Middle East: Don’t bring me any more of your bad news

I don’t know if many of you have the time or the inclination to watch television. I don’t have the time, but I certainly have the inclination, as homework is boring and my senioritis is flaring up again.

I watch a lot of news. I’m a news junkie. In the morning I listen to National Public Radio, then I watch some CNN and a little Northwest News Channel for variety. I read the Oregonian, the Willamette Week (though they seem to ride this weird moral high ground more and more lately), and the Mercury, because it is entertaining and informative and I was their second runner-up for Homecoming Queen.

Watching TV has become a nightmare, and I’m not talking about the latest offering of crappy sitcoms for this season. I’m talking about the news. First of all, news of the “troubles” in the Middle East seems to dominate the airwaves. Certainly, we should be made aware of this situation, because it seems that the United States is being called upon to mediate the situation.

What really bothers me is the way the major players in the conflict are being portrayed. Sharon is a monster. He is bullying the Palestinians who are being portrayed as terrorists, not people who are having their homes taken away.

It is particularly appalling to see the way suicide bombers are represented. Granted, I do not agree with the idea that blowing yourself up is a good way to engage in a war, but I must admit that I have little knowledge of the way Palestinian Muslims practice Islam. Neither do most Americans, for that matter, but it doesn’t stop Tom Brokaw from expressing horror that an 18-year-old woman would sacrifice her life and kill innocent people.

It seems that we are experiencing a media Orientalism (after Edward Said’s book of the same name). Muslims are bad, and the Israelis seem to be bad too, but we don’t ever comment on it. We just report that Israeli troops blew some Palestinian stuff up, but we never editorialize. However, we have no end to the comments that Arafat is a terrorist and he should step down. The president calls suicide bombers “homicide bombers,” a stupid name that will hopefully never catch on.

To me, the suicide bombers are engaging in personal macropoliticking on the order of the people who slammed planes into the World Trade Center. Killing people never solved any problems, and that goes for both sides, whether it’s a person with bombs on their belt or a guy in a tank. Even we are at fault. Have we found Osama bin Laden or any other major al-Quida player? No. We just blew some stuff up. The only good I can find is that Afghani women can go to school and not get murdered for getting raped.

Another thing that is never mentioned is how Sharon calls what he is doing a “war on terrorism.” I don’t think Bush realized what sort of ugly can of worms he opened up with his “war on terrorism.” Even Yugoslavian war criminals have reverted to calling what they did a “war on terrorism.”

At any rate, the news has left me depressed and angry. I am lucky for now, no one is invading my apartment and making me move or blowing me up in Safeway. But, I’ve stopped watching the news because I feel like this whole ordeal is just going to go on and on because the two sides can’t reach an acceptable compromise. The bottom line is that more people will die horribly, just because their leaders are more interested in furthering an agenda than saving lives and protecting the people they are supposed to lead.