LEADER TIMES WEEKEND RELIGION COLUMN FOR
July 26, 2014 by William H. Scarle, Jr. 813-835-0129
Can you believe what you read and see in the media? Well, it depends. Is your source committed to telling the truth? Let me share a series of media guidelines put out by Hamas to the social media. My source is the Middle East Media Research Institute which translated these guidelines from the Arabic. One directive reads, “Anyone killed or martyred is to be called a civilian from Gaza or Palestine, before we talk about his status in jihad or his military rank. Don’t forget to always add ‘innocent civilian’ or ‘innocent citizen’ in your description of those killed in Israeli attacks on Gaza. “
Another memo states, “Avoid publishing pictures of rockets fired into Israel from (Gaza) city centers. This (would) provide a pretext for attacking residential areas in the Gaza Strip. Do not publish or share photos or video clips showing rocket launching sites or the movement of resistance (forces) in Gaza.”
The guidelines continue, “When speaking to the West you must use political, rational, and persuasive discourse, and avoid emotional discourse aimed at begging for sympathy.” Also, “Avoid entering into political argument with a Westerner aimed at convincing him that the holocaust is a lie and deceit; instead equate it with crimes against Palestinian civilians.”
There is every evidence that the Qatar-owned Al Jazeera media company has put these guidelines into practice.
One would expect that Qatar would be line with the liars. Tragically the New York Times also seems to be complying with the guidelines. The only pictures which appear in the folds of the Times are of civilians and never fighters. The portrait one gets from the newspaper whose moto has been, “All the news that’s fit to print,” is of an embattled, victimized Gaza civilian population under attack by a cruel Israeli military.
At the time of this writing we are faced with another attempt to paint a phony picture of an immense tragedy with the shooting down of a passenger jet over the Ukraine causing the death of almost 300 innocent travelers. Russian media are trying to blame the incident on the Ukrainian government. This time, however, Europeans were involved. This was not the Middle East. The media are not blindsided by a subliminal anti-Semitism. The liars will have a much harder time convincing anyone that Russia was not mostly responsible if not directly responsible for this moral obscenity.
The first of the ten words from Sinai concerning social relationships is, “No murder.” The fourth is, “No false witness against your neighbor.”
We live in a world where murder and lying are on the front page, on the television screen, on our communication devices every day. What, if anything, can we do about it? America has always been a “city on the hill” giving a light of compassion and truth to the world. The light has become much dimmer in the past few decades. In our early history the United States was known as a nation of churches. In a global society the United States has an opportunity to stand for truth and not simply personal peace and prosperity. But if that is to happen our people will need to be morally and spiritually revived. Would it be too presumptuous to suggest that if you are not a church going person, you might consider joining the believers in worship this week? You might change your community, or even the world. God has been known to honor small gestures.
(Bill Scarle can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org) END-whs