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May 25, 2009

Stephen King on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

I have been a fan of Stephen King's writing ever since I was 14 years old.

At the time I was in yeshiva, and our dormitory was right next to a branch of the Chicago Public Library. Of course we were not allowed to go and borrow books unless we had special permission, such as for high school research projects, but many of us used the library anyway.

I remember walking in and seeing IT by Stephen King in the New Releases section. IT had been heavily advertised, and I was curious. Never before had a I read a Stephen King book, and I was a bit apprehensive because of his reputation. I took out IT.

I remember staying up 3 nearly complete nights - just getting a small amount of sleep each night - and finishing the book. It had something like 1000 pages, and was humongous as far as your average novel goes. Since then I was hooked and read every single thing I could get my hands on written by Stephen King (until a few years ago).

I don't remember ever hearing Stephen king weigh in with his opinion on the issue of Israel and the Palestinians, so i never had any idea what his positions were. I never even thought of him like that - as having a public stance on such things. he was a novelist, and a rocker, but that is it.

A different Stephen King wrote this article, wondering why the world is always making such a big deal about Israel and the Palestinians when there are much greater, and much deadlier, conflicts going on in other parts of the world that we hardly seem to care about:

So what caused my blood pressure to rise? Was Gaza the topic the DFA’s spindoctors were pushing? Possibly. Was the position on Gaza the most objectively newsworthy? Again, possibly: the Pope is in the region and Ireland tends to be at one end of the European spectrum of opinion on anything to do with Israel.

The third possibility, and the one that seems to me most likely, is that the media has a fixation on Israel (and its supposed crimes) which is, for want of a better word, disproportionate. That’s why the line about Gaza led several media reports of Minister Martin’s meeting.

If I were Jewish, I would be told I’m paranoid for thinking the world and its media are out to get me. After all, the fact that Israel is the world’s one and only Jewish state – amidst a vast ocean of Muslim states – inevitably makes many Jewish people think it’s them, and not Israel as such, which is in the media’s sights. But I’m not Jewish. Besides, just because people are paranoid doesn’t mean others aren’t out to get them.
[...]
Put that in context. Israel might be geographically small – smaller than Munster – but in population terms Chechnya is absolutely tiny. A region with a little more than one million inhabitants has seen anything up to one-fifth of its civilian population killed in two decades of war. And one school siege aside, we have largely looked the other way.


By comparison, 6,000 Palestinians – armed and civilian together – out of a Palestinian population in the territories three to four times that of Chechnya have died since the second intifada of 2001.

It goes without saying that any civilian death is a tragedy – and, very often, an outrage – but search for Chechnya on the DFA website and you only receive one-tenth of the number of hits that you do for Israel. No-one believes the DFA is somehow in league with the Russians and supports their quasi-colonial war against Chechnya, but it does go to show some perspective has been lost somewhere along the line.

Yes, there is public feeling about the Palestinians and their rotten deal. I’ve never heard Chechnya being discussed on the DART, whereas I have heard Israel being trashed on buses as well as at smart dinner parties. Besides, who’s ever heard of a "Sri Lanka out of Tamil Eelam" march through Cork or calls for a boycott of Russia?

But whose fault is that? Dare I suggest, the media? As a result, Israel has learned a lesson from the Russians and the Sri Lankans: impose a media ban and the world leaves you pretty much alone. No one could condone the ban during the Gaza offensive – and being host to the world’s second largest press corps, after Washington, means you pay a high price in terms of stroppy hacks – but it does seem to work.


I stand corrected - this article written by Stephen King is not the same Stephen King as the novelist, but an Irish writer. I am leaving it up, because it is still a relevant article.

5 comments:

  1. This article is NOT from Stephen King the author. This was originally printed in an Irish newspaper by someone who obviously has intimate knowledge of Irish politics. Being that the author Stephen King lives in Maine and Florida, I doubt he penned this op-ed in an Irish newspaper.

    Abbi

    ReplyDelete
  2. you know it is not him, or you are assuming it is a different SK?

    I guess it is possible it could be a different SK...

    ReplyDelete
  3. looks like you might be right... http://blog.camera.org/archives/2009/05/stephen_king_considers_medias.html

    ReplyDelete
  4. Google "Stephen King" Irish examiner
    He's a regular columnist for this paper. I just don't think SK the book author is regularly writing columns for this paper.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I stumbled on this website called http://chabadsearch.com it a portal where you can search google like u always do and they donate 1 cent to chabad houses for every search!

    Thought someone might be interested.

    Cheers!

    ReplyDelete

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