Monday, 4 August 2014

Why the anger over Gaza and none over the deaths in Ukraine?

Why the anger over Gaza and none over the deaths in Ukraine, for which Vladimir Putin is responsible? 

It's a funny old world. 1700 people died in Iraq last month. 700 died in one day last week in Homs.

I should mention, for readers who approve of what Russia has done, that I fully believe that very clumsy actions by the EU and USA provoked Mr. Putin. Is he responsible for the many deaths in Ukraine? Clearly yes in the sense that were it not for him there would be no fighting in Ukraine. Russians and others think he was right to do what he did because he was responding to aggression from the West, but even were this true, which to a certain extent it is, he was not compelled to try to incite a revolt in Eastern Russian, a revolt, by the way, which seems not to arouse much support from local Russians. 

Part of his reason for starting the war is the brutality and courage of the little boy that Vladimir Putin once was who loved to pick fights with strangers in the street - he said proudly that as a child he was 'a thug' and he still is - but another reason was fear of a democratic Ukraine arousing expectations in Russia.

So I understand completely why Putin did what he did, though he took me and everyone else by surprise. I understand completely why Russians with a very few exceptions think he is right are overjoyed by the annexation of the Crimea and are pleased about the war in Eastern Ukraine, just as I completely understand why the USA and UK invaded Iraq in 2003. I think both wars were unjust and very wrong.

Why do the papers think Gaza interests us more then anywhere else? Quite the contrary, I'd have thought. I have been hearing the news about Israel all my life without ever taking any interest in it and I truly am what is called a news junkie. 

As for my views on Gaza, a story in which I take little interest, I sympathise with the Arabs more than the Jews, think the Arabs badly treated by the Jews before and after 1948, think it is manifestly clear that the Israelis had no choice but to invade Gaza this time, deplore the civilians killed and injured and think nothing can justify so many civilian deaths. 

But this is not my point. My point is why do the deaths in Ukraine, Syria and Iraq (Lebanon too a few days ago) attract less news than the ones in Gaza?

Of course the question is rhetorical. It is easy to cover Gaza from the Tel Aviv Hilton. Journalists, even very hard-working ones, are usually lazy. And so are we readers and television watchers. Outrage and platitudes are always easier than thinking.


  1. I suppose for the same reasons that Mafeking was celebrated and held the British press in thrall while, the thousand days and Phillipine-American war did not. A small definable incident in a greater and longer war, unequally matched protagonists, and correspondents on the spot. It all makes for good press and nowadays even better television and since when has that ever been news or journalism? My old latin master told me if I wanted that, to look in the side columns, back pages and pamphlets because the front pages were what those in power wanted to spoon feed the masses for their own ends. He was a raving Marxist of course, but I suspect he had a point.

    Glad you enjoyed the Adriatic.

  2. It's not "anti-Semitism," rather more a function of where the reporters are. News organizations tend to pile into a place in a scrum. The crash site in Ukraine was hard to get to (and nothing further was likely to happen), and how many reporters are on the ground in Syria or Iraq versus Gaza? And Israel makes it so easy to report when they do things like shell kids playing on the beach in front if the hotel where the press is all staying.

  3. It's the Ukrainian government and their American backers who are responsible for the deaths. Same as in Gaza. People are angry because no country would be be able to get away with what Israel gets away with. And they only get away with it because of the power of the Jewish lobby in Washington. Which other country besides Israel would be able to blow up a UN shelter for those seeking refuge or bomb children on a beach and not face condemnation and outrage from American and Western politicians? When is a war crime not a war crime? when Israel does it.

  4. Alexander Fuhrmann7 August 2014 at 00:29

    The Palestinian refugee problem was created by the Arabcountries that refused to accept them. They were not the only refugees in the late forties, there were Germans from the suddetenland, Poles from territories taken by the Russians, Romanians from Bukovina, even Jews from Arab countries. All those settled wherever it was posible to settle Poland, Germany or wherever. The Arabrefugees from Israel, and nobody reffered to them as Palestinians until after the 1967 war,were kept in refugee camps in Gaza then under Egyptian rule or the Westbank then under Jordanian rule. Those countries considered that settling the refugees would imply recognition of Israel. The Palestinian nationalism came later and so did the extremism. To continue your point Paul there are 20 million Kurds who have a much older and credible claim to nationhood and the way Turkey treated those claims are worse than what happened to Palestinians. Or the way China treats the population of Tibet, as so on. But then as you said yourself is a boring topic on which each side will stick to its oppininion.