Here we go again. Not long ago I wrote of how the Palestinians seem to get a very disproportional amount of media attention and worldwide support for their cause even though it clearly is not the most serious humanitarian crisis in the world.
This week's events illustrate the same anomaly for the United Nations, Jimmy Carter, New York Times, BBC, CNN, Fox News, the Pope, Al Jazeera, organizers of Israel Apartheid Week, and the myriad of other critics of Israel, those who tore down Starbucks in the UK (because its founder supports Israel), and everyone else who is somehow convinced that the main problem facing our planet is the Palestinian one.
When Israel attacked Gaza a little over a year ago, we were inundated with news and photos of the human tragedy that resulted. We heard time and again, and still do, of the 1,300 Palestinians who lost their lives and the disproportionate amount of force employed by the Israel Defense Force. I recall vividly that CNN, Fox News and others had 24-hour coverage of every detail and tidbit they could get their hands on concerning this situation. On BBC News it dominated as the lead story for weeks.
Over one million people are being displaced and it's barely discussed in the media.
Now today I see some (some, but not a lot of) media coverage of the 1.3 million Pakistani refugees fleeing their homes in the Swat and other regions of Pakistan. Yes, over one million people being displaced -- the largest number of displaced citizens since that nation's creation -- and yet they do not merit anything near the attention the far smaller number of suffering Palestinians received. Talk about disproportionate.
And in Sri Lanka this week (from the New York Times): "A government doctor said at least 378 civilians -- and perhaps as many as 1,000 -- had been killed and more than 1,100 wounded on Saturday and Sunday during intensive shelling of the combat zone on Sri Lanka's northeastern coast. 'There were many who died without medical attention,' the doctor, V. Shanmugarajah, told the Associated Press. 'Seeing the number of wounded and from what the people tell me, I estimate the death toll to be around 1,000'."
A thousand Sri Lankans killed in two days... and it comes and goes in the news. Later in the week a makeshift hospital located in a school was struck and over 50 killed. Remember when Israel was falsely accused of hitting a UN school and there was a tremendous global outcry? Any global outcry here? How about a global peep?
And then, just when you thought Islamic society could stoop no lower, we read of hundreds of girls suffering the ill effects of an apparent poisoning for the terrible crime of (gasp!) attending school in their wish to receive an education. Will any of those brave moral voices who so proudly proclaimed their outrage at Israel now stand up and speak of this atrocity? Will Jimmy Carter write a book to challenge the Muslims and ask what in heaven's name is wrong with a people and religion that can sanction such insanity and not protest it?
Will some Israeli or Jewish leader, when defending Israel, loudly proclaim, "What is your obsessive fixation with the Palestinians? What is this hypnotic insanity that every time a Palestinian is inconvenienced it makes news all over the world, but when countless of thousands of others suffer it largely goes undetected?" I wish the Israelis would stop nit-picking the words of the pope about the Holocaust and send him a clear message that his sympathies can be better used elsewhere in the world.
I often ponder if those poor Pakistanis, Sri Lankans, starving Africans and countless other unfortunates wonder why they are for the most part ignored, while every tiny Palestinian grievance down to the uprooted olive tree -- news that would be nothing more than local fare anywhere else -- receives worldwide microscopic attention.
Wouldn't the world be more balanced and if Israel would remain under the radar screen so that real humanitarian crises can be brought to the fore? Next time world leaders come a calling about Mideast peace, maybe they ought to be politely reminded to be more worried about the crazy Taliban getting hold of nuclear arms in Pakistan, and to focus time and energies on real suffering that is engulfing our world. Let's see Israel out of the media spotlight so it can shine bright on those issues that really need international attention and fixing.