8.02.2005

September 11, July 7 and...uh…oh yeah, July 23

“At least three explosions Saturday ripped through the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, on of Egypt’s most popular tourist destinations, killing at least 88 people and wounding 200 more, police and witnesses said.”
(Washington Post, July 23, 2005)

Vicious terrorists murdered one hundred and injured 200 more people on that sad day.

I was driving to the gym when I first heard the news. I had been listening to Hugh Hewitt. He had regular caller Yoni, his Israeli military expert, call in to assess the situation. He continued covering the story as the new information came in.

I got out my car and was sure I’d be able to follow the story at the gym since they always had three channels going, including CNN, at any given time. I figured there must have been very little information available (which is usually the case when a story first breaks). It struck me, however, how many other “lighter” stories were getting so much time. The Egypt terrorist story got a fraction of the time.

It turns out that the attack on that day were the deadliest in Egypt. Yet, after that weekend, I heard almost nothing. I’ve been baffled.

I know my Egyptian heritage gives me a slightly different perspective. Not because of my last name or my DNA but because I grew up (in Los Angeles) hearing stories from my Christian parents about how the radical Muslims were raping, torturing and slaughtering Christians and burning down their churches.


Those stories left an imprint that surfaced in my soul on 9/11. Those were the same people who flew the planes into the towers and the Pentagon that day. Same people. No regard for life. Motivated by hate for the “infidel,” whether that infidel is American or Egyptian.

My frustration is not because I’m Egyptian, although I was concerned and did call family to make sure that none of my relatives were vacationing in that popular resort area at that time. But, once those fears were alleviated, I had the same concern I had on the morning of July 7, upon hearing about the London attacks.


After London, we saw interviews with those who were injured or those whose loved ones were affected. It is in these moments that every thing else in the world stops so that we can talk about what happened, honor the memory of the dead and seek justice for the culprits. We saw pictures and read biographies of the perpetrators. We heard the stories of so many whose lives were unjustly and cruelly taken on that day. It was good and right and expected to talk about all those things.

But, what about Egypt? I’m not making any kind of conspiracy claim. I’m just observing something that has really left me a bit confused. Terrorism is ugly, wicked and devastating regardless of the people or the places it targets. Most of the victims in the Egypt attack were Egyptians who were on vacation.

It’s disconcerting. Could it be that the mainstream media (and even my beloved Fox News and talk radio addictions) haven’t placed the same value on the lives of men and women living in a Muslim country? The number of the dead was double in Egypt compared to those who were killed in London. Perhaps there’s something I’m simply not aware of.

Lives were brutally ripped away on July 23. Those lives happened to be in a Muslim country. Why aren’t we talking about it?

21 Comments:

At 8/02/2005 04:34:00 PM, Blogger fetzer said...

You have a great perspective on this issue. Here are my few thoughts on it. Except for extreme events like the tsunami, American news does not like to focus on world events and especially if they don't directly affect Americans. I think it's part cultural bias and part market driven. They assume most Americans don't care about Egypt so why spend a lot of time on the story. If viewers don't care and don't wacth then they lose revenue. The reality is that we only get to see news through their filter which is unfortunate because I am sure there are events happening oversees right now that are more worthy of coverage instead of the pop culture news that they are showing instead. Look at what's happening in certain parts of African where hundreds of thousands of people are being slaughter. CNN would rather talk about where Michael Jackson is vacationing. As much as I hate NPR's liberal slant they do provide the best oversess news coverage because they don't have to face the bottom line.

 
At 8/02/2005 04:37:00 PM, Blogger Layman said...

Lores,

It is hard to blame the media without blaiming ourselves. The terror attack in London no doubt attracted many more viewers, and therefore ratings, than the attack in Egypt. Most Americans, for better and worse, relate to Britians more than they do Egyptians. If a news station can sell more adds for higher rates by focusing on attacks on mostly white Europeans, then they will focus on attacks on mostly white Europeans.

I suspect that another element is the dismissive, "oh well, that's the Middle East, things like that are always happenening there." This is why terrorist attacks in Israel do not dominate the headlines (and many of those are against Jews of white European ancestry). The region is constantly in turmoil, and not all Americans distinguis between Egypt, Saudia Araba, Quatar, etc.

I agree with you about the significance of the attacks in Egypt. I think it is a strategic blunder on the part of the extremists. It will force "moderate" Arab and Muslim nations into closer coordination with the US to stamp out these kinds of attacks.

Oh, and you are Egyptian?

