The Israel-Hezbollah conflict and media coverage

Every day as I turn on the TV, it hurts to see the images of dying children and my contention is that many of these people who are dying are poor people who have nowhere to go. It appears that the rich folks are either sipping hot chocolate in cafes in northern Lebanon or Southern Israel or have dual-citizen ship and have fled to America or Europe. How is Hezbollah gaining anything by indiscriminate killing of civilians? What is Israel gaining by bombing bridges and power plants?
When are the countries going to realize that war on terrorism cannot be won by massive air and ground attacks with big military machines? You cannot win a war on ants by simply sending in elephants. The war on terrorism must be fought on two fronts; a strategic front that focuses on the issues of the poor, the needy and the unfortunate and a tactical front that focuses on infiltrating, exposing and slowly destroying the extreme elements. Just the tactical approach without a long term plan will only succeed for a short time.
The media coverage of the recent conflict has its pros and cons. Unlike the “embedding garbage” imposed by the US in Iraq, it is refreshing to see the IDF giving free access to the reporters so they can objectively do their job. CNN clearly has a better coverage than the more US-centric FOX news. Unfortunately, overall the coverage is broad but lacks the depth. AC 360 had a special called “Inside Hezbollah.” I was hoping to see some new facts and details about the movement instead it was a rehash and repackaging of the coverage from the past week. I yearn for a more in-depth look at the conflict. I am still not clear about several issues.
  • The Hezbollah spokesman claims that Israel needs to return their territory and their prisoners. I was under the impression that Israel had returned all the territory they gained during the war.
  • How many Lebanese, Palestinian prisoners are there in Israel? I have heard numbers as low as 4 to as high as 4000.
  • What does the Lebanese army do? They do not have an air-force and are nowhere to be seen in Southern Lebanon.
  • What right does Israel or the US have to tell an army in a sovereign nation to disarm?
  • If the nations in the middle -east are so proud of their cultures and heritage and religions why do they seek constant help from the US? Something tells me that many of these nations are being ruled by dictatorial regimes that are preventing these nations from being truly independent.

False and Misleading Advertising

A recent media controversy surrounds false or misleading advertising for the movie King Arthur. Media reports state that Actress Keira Knightley was shocked when she saw the first posters for her film “King Arthur” because her breasts were digitally enhanced in it. According to, Knightley played Guinevere and was surprised to see her breasts ridiculously enhanced. How about the DVD cover for the movie Pink Panther? It mostly shows Beyonce Knowles. She has a very small role in the movie. This is definitely misleading. Also, take a look at the DVD cover for the movie “The three burials of Melquiades Estrada.” The movie tries to humanize the debate on immigration but Melquiades Estrada is barely visible on the DVD cover. Rampant false advertising is a sign of unabated and uncontrolled capitalism. Eros entertainment is a giant media company. They claim they are taking Bollywood places. I say they are taking Bollywood the wrong places. I bought a compilation DVD called the best of Rishi Kapoor and Jitendra. I expected about 6 songs of each actor. Guess what. The DVD has 12 songs of Rishi Kapoor and 2 songs of Jitendra. They also have a DVD called the BEST of Rajesh Khanna. Surprisingly most of his songs from his hit movies like Aradhana, Anand and Kati Patang are missing. Instead you get several numbers from the same movie Dushman. This to me clearly is false advertising.

Addicted to Intensity

After arriving in America, for many years, I kept wondering if I was “getting” America. By getting I mean did I really understand the United States. Today, I am not sure if I got America but America has definitely gotten me. My ability to appreciate simple things is almost gone. I do not notice anything unless it is loud, higly visible and in a highly concentrated form. Unabated capitalism has taken a toll on my sense and sensibility. I have been conditioned to look for the the tallest player, the most atheltic looking woman, the best sound, the best seller, the perfect environment, etc. Untamed capitalism has a unique way of making it appear that one can have anything one sees. While the number of avaliable options has consistently grown, my ability to attain and enjoy these “so called” options has diminished greatly. I would like to be able to feel the distant echo of a soft whisper. I want to see and enjoy the reflection of a butterfly flapping its wings above a lake. While I am addicted to intensity, at least I have become aware that for me the real joy will come from my deeper appreciation for and connection with the simple things in life- it will depend on my seeing the extraordinary in the ordinary . And that seems like a good start.

Hip’s don’t lie we are fightin’

A few days ago while driving  I heard the song “Hips don’t lie” by Shakira. I did not comprehend many words in the song but I was drawn to it by its beat. By saying “Hips don’t lie” I guess Shakira is trying to tell us that one must trust the intuitive wisdom of our body rather than the “pre-processed” words that come out of our mouths. I was enjoying the upbeat nature of the song when suddenly Wyclef Jean began talking about the Third World and Fugees. Did I miss something? How does one go from “Hips don’t lie ” to “We are Fightin?” Someone, please explain!