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The Grass is Not Greener On the Other Side:  Stop Comparing the Casualty Count

by the Outsider (July 25th, 2006)



“A twisted image is presented, where the victim is presented as an aggressor.”



Those are the words of Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, accusing the international news media of bias in its reporting of the war.  It’s not supposed to be funny. According to Olmert, Israel is the victim in all of this, but is being depicted unfairly by the world’s news networks.  So, let’s take him to task, and investigate whether his complaint is justified.


On one side, we have 37 dead (17 civilians) and about 360 wounded.  We also have damage to a few buildings, and the bulk of the population in the north of the country holed up in underground bomb shelters, with access to fans, TVs, food, electricity, water, and medicine. 


On the other side, we have more than 400 dead (about 370 civilians) and more than 1,000 wounded.  We also have the destruction of the entire country’s bridges, its main roads, its ports, blocks upon blocks of residential buildings, a couple of hospitals, and its sole international airport.  Almost one million people have been displaced, and are now refugees roaming the streets, sleeping in overpopulated schools, in open air parks, and in other people’s homes.  A watertight blockade has also been imposed across the entire border of the country, which has meant that many of its people have no access to food, medicine, or any humanitarian aid, and electricity and water are scarce and in danger of disappearing altogether.


Of these two sides, which would you consider to be the victim? 


In all honesty, any civilian caught in the crossfire of this conflict is a victim, regardless of their ethnicity, religion, or location.  However, when we see the side that is clearly inflicting the greatest damage complaining that the international news media is biased, it’s hard not to want to compare the casualty count.


To all the innocent Israelis that are suffering as a result of Hezbollah’s barrage of rocket fire, I am sincerely sorry.  However, don’t complain about being stuck in bomb shelters, unable to attend school or to live in comfort, when there are almost one million homeless innocent Lebanese civilians left without any shelter of their own.  Don’t complain when the whole of Lebanon is being pounded with tons and tons of artillery, especially when in comparison, you’re dealing with toothpicks.  Moreover, don’t expect the international news media to portray both situations equally, because it simply can’t be done (and trust me, they’re trying). 


I guarantee you that any Lebanese civilian in South Lebanon, Tyre, Sidon, or even Beirut for that matter, would gratefully trade places with you in a split second.  I also guarantee you that they are desperately praying to have access to a relatively comfortable bomb shelter like yours as we speak.    


In your case, Mr. Olmert and the people of Israel, the grass is definitely not greener on the other side.  So, please, stop trying to compare casualties and don’t complain about your situation unless you are willing to trade places with a Lebanese civilian on the other side of the border.  







Copyright Kompashun 2006

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