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This Is What Democracy Looks Like

www.NationalView.org's Note From a Madman

November 30, 2008



The headline could have been used for both big news stories this elongated Thanksgiving weekend:

"Doorbusters trample Wal-Mart employee to death"


"Terrorist Doorbusters hold India under siege"

Somehow, as our allies in India were suffering through a 911-type horror in Mumbai (formerly Bombay), the choice was a difficult one to make for Cable news channel deciders. Should they lead with the ongoing incident overseas or run with news from Black Friday - the day after Thanksgiving which marks the unofficial beginning of the Christmas Holiday season shopping frenzy.

One could almost hear the newsroom banter as the decision was being made: "Why couldn't they have attacked last week?"

The India "Doorbusters" killed at least 183 people as they took hostages in two Mumbai hotels. They also killed Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg and his wife Rivka, who were stationed in the Chabad-Lubavitch Jewish Community Center, a greeting and prayer center set up for Jews visiting Mumbai. Their infant son was smuggled out of the center by a worker.

While the loss of a Wal-Mart worker, and the matter in which he lost his life, is tragic (and certainly the fault of the pandemonium wished for by the big box stores in late November) it pales in comparison to what happened in the most dangerous part of the world today.

It still hasn't been established who orchestrated the attack, even though it's already being blamed on Pakistani militants by the Indian police, the attacks show how desensitized to other nations and people being terrorized we here in the United States have become. While the whole world grieved with us on September 11, 2001 (even France's Le Mond newspaper said "Today we are all Americans"), the sentiments regarding India's own ongoing terrorist problems certainly didn't appear to have made more than a dent on our mainstream television habits.

For the lack of attention our American society places on the attacks in Mumbai (and elsewhere around the world), I blame the Right-Wing media, the Bush White House and our Republican leaders, and there are many reasons why.

Some of you might remember the spin which continued to spew from the mouths of various Right-Wing sources going into the 2004 election cycle and going all the way up to the economy's bottom dropping out this September: "We haven't had an attack on American soil since 911."

It was a statement made so many times that it became one of the major talking points of the White House and the likes of Fox News Channel.

What it translated to was that America is an Island and we should care only for ourselves. The statement, by its definition, made the London subway bombing, the Madrid train bombings and now, the Mumbai hotel siege less important when viewed by the American television viewer. It was so bad that, prior to the economy's implosion, McCain was going to run on Bush's record of keeping us "safe."

How bad is it really? The second statement out of almost every cable news channel news anchor's mouth was, "...and five Americans are known to have been killed in the terrorist attacks." The silence of any empathy for our overseas allies (India) was deafening. Our first though shouldn't have been "How many Americans were killed," or "I hope this doesn't pre-empt the NFL and college football games this weekend" (which it didn't), it should have been a realization that the whole world is in this together and that when one nation is attacked we're all attacked.

Perhaps it should have been our epiphany.

There was more concern about a track fire closing one of the Amtrak tunnels on Wednesday night for the big Thanksgiving escape this weekend than there was for those being held hostage in India.

We, as Americans, can't always expect the support and empathy of the world when we ignore the cries of our allies in similar circumstances. If we are truly the greatest nation on Earth, we simply should know, and act better.

-Noah Greenberg

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-Noah Greenberg