Sunday, March 09, 2008

0 for 10

Until recently I never expected to find myself in Bucharest, Romania, but that's where I am. I arrived yesterday morning to help put on a seminar; sleep-deprived, stressed, time-zone-collapsed, cursing the creation of the world. I'll skip the war story about my flights because you have your own stories about airlines. Who doesn't these days?

I'm stationed in a fancy international hotel in a semi-modern quarter just over the road from Ceausescu's Folly, but on the taxi ride in I got a look at the old central city, which contains most of what's left of pre-Great War Bucharest. It's possible to see why this city was once called "The Paris of the East": even after a disastrous century, the elegance of some of the old buildings is remarkable. Probably a lot of restoration has taken place in the past two decades.

As is typical of modern business-oriented hotels, this one has satellite TV from you-name-it. Too knackered for any sightseeing on my arrival, I channel-surfed from the grave. The large flat-panel Philips monitor delivered channels from the U.S., U.K., France, Germany, Israel, somewhere in the Arabic Middle East, and … and …

Where was I? Where am I? Oh, right. Anyway, Al-BBC was showing a news segment about the unpleasantness in Gaza. When are they ever not? All Gaza, all the time, except when they're running a documentary about primitives in the American midwest oiling up their pistols and planning to put crosses into orbit. But normally it's Gaza -- that little patch of land that God, YHWH, and Allah seem to have all defaulted on -- in season and out. 

Naturally the Beeb was making hay by underlining the misery of the Palestinians. They don't have to look far, of course, to find plenty of despair for their cameras to hoover up. Probably no worse than what a billion people live with, but the Palestinians are A List victims as far as the Israel-hating BBC is concerned, and the network that British taxpayers are forced to support knows a good bad thing when it sees one.

Look, it may sound like I'm fitted up in this ritzy (albeit soulless) hotel and crassly making fun of suffering, but I don't mean to -- there but for the grace of God. Regardless of the rights and wrongs of the Palestinian situation, it is disturbing to see people caught in the middle of it. But. Still.

The reporter interviewed a man sitting in the doorway of his home, which was either a slum or a bomb site; in that part of the world it's hard to tell the difference. He was surrounded by children as he told of how he had no money, no job, not much food in reaching distance, and 10 children to support.

Ten children. Did it ever occur to this chump that in his situation, siring 10 kids might not offer the best odds for living the life of Reilly? Has a single aid worker of the thousands parachuting in from the U.S., Europe, and elsewhere ever raised the possibility that insane birth rates are one of the main reasons for the destitution in Palestinian-held territories (not to mention Africa and such)? Of course not. Cluster procreation is a tradition in the world's intensive-care unit countries, and who is anyone else to question a cultural tradition in the Third World, especially in those parts that reason cannot reach and that are under the spell of imams and mullahs and witch doctors we must be sensitive to?

I am sorry for this man. I am even sorrier for his little nippers so heedlessly spawned by a fool who apparently never rubbed together two thoughts about how he would support them. Yes, yes -- Allah would provide.

It should be said: the man wringing tears from the Beeb's politically correct Hampstead dwellers had brought far more devastation on himself and his family than any Israeli in boot leather. And people who insist on clinging to self-destructive behavior because it might have made sense for their ancestors six generations back are not entitled to jump to the head of the line when the aid is being ladled out.


green mamba said...

There was an entertaining 'Hard Talk' recently on the BBC (I mean "entertaining" in that "so bad, it's good" way) in which some female BBC apparatchik interviewed the mayor of Sderot, the town in northern Israel that has been bombarded by Qassam rockets from Gaza for the past seven years. She continually badgered him about the bombardment as if it were the Israelis's fault for causing all that "rage" in Gaza. At some point he said "I blame you", meaning the international media, for fostering hostility towards Israel. He said, "Why don't you condemn the bombing?" In a breathtaking moment of fatuousness, she said, "The whole world condemns that". It was an illuminating moment, because it showed how BBC's hostility to Israel is underlaid by faulty thinking and a kind of bogus sentimentality. Something like, "We must be hard on these Jews for their own good, so they can live up to the goodwill everyone has for them". Except not many people have goodwill toward the Jews or Israel; cerainly the BBC doesn't.

Sorry if this sounds convoluted. I'm trying to get to the bottom of this Western leftist anti-Israel bias and the waters are somewhat murky.

Rick Darby said...

Green Mamba,

The sort of aggressive anti-Israel journalism you describe seems almost to be trying to goad Israel into committing abuses. It's as if they want to implant the idea in Israeli brains, "We're going to be nailed in the media now matter what we do or how much restraint we show, so let's look out for ourselves and stop worrying about this 'human rights' garbage."

And then the world will have something it can criticize Israel for, and the cycle goes on.