Opinion: Perspectives

POSTED: 08/7/14 11:12 PM

Elections are around the corner and, as is the habit every four years, suddenly all kinds of citizens have all kinds of opinions about all kinds of other people. We bicker about where campaign billboards are allowed to be, and where they should not be. Parties proclaim the end of coalitions and their lust for the absolute majority. Do we need a new hospital or a cricket stadium?

In the meantime, too many people are jobless, many of our senior citizens live in extreme poor conditions you never read about and the immigration debate picks up again.
This is the world we live in, a community of insular concerns and gripes to the exclusion of everything else that is happening in the world. Did they shoot down a passenger plane in the Ukraine? Ouch, that’s too bad, but do you think the UP (or the NA or the DP or whoever) is going to win the elections?
Yesterday morning a remarkable headline appeared in The Post Online in the Netherlands that put everything in perspective. The headline read: Israeli soldier bruises an ankle.
That text threw a lot of readers off, until they realized that this was a sarcastic observation.
The story was about the distorted reporting in Western media about the conflict in the Middle East. The Israeli government reports the ‘kidnapping’ of one of its soldiers and all hell breaks loose. State leaders like Barack Obama, Angela Merkel and – yes! – Mark Rutte expressed outrage and their deep concerns. Israel accuses Hamas militants and announces retaliation against the Gaza strip. By now, 1,800 people are dead – most of them women and children – and the world leaders suddenly do not have to say all that much anymore.
In Philipsburg, the bickering over campaign billboards has subsided somewhat and candidates are doing their stinking best to grab the electorate’s attention. They promise to “move the country forward” – an expression that has been the battle-cry of politicians for decades.
Does this put our concerns a bit in perspective, or what?

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