Louder than words: actions of the News Group

Confrontation – how the media simplifies a complex story [pictures by George Lamb]

Every now and then a surprised face peered through the window: this was not business as usual in the Scottish Parliament, not even during the Festival of Politics.  For once the emphasis was on actions rather than words.  And actions can speak volumes.

The News Group drama workshop chose to work on a topical story very much at the heart of the Scottish Parliament – US reaction to al-Megrahi’s continuing survival a year after his release and how that is being covered by the media.

This was a special festival version of the News Group presented by ACTive Inquiry with Leith Open Space.  The event was a sell-out – at 10.30 am on a Saturday too – and perhaps half the group were regulars from the monthly workshop sessions that take place in Pilmeny Youth Centre.   New members added a fascinating range of skills and experience to the event in the Education Centre at the parliament.

Gavin leads a warm-up exercise

Without words the group arranged ourselves according to the distance we had travelled to get to the parliament (Gavin Crichton, director of  ACTive Inquiry, does a great line in warm-up exercises as you can see from the photo).  The shortest journey was just a 10 minute walk but Lorna had crossed water to get there from Argyll and Thom had driven from Carluke.

Once the workshop began we covered a lot more ground – back in time and across the world: from Lockerbie to Libya, from the Berlin nightclub to the White House, searching and sifting through the layers of a complex story rarely tackled in the media. In silence the group expressed questions leading to more questions in a chain reaction spreading across the floor.

It’s not over yet. The workshop ended – as it always does – with suggestions for the actions our Jo (or Joe) the active citizen could take.  The top vote went to an idea which could take the drama to a wider stage.  Instead of calling for a judicial inquiry, the group would like to see “ a theatre-styled  public presentation of the Megrahi case”.   It’s an ambitious idea – but it would be a very exciting development for the Festival of Politics.   We hope we will come back to it!

The Top Three Action Points

  1. Create a theatre-styled inquiry
  2. Research every source to find the truth
  3. Make an amateur video (in Lockerbie) on the subject of innocence and victimisation

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