Monday, June 07, 2010

Malaysia obsessing over Israeli ad nauseum

Today's online version of The Star has, at last count, nine articles related to Israel.  The Malaysian obsession with Israel is equal measures astounding and ridiculous. Discussion of Israel and its policies is certainly warranted on any number of issues--occupied land, divided cities, refugees, the use of force, blockades, and so on.  But the Malaysian government and their media largely follows the world media lead and focuses almost solely on Israel, and to a lesser extent the US as well.  This is doing Malaysians a vast disservice by ignoring what other countries are doing.

Occupied land? Turkey, the sponsor of the recent so-called 'humanitarian boatlift' to Gaza, has occupied half of Greek island of Cyprus since a 1974 military invasion. In so doing, they have cleaved its capital Nicosia into two halves and have maintained this division for over 30 years. Where is the Malaysian outrage over this case of occupation and naked aggression? And then there's the occupation of Tibet by China for over 50 years and running.  Or the occupation of parts of Georgia by Russia since 2008.  Are Malaysians going to organize boat lifts to Georgia or convoys to Tibet anytime soon? Don't hold your breath.

Disproportionate force? Lest anyone forget, in the past 15 years, the Russians systematically leveled a major city, Grozny, in not one but two wars. Imagine the amount of explosives needed to methodically dynamite a modern city--block after block demolished into rubble. Was this the proper response to a Muslim insurgency? Good luck finding any discussion of this pertinent question on any Malaysian website, let alone any major Malaysian newspapers or TV stations.

The killing of Muslims? Consider the fact that Chinese police and soldiers have in recent years killed hundreds, maybe thousands of Uighurs--Muslims--in western China. Many if not most of these people are, or were, innocent civilians. The truth may never be known about these killings, as the Chinese government has imposed a near-total media blackout. Again, no outrage let alone discussion of these unpardonable crimes can be found in the The Star or any other Malaysian publication.

How is it that we all know the name Rachel Corrie, but none of the names of any of the faceless Kurds who have been scythed down by decades of Turkish, Iraqi or Iranian repression in their quest for their own homeland? Is the dream of free Kurdistan somehow less worthy than the quest for a 'free Palestine'? Apparently so, according to Malaysia's Prime Minister and the media he permits to operate.

I could go on, but the point remains. And that point is this--it is strange and more than a little frightening that so many Malaysians, officially or otherwise, focus so much attention on one nation for a number of issues that they completely ignore in other countries.

UPDATE:  This column is now posted at Malaysia Today.

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Limited Editor said...

obsessed? i dont think so.. I think this is just diversion tactic of the politician in order to cover some mess that they`ve done! matters such as oil price, gst, sime darby, felda, government budget etc.. So 'obsessed'? i dont think so..

IM said...

Don't get me wrong, I'm not the one controlling the media or anything, but this so called "obsession" with Palestine is due to the fact that the land holds the Masjid Al-Aqsa, a holy site revered by all Muslims.
Thus, it's becoming a religious issue as well as a humanitarian issue for the Muslims.
Anyway, I believe since the flotilla incident occurs, more coverage has been given to the Palestinian issue, due to the increased awareness in the general public.

IM said...

Don't get me wrong, I'm not the one controlling the media or anything, but this so called "obsession" with Palestine is due to the fact that the land holds the Masjid Al-Aqsa, a holy site revered by all Muslims.
Thus, it's becoming a religious issue as well as a humanitarian issue for the Muslims.
Anyway, I believe since the flotilla incident occurs, more coverage has been given to the Palestinian issue, due to the increased awareness in the general public.