Amid the Joy, Americans Have a Crucial Responsibility to the World

These are certainly joyous times in America. The prospect of finally being finished with the Reign of Error that was the George W. Bush Administration can make one practically giddy. Those of you who are long-time followers of this blog know that Barack Obama was not my first choice for President among the Democratic candidates, (actually, he wasn’t even my second choice, either), and I still have some concerns about him on several policy areas. However, I would be lying if I didn’t say that Barack Obama will be light years ahead of anything we’ve seen for the past 8 years, and the world will be a better place for it.

Here in Maryland, the news — both local and national — is all about the upcoming inauguration. Well, except when it’s about next Sunday’s AFC Championship game between the Baltimore Ravens and the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Somehow amidst all the celebration, news of the violence in Gaza has been pushed aside. But violence continues. Hamas continues to shoot rockets into Israel, and Israel continues to drop bombs in Gaza.

Yesterday I had two important reminders of this violence. The first was a video of Bill Moyers Journal, which reader Cootamundra W. directed me toward. It’s worth every second of the 8 minutes or so that it lasts. If ever you feel that you have lost your way, it seems you can turn to Bill Moyers for a moral reminder. Please watch it.

But I also stumbled onto an extremely disturbing and equally profound post over at BagnewsNotes. The writer of that blog has in fact taken that particular post down because he felt that the images accompanying the story were inappropriate. They were indeed sickening. As war is. But the images were effective in at least one case: they sure shocked me out of my pre-inaugural, football crazed fantasy world. You see, the post was about the different ways that Western and Eastern media are covering the ravages of this war in Gaza. Two photos by the same photographer  accompanied the post.  The first image ran in the New York Times, and showed a child’s arm lying in the rubble. Disturbing, yes. Sickening, absolutely. But still portraying a somewhat anonymous violence. The second photo, which ran in an Arabic newspaper, was from the same scene. This one, however, showed a child’s head among the rubble. And suddenly the violence had a face.

I keep thinking back to that image, even though it’s not posted anymore. And I am sorry, because I am sure it will now haunt you as well. As I said at the top of the post, these are joyous times in America. But please let’s not forget that everyone has a right to that joy. We cannot turn a blind eye to the violence that continues today. Remember that there were many otherwise fine German citizens who kept themselves otherwise occupied and never paid attention to the concentration camps just outside town.One voice in protest of violence is just a whisper. But when it’s my voice, and your voice, and her voice, and his voice — well then it becomes a collective shout against violence.

You will need to search out information if you want to stay informed. The evening news is too busy reporting on which breed of dog the Obamas will bring to the White House. Here are some sources (in no particular order) that I have found for good reporting on the situation in Gaza. Let me know if you have others:

Human Rights Watch

Friends Committee on National Legislation

Global Voices Online

Al Jazeera English

BBC News


Christian Science Monitor



  1. “Speak, even if your voice shakes” – one of my favorites. I like the imagery of the of the “collective shout”. Lord knows, with MSM, it takes a lot of shouting for them to understand the priorities of news reporting over entertainment. I saw the images on BagnewsNotes prior to their censorship. As grisley as they were, it is important to see. Censorship of reality, I believe, numbs us and our leaders in deriving opinions and making policy without wisdom. And on that note, thanks to you personally, and all those bloggers Sarah Palin chastises, for bringing all prespectives to the internet so that discussions and ideas can be expanded upon. Thanks for the links.

  2. Thanks for posting these links – we need to keep on top of what is happening there and as usual the MSM is ignoring anything substantive.

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