Thursday, June 13, 2024

Don’t Confuse us with the Facts


By  O.O. Rawls

In a recent pro-Palestinian demonstration at the Sundance Film Festival, demonstrators carried posters with Hamas’ slogan “FROM THE RIVER TO THE SEA.” 

Hamas’ openly declared agenda of eliminating Israel, a tiny country between the Mediterranean Sea and The Jordan River, is not our topic today. It’s rather the degree to which the young, enthusiastic American demonstrators were ignorant of the basic facts. When a reporter, engaging some of the demonstrators in conversation, was asking simple, factual questions such as “What river? What sea?”, the answers were indeed surprising.

One demonstrator did not know the name of the river. The sea, however, he asserted, was the Red Sea (Gaza is 221 kilometers from the Red Sea). A young woman thought the sea was the Black Sea (the Black sea is surrounded by Ukraine, Russia, Georgia, Turkey, Bulgaria and Romania). She was sure that the river whose name she didn’t  know was on the other side of Gaza (there is no river on the other side of Gaza.)  Another woman screaming slogans was asked about the hostage situation. “Unfortunately,” she responded, “I’m not educated about that.” Was she educated about the slogans she screamed?

You can watch the video on X at

to conclude that the young, enthusiastic American demonstrators, “unfortunately” were “not educated about” the facts of the situation they were demonstrating against. So what prompted such energetic, ignorant and hateful actions? And why should we be alarmed?

The Sundance interviews highlight a weak spot in our common mentality: many people like to be fed slogans much more than they like to get their facts straight. One wise man called this phenomenon: “Don’t confuse me with the facts.”

With the election on the horizon, crowd psychology, biased media and massive disinformation can determine the direction of the country and the world. That the future of our children and our grandchildren hangs on hate mongering and mass sloganeering is a frightening prospect. That our schools produce young adults who don’t have respect for the facts is even more so.

As an aside, while anti-Semitic demonstrations flourish, the Chinese government continues its policy of ethnocide of the Uyghurs and massive murders in Tibet.

Russia continues its plan of subjugating Ukraine at an astronomical price to human lives. Sudan is involved in its own version of genocide in West Darfur, and the young demonstrators enthuse about Hamas’ slogan which they don’t even understand.

I’ll stop this jeremiad for now, with faith in the Crier’s readers to do their homework. Maybe their understanding and knowledge of the facts will have a ripple effect.


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