Sunday, December 16, 2007

Newsletter 15 The New International Class and the Media

Terra Incognita
Issue 15
A Publication of Seth J. Frantzman
Jerusalem, Israel


December 16th, 2007

This is a slightly new format, the first article is quite but it organized in a new and dynamic way.

1) Anthropology of the New International Class: There is a class of people that work for international organizations such as the Red Cross, the U.N, Amnesty International and Human Right Watch. I propose to examine this class using anthropology. What are its internal social norms? What does it eat, how does it speak, what are its working ways and its spiritual ways? What kind of family does it come from and what kind of lifestyle does it live, how does it speak? What is its heritage and how did it come about. I also propose to define this group as its own Class in the Marxist sense, a class of bourgeoisie people who do not work in a genuine manner and yet have a very powerful, domineering and colonialist-racist role in the world. I propose to also examine those groups who have actively resisted the imposition of this class, such as American citizens, Congolese generals and Al Quaida in the Islamic Maghreb. In short, the whole world has a role to play in combating this new imperialism.

2) The Media and the understanding of history: The media doesn’t so much manufacture consent as it manufactures history. It no longer plays the role of informing the public but rather it tells the public how to think. It is a nefarious thing and its main role in modern society is the purposeful distortion of reality.

Anthropology of the New International Class
Seth J. Frantzman
December 13th, 2007

The world bank just endorsed $5.6 billion dollars in aid for the Palestinians over the next three years. In order to disperse that aid and oversee its distribution a virtual army of people is required. That army is composed of people who are members of what should be called the New International Class.

Who they are; traditions, demographics, origins

Anthropology is usually used to tell us about the cultures, traditions and societies of 'simple' and 'savage' peoples. It applies best to nude people who usually live in jungles. Needless to say it is rarely used to examine Europeans or wealthy people. But important strides have been made in the field of cultural geography and anthropology. The book Albions Seed applies many classic anthropological descriptions to understand the four waves of British settlers who came to the Americas between 1600 and 1800. The book-turned movie Nanny Diaries makes a joking attempt to analyze the culture of women on the upper west side of Manhattan.

I have identified a class of people that exist that deserve to be studied anthropologically. Membership in this class is not based on tribe. In fact membership in this class is mostly based on membership or employment by an international organization, usually an NGO. Examples might include Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, any U.N organization(UNESCO, UNHCR) or the ICRC(International Committee of the Red Cross). The number of people that are members of this class may number in the millions worldwide. A study has never been to try to quantify their numbers or the amount of money spend on this tribe of internationals. Let us begin by trying to describe who they are.

These people are mostly born in Western European countries or the United States. A minority of them come from the rest of the world, such as South America, Asia and Africa. All of the members of this class are born into wealthy families in their home countries. They are likely to be descendents of people that were once landed gentry. The poorer the country they come from the more likely it is that they come from the absolute upper crust of society. In the United States a disproportionate number of them are Jews and Blue-bloods. Needless to say very few African-Americans become members of this class. The Europeans who become members of this class are invariably from the urban Bourgeoisie. All of the members of this class have college educations and some of them have second degrees. Almost all of them have never worked a job in their lives that was not in some way connected with an NGO or a governmental organization. They have never worked for a business or a company and they have never had a 'blue collar' job. Most of them have traveled in their lives. For the Americans that become members of this class most have traveled a great deal more than the average American.

Working habits

They are usually employed in countries they know nothing about, and it is not infrequent that they do not even speak the languages of the people of the country in which they 'work'. They almost always live alone in large houses paid for by their organization. Many of them receive cars from their 'employer'. They usually make between ten and one hundred time what the average salary is in the country in which they are employed. When they work in places like Africa they may make as much as 10,000 times what the average person in their host country earns.

Social rituals

They associate mostly with eachother. If they have friendships with people outside their International Class it is usually with journalists, government employees, diplomats or wealthy tourists from their home countries or European countries. They dine at the nicest restaurants. Many of them smoke. Many of them are alcoholics. They always know where the best bars are in every country they have visited and invariably they compare stories of where the best bar and 'secret wonderful' place to drink and club is. Even in the most backward country where people are the most poor, such as the Congo, the International Class will have their club and their bar that they know about and go to. Whether it is Ramallah or Gaza City they have their place of choice. Usually they provide the only income for these places so that the bar actually exists only to serve them. In countries where drinking is prohibited for the masses and where men and women rarely meet in public places after nightfall they will have a bar where men and women dance and drink together that caters only to them. In some countries, especially in Africa, they will be some of the only people in the country who drive expensive SUVs. In fact the SUV is part of their culture. Usually the SUV is white and has the symbol of their organization printed on it.

