Staying Informed v Bad News Overload

Posted on October 24, 2023

You don’t have to be an academic genius to stay informed. You just have to feel the need to do. If you can read, there is not much beyond your grasp. If you read enough and use fact checking websites, you needn’t get caught out by conspiracy theorists either.

Personally, I like current affairs. It’s more a less a hobby. I like to read how people achieve elevated status or the origins of territorial disputes. It probably sounds a bit macabre but if I can understand how land disputes and terrorism have evolved, I feel more capable of holding my own when making a comment.

Looking Pompous

The problem with being informed is that to some people, you can look a bit of a smart arse. Sometimes, when the information in convoluted, you can also make an arse of yourself. I did this during Covid. I thought I had grasped how the virus worked by reading various medical reports that turned out to be way off the mark. For example, I thought a vaccine would halt the virus and stop transmission. As a punishment for trying to be an epidemiologist, I have now had it three times.

However, when it comes to conflict, there are facts that car be disputed because they happened. Wars stem from historic events and you can find out the history of conflict quite easily. You can then follow it from when the seeds of trouble were sewn until the present day. I recently did this with regards to the bloody conflict in the Middle East. You can start with The Balfour Agreement in 1917 and take it from there. It’s complex but still easier than you might think.

Having a Break

The thing with the conflict in the Middle East that depresses me is no one is being honest about it. You expect falsehoods from Palestine and Israel as there is a long history of propaganda from both sides. However, the British and American leaders are staring down the barrel of the camera and not telling the truth. To make it worse, the UK leader of the opposition is following them. There is no acceptance that this horrible situation may be down to the aggressive actions of the Israeli government. It is after all, a government that is full of far-right maniacs. A government led by someone who has been trying to change the judiciary system to allegedly avoid fraud and corruption charges.

it made me wonder what is going to become of Gaza. Are Israel going to be allowed to ethnically cleanse it because the west are afraid of upsetting them? Alleged world leaders must know the truth and complex history in the region. It isn’t just about dastardly terrorists trying to ruin the lives of peace loving Israelis. Proper leaders should be independently looking for a peaceful solution, not taking sides and denying why this carnage is happening.

Feeling Helpless

With the Prime Minister and the leader of the opposition taking the same stance, I feel hopeless. At least if there is a viable opposition, you have a say at the voting booth. It even made me feel that I had perhaps got my facts wrong. But no, I have read re-read and fact checked the history and the actions of Britain, the US and the UN in the Middle East. It’s there in black and white and it’s not pretty. Yet leaders are standing shoulder to shoulder with someone who, just a few months ago, faced mass demonstrations from his own people. It is a crisis that offers a distraction that suits Netanyahu just dandy.

So, I turned the TV off and decided to watch other things instead. The Reckoning, as brilliant as Steve Coogan was, wasn’t one to lighten the mood. Once again, it featured leaders in denial as little people suffered. I then went even further towards simplicity by watching the Beckham documentary and then a film about 1980’s pop stars, Wham. It was ultimate escapism. I enjoyed both and wasn’t even ashamed of myself, at least at the time of watching. It was escapism and in a world of doomscrolling, it was a good a medicine.

Back to the Horror Show

Then, it was back on to Newsnight, almost by accident. I saw all the horror and misery again. Bodies stacking up as Israel’s right to defend itself took on the ideology of using a sledgehammer to crack a nut. This wasn’t defence, it was an onslaught, yet our dear leader continued the ‘right to defend itself’ rhetoric. There were a couple of mutterings about adhering to international law but Israel aren’t bothered by that as they know it won’t be implemented. They have been breaking international law for decades.

But there’s nothing I can do about it. I can read and write about it but only a scattering of people will take notice. I can’t vote for someone who thinks that peace can only come by negotiating with the enemy, because that person doesn’t exist. All that will come out of carpet bombing Gaza and displacing thousands of people, is more barbaric eye for an eye terror attacks as the world watches on in horror. Does Netanyahu really care about his people? Maybe not, especially if it means staying out of jail.

For me, all that this hideous event has highlighted, is this. Money, power and corruption rules, and innocent Israeli or Arab people are collateral damage.

Pathetic, isn’t it?

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