What future is there for the Middle East’s minorities?

By Ed West, Catholic Herald


The footage of the recent violence against Muslim Brotherhood supporters in Egypt shows how sites like Flickr have overcome historic British taboos about showing war violence (unlike in, say, Germany). There on my Facebook and Twitter feeds, and on the websites of fairly respectable websites, were links to graphic images of dead bodies.



This could influence the way we see the Middle East. There is a theory, proposed (I think) by American journalist Stephanie Gutmann, that Israel has become such a focus of ire because, being a fairly open society with first world conditions, international media outlets base their Middle East offices in the country, so that every rubber bullet fired at Palestinians gets shown around the world.



The far, far worse things that Arabs do to Arabs never gets seen. But that’s changing now that lots of people have decent cameras and access to social media; Syria is a very repressive regime so the war has appeared as rather grainy YouTube footage, but the violence in more open Egypt has been shocking.



Also, for the first time western media has been showing footage of violence against Copts, by far the most exposure given to anti-Christian violence in the western media to date. It’s starting to dawn on people that the country’s six million or so Christians, like all the region’s minorities, face an uncertain future.



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