They are good at writing reports on the people they 'observe' as part of their 'work'. Many of them spend most of their day judging and condemning the citizens of the countries they are posted to. They frequently share stories about their experiences with the native population. Their experience may include endless stories about being ripped off by cab drivers or slumming it in their host cities red light district. In fact 'slumming it' and 'talking to the natives' is a major part of their culture. Frequently they receive praise and congratulations each time they describe an encounter with a 'native' to their friends. Their story may include going to a wedding of a native or observing a native in his house or having a native 'friend'. The friend is not a genuine friend for them but a token, a sort of badge they wear. So they may say things like "my Palestinian friend" or "my Kenyan friend". One can know the difference between a genuine friend and one of these token friends by the way there are introduced in a conversation. If the person is a genuine friend they are introduced by their name first. If they are a trophy or a token they are introduced first by their race, ethnicity, religion or country of origin. The reason for the difference is that members of this class view the 'natives' they meet as not being completely human and that is why they describe them first as a race or a religion rather than as a person. For them the only people that exist are members of their class or members of their home country.

Many of them wear clothes and act certain ways and do things in order to tell about it later. For instance one of them I examined wore a 'Taybeh beer shirt' that was brand new. He didn't wear the shirt because he liked it but because he wanted to use it as a conversation piece. He said "this shirt offends right wing people, I wear it see the reactions I get." Members of this class do not get genuine satisfaction out of experiences they have unless this experience can be relayed to a friend as part of an endless competition between members about who is more cultural and tolerant and diverse. They go to cultural events mostly to say they want rather than to appreciate them. Many times they will go to a country and know absolutely nothing about it but they will go to a wedding or some festival mostly to tell their friends about the festival. The female members of this class will go so far as to become sexually intimate with 'natives' in order to tell their girlfriends about it. Despite their claims of not being racist they will begin a sentence with "I went out with a black man" or "I saw a gorgeous black man" or "I once dated a Palestinian." The sentence reveals the fact that they didn't date the person because of a genuine interest in the native as a person but merely as a conquest the way a frat boy might say "we had an Asian stripper come over last night." Members of this class dwell in the exotic and the taboo. They decorate their houses with 'exotic' things but things that are not genuine. They mostly buy the decorations so they can talk about them, rather than because they genuinely like them. Most interestingly many members of this class do not keep pictures of their family in their houses but rather pictures of natives they have met. The pictures serve as another badge.

This class speaks about racism a lot. It is a subject of many of their conversations and they are quick to ostracize a member who has become a 'racist'. In one conversation I had with one of these people he was telling me how he had a 'Kenyan friend.' His friend didn't have a name. He was just "my Kenyan." So I asked with a devilish grin; "Is he black? Does he have big lips." This of course offended the person I was speaking to and he proceeded to make a mental note that I was a 'racist'. This is how this class thinks. It is quite sensitive to its perceptions of what racism is. It is often quite judgmental regarding the natives. While it may revel in attending the native ceremonies and cultures and festivals, it is quick to condemn certain aspects of the native society. The class has a contempt for the people they deal with on a daily basis and they revel in stories about how horrible the native makes their lives, while at the same time reveling in other stories about how exotic the natives are. The class also has a notable lack of honor. They revel in stories about fleeing cabs without paying and not paying for their drinks. They revel in stories about going out with their friend's ex-girlfriends and then allowing their same friends to beat on those ex-girlfriends, all the while playing the innocent victim of circumstances. In reality this is simply a class that lacks control. Unlike their ancestors who frequently exercised a great deal of self control and personal responsibility, these people do not have these concepts. They also do not understand the concepts of humiliation or honor. Members of this class never donate money to anything. They live on the donated money of others, but they themselves never give their own money to anyone or anything, unless they are paying too much for something in a foreign bizarre and then they excuse it by saying the 'local people are poor. Most members of this class do not have any interest in their own culture. They are not religious and they adhere to the philosophies of post-humanism, moral-relativism and secular-humanism. They usually know almost nothing about their own family background and while they may study the religions and intricate religious laws of others, they frequently know nothing about their own historical heritage. Even they are they the descendants of dirt poor refugees or Holocaust survivors they invariably will help the majority, such as Muslims in Morocco, rather than their own people or minorities (for instance one Jewish member of this class who works for the Red Cross and whose family were Holocaust survivors, when he learned that the author works for a Jewish charity, asked ‘I would like to know more about what they do for Palestinians’. Incidentally, during the Holocaust the Red Cross covered up Nazi crimes and actively collaborated with the Nazi regime, it is no surprise that a descendant of the very Jews the Red Cross helped murder would work for the Red Cross helping Muslims).

