Anita Pratap, award-winning journalist and author, spoke to a crowd of nearly 300 people Wednesday evening in Campbell Hall.
Pratap spoke about her experiences as a journalist and author on topics such as terrorism.
“Wherever you go, you see a similar pattern of how terrorism rises,” Pratap said. “It stems from a sense of injustice, which comes from pride, prejudice and especially poverty.”
Pratap then spoke about the error of fighting terrorism with only military strength.
“There must also be a holistic approach applied,” she said. “A war attempting to crush people’s sense of injustice is an unwinnable war.”
Other topics in the lecture included her experiences as a female journalist, her recently published book, Island of Blood: Frontline Reports from Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Other South Asian Flashpoints, and a journalist’s duty to be unbiased, particularly during wartime.
“It is not the journalist’s place to be patriotic and censor themselves,” Pratap said. “Governments should function despite our coverage, not because of it.”
Before taking questions from the audience, Pratap ended her lecture by speaking against political propaganda, which she said both “clergy members and politicians spread in order to increase their control by demonizing others.”
“I think that one of the biggest obstacles to peace is hateful propaganda, and it should be crushed wherever it pops up,” Pratap said. “You must fight injustice and hate with knowledge.”
Over half of the audience stayed for the question-and-answer portion of Pratap’s presentation, though many who left before the questions were exhausted said they enjoyed the lecture.
“I liked her observation about the necessity for normalcy in life,” said Anna Oleson-Wheeler, a freshman history and women’s studies major. “The need for people to live a simple life, without fear of fanatics or walking on a landmine, really registered with me, because Americans take it for granted.”
Pratap has written for publications in both India and America, including Indian Express, Sunday Magazine, and Time Magazine. Until 1999, she was the New Delhi bureau chief for CNN, a position from which she resigned in order to focus on writing books. She has been the recipient of numerous journalism awards, including the American George Polk Award in 1997 for excellence in television reporting for her coverage of the Taliban takeover in Kabul, Afghanistan. Pratap has also made numerous documentaries since leaving CNN, focusing on such subjects as the ongoing India/Pakistan conflict and Indian dance.
Pratap’s speech was part of the “Global Forces in the Post-Cold War World” lecture series, which is sponsored by UC Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation, UCSB Arts & Lectures, the Global Studies and International Studies Depts., and the Interdisciplinary Humanities Center.