Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Success is Not an Option - The American Media and Democracy in the Middle East

Luke 7:29-35 (New International Version)

29”(All the people, even the tax collectors, when they heard Jesus' words, acknowledged that God's way was right, because they had been baptized by John. 30But the Pharisees and experts in the law rejected God's purpose for themselves, because they had not been baptized by John.)
31“To what, then, can I compare the people of this generation? What are they like? 32They are like children sitting in the marketplace and calling out to each other: “ ‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not cry.’ 33For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon.’ 34The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and “sinners.” ’ 35But wisdom is proved right by all her children.”

The news out of the Middle-East is really good, but you have to dig deep to see it. There is a real hunger for democracy in this troubled part of the world, just as George Bush and proponents of the new, radical policy of democratizing the Middle-East have said for some time now.

The news itself should be pretty straightforward. In Lebanon, for example, popular “persuasion” has convinced Syria to begin pulling out its troops and security forces, which have been occupying Lebanon illegally for over a decade. Hundreds of thousands of Lebanese citizens took to the streets, modeling themselves after the people of the Ukraine who had brought democracy to their country a few months earlier. And while the “wheel’s still in spin,” it’s clear to me that “the times they are a changing.” The people of Lebanon will win their battle to secure democracy and hope for their collective futures.

That’s not to say that there won’t be difficulties ahead. There will be times when the Cedar Revolution teeters on the brink. There will be defeats. Last week, for example, Hezbollah mounted a counter-offensive, drawing hundreds of thousands of pro-Syrian demonstrators to Beirut’s city center. Hezbollah was making a clear statement:

“Today, you decide the future of your nation and your country; today, you answer the world," the Hezbollah leader, Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, said in a rare and surprise appearance. Banners held aloft read: “No to American-Zionist intervention. Yes to Lebanese-Syrian brotherhood.”

What I found as interesting as the demonstration itself was the press coverage of this “event.” Hassan Fattah, who filed a dispatch for the New York Times, made these “telling” observations:

“The participants at the demonstration here represented, by and large, a very different Lebanon from the educated, better-off Christians, Druse and Sunni Muslims who have captured the world's attention since Rafik Hariri, the former prime minister, was assassinated Feb. 14 by a huge car bomb.”

“While the anti-Syrian opposition movement has been called the Cedar Revolution, a reference to the Lebanese national tree, it has also been called the BMW revolution. The demonstration included far more women with covered heads and many men in traditional dress.”

“Since the killing of Mr. Hariri, a billionaire who resigned as prime minister to protest Syrian domination of Lebanon, many Lebanese parties have called for the complete withdrawal of Syrian troops, which have been here since 1976.”

It was all very clever stuff, all very telling. In the mind of the dispatcher and the New York Times the popular movement to oust Syria and move toward democracy may not be such a popular movement after all. The real popular movement may actually be the pro-Syrian followers of Hezbollah. I mean, how “popular” can a movement be if it is not really the Cedar Revolution but the BMW revolution? It’s really nothing more than a bunch of well-to-do Christians, Druse, and Sunnis, a loose confederation, but not a true picture of popular will. To get the true picture, the New York Times tells us, we must look to Hezbollah whose demonstration “included far more women with covered heads and many men in traditional dress.” Now there’s popular will for you.

On Monday of this week, to counter the pro-Syrian demonstration, a million pro-democracy Lebanese filled Beirut in a massive show of resolve. While it did make some news here in the United States, it was apparently not as newsworthy or instructive as Hezbollah’s earlier show of support for Syria. I checked the archives for ABC News, CBS News, CNN, and the New York Times. There is nothing in their archives about this Monday’s pro-democracy demonstration. There’s plenty about Hezbollah’s.

I found that quite interesting. I guess that a million people expressing their will is not as newsworthy as I thought it would, or should be. As the Master said, “wisdom is proved right by all her children.”

Now I should know by now that the American media has a vested interest in maintaining the status quo in the Middle East. Continued conflict would mean a continuing stream of news that they can print or broadcast. Continued conflict would mean that the media has been right all along about the “notion” that the Middle East harbors a thirst for democracy and George Bush has been wrong. Continued conflict would act as a sharp stick in the eye of the man that they detest.

The Times, for one, is at least consistent in their point of view. In 1972, for example, they criticized Senator Henry Jackson and his amendment to link economic assistance to a crumbling Soviet economy to freedom for Soviet Jews to emigrate freely:

“We do not believe it is productive to try to enforce political changes in the Soviet (or any other) system through the unilateral use of economic pressure. The results are likely to be the opposite of those intended.”

Their position was still the same in 1974:

“The President and Mr. Kissinger have been right to point out that America cannot expect their government to bring about the transformation of the Soviet system into a democracy as the price for détente and trade. The hope must be that liberalization will follow détente: it is more likely to be prevented than accelerated by excessive outside pressure.”

History proved how wrong the New York Times was in 1972 and 1974. The Soviet Union imploded under its own weight. But the Times would have preferred the status quo – the constant threat of nuclear annihilation, millions living under Soviet tyranny. It makes no sense unless the intent is to “sell” news, and conflict. They sell copy. Peace and stability don’t.

History will prove the New York Times and the mainstream media are wrong about the Middle East too. But they won’t go down without a fight. The people of the Middle East are beginning to sing the song of freedom and democracy and the American press is selling a dirge. Why? There’s too much at stake for them. There’s a president to hate; there’s copy to sell; there’s a status quo to maintain.

1 comment:

James Fletcher Baxter said...

Whether it be the Academy, the Media, the Globalists, the Marxists, the NEA, the PTA, or today's Democratic Party, they represent the self-defined elite of the world-community.

While they indulge their economic appetites to enable their control-capability, the engine is religiously driven to rule the masses whom they detest in contrast to the Luciferian self-worsip manifest in their decisions and choices.

Political and economic definitions of their desired fulfillment are too shallow for accurate assessment of their extreme antagonistic hatred of human beings: Individuals, Families, Neighborhoods, and Communities.

As spiritual creatures, Christians must utilize the weapons of our warfare that are spiritual; not economic and political only. Prayer, Dedication, Commitment, and Faithfulness to God (who keeps His promises) will prevail.

Know your enemy. Lucifer failed the greatest IQ Test. Neither he nor his followers are intelligent. Insidious, yes. Intelligent, no.

Trust The Creator. Got criteria? Psalm 119:1-176