force and pressure has become an integral part of activism across the world.
Before becoming President of South Africa (1994 to 1999), Mandela was imprisoned for 22 years. During his imprisonment, he became the focal point for a global campaign against apartheid (a system of legislation that promoted segregationist policies against non-white citizens of South Africa). His endurance, strength and commitment to his beliefs are truly amazing, and his international reception stands as evidence for this, even after his passing. However, as with Pankhurst, defeating apartheid was not an uncontroversial journey - in his commitment to overthrow the racist apartheid regime in South Africa, his political activism transitioned from non-violent attacks on the state. With this in mind, I would have liked to hear his opinion on whether violence within activism can ever be justified, or whether it is hypocritical for us to act violently to achieve a means - in his case, against a repressive government.
Whilst I am privileged enough to be able to say I have had a fulfilling and rewarding education from being a child, I can only imagine what it is like for those who have been robbed of an education. I really relate to Malala's dream of education for all - I love learning and expanding my mind; individually through books and research, as well as collectively in a school/university environment. I read Malala's autobiography a few years ago, and was moved by the huge sacrifice she made and continues to make to work towards ensuring girls across the world are given the education they deserve. She is a really inspiring young woman, and I would ask her what role education has played in her personal life and towards her personal growth, as well as the lives of the girls and women she has worked with.
This list covers well-known activists, but I am keen to honour those of us who make choices every day on an individual level in our own efforts to promote what we believe in, whether that be protecting our environment, living sustainably, or reducing consumption of material goods. If you are an activist for a cause that means something to you, I salute you. One thing that has been crossing my mind a lot over the last few weeks whilst in quarantine is how we can all do more to support our environment, our community and our humanity, and how little acts of activism, whether political, social, economical or environmental, every day are paramount to our survival. If there is an appetite for articles covering how we can start introducing our own activism instalments into our daily lives, give this post a like and I'll get right on it!
In the next instalment of this mini series, 'Who would I most like to interview as a journalist?', I consider the historical figures I would most like to interview and why.