5 LESSONS FOR THE CLASSROOM ON THE GAZA CONFLICT
The war in Gaza between Hamas and Israel has gained more coverage through social media than any other traditional media platform. You get views from all over the world, through the eyes of the innocent, the involved and the bystanders.
Here are 5 lessons you can teach your students about the war.
History of Gaza
The biggest question your students (or even adults) will first have is: who are they and why are they fighting?
You’ll have to go back in time to find out more about Gaza, the Israel-Palestine war, Hamas, the Arab leagues and more. As you delve into the history and relate them, your students will decide who they think is right or wrong. Highlight two things to the young minds of tomorrow:
- There are many versions of “history”, and it is usually written by the “winner” (or their supporters).
- A coin has two sides, yet dices have more. Information is key to decision making but how much is enough?
Your students would have made their minds up on the rights and wrongs once you’ve shared the historical facts of Gaza to them. Take this opportunity to show the consequence of violence and war. In war, the ones who suffer are innocent civilians – commoners who want no part in any of this.
Teach your students compassion – and that the suffering of others should never instill a sense of accomplishment. The war might have started years ago through religious or political motivations but the suffering we see today has nothing to do with faith, religion or politics. It is about humanity.
Ethical and Moral Dilemma
It has been rationalized that sometimes, wars cannot be avoided and the death of a few (hundreds or thousands) is better than annihilation of many. The Philippa Foot’s Trolley Problem, as explained in the PBS video below, is a great point for discussion on ethical and moral dilemma.
A point to note: the Trolley Problem hypothetically assumes only two absolute choices that lead to certain death – but are there only two options in every conflict?
Why can’t they just stop fighting?
Power is a complex commodity. The struggle for power exists because of greed, security and many other reasons (or sometimes, excuses) Man puts forth to justify his (selfish or selfless) actions. The dynamics of politics and power is difficult to rationalize or explain as an outsider.
Your students have seen what power (or the struggle for it) can cause in Gaza – deaths, chaos and protracted sufferings. This is a war for power over control, land, historyand many more. It is a struggle that will continue to cost many lives. On the other hand, power and influence can positively impact change and lives.
Does power corrupt, or does it depend entirely on the person who wields it?
The role of media
The media’s role has always been to report facts. Readers would read the news without bias or prejudice. Through the years, we’ve seen different jargons taking shape to justify different types of reporting. There is now partisan journalism, interpretive reporting and many other ways news have been presented.
Social media has risen and the opportunity to report facts has never widely-presented itself without fear of sponsorship and funding cuts until recent years. However, as with all tough-to-regulate platforms, discerning facts from fabrications through social media is a much bigger challenge than identifying state-owned / politically-owned media groups.
Can you truly believe everything you read about the Gaza Conflict and other news? How can you really tell facts from fabrications?