Tag Archives: peace

Pro-Israel vs Pro-Palestine: Can There Be a Third Option?

About a year ago I wrote a paper on media bias in coverage of the Israel-Palestine conflict. In her feedback, my professor accused me of being a Palestinian sympathizer and in the same breath called me pro-Israel. This conversation, in my mind, highlights the fact that no matter how careful I am, neutrality on this issue has become nearly impossible.

bethlehemwestbank

Bethlehem, The West Bank: Every morning hundreds of Palestinians line up at the barrier to make it through the checkpoint in time for work in Jerusalem. It often takes 3+ hours to make it through.

Let’s face it, no one wants to talk about the Israel-Palestine conflict. No matter what stance you take, you’re going to offend someone. Since violence and tensions have somewhat lessened since last year, or at least have become overrun by other more flashy news stories, there hasn’t been a whole lot of coverage on the conflict. Though governments may be in a constant process of peace talks and negotiation the situation for most Israeli and Palestinian citizens remains unchanged.

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The Western Wall, Jerusalem

About three years ago I spent some time living in both Israel and the West Bank. As a writer and photographer I naturally blogged about my experience, and the response I got was both shocking and highly predictable. This conflict touches on so many aspects of history and culture that it has become absolutely polarizing on the fronts of ethnicity and religion. Like the situation with my professor I managed to piss off people on both sides as I desperately clung to what I liked to think was middle ground, searching for a “pro-peace” option.

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Sure, There’s The Afterlife [But Wait, There’s More!]

When deciding to write about this topic, I had to be honest with myself and admit that things have gotten pretty darn personal around here in the past. It’s not like I haven’t shared with you and potentially anyone else in the world with an internet connection that I think Ingrid Michaelson has “amazing” breasts. The main difference here, I think, is the general way I feel many of my peers [ie. fellow young Christian people] discuss faith, which is to say, rarely.

There appears to be a common sentiment of live and let live. “I’ll respect you if you respect me.” Don’t get me wrong, I think that’s great, it’s just that it all too often results in us [refer to my definition of peers above] not really talking about something that’s ostensibly important to us. All of that’s a topic to possibly be unpacked for another time, though, because today I’m going to try tackling the benefits of faith. To be more specific, the benefits of faith sans salvation. Continue reading

Fame Day: The One-State Solution

This was originally going to be my topic for Monday, but I decided to put this discussion off for a few days and showcase it here. Our “Fame Days”, after all, aren’t just about celebrating achievements but include shining the spotlight on noble issues or events we believe should have more attention, and I’d be hard-pressed to think of any idea more deserving than the “One-State Solution”.

Chances are that you have absolutely no idea what I’m talking about, and that’s fine. Normally I rail against what I’d consider self-imposed ignorance when it comes to politics or foreign affairs, but this is a really, really obscure concept (heck, that’s the entire reason we’re talking about it today).

When we’re talking about either the “one-state” or (more common) “two-state” solutions, we’re referencing the debate over the future of Israel and the Palestinian territories. Pretty much every so-called “road map” to “peace in the Middle East” revolves around settling the question of the borders of Israel and what would eventually become the state of Palestine. Who gets what land, access to which resources, authority over which sites- you get the idea.

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No War, No More

The past week has seen a dramatic increase in tension in the Korean Peninsula as hostile rhetoric continues to issue from both sides of the DMZ. In the west, reactions have been mixed, with the media alternatively portraying the situation as being on par with the Cuban Missile Crisis and simultaneously pointing out the primitiveness of North Korea’s military.

For the most part it seems the average American’s mood to all this is one of bravado. I can’t count the number of comments and pictures I’ve seen over the past few days declaring what will happen “If North Korea attacks.”

Things like this:

Titled “What I imagine America will do when North Korea sends a missile to South Korea”

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October 15: What’s Not Being Talked About In The News

For the most part, I try to keep my politics toned down here at CWR, but every once in a while, something comes along that straddles the line between ideology and culture that’d be wrong not to talk about.

I’m guessing you may have heard of Malala Yousafazi.

Young Pakastani girl known for being a women’s education and peace activist, shot by a reported Taliban assassin just short of a week ago and just today being flown to England to continue her recovery.

You may have seen this picture of her:

But the picture you may not have seen is this one here:

That’s young Malala wearing a hijab, a head-covering worn by many Muslim women as part of their understanding of modesty. Yep, Malala’s a Muslim– but that’s something you’re not gonna hear on the news or read in your paper.If Islam is mentioned at all, chances are, it’s in reference to Malala’s would be assassin- not her (or her friends who were with her). Why is that? How come the same frenzied media attention that is devoted to listing off every attack or offense on the part of “Radical Islam” utterly fails to note the Islamic element when it’s related to something positive. I can understand- maybe even overlook- the fact that the news doesn’t offer any attention to the millions of Muslims (the ones I grew up with) who just go about their day without doing anything to anyone. But the moment  a Muslim man or woman stands up for what he or she believes, even going so far as be nearly murdered for those beliefs and actions, religion disappears from the picture.

And while we’re at it, there’s another thing that’s been bothering me.

You remember Pussy Riot? Feminist Punk Band who got into trouble for playing anti-Putin songs in a historic Russian cathedral?

Why is it that when they got convicted of “hooliganism” and were sentenced to two years in prison (a term waaay disproportionate to the crime) the world united in outrage, and when Leah-Lynne Plante was arrested-

Oh.

Who’s “Leah-Lynne Plante”?

She’s an activist up in Washington State whose apartment was raided by FBI and SWAT Teams. See, back on May 1st, there was some vandalism that occurred in Seattle and Leah-Lynne was a suspect.

How many people who have vandalized walls or billboards actually have the police investigate them, let alone the FBI and the Joint Terrorism Task Force? Of those people, how many have black clothes and books confiscated as “evidence”?

Obviously this has about as much to do with vandalism as Pussy Riot’s sentencing had to do with disturbing the peace. See, Leah-Lynne Plante is a self-proclaimed anarchist, and after refusing for a third time to answer questions before a grand jury. Considering the Grand Jury that’s investigating these and other alleged anarchist criminals was first created in March (two months prior to when she allegedly committed these crimes) doesn’t exactly reflect well on the whole “liberty and justice for all” element of the legal system.

But that’s all beside the point.

The point is, you probably don’t know about it. Your news has almost certainly never reported it, and considering the similarities between the two cases, doesn’t Leah-Lynne Plante’s case deserve your attention just as much as anti-government rockers off in Moscow?

Your media doesn’t think so.

And I think we’re being asked too much. I think we’ve had enough.

See, you can’t pick and choose- if the media want to take the violent or oppressive actions of Muslims as being representative of their faith, they have to apply the same logic to Muslim heroism as well. The same goes for equal air-time. The news can’t report on a bunch of women in brightly colored balaclavas for being broadsided by the state and then whistle Dixie while one in a black shirt has her home raided by men in kevlar.

Consistency- I’m not expecting that the news be factual (and considering it’s the news, that’s a pretty big thing to let slide) but they have got to be fair
or stop calling themselves reporters. If they wanted to pick and choose their battles, they should’ve become bloggers instead.