Historical roots

The New International Class came into existence in the aftermath of the Second World War when 'Wasp rot' set in among the wealthy classes of the west and rather then devoting themselves to working they devoted themselves to charity and aid and setting up organizations and trusts that would support themselves and their children. Towards this end they harnessed their home governments with huge obligations and they engaged in endless fundraising among the working wealthy to create giant organizations who sole purpose was the largesse associated with employing the children of the elite cultured classes of the west.

Conflict, growth and geographic structure

But the New International Class is not completely safe in the bubbles of security and wealth it creates in foreign countries. Despite the fact that it shuttles from expensive first class seats on an airline to a five star hotel and then to its expensive apartment in the most prestigious part of town(the U.N office in Algiers in the prestigious Hydra neighborhood for instance) and then to work in a large building guarded by locals it is not completely immune from what goes on around it. Sometimes the native resistance against the foreign New International Class consists of minor things such as theft, mugging or harassment. Sometimes it consists of stone throwing. Sometimes this can get worse. Sometimes members of the class are murdered and raped. Very infrequently a local resistance organization will blow up a building the houses members of the International Class. This has been the case in bombings of U.N compounds in Afghanistan, Iraq, Gaza and most recently in Algeria. But the New International Class is pernicious. Its reports can harm the international standing and reputation of the countries that the class reports upon. Thus like a parasite the class is able to have a stranglehold over a country's ability to get rid of it. Expelling members of the U.N or Amnesty International or the Red Cross merely makes the country seem evil and increases the chances of sanctions and boycotts of that country. If the country is particularly offensive to members of the International Class the class may be able to rally western countries to bomb, invade and occupy the country. This has been the case in Kosovo, Bosnia, East Timor and Haiti to name a few places. In some cases the International Class is able to take over the judicial systems of other countries, deporting leaders it doesn't like such as Charles Taylor and Slobodan Milosevic and jailing them in the west. Other times the International Class merely sets up judicial shop in a country such as Cambodia and then presumes to prosecute former war criminals in that country. The International Class assumes that locals cannot do any of these things themselves. Corruption is usually the word that is uses by the International Class to tar the countries that they don't like. When a country is said to be 'Corrupt' then the International Class has an excuse to move in to begin taking over the country, whether it is the judicial system or the banks. Countries have a hard time extricating themselves from this cancer once it has infested a country. The International Class never leaves once it has gotten a foothold. Organizations such as the Temporary International Presence in Hebron (TIPH) are infamously not temporary. They never leave once they have a 'mandate' to do something. They are self supporting in the sense that they employ a certain number of the International Class who now lobby their home country to keep supporting their 'important, significant and necessary' work. One of the only countries to extricate itself from this horror in recent years has been Eritrea and even it was only able to expel the international aid organizations. Aid and charitable organizations are especially adept in Africa at creating dependence among the 'natives' so that the aid organization then becomes necessary to the survival of the local population. Because the International Class has no expertise at doing anything that involves working with their hands they are incapable of providing genuine aid that might help people survive, so the International Class provides hand outs in the form of food stuffs that create dependency. Then more jobs are created for wealth white westerners and their SUVs to move in to distribute more food. The International Class is not entirely benign when it comes to the sex slave trade either. Many countries such as Djibouti offer girls as young as 10 to clients who more often than not are members of the International Class. In some countries U.N workers and thus members of the Class were found to have traded food for sex with teenage girls and boys.


