Why focus on one conflict above all others?

IN his column (May 13), Steven King highlighted how the world, and in particular the media, tend to focus on the more ‘fashionable’ Israeli-Palestine conflict over the numerous other ongoing and desperate conflicts elsewhere. This emphasises a characteristic of the international community that has been a bone of contention for GOAL for years.

Indeed, the Israeli-Palestine conflict is a tragic situation, that has resulted in many unnecessary deaths and warrants a speedy and well-planned resolution, but how is this situation of more importance than the many other conflicts with the same gross abuses of human dignity throughout the globe?

It would appear the international community only becomes animated about conflicts in countries where it has economic and political interests.

As such, it systematically ignores the horrific situations in countries in which it has little or no influence. Little thought was given to the recent and shocking humanitarian situation in Burma during which China blocked aid channels. The same indifference is being shown to the continuing tragedy unfolding in Darfur, with a few voices emerging from time to time to pay lip service. Such tragedies are just a blip on the international stage in comparison with the attention the Israel-Palestine conflict receives.

Is it the case, like Steven King alludes, that this conflict involves those who are more like us in the west? “Sophisticated, prosperous, well-educated, fairly pale-skinned democrats,” like King points out?

Are we lacking in compassion so much that we give precedence to those closer to us in terms of wealth and skin colour? Or is it down to the fundamentals of almost all cut-throat decisions the world over – money?

We must educate ourselves to know that we are very seldom seeing the full picture. Like those involved in the Israel-Palestine conflict, many more innocents around the world are caught up in conflicts, yet their deaths will not make a single ink blot on any page.

John O’Shea

GOAL, PO Box 19

Dún Laoghaire

Co Dublin

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