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  • Last week, I sent my opinion in an article to a newspaper, in reply to an article about orphans in the Netherlands. My opinion was that the supporting photos in the article were triggering the wrong sentiments and were (literally) portraying orphans as begin 'sad, pathetic and depressed'. I thought that was absolutely apalling. Being an orphan, I think my opinion is valid enough. So did the newspaper. They decided to place my article in Tuesday's edition (that's yesterday).


    They neglected to tell me that they would be editing my opinion. How in the world can you 'edit someone's opinion'? To make a long story short: they did. Boldly. Not only did the newspaper remove sentences, they also misquoted me. In the article, supposedly I've said that people should really read someone's book about orphans. Yes I did. About the book I WROTE MYSELF. Instead, they changed my sentence and CHANGED THE BOOK TITLE INTO SOMEONE ELSE'S BOOK.

    For real.

    Not that it's a poor book. It's a good book, really. But I didn't mention it in my opinion.

    Furthermore, the central issue (my critic evaluation of the stigmatising photographs of orphans in their previously published article) was edited as well. In 'my' opinion piece as it has been printed, it seems I don't judge the photographer's work. But I do.

    It seems to me, a newspaper's opinion section exists for the newspaper itself, above all. It's a shame.

    The reason I wrote the piece in the first place is that I fiercely believe in the credo 'we lie by silence'. I have even written a very personal and revealing book because I believe in sharing stories in order to change the world. By not remaining silent. Silence isn't golden. But in this case, I think the newspaper itself would have been more truthful by remaining silent. And by and placing my opinion the way I meant it. They didn't. And that is really , really sad. Even worse: it's extremely alarming. Who's voice do you hear in the opionion pages of your favourite newspaper?


    P.S.: the original piece I entered, was already published on my Facebook page. That helps. A little.
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