Back to the beginning…

In yet another example of how celebrity news seems to take precedence over world events, Charlie Sheen’s PR disaster seems to be on everyone’s lips. Like the adage ‘yesterday’s news is today’s fish and chip wrapper’, the shocking events taking place in Libya in the wake of Col. Gaddafi’s declaration of civil war seem to have been sidelined. That, in turn, has sidelined the conflicts happening in the adjacent countries – Egypt and Tunisia.
Of course, one cannot ignore the most violent and devastating tsunami in recent years which has struck Japan, yet this has given news outlets across the country another reason to put national conflicts in the Middle East on the backburner.

…between Prince Andrew’s dubious dealings with American paedophiles…

In fact, between Prince Andrew’s dubious dealings with American paedophiles, the Japanese earthquake and the Libyan civil war, Egypt and Tunisia have seemingly been completely forgotten. This may be due to the immediacy of bloody conflict. While, after the initial governmental defeat in Tunisia and Egypt there has been a slow and steady trickle of troubles, Libya has provided consistently shocking footage of young children holding guns, and many more grown men and women killed, maimed and bloodied.

…it’s only really possible to keep one long name in your mind at a time.

A couple of weeks ago, all anyone could talk about was President Hosni Mubarak, yet so swiftly Col. Gaddafi has replaced him. Similarly, in Tunisia the somewhat lesser known Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali’s flee to Saudi Arabia following the Tunisian revolution has also largely been forgotten. Another day, another dictator is overthrown, and the combination of media spin and public attention-span means that it’s only really possible to keep one long name in your mind at a time.

So, with the tongue-in-cheek dealt with, it is important to remember that these conflicts are all still ongoing. Just because Sky News has decided not to show rolling 24 hour coverage of them, they are still taking place. For ‘the news’, once the dictator has been overthrown so reporting on them becomes less interesting. For the people however, the fight continues. Coptic Christians and Muslims continue to battle, one month after Mubarak stepped down in Egypt. In Tunisia, clashes in a Southern mining town saw two dead and twenty injured last week. The mass uprising of the Middle East will continue for months, if not years, and true democracy will be an arduous struggle.


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3 Responses

  1. Ashish

    Unfortunately, its the information cycle at work and its getting shorter. And it works in a no. of ways…but to look at it simply, I’d say its a function of the number of news outlets available nowadays, from twitter to traditional newspapers.

    Too many sources of information clamouring for our scant attention with too many stories from too many locations across the world. Of course, the revolution in Egypt will run its course, and we just caught the bump, just as the Afghan & Iraq wars are still going on even though President Bush triumphantly announced ‘Mission Accomplished’ years ago.

    It’ll be left to the analysts to follow it all as it plays out in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Bahrain (see you already forgot that :P), Yemen (this one too).

    In a way, these analysts will then help shape the discourse on the events that happened and dissect and deliver judgments.

    While, in the meantime, you and I would be fed the latest ‘news’ on John Galliano gaffe or some such trivia…or maybe they’ll finally succeed in finding Osama.


    Stephen Bassett | Managing Editor Reply:




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