Wednesday, January 04, 2006
good fences make good neighbours
There is a 5 article series appearing in a local paper here (Globe and Mail) about the security fence being built in Israel. Part of me felt compelled to read it, part of me said not to bother because it would only make me mad. I read the first part with the idea in mind that I should always listen to the other side so I can at least see what their argument is.

It had the usual marks of a biased report about the fence; calling it a wall instead of a fence, only giving the Palestinian side without ever interviewing families devastated by bombings (perpetrated by terrorists who crossed where there was no fence), calling bombers and terrorists "activists" or "militants", and showing misleading photographs.

At first I was mad because I am sick and tired of those tactics. The news always shows the security fence as this large foreboding concrete wall. The fact of the matter is 97% of the FENCE is just that... a wire/chain link fence. Only 3% is that big ugly concrete barrier. They also neglect to mention that those sections are tall and concrete because those are the spots where snipers like to sit and shoot at Israelis, so it has to be higher and solid. But they never mention that in these articles, do they? I'm also sick of these reports and movies that only show the devastation felt by the Palestinians whose lives are ruined by this "wall" being built. How about talking to all the friends and families devastated by the bombings? Where's their side of the story? Are people completely forgetting WHY this fence is being built in the first place? Are people forgetting that fences can be taken down (how about that Berlin Wall??) when peace is reached but lives cannot be brought back? And why do we continue to call these terrorists by more gentle terms, like militant and activist, when no where else in the world would they be called anything but terrorists? (DO check out the sad yet rather amusing "CNN-BBC-S.F.Chronicle-Washington Post Handbook: How to Be an Activist")

These things anger me, but I also start to wonder about my own bias. I readily admit I have my own bias towards Israel, but that is why I read these articles... to try and understand the other side. I have to wonder how much my bias blinds me to the sometimes questionable actions of the Israeli government. I want to believe that the security fence isn't effort to unilaterally decide on borders and that it isn't a land grab but I think it would be naive to think it doesn't have something to do with it. And I am not completely unsympathetic to the everyday Palestinians whose lives are being ruined by the actions of radical groups claiming to be acting on their behalf. But I just want so badly to believe that Israel is always in the right, even though I know deep down inside that can't always be the case.

Either way, articles like this don't help the Israeli cause at all, and indeed do more damage to people's already weak understanding of the conflict. Unfortunately, it makes for good reading to have an "in-depth" piece about a big bully/oppressor and the underdog trying to fight back under "impossible odds". Everyone likes to see the little guy win, right? And so these articles will always be published. It's frustrating, but it's reality. Israel has always failed to use the media properly, despite Palestinian claims to the contrary.

Anyway, if you are interested in reading the article you can go here and judge for yourself. Keep an open mind and take everything with a grain of salt.

In similar news, Israel is holding its breath as Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's life hangs in the balance during surgery. He had a stroke recently and was undergoing angioplasy to fix his heart. However, news out of Israel is now saying that he suffered a major stroke while on the operating table and things aren't looking good. I worry about what kind of news I will wake up to tomorrow but I can do nothing but wait and see; such is life when you follow news in a country that is 7 hours ahead of you due to time zones. I'm sure Palestinians are ready to hand out candy in celebration if things don't go well...

Before I go I am going to relent and give in to being tagged with a meme, by IfYouWillIt. Normally I don't do this sort of thing but I happen to like this blogger a lot and hopefully it will lighten the mood of this post, so here goes:

Four jobs I've had in my life: I've had the trifecta of jobs; toy store, record store and pet store. I've also been a warehouse supervisor and used to unload 18 wheelers with a forklift.

Four movies I could watch over and over: Matrix (just the first), Alien & Aliens, Star Wars (original trilogy) and Galaxy Quest.

Four places I've lived: Hamilton, London, Huntsville and Richmond Hill (all in Ontario)

Four TV Shows I love to watch: Battlestar Galactica, Prison Break, Commander In Chief, Survivor, and Lost. (oh wait... that's five. oops)

Four places I've been on vacation: Florida, Israel, England and coast to coast in Canada.

Four websites I visit daily: CNN, Ynet, Jerusalem Post, Google News

Four of my favorite foods: cereal, sushi, steak, popcorn

Four places you'd rather be: Israel, Australia, Turks and Caicos, Ireland

Four books I'll read over and over again: hm... I'm not one for reading books more than once.. Celestine Prophecy (read that twice), Dr. Phil's 'Self Matters' (I've read it halfway through a number of times. one day I'll finish it, I swear!), the Big Book and all of the Osho books I own.

Now it's time to tag some other suckers, coz misery loves company! I tag Sam, ocB, Andrea, Celti and Mulder. Bwah ha ha!!