“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” Abraham Lincoln

World Conflicts.

with one comment

I remember last year watching a small video which discussed some of the 300+ conflicts in the world, now Bob scours the Web with greater skill than me and points us to Open Democracy’s discussion of forgotten conflicts.

I think, for anyone with an internationalist prospective, it is an interesting question to ask why the West is so focused on certain conflicts but not others.

Here’s Noah Bernstein:

“The Western media’s fascination with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has long overshadowed death and oppression in other parts of the world. Gilad Shalit and the Qassam rocket are known to many; the death of 5.9 million in the eight-nation Second Congo War is not. Recent Israeli and Palestinian elections were covered worldwide in real-time, while images of genocide in Rwanda and Sudan did not surface until it was too late. Countless articles argue media bias in favour of Israel or the Palestinians, yet few address the media bias towards the conflict itself.

The disproportionate media coverage raises several uncomfortable questions: why were the deaths of Congolese civilians at the hands of the LRA deemed less newsworthy than, in the first instance, crumbling cease-fire talks and, later, the deaths of Palestinian civilians? More generally, why is the west so consumed by the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and what are the consequences of underreporting other conflicts? Finally, can anything be done to redress the media balance so that the rights of all humans – regardless of colour, ethnicity, and geography – are given equal weight?”

[My emphasis].

Written by modernityblog

23/03/2010 at 03:11

One Response

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  1. Good post, and some good questions.

    But .. who is “the west”, tho? It isn’t you, or me, or anyone either of us know, is it? Don’t we really mean “those who control the media agenda in the UK”?

    This is the trouble with abstractions; they are a means for the guilty to evade responsibility. In the 70’s the establishment routinely used to use “Society” as a noun doing this or demanding that — when it really meant “this group of people”, “that journalist”, “this politician”. It sounded better than the truth. I recall that during the 80’s Mrs Thatcher stamped pretty firmly on this piece of dishonesty, by pointing out that there was no such thing as “Society”; only specific people who needed to be held accountable. (I notice that those who perpetrated the fraud have been trying to hide the point of this one in recent years).

    The question is a reasonable one. I could wish that we only concentrated on conflicts in which we had a vital national interest, or involved our kin.

    In reality those conflicts concentrated on are often those where those in charge of the reporting are trying to act as a Fifth Column on behalf of our enemies. So it was with reporting of the Vietnam war. So it was with the war in Rhodesia. In both cases, once a despotism had been installed, suddenly all went silent! Mugabe could massacre, without fear of scrutiny.

    We might ask — we should ask — who decides these things, and how they got that power. In the age of Dr Goebbels, we might also ask whether a democracy can cope with that much power in so few hands, and those few accountable to no-one and mostly of one political orientation?

    On the other hand, the advent of vast numbers of digital channels might well cure this by itself, particularly if the BBC loses its right to tax us. (Did you know that TV licensing cases also clog up the magistrates courts, by the way, at who knows what cost to us all? Almost all the defendants are poor people, of course)

    Maybe the answer is for Channel 4 to be turned over to Fox News? 🙂 At least we’d get some balance to the current one-sided reporting. Hell, if we had one channel run by Colonel Gaddafi, we’d get a diversity of views at least! (Although I think Deputy Dawg would probably be a better source of hard news)

    Roger Pearse

    23/03/2010 at 22:32

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