 
At 8/02/2005 04:56:00 PM, Blogger Lores Rizkalla said...

fetzer, you're so right. it's like the Natalee Holloway/Aruba story. Greta Van S's show, which has focussed primarily on this story, had the highest ratings of all cable news in the last rating period.

as a result, everyone upped the Aruba coverage.

and, yes, you're right about so many stories around the world that are much more important. sad.

layman, good point. i, too, wondered whether it was considered 'business as usual' by most of the world.

and, are you hinting that i'm flaunting my heritage? :)

 
At 8/02/2005 06:09:00 PM, Anonymous KO said...

Lores, you're right. Reading what you wrote made me realize I had been thinking the same thing about the lack of coverage. I am sorry to have to agree with fetzer and layman on this. It is a sad commentary (yet another one??) on our culture, our uninformed, dumbed-down culture. We are addicted to pop culture nothing "news". I am guilty myself of this many more times than I'd like to admit, unfortunately. But, at least I know the difference.

 
At 8/02/2005 06:33:00 PM, Blogger The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

I am so sick of the Aruba story. And the lack of coverage does say something about our own self-centered view of the world at large. I agree with everything all of you have pointed out.

It's related to that SNL type skit where the news anchor reports a major tragedy where 100 people were killed...but don't worry, no Americans were on board the plane.

I'm not one of those people who care what the rest of the world thinks about America, so long as we continue to do what is right and not what is popular. I don't lose sleep over "why they hate us."

But that being said, you'd think that the bleeding heart liberals would give the story out of Egypt the coverage and attention it deserves. Not solely out of unselfish compassion for fellow human beings; but also because for selfish reasons, it would make us look good in the eyes of the world to show more concern for the welfare of a predominantly Arab/Muslim/Middle-Eastern society.

Thanks goodness for alternative media like talk radio and blogs to bring into focus, news happenings that deserve more importance than the mainstream relegates it as having.

 
At 8/02/2005 06:53:00 PM, Blogger mlwhitt said...

Lores, as much as I try to listen to the news, talk shows and so forth, this is the first I have heard of this tragedy. And I would like to first say that I pray for all the families and innocent lives lost there.

I do agree with the other guys that over all Americans tend to not want to listen to what happens in other countries. It seems like the more tragic, the more we don't want to listen to them.

My heritage is Irish/German but I don't hold any ties with either. I think this is the same with many Americans. Actually to the point were we actually try to ignore the countries our forefather's came from, as if to forget our heritage. I am not sure why this is, but I think that also has a lot to do with why overall it seems that most American's try to ignore what goes on in other countries.

I have never understood how we could sit around and let what happened in Sudan happen yet we went to war in Bosnia for much less.

Personally I think that terrorism whereever should be covered to show just how wide of global problem this is.

I am so glad that none of your family was injured or killed.

 
At 8/02/2005 07:56:00 PM, Blogger Layman said...

"and, are you hinting that i'm flaunting my heritage? :)"

Wait, I just checked your picture. You're a woman!

 
At 8/02/2005 09:35:00 PM, Blogger Derek Schujahn said...

Your article reveals a much deeper problem with human nature in general; namely, that of de-humanizing people different from ourselves.

Whether it was the Nazi's and Jews, Terrorists and Infidels, or the American populace neglecting the significance of slaughtered Egyptian families in July.... the list goes on throughout history.

We need to hear from various perspectives on world affairs to broaden our view and respect for other cultures and to address our global problems - but that is just one part of the answer.

Please keep writing such pieces that force us to examine our own tendency to dehumanize others, even if it somewhat latent and only exposed through our subtle shrug at "small news" like that of Egypt's attack.

 
At 8/02/2005 10:05:00 PM, Blogger Lores Rizkalla said...

wordsmith, interesting that you mention the SNL skit. i got that very impression even in reading the Washington Post story. Just a sense that we can breath a sigh of relief because most of the people killed were not westerners. So sad.

mlwhitt, i know you are very informed. so the fact that you hadn't heard is further testimony to the lack of coverage. you probably just blinked that weekend. that's all you had to do to miss it. and, thank you for your concern over my family.

derek, thank you and welcome! :)

 
At 8/02/2005 10:26:00 PM, Blogger Weekend Fisher said...

Terrorism in the Middle East may be "business as usual" but it's sad that we ignore it, for all the reasons mentioned. And let's not overlook the fact that lots of people think terrorism is a small or recent problem in the world -- how much has our "blind eye" in the news contributed to making that level of ignorance possible?

I'm glad that you and yours are ok.

 
At 8/03/2005 01:52:00 AM, Blogger Layman said...

WF,

I agree, familiarity breeds apathy. But in some ways I think that apathy is a defense mechanism. Given that violence and terror are so common in the middle east, how can we get upset and upset and upset again and again and again? To avoid such a roller coaster, most of us either tune it out or take note of it as reinforcing our own prejudices about the region.

