Daily Archives: January 30, 2016

‘Write the text of a talk given by a journalist to a group of teenagers’ by Shehryar Mir


“My name is George Alagiah, and I am a reporter for BBC. Today I would like to talk to you young folk about my trip to Africa for the coverage of the Somalian War.

My journey never really stopped the second I had step foot there. Thin, haggard faces were thrown about. Thin, poverty stricken bodies with sunken white eyes stared at me. The scene was unfathomable.

I had walked around to find myself in Gufgadud, a village that was perpetual dread. I walked past a lot of the journalists, and cameramen hustling about. We were looking for striking and grotesque scenes to picture.

There was a woman, I remember, Amina, who had gone out to try her luck on finding anything edible. She had left her young girls on the ground of her hut. They were undeniably hungry. They were careworn and scrawny. They were just slowly dying.

There was an old woman who lied at one place and could not muster up the energy to find anything edible. The smell of her premises was just perilous. It all smelt and looked malodorous. I still remember that she had a putrefied, large wound on her shinbone.

The whole time, I found myself thinking, “how could have this happened?” there were young infants dying and grown men in there last days. I felt sorry for everyone living there. I felt bad for their lack of sustenance. Yet, I also felt disgust.

Even though everyone there was going through the obvious, they still carried their dignity. For example women there, even though careworn, still covered themselves when someone looked at them.

The moving aspect of my coverage was when a disheveled, lean, tired and scrawny old man looked at me with a blank face, and turned away to smiling. Now, the smile was not a happy smile, nor was it any form of greeting. Later, through my translator, I found out that that brief smile was a smile of embarrassment. That made me think about the rich and the poor.

Now lets all try and make a difference. This was my realization; what was yours?

Thank you for letting me speak today. I really appreciate this.”