We receive lots of emails asking us to post or re-print political articles. A sizable percentage of them concern that perennial favorite: The Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Our short answer is: No. We’re not going there.
We’re not here to weigh-in on who’s right and who’s wrong the world’s most popular conflict. Everyone else is already doing that ad nauseum.
But we must point out two things:
- Ultimately, why do we care about conflict victims? Because to be a moral and conscious human is to both care and be active about minimizing the human costs of global conflict. We regard all human life as fundamentally equal and sacred. So we care because we must care.
- If one cares more or less about a conflict than its humanitarian-impact warrants, then one is by definition exercising political or some other (non-humanitarian) bias.
What disturbs us about the media’s sheer love-affair for the Israel-Palestine conflict is this: In the grand scheme of ongoing humanitarian crises, it is relatively unimportant. (Please note the latter adverb and its mathematical basis).
Our goal in penning this post is not to belittle any particular crisis, but to ask why do far larger crises go ignored? And to point out that we have yet to be asked to print a single article about conflict-victims from any of the world’s more serious conflicts.
And in case we’re not being clear: Yes, we believe that larger humanitarian problems deserve more media attention than smaller ones. Call us crazy.
We created the following chart to show conflict-casualties measured just from the start of this year.
How many articles in today’s newspaper have you seen about the conflicts in Congo, Yemen, Somalia or the conflict in Sudan? How many protests are taking place tomorrow in front of the Sudanese embassies in London? Oslo? New York or Stockholm? To any who would self-righteously proclaim that we are belittling the human lives lost in Palestine, we would say no: It is you who are belittling the human lives lost in devastatingly more serious conflicts by perpetually elevating this minor conflict to undeserved levels and allowing non-humanitarian interests to intrude upon global humanitarian priorities.
If the media were driven purely by humanitarian concerns, we would expect to see twice the number of articles on South Sudan than we do on Palestine. And for every article on Palestine, there would be a whopping 145 on Syria. Clearly that is not the case. Our guess is that most Europeans and Americans don’t even know there are ongoing conflicts in Nigeria or Pakistan– both of which have extracted exponentially higher human tolls than the Israel-Palestine conflict this year.
All conflicts are serious. All human life is precious.
But again: We care about conflict because of its human cost. And we must measure human costs (and thereby prioritize our responses to them) in human metrics.
The Israel-Palestine conflict is serious and has exacted a horrible toll upon thousands of lives — not just those who have perished, but the many more who have been wounded and bereft. But to compare this relatively minor conflict with (for example) the number of ongoing civilian deaths in Syria, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan or any of the ongoing global conflict zones is to exercise bias (political or other) and to ignore the metrics of humanitarian concerns.
When the media chooses to express endless, repeated outrage only at a specific subset of global conflict deaths and not a relatively greater amount of outrage at the 26,000 lost in just the last 6 months in Syria (or any of the other far more serious conflicts), they are practicing repeated, selective bias which can no longer be masked as humanitarian concern.
We hope the above list sparks concern in a few more deserving causes.