There should be a middle ground that allows us to appreciate the value of the lives being extinguished and disrupted.

Chris

 
At 8/03/2005 02:08:00 AM, Blogger Lores Rizkalla said...

Weekend F, i have to agree that while terrorism has been a very real problem for a very long time, most amercians talk and act like it's 4 years old...and, thank you for your concern for my family.

Layman...so glad i decided to add the pic to the profile. i'd hate for you to think that "Just A Woman" was written by a man. If I didn't know you, Chris, I could be offended. Good thing I tolerate white, male lawyers here ;)

 
At 8/03/2005 02:46:00 AM, Blogger Layman said...

I suppose that I should have known something was up when we talked at church last Sunday. I thought it odd that you were wearing a dress. Now it all makes sense; the name, the picture, the clothes, the Blog Title.

Call off the intervention, folks.

; )

 
At 8/03/2005 03:44:00 AM, Blogger Mark said...

Lores, you ask, "Could it be that the mainstream media (and even my beloved Fox News and talk radio addictions) haven’t placed the same value on the lives of men and women living in a Muslim country?"

The answer, sadly, is Yes.

Although all life is sacred, we Americans are usually only affected by the loss of American lives.

How long have the human rights abuses in The Sudan, Ethiopia, and Bosnia, etc. been going on with very little attention from the American press and even American politicians?

 
At 8/03/2005 03:50:00 AM, Blogger Mark said...

OK. I posted that last comment before I read everyone else's.

I might add that, should the MSM report the Egyptian attack, their assertion that Bush's administration is the reason for terror in the middle east would be moot.

 
At 8/03/2005 04:35:00 AM, Blogger Lores Rizkalla said...

No problem, Mark. It's obviously a point well worth making.

 
At 8/03/2005 05:00:00 AM, Blogger Weekend Fisher said...

Y'know, Chris, I'll buy that it's apathy, and that it's a defense mechanism. I've got a really really old Peter Paul & Mary song running through my head right now: "How many times can a man turn his head and pretend that he just does not see?"

It's not excusable apathy but there are no easy solutions so it's frustration and overload, so we typically shut down when the "insoluble problem" is distant enough that it's possible to ignore.

 
At 8/03/2005 07:23:00 AM, Blogger Poison Pero said...

I was listening to Hewitt as well when this came across, and was amazed at the lack of coverage it got.

The MSM doesn't care to cover Muslim on Muslim terror though.....Which is what this primarily was.

Have you ever heard of terrorism in Turkey? I doubt it........Yet Turkey has had more terror bombings than any country in the past 10 years.

When they hit Saudi, it's not a big deal, and when they "only" kill Iraqi's it's hardly noted either.

Because they could care less about these people........They only care about ratings, and making Bush look bad.

As far as Aruba goes: Why on Earth do people ever leave this country? I travelled quite a bit in the military and saw enough of the rest of the world to know it is a shit-hole (even Western Europe).

It's not perfect here in the U.S., but as soon as you leave our soil you leave the protection of the Constitution.........NEVER AGAIN FOR ME --> And I'm certainly not sending my soon to be teenage daughters off to one of these crappers either.

 
At 8/03/2005 01:48:00 PM, Blogger Doug said...

lores, Egyptian lives don't count as much to viewers, according to marketing surveys, one must assume, as marketing drives all American business.

That's why you see so little about it. It's not a conspiracy -- it's the natural outcome of a blinkered, perhaps at least partially prejudiced viewpoint.

 
At 8/04/2005 03:41:00 AM, Blogger Rush Murad said...

.....I am outraged, partly because of all the misdirected outrage that I saw today. To use an old cliché, I am, yet again, shocked by man’s inhumanity to man. At least seven hundred Iraqis have been killed—just in the last two months. Tens of thousands of Iraqis have been injured—just in the last two months. Overall, because of the American invasion of Iraq, a quarter of a million Iraqis have been killed. Millions of Iraqis have been injured, maimed, or incapacitated. Millions of other Iraqis have suffered unspeakable deprivations and horrors of various kinds, not to mention outright torture, all because of and only because of the invasion....

 
At 8/05/2005 02:38:00 AM, Blogger The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

rush murad...you need to get out more.

If you're going by the Lancet survey, or anything that's citing them, it's long been discredited. I challenge your numbers on Iraqi dead. And the majority of Iraqis being slaughtered are by foreign and paid fighters...not patriots of Iraq.

You might as well be blaming Allah for all this mess, by your logic; for without him creating the universe, none of the misery you seem fixated on would be happening, now would it?

 

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