SUNDAY, 18 OCTOBER 2015 (as originally published on Facebook here)
We need a rapid response team, perhaps through an app, of respected observers of violent incidents in both communities, people who know and trust each other, to rapidly investigate and disseminate the facts as best they know them, in order for whatever reactions that occur be based on better knowledge of all the facts. Perhaps the app could be open, but with a respected panel who can immediately detect those on the app with consistent disinformation.
This is a suggestion for a new tactic of precision popular journalism across enemy lines. I know journalists on both sides who are committed to their profession and also to peace, and I know many on both sides who have a firm interest in saving lives always as a priority. I also know the threat of groupthink and obedience. Journalists on both sides often will defer to information from authorities as if it is gospel. This is a universal problem (Just look at the laughable Reuters feed on Russian Syrian targeting, where the authority is the Russian defense ministry).
But in Israel/Palestine we have some very dedicated journalists, both professional and popular, who could work together to correct all the deliberate manipulations and stay with sober but rapid reporting.
The key is rapidity of knowledge transfer that is responsible, to counteract rapidity that is not.
There are those who want this conflict to escalate. There are those who don’t care if it escalates and are happy to take lives and make a point. There are many who do not understand the consequences of their own bullying and violence because, at least when it comes to this conflict, they are dumb bastards. Then there are the rest of us who stand in awe watching. Progressives gather, as they should, and express solidarity and even love across sectarian lines. But I am looking at the rapid way in which opposite narratives develop on each incident and it fuels the fear and the rage, which is sometimes done unconsciously and sometimes deliberately.
We need to find better ways to immediately contain this and counteract it for the millions in the middle who are afraid, and do not know what to do or think, or in the words of Jonah, who do not know their right from their left. This paralysis due to poor facts or groupthink is costing lives. We need to become creative to save lives.
© Marc Gopin