If it were left up to our Western media we would all believe that everything is right in the world. All we’d be allowed to know is that a plane crashed somewhere near Russia, Israel is defending itself against an enemy more dangerous than Godzilla, and Lebron James is going back to Cleveland. Thank God for the internet and in particular social media! The reality is that we can not rely on our media as a valuable source of information. We’ve known this for quite some time in politics and most other issues, but it’s becoming even more painfully obvious when it comes to coverage of Palestine. Although this is not a new phenomenon as our media has always ignored Palestinian suffering in favor of Israeli government talking points, it’s nothing short of amazing that mainstream media persists today knowing that the internet bears witness against their false narratives. Unless you’re a person who cares more about human suffering in the world instead of what this or that Kardashian is doing and instead seek out unbiased information, how would you know about the apartheid going on under your nose?
Imagine a society where in times like these, people whom we elevate to near god-like status as we fill their pockets, actually did something worthwhile outside of entertaining? Imagine if Beyoncé paused between shaking her booty on the stage and encouraged her audience to get involved? Imagine if Kanye West stopped mid-rant about this or that beef of the day, and spoke out against the bombs being dropped on civilians in Gaza? I mean think about it and I’m not singling out any particular celebrities here, but time and time again, we the consumer go out and make people rich and famous, and though many give back in charitable ways that rarely if ever get promoted, when it comes to the global issues they are silent. This isn’t just about Gaza either. They rarely have a word to say when it comes to politics and barely when it comes to domestic issues as well.
So what should one make of the crickets coming from the privileged sector of our society? Should they even feel the need to use their platform to make their fans and followers aware of human tragedy? Some may argue that it’s not their duty and I’d have to agree. Yes, when I spend hundreds of dollars on entertainment essentially funding our decadence, I’m not asking actors, musicians, etc. to preach to me about social ills. However, what does it say about a person if they know they have the ability to effect change but instead do nothing? We already know politicians long ago sold their souls and though it’s heart wrenching to see our President repeat the tired old talking points reminding us who really runs the country, it should be expected. Truth is a foreign concept in US politic. So expecting more from our politicians is a worthless endeavor. However, should a platform necessitate a need to be used in order to address issues that the average joe cannot? Should celebrity be used in a meaningful way to promote change? Should those who have the ability to reach millions in a single tweet selfishly guard expressing how they feel on real world issues?
Obviously, one can somewhat excuse the cowardice of up and coming celebrities fearing their words could ruin their careers, but what about well established personalities? What’s their problem? Recently, Rihanna for instance, attempted to lead on this front and tweeted #freepalestine a courageous gesture that could have been celebrated and possibly encourage others to do the same, but unfortunately, moments later, she deleted the tweet and lied that it was an accident. In other words, Rihanna like Dwight Howard before her, accidentally advocated an end to Palestinian suffering.
What kind of world do we live in when speaking out against the oppression and slaughter of a people is considered an accident? It’s sickening to know that the mere mention of Palestine has Voldermort-esque properties, making even those who have no fear in posting nude pics of themselves, using sex tapes to fuel their careers, or leaking all manner of details about their hookups public, afraid to go on record stating that they believe the slaughter of women and children is wrong. I’m curious to know how one sleeps at night knowing that with all their influence they remain silent on the cause of our time. How will history judge this period when the world did nothing and even after the lessons of Nazi Germany and Apartheid in a South Africa, we turned a blind eye to the similar conditions in Palestine? How will history view those who had the power to ease that suffering but refused to speak out because they feared the loss of an album sale or an appearance in a a summer blockbuster? What’s left of our humanity, when we fear the mere acknowledgement of senseless violence and destruction against Palestine?