Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Israeli Wall

This morning’s news was particularly lush what with the boy Governor Blunt’s announcement that he would not run for a second term (I didn’t think he was smart enough to recognize that he ought to be out of the public eye when what the stink that’s in the air now hits the fan.); Charles Lewis releasing his compilation of the Bush deception process leading up to the war in Iraq – more on that tomorrow; and the breach of Israel’s wall between Gaza and Egypt.

What struck me most about the reports I heard this morning on the Israeli wall breach was the angle each reporter took. The first report I heard came from the BBC. They interviewed a Palestinian blogger who reported that people were crossing the border to get food, gasoline, and other necessities they couldn’t get at home.

The second was from NPR on Morning Edition. Their reporter said he was watching a man carry a carpet back across the border and another with auto tires. Then they reported Mubarak’s statement that he was not going to try to stem the tide because the Palestinians were starving people in need of the food and medicine they could not get at home.

The third report was from CNN. They reported that people were going home with Coca-Cola and cigarettes.

So why the differences? Who are we supposed to believe? From my perspective, a news hound has to be willing to look at what the reporting agency might have to gain from the angle they take. The BBC takes no money from the British government and so has no ax to grind. NPR has a history of reporting from the left, but that was jerked more into line by the Reagan administration and so has a more recent history of carefully reporting in such a way as not to anger anyone too much and CNN is a mainstream media reporter that relies on the good will of whoever is holding the most power at the moment.

For that reason, I think CNN typically reports in such a way that they will not add fuel to any arguments contrary to current national policy. Our national policy has long been unquestioning support for Israeli policy, so don’t expect any reporting from CNN that might give anyone a reason to cast a negative light in Israel’s direction.

It’s no great surprise that the breach happened. Hearing the first report was a kind of “whack your forehead” moment. Why hadn’t this happened long ago? It’s so obvious a thing to do. Why didn’t Hamas long ago quit lobbing random missiles over the wall into Israel and instead just blow up the damn wall? Now done, it seems like a stroke of genius that any fool should have thought of long ago.

The Palestinians have a great deal to gain from this. For one thing, the people of Gaza get access in Egypt to goods they can’t get at home – thanks to the Israeli policy of subjugation. For another, the world is watching while needy people swarm through the breach and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, who has signed an agreement with Israel to guard the wall, refuses to stop them on the grounds that they are getting necessities for life that the Israelis are denying them. For another, attention is diverted from “Hamas as terrorists” due to their lobbing missiles that threaten innocent lives to “Hamas as liberators” who are attacking a wall that is the most obvious emblem of the Israeli suppression of Palestinian freedoms.

If we keep building the wall between us and Mexico, we should expect the same thing and worse to happen to us some day. I’m not saying that we are as guilty of oppression in this case as I believe Israel to be, but I do believe that a barrier wall is an affront that few people will accept without rancor. We ought to be able to come up with smarter ways of dealing with our immigration problem than an offensive and probably ineffective barrier that silently but constantly says, “We don’t want you.” (Israel’s goes further and says, “I don’t want you, but I do want your land, so I’m taking it. At least we haven’t done that to Mexico since we drove them out of Texas.)

Both the U.S. and Israel should be seeking ways to help their neighbors become capable of self-sustenance instead of ways to exploit their need in the form of cheap, subservient labor. By belittling our neighbors we create enemies. By elevating our neighbors, we elevate ourselves through the only means by which the old saw “A rising tide floats all ships” is actually true.

Be the change you wish to see in the world. -- M. K. Gandhi

Individually we have little voice. Collectively we cannot be ignored.
But in silence we surrender our power. Yours in Peace -- BR

The reason for going was to keep the crude flowing and raise a false flag abroad. – from a poem by Jack Evans titled 3500 Souls -

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