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Sob Sisters

Every Remembrance Day English-speaking journalists across the planet wrack their minds to think of some fresh angle for their stories. In recent years the task has become easier because there is a new crop of dead and injured thanks to the recent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Every bright young thing journalist these days thinks they are the first to come up with a story idea about the unseen wounded - those suffering psychiatric trauma. Sadly, the stories produced are often superficial, patronizing, cliched and ill-informed. Not every soldier comes back from the wars with mental health issues. Some people cope better than others. Many journalists these days actually pressure soldiers to admit they have been traumatised and treat them as brutish freaks when they won't play ball. I'm sure some of the journalists, though not all, think they are helping in some way by giving soldiers the chance to talk about their true feelings. But sometimes the badgering can push someone over the edge and take them to places they would never have gone if they had been left alone. I can't help noticing that journalists who have actually been on the frontlines themselves seldom indulge in this sob-sister approach. Let's leave these matters to the professionals. But let's make sure that professional help is available for those who do actually need it. 


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