Friday, January 09, 2009

Enough with the Rhetoric Already

I have to admit, I'm non-plussed these days by the rhetoric on both sides of the current situation. I'm afraid that in a classic lack of understanding, the Palestinian cause continues to not just lose but be obliterated in the PR world. Whoever their press agents are, they should be fired. Should have been YEARS ago. And, it migrates down to everyday people.

Israel is NOT "defending itself". That rhetoric is old tired and false. And, while Israel may be a terrorist nation, no one is being won to the Palestinian side by hearing it over and over again. But, the one that disturbs me the most is the much-propagated thought that Israel is in a battle with Hamas. This is the most dangerous idea that has been allowed to take root.

If you want to win hearts and minds (in the US particularly), stop expressing support for Hamas. Stop talking about Hamas at all. The reality is that Hamas is barely even a factor in this equation. We know that, right? But, most people outside the region have no idea. They see this as a "war" between Hamas and Israel. The really don't get that that's like saying the guy with that straw shooting spitwads is at war with the fellow over there with an RPG launcher... Israel has declared war on the Palestinian residents of Gaza. They don't ask to see Hamas ID Cards before shooting. They don't point rockets at Hamas strongholds. They point them at schools, hospitals, and mosques. So, Palestinians, please change the conversation. Stop talk of Hamas in its tracks. Whether you support them or not, move the dialog away from politics and toward humanity. People are the ones being harmed - not Hamas.

At the end of this current conflict, Hamas will be stronger than ever, society will be more polarized, and Israel will be less - not more - safe. Don't worry about Hamas. They'll come through this just fine.

But, do worry about the Palestinians in Gaza. Speak for them. Make your voice heard. And, change the conversation now by getting rid of rhetoric and beginning honest conversation as people.

Happy Rhetoric!


At 1:47 PM , Blogger Hani Obaid said...

The Israeli army spokesperson comes up and says they have to eliminate the Hamas threat. Hamas couldn't be a threat to Israel if it wanted to be.

So I agree. Gaza has 300,000+ people of which less than 10% are Hamas, and 50% of Gaza's population are children which explains why the casualty rates are 33% children and also 20% women.

This is also why the foreign press was kicked out of Gaza and not allowed to return. They don't want people to really know what's going on inside.

This isn't a war, it's a massacre.

At 1:52 PM , Blogger Hani Obaid said...

oops bad figures

Gaza strip population: 1.5 mill.
Gaza city is the one with 300,000

That means 30,000/1.5 mil = 2% not 10

At 2:47 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with you 100%.
We Palestinians and Arabs really need to work better on PR and expressing our situation to the west.

An Israeli ambassador was on CNN a few days ago, and hey even refused to call it a war. He called it "Israel's Defense Against Terror of Hamas" .. and he tried to make an analogy of that to America's "War on Terror" which he later corrected to "America's Defense Against Terror".

Seriously, we should learn!!!

At 10:30 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

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At 12:28 AM , Blogger MommaBean said...

Hani, exactly. There's no doubt Israel likes to conduct its affairs with only the viewpoint displayed that they provide at press conferences. Kind of reminds me of someone else... who was it... Oh, yeah, George Bush...

Za3tar, I've been lamenting the Palestinians poor PR for YEARS. One of the potentially biggest assets in that realm, Hanan Ashrawi, was never given an adequate role. I'm afraid most of the men in the "management structure" (if you will) don't get that to win the PR war, you need to have a spokeperson who looks and sounds closer to the audience. You have to accept that the person who works PR should not necessarily be the leader. You also need to overcome sterotypes that fester in the minds of Americans and other westerners. How better to beat back those stereotypes than to have a Christian woman speaking for you? And given that she's well-spoken and highly educated... Opportunity missed. Alas.

At 5:33 AM , Blogger Ali Dahmash said...

is Jackpot a spam comment? I hope so ;)
Mammabean, my sister and I used to always say: "we need to humanize the Palestinians" for the Americans. If the American public read stories about families being ripped part because of the occupation, war, diaspora..etc, and read stories about people loosing all what they have and belong to, is much better a weapon than any UN resolution or Pro Hamas protest. Yesterday I saw a protest in south Jordan and people were holding Saddam and Ibn Laden pictures! were they high on drungs or something! as far as i know Jordanians are not that dumb!

At 8:10 AM , Blogger MommaBean said...

Ali, that's exactly right. Unfortunately, I saw some pictures of kids dressed in masks with toy gun at a "demonstration". All that does is make perception worse and less human. What were those parents thinking?

And, I agree with you Saddam and Bin Laden pictures are another, Hunh? moment for me.


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