HTS 2041: The Modern Middle East

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Globalization and Media

The start of resistance or uprising in the West Bank and Gaza started in 1987. Since then, the area has gained much international attention from media. The world has suddenly become interested in the politics and viewpoints of the Palestinians. Earth has lately become so interconnected, it’s amazing that some of these places still remain a mystery to much of the world. Even with things like facebook, twitter, and youtube, some areas simply don’t have a lot of exposure. Now that tension is rising in the West Bank and Gaza, we feel a need to know more than simply what the figureheads and radicals are doing. We want to know how the everyday citizens in the area feel about things.

Media coverage has answered our call, venturing directly into the lives of these citizens. With the aid of some Palestinians, interviews have been set up with translators and citizens, as well as guiding the journalists through the area by navigating checkpoints. This has brought us a very raw view into the lives and opinions of the people that live there. We hear the viewpoints of people that would never really be brought into political discussion, such as poor people, the youth, women, uneducated people, and some activists. This lets us consider what might be going on in their everyday lives, and allow us to better assess the situation.

We might look at a situation and think about what consequences we might rather have yoif it were happening to us, but without knowing what everyday life is like, it’s not really fair to judge certain situations. The people who would be most directly affected by these events may see things in a different light than someone from across the world, similar to our discussion about the difference between slavery in the Americas compared to slavery in the Middle East. Slavery was a completely viable way of life for many people in the Middle East, and slaves were treated much better than what we may first imagine when we think of slavery and think of how it was in the Americas. Slavery was often a perferable option for poor families to send their kids into, as it would be much better than living with a family unable to support themselves. As a slave, they would at least start to have connections with some wealthier families and lifestyles, as well as guaranteeing food and shelter. Looking at these situations today, we need to be aware of any and all cultural and lifestyle differences to really make a proper assessment and opinion of the matter.

Looking at some of the photographs that a photographer, Sanguinetti, took on her visits to Palestine, you can really see a lot of details that one would not find easily in the United States. More importantly, however, you can find a lot of details that deviate from what we may commonly visualize when thinking of life in Palestine. (http://www.arteeast.org/pages/virtualgallery/exhibits/alessandra-sanguinetti/?page=10)

In class, we discussed globalization in the 18th and 19th centuries. Globalization is still an ongoing process, as we can see by the media trying to expose some of the lesser known parts of the world now that important events are taking place in the area. Never before has media reached so far and so deeply across the world. Globalization is a process that will never really end in the world. Each part of the world wants to try to keep up with the rest of the world and remain or become a prominent voice. It’s really just an effect of increasing technologies and theologies that spread throughout the world.

-Nathaniel Jones

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12 Comments

  1. flambert3 says:

    I wonder will the media get so far into areas in the middle east showing the lives and thoughts of regular people and not just extremist that this forces the US to change how events are reported. Could this look amend stereotypes that are often believed in the US

  2. drippykins says:

    Increased involvement by the media is a double-edged sword. On one hand, it serves as a fantastic medium for the things you talked about. Photography specifically is amazing at allowing people from across the world to get a glimpse into people’s lives and some of the more complex issues within society.

    However, it’s my opinion that the biases and interests of those in control of the main information outlets interfere with much of what is presented. This is not to say there are a variety of sources out there, but just taking a look at what we have in the US shows that those with better resources to go to places like Palestine often provide misconceptions and bad information.

    If we watch a news report, or see some photos, do we really get an idea of what the lives of these people are really like? How much more do we really understand after hearing someone tell us about it versus seeing it for ourselves?

  3. mcharles6 says:

    I agree with one of the recent comments: “Increased involvement by the media is a double-edged sword.” Media and technology are wonderful things; the world has been made much smaller because of them, and people can more easily learn about and relate to other people and other cultures. We as Americans can, as you said, get a direct look into the lives of those living in Palestinian areas. We can listen to their interviews and see their photos and for a moment, imagine what life must be like as a Palestinian.

