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the battle of misconception

7240060_1332e880ff_o You can never control the conversation. 

But you there are times when a little information can go a long way.  Unfortunately, bad news travels faster than a good reason.

The challenge presented is that of effective communication.

Consider Israel's Perspective:

  • Hamas, supposedly a humanitarian organization, captured and has been holding onto Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier, for years.
  • Hamas, supposedly a humanitarian organization, airs the equivalent of Sesame Street for Terrorists, a television program honoring "the martyrs" - suicide bombers and masked gunmen.
  • Hamas, supposedly a humanitarian organization, held up humanitarian aid for their people, selling 100 aid trucks on the black market.
  • Hamas, supposedly a humanitarian organization, has used UN ambulances as troop carriers.
  • Hamas, supposedly a humanitarian organization, has stocked and fired rockets in and from homes, schools and houses of worship.
  • Hamas, supposedly a humanitarian organization, has been firing rockets indiscrimnatley at civilian targets without stop for years.
  • Hamas, supposedly a humanitarian organization, broke their own cease fire agreement, continuing to fire rockets on the civilian population of southern Israel.

The striking power of an image on a news site or video on YouTube doesn't provide context.  It doesn't inform, it distracts.

Last night I encountered a humanitarian on the train.  She was concerned for the children of Gaza.  As am I.  As is my family.  But is the humanitarian solution is to allow the further indoctrination of children, to allow a terrorist organization to hide among a civilian population, to allow continued rocket fire on Israel's southern population, or to allow weapon caches under a school building?  Is the humanitarian solution to allow this to continue, pending UN actions?  And while this humanitarian agreed with all of the above statements, she still believed that Hamas is a humanitarian organization and Israel is oppressing them.  Because "pictures don't lie".  (The UN has yet to issue a single negative statement in regard to Hamas's humanitarian crimes of late, let alone take any action to encourage Hamas compliance with humanitarian international laws.)

Israel is struggling in the information war not based on the facts on the ground, but the emotionally charged soundbytes of a clip.

Misconception is dangerous.  Is education is the only cure?  And if so, what can we do as a (web) community to help inform?

photo credit here