Tamara Pearson is a writer, journalist, and activist living in Mexico. She is currently working as a freelance journalist, finishing her second novel, and working with Central American migrants and refugees, as well as other activism.
She has been a journalist for 23 years. She has written for New Internationalist, Truthout, Toward Freedom, teleSUR, Common Dreams, Role Reboot, Alternet, the New York Times, the Newcastle Herald, The Real News Network, UpsideDown World, Venezuelanalysis, GreenLeft Weekly, Counterpunch, TRT, ContraCorriente, and more. She has also worked as an editor for an international media agency headquartered in Ecuador, and from Venezuela as an on-the-ground reporter, editor, and respected analyst.
She is the author of a progressive literary novel, The Butterfly Prison, and has a degree in politics from Australia, and another in alternative pedagogy from Venezuela. She campaigned for refugee rights and against the war on Iraq in Australia, and was involved in community organising in Venezuela. She also worked at an alternative school there, promoting creativity and imagination as a tools of expression and empowerment.
Pearson is passionate about countering the exclusion of many voices in the media and in publishing. She promotes writing that is liberating, resists injustice, and tells the stories of the oppressed with integrity, creativity, and thorough research. This blog is part of that.
Twitter: https://twitter.com/pajaritaroja / Email: Tamararedbird (at) gmail.com
Why I write:
“We are what we do, especially what we do to change what we are. A literature born in the process of crisis and change, and deeply immersed in the risks and events of its time can indeed help to create the symbols of the new reality, and perhaps, if talent and courage are not lacking, throw light on the signs along the road,” – Eduardo Galeano
“Any progressive social change must be imagined first … Any oppressive social condition, before it can be changed, must be named and condemned in words that persuade by stirring the emotions, awakening the senses. Thus the need for political imagination – articulating an artistry of dissent,”- Martin Espada
“If we float, we are carried by the current, we end up in the land of irrelevance, oblivion. Writing the truth is a privilege worth inconvenience and hardship,” – Andre, a writer/journalist friend.
I write to say the things that I think need saying – the whispered, ignored, untold, misunderstood things. I write to order the chaos and make sense of a complex world and complex problems. I write stories to point out the gross injustices and hypocrisies, as well as the hidden beauty. And I write because knowing that that beauty – the unseen kindness – can one day defeat the ugliness –the rich warmongers, dedicated destroyers, greedy creators of garbage, and abusers- and create a new, more humane world, keeps me going. I hope it can help others to keep going too.
Oct 2015, on publishing a novel: This is my story over the last year or so, but I don’t think it’s just my story. I don’t think I’m the only one who walks to work wondering how to be a decent human being in an indecent world, how to be useful and kind among the massified production of destruction, of mind numbing publicity and education, on the planet of shopping malls and institutionalised, mass hunger, in a world controlled by wealthy elites.
Sometimes I feel down about all that and I can’t quite think, can’t quite remember how to be me, how to be gentle, how to create, how to fight for justice. It can seem pointless.
Sometimes I feel all worried torn and dream gutted, my book heart barely beating. The days when I lived hour by hour, each day creative, are far away and I am trying to conjure up hope rags out of my imagination, my smile dangling awkwardly from a coat hanger I carry around. Its ok, it will be ok, I’m ok thanks, ok ok until the repeated cliché loses its air and is an automated reply to keep from dragging friends down into the giant hole we in fact all share.
And I lie awake to the sound of too many cars and the sound of asphalt world, and wonder how to be decent in this system of buying, this system of hatred, of disrespect for anyone who hasn’t the money. And I live the news, glad to not be blind, but witnessing every day so many silent deaths because they are reported but not really understood.
And I think of the Palestinian painters and the Kurdish fighters and the Nauru refugees who the world abused so badly that some of them chose not to be anymore. But some of them fight on and it seems to me that rolling lazily through life when that is going on is the biggest wrong.
I’m tired in a way I never thought possible. Work world forces you to be stressed, injustice world forces you to be depressed
How it hurts.
In this world, staying alive, really alive, may be an act of rebellion. Being nice, refusing to be broken, to be tamed, is rebellion. Managing to imagine a beautiful world despite the streets of rubbish is my way of chipping into the possibility that things don’t have to be like this.
