“The hottest place in hell is reserved for those
who tried to stay neutral in times of crisis…”
– The Inferno, Dante Alighieri
The ‘Crisis/Media’ Workshop at Sarai opens framed by the memory of one crisis, and the anticipation of another. Exactly a year ago, at the end of February and the beginning of March 2002, we witnessed a pogrom in Gujarat, in western India. Today, as we write this statement, the world stands a hair’s trigger away from a war in Iraq, the consequences of which, on a global scale seem too difficult to even imagine. These are times for sober reflection, and that, precisely, is what we often find missing, as we open the newspaper, listen to the radio, or continue to be lobotomised by television. Yet, a variety of different, dissident, passionate and sane voices are also making themselves heard, through combinations of new and old media, as never before. The ‘Paid For’ news of the mainstream media is often exposed for what it is, even before it appears, by an increasingly vigilant network of independent local-global media initiatives. The numbers that turn out on the streets of the world’s major capitals to protest against the plans for war against Iraq seem to suggest that despite huge propaganda efforts, ‘the spin’ isn’t working, at least not all of the time. We live, as the Chinese curse, has it, in ‘interesting times’.