    The problem I see is this: the Palestinians only tell half the story. They only know the Palestinian side of the story, so that’s all they can tell. Listening to such interviews and reading such news stories paints a picture of Israel as a bully, eating up land that does not belong to them.

    However, if these news stories included the Israelis’ side of the story, would we feel differently? If we were let into the daily lives of Israelis as we were the Palestinians, would they portray themselves as hateful and arrogant and looking to take what does not belong to them? I doubt it.

    So, while I agree that media is a good thing, and I agree that it is good for us to have a window into the lives of Palestinians, I would caution us in America to not forget that their are two sides to every story, and all too often, the media only chooses to air one.

    • bentowns3nd says:

      In this case, what’s significant about access to the Palestinian narrative is that American audiences have been force-fed the ‘Israelis’ side of the story’ for six decades.

      I liked the original post, I’m also interested by the fact that a much larger part of the American audience appears to be starting to consider the issue critically, parallel to increasing UN/global condemnation of Israel’s human rights unaccountability. It’s hard to tell whether such trends are a natural consequence of the democratization of media via internet access, or rather just a de-hegemonization of media brought about by the increasing economic power and hence political boldness on the part of UN Security Council members Russia and China.

  4. jdowling6 says:

    I wonder where haven’t the media provided news coverage in the world? It is just awesome to know that media is still currently and rapidly globalizing the world everyday by providing us images and videos of how the common people live everyday, not just opinions and interviews of radicals and figureheads. Although the news may sometimes over-sensationalize stories or lean towards one side, it is good to know that we can learn much from it. It is daunting to know that reporters risk their lives in Iran and other Middle Eastern countries just to provide us with breaking news stories or just videos and photos of the commonplace. Knowing this fact, it is easy to appreciate the coverage of places in the world we just otherwise would not know much about.

  5. tnatoli3 says:

    Media not only lets us know what is going on in the area, but shapes our view of it. Since the United States is allies with Jerusalem, who are enemies with the Palestine, we get an interesting view of this area that may not be entirely true. Depending on who is interviewed and how what they are saying is translated can greatly effect how we view this area.

  6. bentowns3nd says:

    More insight re: Palestinian experience and Sanguinetti’s photos on Jadaliyya http://www.jadaliyya.com/pages/index/9964/with-our-ideas-we-take-our-portrait_reflections-onn

  7. chai164 says:

    I honestly think that the social media wave of a political flavor is specific only to the Middle East with visibility in the United States. Honestly, outside of the US, the interest in what’s going on in the Middle East is given the same coverage as what’s going on, perhaps, in South East Asia or Australia. World news, is world news.

    To me, it seems like even with the option of sharing experiences through social media, it’s ultimately news channels or newspapers in the US that highlight those stories and give them attention. I completely agree that it’s been a great channel of communication of stories of the common man, but it wouldn’t have gained popularity without the help of mainstream media.

    • jbholleman says:

      I agree that most stories don’t catch on until the main stream media starts sending it out. However, in the past several years the internet has been a major influence on which stories the mainstream media has picked up. Social media, such as blogs, were the first to break into the media when they debunked the fake Bush memos. Now, when you watch the news, they are often going to facebook and twitter to hear back from viewers and gauge interest in different stories. Another recent example of social media influencing major news outlets was Kony 2012 which started as a youtube video and spread virally.

  8. nathenj65 says:

    i thoroughly agree with flambert in that situations that are discussed in this article could very well change the way in which the world looks at things. If the world is forced to see things that are normal in every day life and are not allowed to just write it off as extreme view there might be push to think about things that are going on more thoroughly.

  9. kledbetter6 says:

    Thank you for posting the link to the beautiful pictures. I agree that both sides of the story are very important, but I also think the U.S. media has predominantly presented the Israeli side of the story. Only recently have I gotten the impression that U.S. popular opinion has swayed more towards the middle of the issue.

  10. mnicholas6 says:

    I’ve been enjoying the increased use of social media as it relates to the Middle East. The images you’ve presented, and that I’ve seen elsewhere really add a level of empathy you can’t get from news articles. Seeing real people living real lives has much more influence than a man in a suit.

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