When major news outlets shed light on the wrong things about Palestine, we all lose.
I’ve been feeling lost in America. I walk around here and discuss Palestine, but all I hear are the same things I’ve always heard. It’s like people are too busy repeating the same propaganda over and over, and those echo chambers are becoming exhausting.
They speak of Israel and Palestine. Right and Left. Legal and Illegal. Pro and Anti. Good and Evil. It’s all so binary. It’s all so convoluted. The conflict has been stripped of all meaning. Instead it seems like a war fought between aimless zombies who couldn’t actually tell you the first thing of what it is like to actually be in Palestine.
They wouldn’t know what it’s like to see a Palestinian, or touch the Apartheid Wall, or trying to remember the smell of the air on a hilltop that was taken by settlers.
It’s true that Israel commits unspeakable acts on a daily basis. But you would never hear about it from every day people. But it’s not the people I blame. It’s the mainstream media.
There’s an old saying that “if it bleeds, it leads”. And sure enough, that’s what people think of when they think of Palestine. They think of bloodshed: either shed by Palestinians, or shed from Palestinians. Perpetrators or victims.
It’s all so dehumanizing. The media have ceased seeing Palestinians as individuals, but rather as these arbitrary categories made up by people. Palestinians are merely identified by their political affiliation, how religious they or whether they want a two state solution.
What you don’t hear about is the human experience that millions of Palestinians experience every day. Those minute little details of the day that networks like CNN know won’t get ratings. All they want is war. Are Palestinians winners or losers today? Are they fanatics or fair minded?
I’m really sick of it.
It’s a toxic way of thinking, and this polarized view of everything is affecting everyone, even pro-Palestinian activists. There is very much a “with us or against us” and “in-group and out-group” kind of philosophy by some activists. I’ve mentioned before how I was abused for not supporting all of the BDS stance, and that is just one example.
Again, it’s hard to blame the activists themselves when the media keeps pushing this narrative. You can see it everywhere, and it consumes all (the Presidential election being a perfect example).
It makes perfect sense why it happens. When networks like CNN and Fox News have a 24/7 news cycle, normal every day occurrences don’t get ratings. Human portrayals of humans doesn’t get people to watch. So they need to capitalize on any way of sensationalizing the news that’s possible. And the easiest way to do that is to make everything seem like an epic battle between two sides. Right and Left. Conservative and Liberal. Muslims and Islamophobes. Israel and Palestine.
But we are better than this. I believe it is possible to rise above. But the solution isn’t to watch more TV, or keep reading and watching your propaganda machines.
The solution, as far as Palestinians are concerned, is to remove your polarizing glasses and simply talk to one. Or better yet, go visit Palestine!
Instead of presuming anything about an entire nation of people, when you actually encounter Palestinians you’ll realize just how diverse a people they are. They’re just like anyone else, not a political plaything of news organizations and activist groups. Humans.
Real, fascinating, every day humans, who happen to be undergoing extraordinary circumstances.
So if you’re with me so far, it’s time to support Palestine through supporting Palestinians themselves, not the concept of them.