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Israeli-Palestinian Conflicts: Religiosity, Terrorism, Social Madness and the Reaction of Average Nigerians

Written by Tadese Faforiji

The Middle East is currently the most shattered region in the world, this is due to some factors in which the involvement of extra-regional powers like the United States of America, Russia, France, Britain, and others, including China is not the least.

Geography

This is region basically include the state of Israel, Palestine, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and others. Notably, this list is open to critical review as examined in many scholarly works, some researchers and writers tend to examine the region not only based on the topographical determination.

Middle East Map. cr: Worldatlas

We have a lot to do with the state of Israel, Palestine, Iran, Iraq, Egypt, Jordan and others as examined above. This region has been a very serious strategic dispute between many concerned state and non-state actors.

Some scholars have described the region as a shatterbelt region (in line with the shatterbelt theory) which is more divided due to the differences in all facets- politics, religion, economy, socio-culture and others – and aggravated by the involvement (interference, simply put) of extra powers who also want to achieve their national interests.

Historically, geographically, culturally, and religiously, this place has been a region of complexities and complicated histories, whose reality has been hugely distorted by contemporary historians majorly because of religious reasons.

However, there are still lots of publications on the internet, journals, magazines, libraries and others that objectively (agreed to some extent) examine Middle East politics.

I am much more concerned about the reactions of (average) Nigerians to the conflicts. Some of them, with unbalanced or zero knowledge of a simple history of this place, will write extensively with a lot of distortions, claiming to be social scholars.

These are set of people with splendid skills in writing; therefore they keep on misleading people with their empty scholarship. Because of the religious question of the Middle East, many people don’t further make research or read. Read? Nigeria does not even have a passion for reading (education at large).

This is not to ridicule the efforts of great Nigerians who are investing their concerted efforts in education. Nigeria produces lots of the best brains, not only in the country but also in foreign countries, yearly.

But I consider the percentage of readers, is not encouraging. Back to business, the Arab-Israeli Conflicts in the Middle East.

Arab

According to Encyclopedia Britannica, “In modern usage, it embraces any of the Arabic-speaking peoples living in the vast region from Mauritania, on the Atlantic coast of Africa, to southwestern Iran, including the entire Maghrib of North Africa, Egypt and Sudan, the Arabian Peninsula, and Syria and Iraq.[1]

An Arab Man. cr: Istockphoto

They are “an ethnic group mainly inhabiting the Arab world in Western Asia, North Africa, the Horn of Africa, and the Western Indian Ocean islands (including Comoros)[2]

Although Palestinians are Arab-speaking people, they are not entirely Arabs. Moreover, there are Israeli Arabs, Palestinian Arabs as well as other subgroups in the region. Therefore, an attempt to wholly categorise the Palestinians as Arabs will be parochial, unscholarly and devoid of knowledgeable relevancy.

Israel

Israel, Arabic Isrāʾīl, officially the State of Israel or Hebrew Medinat Yisraʾel, is a country in the Middle East, which is located at the eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea, bounded to the north by Lebanon, northeast by Syria, to the east and southeast by Jordan, to the southwest by Egypt, and to the west by the Mediterranean Sea.[3]

Flag of Israel

Israel was established in 1948 in Palestine after the end of the British Mandate in Palestine. Of course, this has a lot of history between the two groups. They both can date their historic existence in the region to several centuries ago.

The Israeli people are majorly Jews who started to occupy the region in the early 20th century, used their Zionist (terrorist) movements to disrupt the British rule and fight the Palestinians until the declaration of the state of Israel in May 1948.

Here, we are much more concerned about the situation in the Middle East but it can’t be better understood without the knowledge of its history.  

