Next time someone has a crush on me….

What happens when you have a crush on someone? Probably the same thing that happened when someone had a crush on you. No, I’m not talking karma here. Read through!

By Gaius Kowene

I’ve had crushes on people. And some people have had crushes on me. Which is normal.

However, in 99% of those cases, either nothing happened between us or worse, pain and frustration on some parties involved. I’m not blaming/sparing anyone involved. It’s a teamwork.

You will agree with me that almost anybody has at least one person who has had a crush on them. Still, most people would decide to go to someone who gives them a headache, ignoring the one person willing to snatch the moon for them. I asked myself:

Why do we do this to ourselves ? Wouldn’t life be easier if we just started giving attention to those who are willing to give us all they can offer and go the extra mile for us?

The answer is not as simple as we imagine it. But… One thing is sure: WE NEVER LEARNED TO RECEIVE. Since we are kids, we are taught to give to others. Generosity is a virtue, our parents tell us.

I remember whenever somebody would give me something valuable, my parents would force me to take it back to the giver. I never understood why. Similar situations happened to most people in their childhood.

We know how to give but we don’t know how to receive.

As a result, every time someone gives us anything (compliments, gifts or even love), we feel uncomfortable. So uncomfortable that our brain flies back to the one thing it learned to do. And that is…. To give, even when we don’t have to. Therefore, we seek someone we want to give to without receiving from them. But they are also going after someone they want to give to without receiving from.

As a result, everybody wants to give to somebody but nobody wants to receive from anyone.

In other words, someone is chasing you, but you ignore them because you are chasing somebody who ignores you because they are also chasing somebody else and the chain goes on. What madness!!!

If you look at what I just explained in the previous paragraph, you realize that there is an equation, a string reaction.

You can’t change the results if you don’t change variables. Which means…. What if you stand up to childhood programming and say to yourself:

“I know some people want to give me love. I appreciate that. But I’m free to chose who I want to be with. I also know nobody is perfect. Therefore, I’m willing to look at those who have a crush on me and see who is the closest to my ideal mate.”

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying: “Go marry them now and have babies.” No! What I’m saying is: What if you are open to the possibility of something happening between you.

What if you said:

“I know this may not end up as I planned and it’s a risk I’m taking. But… Let’s see how it goes.”

Of course! I understand that sometimes people just want to be on their own and are not even chasing anyone but are simply not ready to start a new chapter of their life. I respect their right to chose and decide for themselves.

I’m not saying everybody I have a crush on should look at me. But it’s the other way around: What if I disrupt this chain reaction and learn to receive love without feeling guilty, feeling as if I’m going to hurt someone, trying to protect them against their will? What if?

Well…. Life is a gymnasium. So, I take each and every opportunity to learn directly from my real life experience (and that of others, of course). I’ll test this hypothesis/or watch people test it and see what it’s like!

I’ll be glad to read what you think about this in comments below!

Pity or Justice: what storytelling approach to use?

People are suffering: do you show their suffering or do you say everything is fine? War correspondent Abeer Saady replies to this dilemma that has been diving western and African media professionals for years.

By Gaïus Kowene 

Why this question matters to me

When I started developing a passion for journalism and media world, I had two motivations: the first one was to prove to myself that I’m not wrong when I believe that one can be a successful journalist while respecting ethics. The second motivation and probably the most important one: owning our narrative, being able to get the voices of people from my region into international broadcasting channels.

You may be wondering what this has to do with the question of pity or justice approach.

Look! When I grew up as a kid, I used to hear my parents and relatives saying “journalists are liars.


But I just couldn’t understand how this was possible. But during my training at  Yole!Africa, a center for art and cultural exchanged empowering DR Congo youth, I solved this dilemma. When my relatives used to say that journalists are liars, what they meant was “we don’t identify with the image of us they project.”

Thus, the question of narrative and representation that is still influenced today by the colonial regard. I don’t mean to blame NGOs that are well-intentioned, but if you look at most of their ads or fundraising campaigns, they focus on the politics of pity.

The politics of pity aims at touching the heart of your audience to get them to do something about what you tell them. And most of these images have been photos of children dying with hunger or videos or miserable rape survivors, street kids, armed militias, etc.

The question

The question is: where has this way of doing taken the world? Every person probably has a different answer but I believe it got us turning around the pot. I hear someone asking:

“What do you want us to do? We can’t just sit there and watch people suffering! Do you want us to say everything is good when it’s clear that people are barely surviving this hell?”

I asked these question to Abeer Saady, a world renowned war correspondent with 27 years professional experience covering conflict zones in Middle East and Africa.

Her answer?

Shift from the politic of pity to the politic of justice. What she means is going beyond the sensational, understanding what are circumstances and decisions that led to this suffering; who are the local or international actors feeding these conflicts? How do you prove that with evidence instead of just appealing to the emotional brain without fixing the problem in a sustainable way.

Watch Abeer talking about the Politics of Pity and the Politics of Justice in storytelling. Then, let me know what you think in comments.