Jon Snow and Gaza -
Is it Up To Us?
In the same tone as my previous blog on Marius the giraffe I am wondering why it is that when the world is faced with Syria, Libya, Ukraine, Russia and Gaza - and when journalist, Jon Snow, is pleading for us to stand where governments are failing - is the world's moral compass behaving eratically. The events in Gaza are more troubling and representative of a larger problem than that of Marius the giraffe. People are dying, parts of world are protesting and yet, somehow, it appears that those in charge are standing by and allowing Israel to continue. So, Jon Snow says it's down to us. And I am inclined to agree with him. But, there's a problem. I see dedicated people protesting around the world and I see outrage. However, I know for one that not a single less politically active friend of mine (whom, as a group, to some degree represent an influential proportion of the population) have mentioned Gaza on social media outlets such as Facebook or Twitter. And I know why.
It is because they do not understand the situation enough to have an opinion. Unlike with Gaza, the case of Marius - which perhaps maybe I left out of my analysis - required a certain degree of instinct which allowed anyone, and everyone, to have an opinion. Did we feel it was right or wrong? Easy. But, the Palestine - Israel conflict is different. Unless you're familiar with the particulars of geopolitics, religion and how they have been compressed together to forge this dispute then it's hard to say who should be doing what, who shouldn't and what should happen next. I for one have no idea how to resolve this issue, I just want it end. I'm inclined to believe my less politically active friends would say the same thing. Most of us when faced with the question "Is killing children wrong or right?" would say wrong. Easy then. And perhaps that is what Jon Snow is appealing to, but I can't see my friends suddenly lining the streets of London. So, as with Marius I went through the reasons why they may or may not. Is it because of the children that we'd be encouraged to protest? Is it because the attacks are targeting innocent civilians? etc. But, I was sat thinking about Thomas Hobbes' Leviathan instead.
We sacrifice a certain amount of our civil liberties in return for protection from, and by, the State. Or so Hobbes' theorized. I am inclined to agree and I do believe that many of us feel that the State is a source of protection in certain situations (e.g. war), but that the State also has a duty to us. Where in return for that which we abide (law, tax etc.) they represent and control situations on our behalf. However, currently this is not the situation we are faced with. And so, maybe Jon Snow is right and if we are to be realistic then it is our job. However, I wonder if many of us find it difficult to take that step forward because perhaps we feel fundamentally it isn't our job. Perhaps we feel this way because it isn't part of the agreement we have with the State where they analyse and control such situations for us. Situations by admission we do not always understand nor are in a position to adequately deal with.
Personally I believe part of the agreement with the State also incurs that we stay informed, or take an interest in our own affairs and others as an inherent part of the relationship. Because you don't sign a deal to trade your apple for a pear, leave the table and hope your pear is still there when you need it. But suggesting that the entire nation should be comprehensive in this matter enough to know what they'd be protesting against, and have an informed opinion about which side they support, is unrealistic. Not only because at this stage it would take a public broadcast overrunning every television in the country explaining the crisis, but also because logically, we are not all equipped with the power and influence to make the real decisions. We can protest, write letters, use social media etc. and I'm not suggesting those aren't powerful tools but they're not the tools. The ball is not ultimately in our court even if we force action.
It's not that we should do nothing. Quite the opposite. But, I also don't believe our leader's voices should be silent in a situation which requires their voice, if not just through moral disposition, but job description.
Full video here:
Jon Snow's Twitter: https://twitter.com/jonsnowC4