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Friday, June 21, 2024

As the battle between Israeli and Hamas fighters in Gaza stretches into its second week, not enough Americans are speaking up against the outrageous destruction of innocent lives.

Wars are covered in terms of numbers: casualties, rockets fired, troops sent in. Now that the death toll in Gaza has topped 700 people - at least 40 percent of whom are women and children - what does that mean to the American people?

The answer is not enough.

What we don't see paints a horrific image of people suffering with no place to go.

Children are arriving at hospitals in Gaza where doctors do not have the resources required to give them the treatment they need, and hospital morgues are filled to the brim, with more corpses arriving each day. Whole families, simply by being in the wrong place at the wrong time, have been killed in an instant.

To Americans, this war simply isn't terrible enough for us to care. Yes, it is sad. And yes, it is a shame. But Americans just do not get the full picture of the human cost of the war. As a nation, we are not outraged nearly enough by the wanton killing of civilians currently taking place.

Thousands of miles away, the crisis in Gaza seems alien and foreign. However, this is no excuse. Regardless of how far removed the civilians stuck in a battle zone are, there is no reason to accept their deaths as nothing more than a necessary cost of war.

Average Americans are protected from the gruesome images of foreign wars with light, fluffy "news." On the day that rockets were fired into Israel from southern Lebanon, one of the top news stories on CNN's Web site was about "cute things falling asleep."

Should the news outlets, driven by advertising revenue, be blamed for simply pandering to their audiences?

In a word, yes.

Supposedly, there was a time when journalists had a duty to inform people even if what they were telling them was not what people wanted to see. Somewhere down the road, however, things changed, and they stopped showing us scenes that might be too graphic for our taste.

Is it because the country has been involved in some form of war since 2001 that the concept of war has lost its zing? Is war just not sexy enough for the news to cover anymore? Or is it simply a case of viewers being fatigued by coverage of wars?

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Regardless of why it is occurring, we cannot accept these partial stories and allow this to carry on, for as long as we do, we are doing a huge disservice to the people of Gaza.

Both Hamas and Israel need to stop hitting civilians immediately, but they are not the only ones to blame for these merciless killings. Each moment we let pass without speaking up and demanding that the leaders of the world work together to stop the violence, we are silently allowing these acts to continue.

It is time for Americans to stop hiding behind the shield of the news outlets and see for themselves what lies beyond their television sets. The people caught in the crossfire don't have time for us to ignore the big picture anymore.

Naudia Jawad is a journalism graduate student.

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