The New International Class is a pariah, a cancer, a parasite. It is a thing that sucks the life blood out of nations and destroys the souls of the people it comes in contact with. Staffed by secular cynical addicted westerners, it spreads its sickness throughout the globe. Few organizations have the wherewithal to combat it. Those organizations such as Al Quieda in the Islamic Maghreb that have set as their goal the cleansing of North Africa of non-Muslims may target members of the Class but they also murder innocent people in the process (a recent bombing in Algeirs killed five U.N workers and 26 civilians). While the prospect of Islamism in places like Egypt may not be something the west likes very much it may turn out that this is the only way to remove the parasite from the body. I heard the members of this class talking this week about their days drinking in Egypt and going to the brothels and running away from cabbies who were trying to scam them and giggling about how the 'tourist police' beat down the natives who dared to try anything. Wouldn't Egypt be better off without these people? Wouldn't Africa be better off if all the money that is spent on the white charity workers and their SUVs went instead to local people? The parasite of Internationalism should spend its time fixing the ills in its home country. Human Rights Watch should be on the streets of suburban Paris. There should be a Temporary International presence there.

General Nkunda's solution

One can barely open a newspaper without seeing article after article discussing the role of this Class in the world. An article entitled 'A battered Congo again in convulsions' in the Herald Tribune on December 13th noted that "UN peacekeepers swept in late Tuesday to occupy the town as the Congolese Army fled. The fight came only a year after Western nations helped organize and pay for an election…the violence is also unfolding despite years of military and diplomatic intervention by the United Nations, the European Union and the United States…to create, for the first time since its independence from Belgium in 1960, a stable and prosperous Congo. 'The fundamental issues that led to the Congo war have never really been dealt with' said Anneke Van Woudenberg of Human Rights Watch.' " The article describes how General Nkunda has been trying to protect the Tutsi minority in Eastern Congo from being massacred by U.N supported Hutu militias, the same militias driven out of Rwanda in 1994 because of their involvement in the genocide. Notice how this article reveals the usual suspects meddling in another country's affairs: the U.N, the E.U and Human Rights Watch all have their fangs in the Congo. A white woman named Anneke is the 'expert' on the Congo, certainly the media couldn't interview one of the 'blacks'. Although the U.N and the International Class portray this as a warlord, Mr. Nkunda, fighting the government of the Congo it is really about a General fighting to save his people from a U.N sponsored genocide. Nkunda, like Al Quieda in North Africa, is resisting the International Class's attempt to re-colonize the Congo. Note how the article admits that the U.N and the E.U are trying to bring Congo back to the 'peace' that she experienced under Belgium colonialism. In fact the EU and the UN and Human Rights Watch are trying to impose a new imperial order in the Congo. Some people in the Congo don't appreciate it. Meanwhile at the Hague the Un Yugoslav War Crimes tribunal, which is staffed by whig wearing members of the International Class, sentenced a Serb general named Dragomir Milosevic to 33 years in prison for bombarding Sarajevo. His crime was using artillery against a city during a siege. Its odd that in European history they never convicted any other western Europeans of this crime. America dropped an atomic bomb on a city and no one convicted those who ordered that of 'war crimes'. Nato bombed the civilian inhabited capital of Serbia and yet that was not an 'illegal' act or a war crime for which the American Commander Wesley Clark was ever put on trial for. Yasser Arafat conducted a bombing campaign against Israel. According to the article "the use of indiscriminate weapons is illegal." Also according to the article Mr. Milosevic caused shoppers to be "terrified". Oddly enough when Jewish shoppers were terrified of Palestinian bombers between 2000 and 2004 the same International Class accused Israel of war crimes and described those who murdered Israeli shoppers as 'freedom fighters.' It is odd that this illegality only applies to people that the International Class doesn't like. Not one of those responsible for the Sudanese genocide will ever be brought to justice, for instance.

The American Solution and the potential for cultural change

I recall once I saw a bumper sticker in the United States that said 'warning to evil' and it depicted a U.N helmet with a bullet hole in it. Ordinary Americans are famous for their hatred of the New International Class. What the world needs to learn, particularly the countries being victimized by this class, is a lesson from America. More firearms and an independent spirit make for less U.N workers. Al Quaida in the Islamic Maghreb is a pathetic organization that will never succeed in freeing its country from the International Cancer. Only popular resistance can rid one of the menace. The day will come when this Class will be washed away. Most likely however this will come about not because of an uprising in the host countries but because the west is being overrun by poverty stricken immigrants who will eventually plunge the west into a downward economic spiral and thus the resources for the support of the Class will evaporate and all the wealthy bourgeoisie people who made up the recruits for this class will find themselves having to get real jobs where they work with their hands, perhaps in the soil. Only then will they be returned to a genuine spirit and only then perhaps, after many years, when one of the members of this Class is working in a field with his hands next to a man named Robert who happens to come from Kenya, only then will the member of this Class refer to his friend as Robert rather than "my Kenyan" or "my black friend."

