More foreign coverage needed by US media

Tomorrow the people of the United States will be remembering the terrorist attacks that claimed the lives of thousands of people one year ago. In less than 90 minutes, more than 3,000 people died in a never-before seen chain of events that amazed and shocked people across the planet.

The country has changed a lot since then. A war has come and gone, at least in the minds of regular people; laws have been changed so the U.S. can keep a better eye on those that may become a threat to the country. People are a little more careful at times, and the government has reminded them to keep doing so every once in a while, with the warning of new possible threats that might have occurred (but never did).

I clearly remember my landlady visiting my place a few days after the attacks. When I talked to her, I got more of the feeling of what Americans were going through and what they could be feeling at that time.

What really impressed me was a comment she made. She told us how in awe she was that so many people in distant places of the world were mourning the lives lost in the attack. She spoke of how she’d seen people grieving in every part of the world, not because of the three or two countrymen they lost, but simply because of the horror of this human tragedy.

I recall her telling me she finally saw a world that showed her a sympathy she never thought existed.

I wish the media would follow my landlord’s new ideals and start devoting more time to foreign news coverage, not only when there’s a human tragedy, but also when there’s something we should care about. I wish newscasts would spend more time covering a flood that left thousands with no place to live in an Asian country than it spends covering the same weather report five times over a period of 30 minutes.

People like Bill O’Reilly and other non-political science scholars have said the U.S. was the last country to imagine something like that to happen to it, based on what the country did for others over the last several decades: the reconstruction of Germany, the post-Cold War Russia, Nicaragua, the pre-Fidel Cuba, and so on.

Yes, the outcome of those might be honorable – democracy, free will, better life standards and such – but to say that the U.S. is the fairy godmother of foreign countries for the good of its hard is, to say the least, naOve. Anyone with a bit of contemporary political history knowledge or just a little spare time to sit down and think will see that the coin in this case has two faces: one, as described right above, of the purely good outcomes; and the other one that explain the reasoning for those, and for the actions that lead to those.

Or has everybody forgotten about the “red scare” that waved around the American rulers’ heads for decades, and still gives them nightmares thinking of a few miles south of Key West? Or that it isn’t easy being the top nation in the world, political and economically, and that – in order to keep such position – some efforts have to be made, even if they don’t seem to bring this country much advantage at first.

Furthermore, although it has sounded more and more like the early 1900’s lately, this is still the new century, and Globalization is still in effect, and strong. And, to be ahead of the game, one needs to not only take but give.

It’d be good for people to try and Factor in all these things before reaching a conclusion.

Daniel Paskin is a gradute student at the School of International Studies.

September 10, 2002


The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami

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