So I spent ten years writing a novel. And because I’d been taught (like most of us have) that I’d best shut up, I did not do that, and I wrote it hard, raw, upfront, redefining the ideas I thought were repressing us. Its out now.
Interviewed or written about:
Venezuela: Australian journalist threatened at gunpoint while reporting right-wing protests – GreenLeft
Interviews With Women Writers: How Writing Made Me Feel Less Alone – Melissa Blake Blog
Periodista australiana amenazada de muerte mientras que cubría protestas de la oposición en Venezuela – Aporrea
We Don’t Have Borders: Tamara Pearson Interviewed by Michael Albert
GreenLeft TV: Eyewitness from Venezuela: the people will become Chavez
GreenLeft TV – Chavez v Capriles: The 2012 Venezuelan presidential election
On Chavez’s health, BBC
On Venezuela, Radio National New Zealand, or here
Constructing Twenty-First Century Socialism in Latin America (Book by Sara Motta, Mike Cole)
GCAS Interventions: Clashes in the Streets of Venezuela (Video conference)
Wow. What a heart-rending, gut-gripping description of life in the belly of the beast.
I remember your posts from Venezuela. You seemed much more hopeful then. I… I want to reach out, to give you some strength, if i can.
Perhaps I would remind you… it’s the nature of the healing process… that the sickness gathers its greatest ferocity just before the fever is broken; and, the great global sickness that humanity has cultivated over thousands of years will (likely) vanquish many good souls before it gives up the ghost for good. There is much suffering, pain, loss still to come. That seems clear.
Until then, you have every right to take care of yourself, to know love, friendship, a little music and a wholesome meal now and then, to not take on more of the human burden than you can (tenderly) carry.
In fact, we (the people) are counting on you to do so; for when the time comes, (after the flood has fully wrecked and ravaged our shores) we will need you to be in good shape… healthy, connected, heartened by the smallest of miracles, prepared to joyfully respond when so many are confused and exhausted, yet needing only to see the spark of a boundless spirit such as yours.
In these times, it may seem as if you (and yours) are largely alone, outnumbered, overwhelmed; but you must know… you are not alone. There are millions of us, living on the edge of survival, largely silenced, in many ways isolated, yet still engaged with the thirst for truth, beauty, consciousness… determined, confident that our lives’ work shall not be in vain, no matter how bleak our circumstance might now be.
Know we are here. Remind yourself every day that the silence holds a million+ souls beating alongside yours, (preparing for the great awakening); and then, one day, we’ll meet you there: maybe in the song of a bird that happens to fly by your window, or the colors of a setting sun, or a loved ones laughter, or the eyes of a child.
Don’t lose heart, dear lady. Find that still-point within yourself that NO wound can touch, and LET it grow stronger every day: tested, made-firmer by grind of everyday life.
We’re counting on you.
Hey James, sorry for taking a while to reply. Thanks heaps for all your encouragement. I hope you’re right about the healing process :) .. We’ll see.
There are so many good writers now BUT what the problem is YOU are ALL only working as individuals alone. I am thinking, not only of you,Tamara but of Whitney Webb, Caitlin Johnstone, Abby Martin, Alison Weir, Eva Bartlett and so many more.
Think of “DIVIDE(ed) and RULE (ed)” whereas, together you can WIN because you all have one thing in COMMON- Fighting for Humanity and YES in your own way
Our ENEMY is ORGANIZED and NOT ALONE, so why NOT YOU GREAT WRITERS get together AND, yes, MAINTAIN YOUR INDIVIDUALITY BUT do it together as a Group with a Group name you can PROMOTE. I can help,in a small way, because my email list is huge.
By the way, I am 79 and have been in this fight since the LATE 1960’s but I have survived ONLY by maintaining my ANONYMITY, whereas 2 of my associates, who did not, take those precautions “DIED” strange untimely deaths. I am very BLUNT and SCARY about/with TRUTH.
My point is DON’T ask for my true name or any other identifying info.
The email I am using is one of my CORRECT emails and you are welcome to contact me.