EXPRESS CHECKOUT

Before the storm

Posted in Politics + Diplomacy by expresscheckout on 14 July, 2006

Beirut Int'l Airport under siege

After the last few days, it is no surprise that the situation in the Middle East shows little sign of improving, leaving many in the region weary of the future that’s to come. With streams of news flooding in from TV, web-based, and print sources, general opinions are as varied as the sources that disseminate them. As one expects, each source shines the light on different points to note while others go unmentioned for whatever reason. Yet the skewed image that results often leads to ill-formed reactions to issues of catestrophic potential. This problem is grave considering the fragility of the balance of international relations, and it becomes increasingly difficult to deduce a well-balanced outlook on the reality rather than the mere politics whilst bombarded by only part of the picture.

To highlight for example, the BBC, one of the more respectable news networks, is appearing to be having difficulty in covering the current situation between Israel and Lebanon even-handedly. Back in April 2006, it published a report by the Independent Panel for BBC Governors on the impartiality of BBC coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In this report, it was made clear that there existed a 50/50 outlook on how the news was being portrayed, and to whose favour. Certainly, it cannot be denied that it is extremely difficult to cater to the personal biases of different peoples worldwide. So essentially, their ethic of impartiality was being preserved.

But flipping through various channels on satellite television recently shows that the BBC appears to be hesitant. It is reluctant to make certain statements–whether directly or inferred–on the reality of the situation, which may or may not be in the public’s interest of well-being. The problem the world is now facing on a grand scale is the difficulty of acknowledging that what is happening in the region can trigger all-out war of tremendous consequences. A glance back at history is enough to know what the formula is for a worldwide calamity. And that is enough to know that denial is the first big mistake when it comes to international affairs.  

Lebanese civilians caught in conflict 

From hereon in, individuals interviewed for synopses of a day’s events must be adequately analyzed and pushed under scrutiny. Such scrutiny should also apply to leaders worldwide and the policies that may or may not further aggrevate ongoing events. The language being used is especially important, and should be paid close attention to. Though it might be too early in the conflict to determine, I remain very sceptical. The bottom line is this: appeasement is not an option, neither is silence. Ahead of the G8 Summit in St. Petersburg, it is the international community’s duty to examine the details of the very situation that will likely affect us in the days, months, and years to come. It is necessary to remember that as citizens of our own nations, we are also citizens of a world in which everyone is connected and all viewpoints must be examined in order to fairly assess our own actions and the actions of others–governmental and otherwise.

For anyone seeking an alternative to mainstream news sources, I highly recommend the Independent Media Centre, openDemocracy, FAIR Media Watchgroup, Democracy Now!, and truthout.org.

This downloadable Democracy Now! news clip audio (right-click to save target) presents a good summary of this week’s events. Features include an interview with Noam Chomsky, author and professor of philosophy and linguistics at Massachusettes Institute of Technology. More can be found on the Democracy Now! website.

ALternative News Sources

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