Palestine

Demonstrators place a Palestinian flag during a protest against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to Hebron, in the occupied West Bank, September 4, 2019 [File: Reuters/Mussa Qawasma]

Simply, Palestine is an area of the eastern Mediterranean region, comprising parts of modern Israel and the Palestinian territories of the Gaza Strip (along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea) and the West Bank (west of the Jordan River).[4]

Terrorism

Terrorism is the deliberate commission of an act of violence against people or property to achieve political objectives (Wiktionary)

Terrorism is not limited to races, religions, countries, states, nations, corporations and others. Whenever we mention terrorism in the world news today, people tend to attach it to religion. Why? That is the product of media distortions.

They give terms to justify actions, shape and cover the stories along with the terms, and people that are socially mad begin to sing with the terms and they can even go the extra mile with it. Do you know that? That is media madness and foreign-incurred stupidity.  

Think about the implications of these terms in contemporary, media perspectives: Jihad, Crusades, Jihadists, Crusaders, Haram, Christianised, Islamised, Convert, Terrorists… All these terms have shifted the blame of terrorism to particular religions, instead of being a common enemy of humanity.

Whenever Boko Haram terrorists strike in Nigeria, the southern Christians are always happy, literarily. Why? Of course, they are not happy because of the killing or because of the instability, they are happy because the killers are not people from their religious folks.

Though the terrorist attachment to the 9/11 attack remains a core debate now because people now come out more than ever before to condemn America’s invasion of Iraq in 2003.

All claims like the Weapons of Mass Destructions WMDs, the 9/11 Attack and others are still critically challenged today. What will ‘typical’ Christian Nigerians say? “Iraq is an Islamic terrorist state, the invasion was needful.”

Media, Religions and Terrorism

While terrorism is a common enemy of humanity, the modern-day media especially has religionised it for religious, economic and political reasons.

Media propaganda img. cr: mediaengagement.org

Aljazeera published news two days ago, as well as BBC, three days ago and other newspapers about the killing in the West Bank. Before I proceed to discuss the negative role of media propaganda in our society, check the headlines:

  • Israeli forces kill three Palestinians in the occupied West Bank – Aljazeera
  • Two Palestinians killed in gunfight during Israeli West Bank raid – BBC
  • Palestinian throwing firebomb shot and killed by Israeli troops in Hebron clashes – Times of Israel
  • 3 Islamic Jihad members killed, 4 Israeli troops hurt in West Bank firefight – Times of Israel
Confusing headlines about the West Bank crisis

Every time there should be peace, but the world media will not allow such peace to reign. While the Israeli Forces confirmed to have killed the Palestinians, they reshaped the headline to meet the expectations of the world, “3 Islamic Jihad members killed,” “Palestinian throwing firebomb….”

When I see big media in the world fact-checking themselves, I feel sorry for the world society. They are bringing the stories from their respective perspectives and we are required to choose one that fits into our own view also.

Though we have few media agencies that really support true journalism, they face heavy attacks, especially from the purveyors of wars, sentiments and propaganda under the garment of journalism, humanity and democracy.

Because the media does not sing terrorism from the Christians and the Jews precisely, do you blindly believe there are no extremists in the religions?

Boko Haram, ISIS, Al Shabaab and others are currently the most popular claimed Islamic extremist and terrorist groups in the world due to the popularity given to them by major big-power media houses. Of course, it is now difficult to detach Islam from these people until they started to kill Muslims as well.

As published by France24 (Issued on: 28/11/2014 – 21:33 Modified: 29/11/2014 – 21:17) “Officials said more than 100 people were killed on Friday when suicide bombers and gunmen targeted crowds gathered for weekly prayers at the mosque of a senior cleric who had urged Nigeria’s Muslims to take up arms against Boko Haram.”[5]

Put simply, the 2014 Kano Attack secured a page[6] on Wikipedia for its cruelty.

While there were no media to directly address the Mosque attacks of 2019 [7] which became one the most brutal terrorist attacks in the year that led to the death of over 40 Muslims by a Christian, the story actually trend.

It becomes a debate till today (not usually given recognition by Nigerian newspapers and such an incident will never trend on Twitter or Facebook).

