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Humanity Despite The Mainstream Media

Fogelfamily2 Tragedy

One week ago today, a community was shattered.  While a natural disaster threatened millions in Japan, a small community in Israel faced an incredible man-made evil.  Terrorists broke into a random home and murdered two parents and three of their children in cold blood.  These monsters took a blade to a three month old baby, and left the three survivingng children (aged 2, 8 and 12) orphans.

The Failure of The Mainstream Western Media

As a digital native, when I heard the news I headed straight to CNN.com to learn more.  CNN however, referred to these monsters as quote "terrorists" (suggesting that the Israeli's were alleging that these were terrorists - clearly CNN didn't want to confirm this as they don't seem to value human life).  The television media referred to them as assailants.  They are both wrong.  Anyone who kills a child for political reasons is a terrorist.  And any "news" outlet that doesn't recognize this is doomed to irrelevancy, driven by their own inhumanity.

When the mainstream media ceases to report as real humans, they lose their relevancy to us real humans.  When was the last time you saw someone cry in the mainstream media or even appear truly affected by the tragedies they report?  I'm not talking about the political actors calling themselves pundits, I'm talking about real reporters.  When was the last time you saw real emotion in their reporting?  When was the last time you felt like you were connecting with an anchor in a "professional" media outlet?  This just may be why social reporting is so much more compelling.

3 Inspirational Anecdotes NOT Reported By The Press

Where mainstream media more or less ignored the humanity of this story, I'd like to share with you three anecdotes in this tragedy that showcase the beauty of humanity.

  1. Giving Without Personal Gain:  Rami Levi owns a chain of supermarkets/shopping centers in Israel.  Rami personally showed up every day of the shiva (mourning period) and stocked the kitchen pantry and refrigerator.  When someone commented on what a nice gesture this was, Rami replied that they had better get used to seeing him, as he intends to stock the family's kitchen himself until the youngest surviving orphan turns 18.  

    This wasn't a PR play and there was no media behind this charitable giving.  This was a real person who cared, doing what he can to help in his own way.
  2. Humanity Unites Us:  My older brother lives in Israel and like tens of thousands of others, attended the funeral services held for the Fogels.  He had never heard of them before this tragedy, but like everyone else, felt a moral imperative to attend.  Tens of thousands of strangers from all walks of life joined together to honor a human life, to honor human dignity, to stand in solidarity against terrorism.  I highly doubt that most of the people attending this funeral had ever heard of the Fogels before they heard of the tragedy.  But much like the US on 9/11, when tragedy strikes, strangers bond over their shared humanity.  

  3. Life Is Paramount:  In the week while the town of Itamar was in mourning, a cab pulled up to the town gate with a medical emergency.  An Arab woman from a nearby town was in distressed labor and needed medical help.  The umbilical cord was wrapped around the infant's neck, posing a real threat to both the child and the mother.  Local medics not only successfully delivered the baby but celebrated the birth of a new life with the grateful mother.  There wasn't a moment's hesitation.  There was no thought of "us" or "them".  There was no less joy in this delivery than any other.  Life is beautiful. 

How Should We Learn From This?

In a week where the world saw so much tragedy, I think the lesson we all must take away is to embrace our humanity.  Where the mainstream media seeks to sensationalize and dehumanize, we must embrace what makes us so great as individuals and as a society.  

Last weekend I struggled with what the appropriate response was to this entire episode.  I wanted to lash out at the western media.  I wanted to point fingers at the major global political players who said nothing regarding this tragedy for far too long.  I wanted to post the pictures of the parades and parties in Gaza, or links to the PA affiliated terror group's post claiming credit for this attack and ask the world how they could continue to demand so different a moral standard of Israel than their neighbors.

What I've Learned

It's now a week later and I still feel this outrage.  But I also know that I cannot go into this weekend the same person I was last week.  I know that this weekend when I sit down at the Shabbat (sabbath) table with my family, when I bless my two sons, when I recite kiddush and thank Gd for everything I have been given, I will have a greater appreciation of what a gift my life, family, religion, heritage, morality and humanity are.  

What You Can Do

Times are tight.  But it is our humanity that keeps us together and will ultimately pull us through.  If you have a few extra dollars, I'm sure the Fogel family can use your help.  If cannot give money, send them a letter and let these kids know that they are not alone.  Say a prayer for the Fogel children and those in Japan.  Spend some time with someone you love doing something that matters.  Do something great in your community.  Activate your social networks and share these great tragedies so that we will no longer live in ignorance, but be sure to share the great stories of those that inspire us as well.  We can sure use a few moments of inspiration as we pick up the pieces.

There is enough evil in this world to shatter countless lives.  But if we can embrace our own goodness, there is so much opportunity for a better tomorrow.

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