World conflict and problems other than Israel-Palestine.

When my friends or intellectuals start up a debate on Israel...I bring up North Korea. When someone apologises for Palestinian terrorism I talk about child soldiers in Africa. When I hear someone defend everything Israel does...I get into ruthless drug cartels in Latin America and their sex-slaves, bullying and assassinations or I bring up death penalties for apostasy and blasphemy in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. When people criticise American aid to Israel I change the topic to Female Genital Mutilation.

It's not that I don't care about the deaths in Palestine and Israel. I sympathise. In the past I spent hours and hours on the topic both in activism and intellectual engagement But I believe that the news space and intellectual air time that this story gets is waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay out of proportion. These other conflicts and problems worry me more. They effect a broader group of people. Their problems are less irreducibly complex. The narratives change. I learn a lot when I read about these problems. I can imagine that at least one of the conflicts I mention will improve dramatically in the next ten years. Discussion about North Korea, Child Soldiery etc. involve less recycled material and less scripted and repeated conversation.

Does anyone else feel that the Israel-Palestine conflict eats up a disproportionate amount of intellectual air time? What other world conflicts or problems greatly concern you? What world conflicts or problems can you envision improving in the next ten years?

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Yes, it's subject to interpretation. No, you don't have an obligation to end every instance of suffering, unless you are omnipotent. You have to pick and choose. The US picks and chooses all the time; I happen to disagree with the policy of always siding with Israel no matter what they do.
If you're into cats, go do that. I'm sure it's corny but I think that if 6 billion people each do one tiny thing to make the world better, things would be vastly different.

But if you have an obligation at all, then doesn't it seem rational that you should figure out which instance of suffering is the most egregious and fight that one?

Also, if you limit it to actual suffering in the present tense, then that rules out fighting, for example, overfishing the oceans.

Yes, that would be the rational approach. But some choices are emotional ones; some causes speak to me. I don't care much about cats, but I love dogs and have one we found as a puppy by the highway 4 years ago who is sleeping beside me right now.

There's also the issue of capability. I can't solve the problem of millions of kids starving every year, but I can and do sponsor a child through an international charitable organization.

Every day I use my education and training (2nd career, btw) to treat mentally ill people because I think everyone deserves dignity and respect, and the system is too full of cracks.

I'm sure there are bigger more important causes I could get behind but these are mine.

I agree that there are many other problems in the world.  Which of them is more important than the others is of course a matter of opinion and debate.

The Israel/Palestine/Arab conflict does have the potential, however, to embroil others.  I don't think too many nations are willing to go to war over female genital mutilation, or many of the other local problems.

Please don't misunderstand me.  I decry all of the problems you have brought up, but I think that along with the Russia/Ukraine conflict, the Israel/Palestine conflict has the potential of expanding exponentially.

"...conflict has the potential of expanding exponentially."

Maybe that is the answer Davis is looking for.

@Davis:

Do you think that is a possible reason why trouble in the Middle East gets so much air-time is the potential for WWIII?

Every conflict has the potential of expanding exponentially. I see no notable trends over the last 60 years of conflict in Israel-Palestine that would suggest a future major international conflict. The place has become small peanuts and no one...not even their neighbours wants to touch the place with a 10km long pole. I'd put my money on Pakistan, Nigeria, Indonesia and Columbia per sparking major regional conflict. Though it sure would be swell if none of this came true.

Does anyone else feel that the Israel-Palestine conflict eats up a disproportionate amount of intellectual air time?

I think the Israel-Palestine conflict gets more coverage in the west for a variety of reasons. Israel has been an important strategic ally in the middle east since the 1960s when containing the Soviet Union was a vital interest. Israel is also popular in the United States, with the public increasingly siding against the Palestinians by large majorities.

The Israel-Palestine conflict is ideal for the sensationalism that sells newspapers, boosts website metrics and cranks up television ratings. News is a product. Nothing moves product like bloodshed and horror, and the brutal situation in Gaza all but ensures a limitless supply. That's why it gets so much attention.

 

I see what you're saying. I'm curious Gallup what global problems or conflicts get your attention the most or take up your own intellectual "air-time".

I see what you're saying. I'm curious Gallup what global problems or conflicts get your attention the most or take up your own intellectual "air-time".

Outside of human rights issues, the global problem that I'm most concerned about is the rate at which humanity is destroying the world: short-sighted energy policies, pollution and the environment.

These issues effect all of humanity, potentially even our survival as a species, but they make poor products for news outlets. They're not sensational enough to sell in great frequency and volume-- like frequent updates on the latest horrors of an ongoing war-- so the coverage doesn't correspond to their importance.

"the global problem that I'm most concerned about is the rate at which humanity is destroying the world: short-sighted energy policies, pollution and the environment."

Humanity:

A planet wide infection...what's the cure?

Obviously the current crop of humanity is a planetary disease headed for a global systemic collapse of some unpleasant kind.

So how does one cure a disease one is part of?

As I see it the biggest problem for the planet is the size of the human population and it's exponential growth rate. 

The obvious solution is less people.

My solution is a viral infection that would interfere with the human reproductive cycle, slowing down the rate of human reproduction IMHO would be the most humane way to save the planet and humankind.

Getting the total world population down to 100,000,000 in 80 years would be a good start.

Humanity:

A planet wide infection...what's the cure?

So how does one cure a disease one is part of?

The problem is that humanity, in terms of energy consumption and pollution control, has spent the last century shitting where it eats.

An industrialized humanity can't stop eating, but it can probably stop shitting. If we could pull that off, some of humanity's most threatening problems would vanish.

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