Wednesday, April 09, 2014

The Mysteries of the Media

If anyone was unsure whether the news media "play fair" only need look to the reporting of the past few days. A young British socialite named Peaches Geldof died mysteriously and tragically young. There has been no end of news about Peaches even though she is really famous because she was a daughter of musician Bob Geldof, the poverty activist.

At the same time a Jesuit priest, Father Frans van der Lugt, who had devoted his life to working with people in the Syrian city of Homs was shot dead, execution style, for no apparent reason. A New York Times article describes him in this way:

Father Frans was fluent in Arabic and was trained in psychotherapy. He founded the Al Ard Center outside Homs, which cared for disabled people and fostered dialogue among people of different religions. The center took in displaced people well into the civil war, though the staff eventually left because, they said, they could not assure the safety of their guests.
Father Frans explained his decision to remain in the Old City in an interview published in February on ReliefWeb, a website focusing on humanitarian organizations. “I don’t see Muslims or Christians, I see, above all, human beings,” he said, who “hunger to lead a normal life.” As the only priest left in the Old City to help the people there with their suffering, he said, “how can I leave? This is impossible.
Have you heard about Father Frans? Perhaps not. Obviously we aren't asked to place the value on each precious life, and the deaths of both Peaches and Frans matter to the God of love. It's just strange, in my estimation, that a life of self-giving receives so little recognition in our celebrity-hungry culture. I am thankful for Father Frans' life and ministry.
Ah well. Comments?


Frank said...

Father Frans. I'm glad that you made note of his death. Why am I not surprised that in our celebrity obsessed and self-absorbed culture, his loss would not be noted.

colinm said...

I read about both their deaths and had known nothing about either. The sad thing is that we are still receiving reports about investigations into Peach's death, but none about the other. But I am convinced that in Peach' case, the media are after salacious stuff. In her case, the story helps to diminish the work her father does.