It seems as though the media is conducting a popularity contest with international conflicts. Some issues get so much attention, some lives are deemed so much more important, and some parts of the world receive the “spotlight” whenever a conflict arises. What I am wondering is who decides what conflicts are worthy of this attention and why does the world follow along?
Perhaps I am being naÃ¯ve, perhaps the celebrities of the political world are calling the shots, but in my idealistic world view no life, no person, regardless of their race or ethnicity is more significant than another. A human rights violation is a human rights violation regardless of the perpetrator or the victim.
The Middle East might as well be the Hollywood of the international conflict arena with their issues most often taking center stage, especially when the United States is involved. While this is no surprise, what seems even more interesting are the conflicts in Africa which get the most media attention. Darfur, an undoubtedly serious cause for concern and international attention, has received an unprecedented amount of publicity. 400,000 innocent lives have been lost due to what many believe is a genocide and whether or not we are affectively working towards a solution we are certainly paying attention. On the other hand more than FIVE MILLION people have been killed in the raging conflict in the DR Congo, but we hear NOTHING about it. Several days ago 68 people were killed; not only was that not headline news on the BBC, but you couldn't even find it on the first page! Why are we so fixated on Darfur yet we don't care at all about the Congo? What is it that makes one conflict worthy of our attention and not the other? Both Sudan and the Congo deal with domestic conflicts in Africa, but their coverage is far from equal. I know that we cannot solve all of the world's problems at once, but adequate coverage is the least we can hope for.
This inequity is seen time and time again. Many of us are aware that a death in the United States is far more “significant” to the media than a death in a third world country. Because one society is more prone to hardship than another does that mean that a life in the United States is more significant than a life elsewhere? The violence in Gaza left over 100 people dead last week, with over a half of them being civilians and the majority of the innocent being children. While that was absolutely covered on the news it paled in comparison to the front page, breaking news headline, that was the 8 innocent Israelis killed in the absolutely atrocious terrorist attack in Jerusalem. Ehud Olmert has even been quoted as saying that the life of an Israeli is worth more than the life of a Palestinian, but how is it acceptable to still have opinions like that in our progressive world today?! And why is the media going along with it??Â
If we cannot even provide information about such issues equally than how can we expect humanity to be treated in a fair and equitable manner?Â