September 7, 2017

Yesterday, the BBC reported that an Indian journalist named Gauri Lankesh was found shot to death in the Karnataka state. No motives were mentioned, but Lankesh was a progressive journalist critical of Hindu nationalism. It’s not hard to connect the dots, considering journalists in India are increasingly targets of Hindu nationalist radicals.

Back here in the United States, we’ve all been involved in the topic of nationalism and the press in 2017. So far, the U.S. remains a comparatively safe place for reporters and social critics. A lot of people hate those of us with a press badge, but we don’t generally tend to be targets of assassins.

In terms of journalists being killed, national boundaries don’t matter. I’ve written before about the fact that in so many parts of the world, calling yourself a reporter is a lot like being a deer and buying a vest with a bullseye on it. It’s often dangerous work done by courageous people armed with what remains the deadliest commodity on the planet — the questioning of an idea.

I’m grateful that despite obvious tensions, journalists and nationalists in the United States tend to keep their hands off each other. I wish the same to continue, and I wish it for the rest of the world. There are a lot of dark corners on this planet that need some light. Especially where they’re more likely to be snuffed out.