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Blood on the Pant Leg by Marlon leTerrance


A nine-year-old boy stared at the blood on his pant leg for a moment too long to measure. His right hand scratched a muddy trail down the front of his Tee Shirt while something resembling tears formed along the corners of his eyes. Someone yelled out for him to run, to get off the street. In another country, under another circumstance, the boy might have heard the scream. He might have screwed up his face in a mischievous smile and leaped out of the street without the slightest hesitation. But on this day, too many bullets were whizzing by his ears. The sound of buildings crumbling to the ground outranked the voice of reason. More screams. More gunfire.

An armored tank rumbled down behind him. An old woman wailed out the boy's name, pleading with the child to move, to get out the way of death. Somewhere in a mind incarcerated by fear, natural instincts made futile attempts at yanking the boy into action. But the boy felt paralyzed. There was blood on his pant leg.

Another building collapsed to the right of him. It could have been a school building, perhaps a hospital, a police station, but the boy remained fixed in place. Dark gray dust particles grabbed onto the contours of his face, his clothes. For several seconds he couldn't breathe, couldn't shut his eyes, and couldn't think. Yet, through it all, he could feel the warm fingers of blood massaging its way down his right leg, beneath the pants. It was fresh Palestinian blood, the kind that enrages a nation and howls out for revenge.

The boy never moved. The bombing never stopped. The tank continued forward. And the screams finally died down - only to be replaced by new ones.

Several of my homeboys are beginning to become a bit peeved by the misinformation being hammered into the skulls of the American populace. They feel as though the American media associations are purposely reporting only one side of the Middle East conflict in order to appease Jewish sympathizers. The Palestinian coverage is, too often, presented with crafty references to suicide bombers and terrorists, an approach that indicts every Palestinian in the region. The media's spin on the Middle East Crisis can easily be summed up, in the eyes of many of my peers, as another clear case where "might is right."

Often, after enduring long lectures about problems within Black America, I am seduced into listening to the Ghetto Politics of brothers and sisters from around my way. Many of them seem to feel as though the Palestinian's plight is a modern day example of the American Indian's plight. Forces with military power, world dominance, and deep pockets are, once again, allowed to dictate the conditions under which others are forced to live. I am not sure if I agree or disagree with these views, but I can't help but wonder what the American media's take on the situation in the Middle East would be if the Palestinians were properly financed and given the military support of a powerful country like, say, China. I can only imagine how much different the United States' Foreign Policy would then be in the Middle East as opposed to now.

The cats in my neighborhood haven't forgotten the images of years past when poor Palestinians were, much like our South African brothers during Apartheid, defending themselves by throwing rocks at armored tanks. Now that the American government can justify their love affair with Israel by hiding behind the word "terrorism," a lot of the folks in my 'hood are afraid that the so-called "War on Terrorism" will very soon turn into a "War on Justice."

I am an American. And even though I felt compelled to travel to Africa and research my family's origins, I still love this country - even with all its flaws.

Having said that, I do not trust the leaders who have been elected to represent me in the government. When the President or a Congressman calls for a press conference, I listen with ears covered by filters. When Time Magazine publishes an article that relates to issues I care about, I take notes and research the truth on my own. This is why the news coverage of the Middle East situation troubles me so much. My research doesn't match the published reports I am seeing splattered across newspapers, magazines, and the television. This discrepancy has me wondering if the pro-Israel spin is another example of American propaganda. J. Edgar Hoover, COINTELPRO, and the anti-communism tactics are still fresh on a lot of folks' mind.

I am not qualified to have an expert opinion concerning the Middle East. In my eyes, when innocent, civilian blood is spilled - be it by the blast of a Palestinian suicide bomber or by the bullets of an Israeli soldier - a murder has occurred. Politics can't justify crime.

My beef is neither with Israel nor Palestine. I have never been to either country. Instead, my beef is with the media coverage of the conflict. The integrity and ethics of journalism should dictate that honest, unbiased reporting is always done in a way that thoroughly explores both views openly. The responsibility of the news media is to give readers the facts, as clear as possible, and allow the reader to form his or her opinion independently. As a person who reads the news, I don't want to be told what to think. I merely want to learn the truth.

Last week, I asked my great uncle to help me understand why the American media coverage seemed to be biased towards Israel. He looked around and lowered his voice, as if afraid someone might overhear him: "Most of the media is secretly owned and controlled by powerful Jews."

I don't know who secretly controls the media. I really don't care. But when a suicide bomber ignites a bomb that kills dozens of civilians, I am touched and deeply saddened by the loss of Israeli lives. I read the news accounts with a heavy, deflated heart. At the same time, there's a little Palestinian boy standing, not too many miles from the blast, with blood on his pant leg. There are no cameras. There are no reporters. Still, I believe his story and his tears are important. I am hoping someone tells it.

Marlon leTerrance is a regular contributer at BlackElectorate.com. As a product of the Hip-Hop Generation's maverick disregard for conventional thought, Mr. leTerrance writes from the perspective of the "disenfranchised street dwellers, disillusioned by the Struggle". He can be contacted via e-mail at MarlonLeterrance@aol.com


Marlon leTerrance

Wednesday, April 17, 2002

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