By Leslie Griffith & JP Sottile
But if you ask people from northern Africa to south Asia—and all points in-between—what it is that America makes, you can count on a one word answer.
For the last decade war has spread and migrated from one front to another, often without barely a blip on the media’s radar—years of bombing in Yemen, drones over the Horn of Africa, military advisors in Kenya and Uganda, among others.
What do Americans know about factions and struggles and U.S.-backed officials in Yemen?
Or about Al Shabaab in Somalia and the U.S. base in Djibouti?
In fact, what do Americans know about the deadly civil war U.S. forces left behind after the American invasion of Iraq?
The answer, sadly, is very little.
A circuit has broken—faulty wiring—our conduits of information cut.
Although taxpayers are footing the bill, we understand next to nothing about what is done in our name. We rarely stop to consider—one man’s “freedom fighter” is another’s “terrorist.”
Terrorists and liberators are now stored in convenient black boxes in which only the final, deadly hits are recorded.
Relying on America’s media giants for answers is a fool’s errand. Sitting in air-conditioned studios, interviewing one another, American “reporters” pretend to understand conflicts in places they have never been.
Disconnected wires—lost illusions—loose ends.
Most mega-media news networks have been notably absent from bombing sites and so is the video evidence tabulating the cost of remote-control wars.
Empathy and intelligence is switched off.
Into this dark-vacuum, Al Jazeera English appears.
Its reporters have seen first-hand the consequences of Americas leading export.
Now, Al Jazeera English wants to bring those stories to America’s living rooms. They’ve been trying to do so since their launch in November 2006. Yet, they’ve been mostly shut out by America’s cable systems.
Their purchase of Current TV is another poke at the media bubble surrounding the nation like barbed wire containing prisoners of war—prisoners of a bubble that divides our citizens into this side or that.
We’ve become planets moving in different orbits—frequently colliding.
Who is afraid of Al Jazeera’s latest attempt to penetrate the blackout?
The list is long—here is a manageable-bit-sized-tweet.
Anyone profiting from the status quo.
Today, CNN tops that list.
Even before the inked dried on Al Jazeera’s deal to buy Al Gore’s Current TV—Time Warner Cable pulled the plug and turned off the switch—dropping Current TV (and Al Jazeera) from its line-up.
Once the gold standard of news twenty years ago—with reporters around the world—CNN is little more than a cross-promotional infotainment provider.
As Rome burns, the weather changes and storms brew all around us—they chase the Kim Kardashian crowd—becoming irrelevant in the process.
Now expect other cable companies to follow Time-Warner’s lead.
Who else is afraid of Al Jazeera?
America’s power brokers are afraid of Al Jazeera English. After all, what will they do if they cannot export the stinkin’ thinkin’ that–from Wall Street to Main Street–makes money from all things military and relies on Americas “infotainment” networks to spin some pro-war version of it.
And we wonder:
If Al Jazeera reporters risk their lives delivering a point of view that could re-connect us through knowledge—would we pass up “Dancing with the Stars,” come out of our comas, and dare to notice?
Would we thank and encourage them?
Can we still recognize truth as something that is not spun—like a web?
Can we concede that after 13 years of war—it is time to put names and faces and voices to the nondescript catch-all called “collateral damage?”
Is it too late to step out of our self-protective hibernation and…
…dare to awaken?
Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high:
Where knowledge is free:
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by
narrow domestic walls.
Where tireless striving stretches its arms toward perfection:
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into the dreary desert sand of
Cold Dead Habit
Where the mind is led forward by thee into ever-widening thought and action
Into that heaven of freedom, my father, let my country awake.