A complete re-write of history: The media's role in crafting what we think and how we remember.
Seth J. Frantzman
December 11th, 2007

The media plays the most nefarious role in creating history, in creating a selective history based on the outlook and beliefs of those who write for the media, journalists. The media does not so much convey the news to the public but rather it frames the news so that the public is deceived into viewing the world their the lens that the media places in front of us.

Take very simple things. The BBC informs readers, on a report about a road trip around South Africa, that "Mr Majozi was born in 1948, the year the National Party came to power and began implementing apartheid." This is, however, untrue. The system of Apartheid, almost all of the racial basis for it, were created long before 1948 by the British colonial administration of the country. 1948 marked the victory of the National party, a predominantly Afrikaner based political party that made Apartheid a pillar of the country, adding greater emphasis to it. The News desires simple answers. So its answer is to create a mythical history by enshrining a date with historical significance.

BBC writers inform us that a town in South Africa is "a soulless place where even the atmosphere in the local taxi rank is subdued." It is nice to have such editorializing in a 'news' story, but many people would prefer to live without this. Who is a white journalist from an upper class family in England to judge what is soulless? Perhaps many of us would consider England, with is dismal weather, its rampant crime, and its arrogant news organizations to be a soulless place.

Showing his discomfort with what the author considers is the "old South Africa" he notes that "The streets still bear the names of Afrikaner heroes such as Paul Kruger. That is not in the least bit unusual in predominantly Afrikaans-speaking towns, but I am surprised to find myself in 'President' Kruger Street." It is strange to hear an Englishmen speak this way since it was, after all, his ancestors who colonized South Africa, who named half the country with English names (Ladysmith, Queenstown, King William Town, East London, Jamestown, Port Elizabeth). It was the English crown that sent 350,000 men to fight the Boers in 1899 and to destroy the independence of President Kruger's Boer Republic. In doing so they managed to build the first concentration camps and murder 24,000 Afrikaner women and children. It is perhaps no surprise then that a BBC journalist today would wince at the sight of a President Kruger Street. Surely the same BBC journalist is annoyed at the fact that the capital of the United States is named Washington after another independence minded president who didn't appreciate English colonialism.
But there is something insidious in the way the journalist writes "still bear the names" as if the journalist objects, as if he feels he should have a right to change the names to fit his image of how people should live. It is strange that journalists reporting on the Soviet Union in the 1930s had no problem with all the name changes going on there at the time. It is perhaps no surprise that journalists in the 1930s covered up Stalin's genocide in the Ukraine and that they were even awarded Pulitzer prizes for having done so.
What is this profession then? This journalism? Chomsky called it an attempt to 'manufacture consent'. But journalists and the media don't manufacture consent so much as they manufacture opinion and history. What is most fascinating is that the media likes to publish polls of what people think. Take all the polls we see that are published regarding global warming. The media tells us that a huge percentage of people now believe global warming to be the greatest threat to the world and the greatest threat to their daily lives. But this perception of global warming as the End of Days wasn't thought up by the public overnight. The public didn't have an epiphany and all wake up believing that Global Warming would end life on earth as we know it within the coming years. The public was told to believe this by the media. The media fashioned a massive number of hysterical reports about global warming and then produced survey after survey showing us, the public, getting more concerned. Everyone's initial reaction to a survey that shows that 90% of people believe something is to immediately ask themselves "why don't I believe that…everyone else does…I should too." People are innately programmed to go along and if they find out that everyone else is scared to death of global warming it is no surprise that in order to fit in they now feel global warming is a great menace. The only exception is people that are naturally and instinctually contrarian who believe that if everyone else believes something then they should believe the opposite. But whether it is the follower or the contrarian both of them are affected by the way in which the media warps people's minds.
All the studies of media bias always seem to come to grief on the fact that those doing the research are seemingly incapable of measuring the bias, usually because the researchers themselves are biased. For this reason researchers have found rampant bias in Fox News but inexplicably have not found any Bias in CNN or the BBC. But it all hinges on what questions are being asked in their studies. One study I was privileged to work on investigated bias in the American and Israeli media. The variable it hinged on was how often certain people from certain political parties were mentioned in news reports and whether or not they were quoted. The professors involved, Drs Tamir Schaefer and Dr. Gadi Wolfsfeld of the Hebrew University thought they were measuring bias. They thought they were showing that a given news outlet quoted or mentioned one political party more than another. But the media is too shrewd to be caught in its bias by a simple study like this. Take our British reporter at the BBC and his report on South Africa. A simple test like this would show that he mentioned all the races and people of South Africa. He duly interviewed a white person and a black person. He mentioned Kruger and Mandela. What is important is not how often the news media mentions something but the way in which is frames its discussion of the thing. The Nazi run media in Germany mentioned the Jews a great deal. By the Shafer/Wolfsfeld model we would be led to believe that it was biased in favor of the Jews, because they got so much press. But just because something is mentioned a lot doesn't mean it is being mentioned in a positive or negative manner, and it is this framing that the media uses to alter public opinion. It doesn't matter if the media mentioned Hilary Clinton as often as it does Barak Obama in the run up to the 2008 Democratic primaries. If each mention of Clinton makes her out to be honorable and good and each mention of Barak describes him as inept and fumbling, we know what the media is trying to tell us. Some might claim that the media is telling us the truth. But one can be assured when dealing with the media that it does not engage in the truth.

