Discover more from Blind spots with Farah Maraqa
Chronicles of a new "Anti-Semitism Scandal" (part 6): a Woman in political journalism!
Working for more than eight years in political pan Arab journalism and more than four years from Germany made me understand "women's" professional life, especially in the media world.
I am a Palestinian Jordanian, writing and analyzing politics with a big mouth, and to add to that already provoking combination, I am a woman. I had all of what it takes to be frequently attacked in my country, especially since I was writing for Arab news portals. It was always easier to attack me personally than open a conversation and talk about my ideas back in Amman.
Being a professional woman, I was attacked based on how I looked, and claims were made about my personal life, and worse, my ability to be a journalist, to analyze or write the way I did, was frequently undermined.
You don't exist in the "men" journalist-politician community as a woman. People thought for a while that I didn't, in the real-life, exist and that "someone" was using this "fake name". I fought harder and harder by working more till the community couldn't ignore me anymore.
Being in Germany alone and in one of the most respected media organizations didn't protect me from similar accusations now but from the German media this time, which frequently talks about equality and women empowerment.
I became a headline in some well-known newspapers and magazines. Still, no one is writing about me as a professional journalist fighting corruption and raising awareness about human rights and equality. All I read about myself is "she is unknown, and apparently her hatred for the Jews brought her to DW", which definitely is not valid.
I have dreamt about becoming a journalist since I was 13 years old. I dreamt about making a significant change in my community: highlighting the bad practices and advocating for equality, bringing more points of view to every article, and writing about all the taboos. I confronted my surrounding's conservative beliefs about women and what fields they should study and work in. I studied Journalism as my Bachelor and had the highest marks in the whole department.
I graduated with a double major: Print Journalism and English literature. I believe languages make differences by adding more cultural context and history layers.
During my University studies, I confronted stereotypes, hatred and discrimination by studying passionately and hardly. I made it in the end with the highest marks in my college and a lot of respect from my professors, colleagues and family. These are people you can take their testimonies if you want to know who I am as a journalist and human being!
Later, I worked in the Jordanian media; I received prizes for the best coverages in human rights reports and the right to access information. Two years later, I applied for a Master degree's scholarship in new media. I had a vision back then. I couldn't stop before making the change that I desired for my community and country.
Following a series of examinations, I was one of the few accepted by the Jordan Media Institute to do a Master's Degree in New Media in a unique programme designed in cooperation with Colombia University in the US.
I conducted a remarkable study about the parliament election system in my country. I studied hard while working in some of the Jordanian news portals. I graduated with excellent marks, without attending the graduation ceremony since it was held when I was in Berlin, as I applied back then to a student's exchange programme held at the same time. Again I lived eager to learn and to make significant changes.
After my masters, there were times when I worked in 5 different media outlets at the same time: a radio producer in the early morning, a reporter in a local newspaper in the afternoon, a freelance reporter and analyzer for two different pan Arab news portals at nights, and a managing editor for a bilingual political-economic magazine in the weekends. I barely found a minute to sleep back then.
I was eager to make a difference in my community while living a decent, affordable life. I witnessed colleagues being attacked physically for expressing their opinions, others visiting prisons while many bent with the wind. And I was challenging all of the systems, standing by my colleagues and the freedom of speech, standing by my belief that women, youth and men in my country should live a better and more free life and make their own choices.
My colleagues who worked with me back then can be other good testimonies when someone actually wants to know what I stand for and how professional I am. This is only when somebody likes to understand and doesn't want to label and spread hate accusations.
Coming to Germany, "Jordan" was the home that lived in my heart, and I continued to write about it from here, "making a change in the way of covering some issues". This is what many colleagues said. I interviewed many high-level politicians and challenged the governmental narration every time. You can ask these too if you want to check my professionalism as a journalist.
I was (and still am) full of hope that I could create a change for my family, who still lives there and all of the Jordanian and Arab people, to live an equal life without any discrimination. This all appears to not matter for the German judging media, which is sad!
I wrote thousands of articles, became a public figure who had connections to every party and ideology in my community: from the leftists to the Muslim brotherhood, and from the advocates for peace with Israel to the groups against it; and every party or group in between. I challenged all of them while listening to them as well. I claim that I was one of the few journalists (women and men) who could maintain this kind and amount of connections.
Knowing all of this needed just one german journalist to do his homework before spreading the hatred around my name and undermining my professionalism.
While writing about myself as a journalist, my heart is burning. It is hard to be belittled professionally after all of that to small quotes and a hatred that never belongs to you. And it is more challenging when judged this way by the media you thought you would learn good values from, and the community you chose and thought will appreciate your growth and courage, let alone your professionalism and values.
*This article is a part of my "Chronicles of a new "Anti-Semitism Scandal" series documenting my experience while being wrongfully accused of anti-Semitism and subsequently under investigation by Deutsche Welle and the German media. I am a professional journalist who believes in my profession's mission, ethics, and values, and I will not remain silent in search for the truth, facts, and honest dialogue. I will keep writing and documenting until the end of investigations on the 15th of January 2022 or longer if needed.