A friend sent me a video that bothered me a great deal. It’s something I’d seen before, earlier this year. In a nutshell, it uses sugary music and mixes clean and dirty images to pound home the message that the evil Palestinian’s have killed 123 Israeli children since 2000. And, there are videos from the Palestinian side that demonize the Israelis for killing 1050 children, (Human Rights Watch numbers) using forceful rap music to present a different hipper attack, but one that is as dishonest and one-sided.
It’s bothersome for a pretty elemental reason: there are always two sides to every issue. And, that’s part of the problem with grey propaganda of this nature: It’s meant to portray only one side of a very very complicated issue. Especially egregious considering that it’s horrific that children are dying while adults argue about who is right.
Rather than get in a tit for tat who has suffered more, bigger numbers means bigger pain or higher moral ground argument, it’s best to remember that the fatal flaw in propaganda of this type is that it foments hated by hiding behind saccharine sweet music (or hip pop rap) and the faces of children juxtaposed with graphic horrors of destruction, of torn and twisted bodies. It offends on the most basic of levels. It’s only aim is to keep the fires of hatred burning. Yet, people eat the message up with a spoon, because it appeals to our basic fears and biases.
Serious issues deserve serious thought. Not propaganda that reasserts hatred in the guise of sweetness and light, or by asserting that people kill to “be cool”. People kill because they are detached from reality. Eliminationist rhetoric and You Tube videos that propagate eliminationist thought are a symptom of the inability to move beyond fear and hatred. And, that’s a huge problem. Especially when it’s packaged in a way that makes viewers feel they are watching something of depth, when they are being manipulated.
Both Israelis and Palestinians need to stop jockeying for the who has been victimized more award and start facing the bitter realities of what is going on and fight for solutions. Because they exist.
Anything less is insulting to the memory of those who have died on both sides and ensures that more will die in the future. And, that’s tragic.