The media has one function in society and that is to propagandize and manipulate public feelings, to craft and distort history and to lie to the public to such a degree that it makes the existence of a free press almost useless, given that fact that an unfree press can lie to the public just as well. The only difference between a free press and that run by a dictatorship is the likelihood that a free society may produce marginal voices that contradict the mainstream press's account of things. But in a place such as the United Kingdom the most popular news outlets such as the BBC, the Independent and the Guardian all march in lock step in their extreme emotional propagandistic view of events in the world and their interpretation of history. The only difference between the press in Stalinist Russia and that the New York Times in the 1930s was that the New York Times was written in English. No substantial difference existed between their portrayal of the socialist utopia being created by Comrade Uncle Joe Stalin.
The Press cannot help but to lie and manufacture history, since that is its job. One should not read any news publication without first asking "what is the narrative frame we are being asked to view these events through?" "Who is the author and what is his or her point of view?" Every news article should be read twice with these questions in mind. One should pay careful attention to any pictures that accompany the article to see how they may portray the people mentioned.
Lets do a simple analysis of a news article the BBC published on December 10th, 2007 entitled "In Pictures: West Bank Bedouin cling to traditions amid settlement pressure." According to the report 50,000 Bedouin live in the West Bank and 'Life has always been tough for these nomadic Arab tribes, but they now face a great challenge from the Israeli authorities settling Israeli citizens in the area." The author has already set the scene for us. There is already a good and an evil. The good or rather the victim, is the Bedouin. The evil is the Israeli. But now a face must go with the good. It is the face of Shaeb Hadolim, a 61 year old man who was "forced from Beersheba in 1948 by Jewish fighters." Now we begin to see more of the story. A wonderful picture of the saddened and poverty stricken victim, Mr. Hadolim, accompanies the article. He wears his traditional exotic Khaffiyeh or Arab headdress like Lawrence of Arabia, evoking our sympathy and our love of the 'other.' The heading of this section was 'flight'. The heading of the next section is "squeezed" and we see how in 1981 an Israeli "settlement" was built beside Mr. Hadolim's "home". Recall that in the first section these Bedouin were described as "nomads". The article explains that the Israeli settlements are "illegal under almost every interpretation of international law" and that they "squeeze" Mr. Hadolim off his land. The next section entitled 'Permission denied" explains that Mr. Hadolim once had an easy time building his encampment but now he cannot obtain permission. The next section of the article shows the Jew, Mr. Ron Tsorel, who lives in the settlement and says "God gave us the land." The Jew wears western clothing like any person in London might and sits in his well watered suburban yard. His is the wealthy oppressor. Whereas the camera angle on Mr. Hadolim was strait towards him, showing him as an equal to the reader, the camera angle portraying the Israeli Jew shows him towering over us with a smug nasty expression on his face. The next section is entitled "survival" and shows an Arab woman in all black bending over but not facing the camera. The BBC surely knows it would offend Arab sensibilities to show the women's face, so he complies. The article describes how there is not electricity for the Bedouin family and how they must live on handouts. Next we see a picture of the happy Bedouin children, smiling little girls, which make us more sympathetic. The last section is described as "until death" and includes a quote to this affect from Mr. Hadolim. He is at once heroic and a victim.
But what isn't included in this little vignette of good and evil of power versus weakness of government versus individual of Jew versus Arab? First of all Mr. Hadolim was only 2 years old when he was "forced" from Beersheba. Second of all why was he, a nomad' forced from a settled town? Neither one of these 'facts' seems very strong. Next one should ask about the way in which Mr. Hadolim and his family obtained the land that he was subsequently "squeezed" from. Did he pay for it or did he just build a camp there that consisted of a camel hair Bedouin tent? And what is the nature of the "home" that this man is being squeezed from if we were informed earlier that he was a "nomad." And what of the other 54,999 Bedouin who live in the West Bank? The article insinuates that they are all being thrown off their land by Israel. What percentage of them live next to settlements that were established after the Bedouin had already built encampments? Furthermore the article insinuates that the Bedouin "cling to traditions amid settlement pressure." What does this mean? It means the settlements are taking away their tradition of nomadism? But would'nt nomadism solve the problem depicted in this story? If Mr. Hadolim was a real nomad then would'nt he move from place to place every year, like the Bedouin used to do and then the existence of a small settlement wouldn't make no difference to him. What percent of the lands of the West Bank are taken up by Israeli settlements? In addition what percentage are taken up by settled Arab villages? What percentage does that leave Mr. Hadolim to use as his nomadic grazing land?

