When asked about the elements that make or break a state, many people would give you a weird stare thinking that you are probably illiterate and then they would give the most common answer saying that the politics and the economy are the major elements that are responsible for the progress or the decline of the state. Well, they are correct to an extent and I shared the same opinion until the last few days when I visited Lebanon which is considered as one of the most prominent terrorist states in the world. Before I started my journey, I was told by my friends and family to take extra care of myself because to them I was probably going in the battlefield where I could be shot dead any second.
However, upon reaching the “battlefield”, I was surprised because I hadn’t expected to land in a peaceful place where life was as normal and busy as any other country that claims to be civilised. Taking the fact out of the equation that Lebanon does not have a President since 2014 and that the economy is struggling, if you closely analyse, you will realise that these are not the only factors that are responsible for the image that this state has in front of the world. Who do you think conveys the news about bomb blasts and terrorist activities? Who, in your opinion, repeatedly talks about Hezbollah claiming that it is a terrorist organisation? Well, the answer is clear and you know what I am referring to. It is not only the politics and the economy that have the power but the media that can very easily make or break a state in the contemporary world where image is the most important factor that is responsible for worldwide perceptions. The dilemma is that Lebanon is not the only victim; our very homeland is a victim too. The way we think that Lebanon is constantly bombed and the terrorist activities are a daily routine, ironically the Lebanese think the same about us.
The dilemma is that majority of the people become intellectuals just because they spend hours sitting in front of their television listening to talk shows that aim to influence our opinions and chitchatting with their friends in their drawing rooms over a cup of coffee. The interesting part is that their arguments are completely based on what has been conveyed to them through the news bulletin and talk shows. I was told that Lebanon is under a wave of constant terror whereas it’s not, and people all over the world are taught to avoid Muslims because they are terrorists. The question is if we are actually terrorists. Of course, we are not. Then what is Islamophobia? It is certainly a product of media which itself is a tool of the major powers that use it for their interest. The reported casualties after every attack are not as much as they are told to the people and the situation is never as worse as we are conveyed. The issue here is not that the media is corrupt but the problem is that we have failed to analyse issues and that we are blindfolded by the headlines that we see on various news channels.
Economy and politics have a major role to play in the development of the country, sure, but it is the media that informs you about the situation of both the fields and so it is better that we start using our own lenses of analysis rather than the ones given to us.