Alan Duff: Aleppo - it's not our problem

Images of children suffering in war zones are designed to tweak our heartstrings, but it's not for us to shed tears. Photo / Getty Images
Images of children suffering in war zones are designed to tweak our heartstrings, but it's not for us to shed tears. Photo / Getty Images

Say Aleppo and television images of a destroyed city fill our minds. Say "Syrian refugees": every sight so familiar we're unconsciously in contempt. Or openly so. The image of the dead toddler on a beach in Greece was emotional media manipulation. Easier to cry for one than a thousand. But the media both missed the point and worked another on us.

Television media has done its job by raising awareness of a country's crisis on an international scale. They're also culpable of imposing their moral - read political - viewpoint on us. Like the media do with a lot of situations and television has become the worst offender.

News shows that should be informative and unbiased are now about how they are much better than other channels and about each individual presenter. Who, filmed middle of a war zone, the only person wearing a flak jacket, the only one ducking for cover, talks as if the entire war is about him/her "reporting for you from Aleppo". Or wherever. Cue: duck again for the camera.

It used to be a quieter process of intrusion. Now it's cynically partisan liberal left or hard right. Fox, CNN, BBC and others compete for not just our attention, but to persuade us of their political viewpoint too. While half the world is killing each other, Bloomberg TV keeps on about money.

How about the others keep on about simple facts and leave the political stuff out? We want the full story, not selected snippets of sensationalised so-called facts. On the Middle East, I have rarely seen a television news programme that laid out clearly the different factions and explained sectarian viewpoints.

When we're not being inundated with personality cult reality shows masquerading as news, we're drowned in shrill demands. Or we're talked at and down to by panels of so-called leading thinkers insisting that we in the West ought to feel guilty about problems in the Middle East; we ought to be afraid of Putin, Trump, Duerte, most of Trump's big office selections, and anyone else they don't approve of.

This is one of the big reasons Trump got voted in: liberal arrogance. Liberals telling us how to think and how dare we have another opinion. Imposing on us their moral values of which I now have grave doubts. And I did not want Trump elected.

On Aleppo, emotional CNN presenters near weep in our laps and tell us that doing nothing about the senseless slaughter there is a crime we're guilty of forever. Really? How's that when most of us live many hours jet flight away and on another conceptual planet from feuding Muslim sects? The rebels could surrender and only they would die. Good.

Not our problem. We did not cause this conflict and we certainly cannot stop it. Let them sort it out.

Aleppo is not our concern. Despair for the innocents, yes. But what can the West do? And now the Russians have joined the fight with their superior air power, the West is left even more unconnected.

If the Western media really cared, they'd be broadcasting shrill demands that other Arab or Muslim countries holler loudly in outrage at this carnage. Not for us to shed tears, even if the deliberate images of children being pulled from bombed out buildings is designed to tweak our heartstrings.

Not our problem. We did not cause this conflict and we certainly cannot stop it. Let them sort it out. Even if our problems pale in comparison, the fact remains each nation must sort its own affairs.

Mad ISIS murderous fundamentalists are drawn like magnets to problem situations like, let's see, Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria and Yemen. Not to say Turkey, Qatar, Iran, Lebanon and Saudi Arabia taking sides.

When are Muslim countries going to come together as one voice to condemn ISIS kidnappers of women and girls, selling them like slaves, marrying girls as young as 10 and consummating the marriage within earshot of the girl's mother?

White liberals want the right to stick their beaks in other nations' affairs. Or should that be the right to control?

The situation is complex even for the people who live there, let alone us trying to understand it. None of our business.

- NZ Herald

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Alan Duff

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