The Lord’s Resistance Army is a “Christian extremist and a terrorist organization which operates in northern Uganda, South Sudan, the Central African Republic, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.”

“It was founded in 1987 by Joseph Kony during the Ugandan civil war. It aims for the establishment of multi-party democracy, Christian rule in Uganda”[8][9] Does that mean Christianity preach terrorism? Verily, these are extremists, irrespective of their religions.

Facts in the Middle East

‘Almost’ all Nigerian Christians do not know that Christianity is not the predominant religion in Israel. “In 2016, the city’s population was 882,700, of which Jews comprised 536,600 (61%), Muslims comprised 319,800 (36%), Christians comprised 15,800 (2%)[10]

And in 2019, it was 74.2% Jewish, 17.8% Muslim, 2.0% Christian, and 1.6% Druze.[11] In 2020, the number of Christians grew by1.4%[12]

Middle East map. cr: Worldatlas

According to 2020 data released by the Central Bureau of Statistics, “76.7% of Christians in Israel are Palestinian Arabs, and most of them live in the northern region of the country (with more than 21,000 Christians in Nazareth).[13]

To stop here is to let the world know that Middle East politics is not a mere discourse someone with zero knowledge of its history and contemporary situations (like average Nigerians) can put their mouth into and post rubbish on social media platforms because he/she belongs to this religion or that religion.

Naija People

Many Nigerians did not know their current president, Muhammadu Buhari was once the head of state of Nigeria until he came to power in 2015. Many people, including major newspapers in the state, started to discuss some of his policies and governance at large during his military rule, as if they were not aware before, simply.

Whenever matters that touch our fundamental existence are being discussed, we ignore and prefer to discuss irrelevancies- the best between Wizkid and Davido; Ronaldo and Messi, or catch cruise on the “slapper and the slappee.”

In the recent Abuja-Kaduna Train Attack, some stupid Nigerians reacted badly to the post of Chinelo, a Dr. who was shot in the attack.

Nigerians (average, to be precise) have perhaps the worst of comments on social media posts. When you see insightful posts, the comment section is usually full of barbarities with some Naija comments.

Chinelo’s tweet and responses that followed. Image created
by Tadexprof from her TW tweet.

We joined a very knowledgeable discussion and talked our opinions as if we were not even aware of our existence on mother earth.

Of course, this is not going to change until we combine senses with our cruise and always learn more about history, politics and others that concern us majorly, in order to save our posterity from displaying advanced stages of ignorance and living in a knowledge-lost society like we are right now, somehow.

In another article(s), I will examine the histories of the region deeply, and alongside relate the very core interests of the superpowers especially now that media is contributing to the conflict.

Every time there should be peace, the purveyors of wars will not allow that because they make economic, religious and political gains from selling lies.

References


[1] Arab | Description, History, & Facts – Encyclopedia Britannica

[2] Arab world – Wikipedia

[3] Israel – History – Encyclopedia Britannica

[4] Palestine | History, People, & Religion – Encyclopedia Britannica

[5] Scores killed in mosque attack in Nigerian city of Kano – France24

[6] 2014 Kano attack – Wikipedia

[7] 49 dead in New Zealand mosque attacks – BBC News

[8] Lord’s Resistance Army – Wikipedia

[9] Profile: The Lord’s Resistance Army | News | Al Jazeera. See also, 6 modern-day Christian terrorist groups our media conveniently ignoresSALON

[10] Demographic history of Jerusalem – Wikipedia

[11] Religion in Israel – Wikipedia

[12] ASIA/ISRAEL – Christian population: numerical growth with percentage decrease compared to other religions – FIDES.org. Also, Israel’s Christian community is growing, 84% satisfied with life here – report

[13] ASIA/ISRAEL – Christian population: numerical growth with percentage decrease compared to other religions – FIDES.org

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About the author

Tadese Faforiji

I am Tadese Faforiji, a history student of the prestigious Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba-Akoko, Ondo State- 21st-century University, properly called. I am a blogger and an avid writer.

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