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The media reportage of Middle Eastern Events

Posted by Jane Williams, Tuesday, December 4, 2001

One of the most likely effects of the horror of September 11th was always going to be an increase in racism toward Moslems. This has occured and is being perpetuated by the press. When reporting on the confrontation between Palestine and Israel, there appears to be a requirement by commentators to mention the fact that the Palesinians are Islamic, but rarely do they mention the fact that Israilis are Jewish. Both sides of the confrontation are human, their religion is irrelevant, until it is made so by this sort of one sided reporting. The way death is reported adds to this bias. Western audiences are invited to feel the agony of the Israelis slaughtered in the suicide bombs of the weekend, but palestinian deaths are treated as anonymous people, counted as numbers, bodies held above depersonalised funeral crowds with no attempt at connection. They are all humans, they all bleed and they all deserve our attempt at understanding so that a future may be possible. It can be extremely difficult to raise above these inherent predjudices, they are deeply intrenched in our psyche, but if we do not attempt to balance what we read with what we know to be the unbiased truth, then we must surely tarnish ourselves with the same cloak of ignorance as was used as an excuse for the atrocities commited by the Reich in Germany.