The entire story is a fabrication anyway. A close examination of the pictures show that the settlement has no impact on the lifestyle of Mr. Hadolim and the Israeli army does not demolish structures on the West Bank, unless they are used by terrorists or if they are illegally built Jewish outposts. Israel doesn't engage in town planning for Arabs in the West Bank, which is evident to anyone who uses Google Earth to examine the Arab settlement pattern in the West Bank. In addition Israel doesn't interfere with the Bedouin of the West Bank, who small in number, poor and who take no interest in the political situation. The only time Bedouins in the west bank run afoul of Israel is when they engage in smuggling of weapons. For the most part they were unaffected by the second intifada and by all the Arab-Israeli wars.
The news story fabricated an event and a conflict where none exists. But the news story has nothing to do with Bedouin. It has everything to do with the Jews and Israel and the settlements and the interest of the BBC to find a reason to portray Israel in a negative light. The BBC uses the story of this Bedouin to do so. The pictures serve as a perfect frame for the argument and they help convince the reader of what is right and what is wrong. This article is a perfect example of what journalism is.

From describing the murder of Hindus at the hands of a Muslim mob in India as "100 Hindus were immolated" so as to make it seem that they died by mistake while claiming that the Hindu Governor of Gujarat was responsible for the deaths of Muslims killed in retaliation, to describing the Balkan conflict in 1998 as "Milosevic's war against the Albanian people" without mentioning the activities of the KLA or the Nato bombing campaign, the media is one massive instrument in the hands of elites who seek to distort history and make the public believe certain things.
What would it be like if the media and its journalists didn't have an opinion? Imagine a story about the West Bank Bedouin that was just a factual story about them, without some massive political agenda where they were being used as pawns to portray someone else in a bad light. Imagine if journalists didn't have to use words like 'soulless' as if they were writing a fiction novel rather than doing the news. Journalism is a dishonorable profession that uses the perception of honesty and fairness to hide its insidious motives and very extreme viewpoints. British journalists especially should never be trusted, they seem to believe that the roll of the media is only to convince people of things, rather than to inform people and it is why one will never find a news story that comes out of Britain that is unbiased, factual and does not express an obvious opinion or frame the story in some sort of 'good versus evil' scenario.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think, Friends of Efrat is the best Jewish charity around. It simultaneously achieves major religious and political aims. I found it here and donated that same day which is sort of unusual for me.