Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Mike Ghouse Comes Off as Naive

Mike Ghouse seems like a good guy. He writes for the Huffington Posts' Religion section. He seems very dedicated to peace making and mutual understanding. But his latest article on the topic of Israel and the Palestinians comes off less as hopeful and more as uninformed and naive.

He tries to be "balanced," by which I mean condemning of both sides, but it really doesn't work. And that doesn't help when he gets clear historical facts wrong (emphasis mine):
"My little mind recorded another devastating war between India and Pakistan followed by the 1967 war between Israel and Palestine. The Palestinian exodus was painful and I went through anger and then into mental exile trying to understand the inhumanity and the futility of wars."
Again, his heart is in the right place but I can't help but wonder where these mistakes are coming from. If this is the kind of standard the Huffington Post is coming toward that would explain a lot, unfortunately. As you can see from the above paragraphs he seems to focus more on Palestinian suffering than attacks on Israel, and that only continues:
"Fast forwarding to the '80s, the destruction of Beirut was debilitating. The Sabra and Shatila massacres were harrowing, and I was seeing Israel as the Goliath and the Palestinians as the Davids with nothing but rocks to throw at the rolling tanks."
You know what would have been nice? If the author had told us why Beirut was destroyed, what exactly were the Sabra and Shatila massacres (and who committed them), why Israel was in Lebanon in the first place and why the Palestinians are fighting them. That's all very important info but instead he just skips by. After rehashing some Jewish history, he gets up on his soapbox:
"Ironically, the Israelis were busy in defending their right to survive up until 1967 and completely failed to articulate their need to the Palestinians, they should have poured their hearts out to them, who would have understood in an environment of mutual suffering and sharing." 
I don't know. Would they have understood? We haven't seen a lot of understanding from the Palestinian spokespeople on the Huffington Post and elsewhere, no matter how badly or kindly Israel treats them. Mr. Ghouse tries to remain balanced but it's pretty clear that he doesn't care much about Palestinian political violence, only about his perceptions of them:
"On the other hand, the Palestinians were hurt, uprooted from their own homes, and were completely deprived of their basic need to have a sense of belonging, a sense of community and a sense of identity. Children have witnessed their parents and siblings butchered in front of them, and what do we expect them to do? What is their hope? For nearly three generations they lived in tents and squalor, and had to beg for food, clothing and an identity. It is depressing to see such humiliation in their own land."
I don't mind his point of view so much as his pseudo history. Why were they uprooted? Oh, because they started a war? Were they deprived of their sense of identity, or did they never have one to begin with? Who was "butchering?" Was it the Israelis or was it their fellow Arabs? Why have they lived in tents? Was it because of Israel? Why is this not mentioned?

Unfortunately, this is the kind of thing we can expect to see in the future from the Huffington Post. Light on accurate historical facts, heavy on heart string pulling.

1 comment:

  1. Typical dreck from HuffPo. They are an embarrassment to journalism.


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