I’ve never understood the people who don’t watch or read the news. Obviously, I believe what we do is important, so I’ve always been a bit baffled. I get it now. I have been so overwhelmed with emotion watching the Gaza conflict unfold that it has in many ways consumed me from thousands of miles away.
That means I’ve been doing a lot of walking around D.C. to try and get the pictures out of my head at least temporarily. I was struck by a couple of things during my walks. First, there are a lot of tourists in this town. Second, they are here to see some very beautiful memorials. And then I realized the old memorials here in Washington are all to war and to President’s that are associated with war.
That made me ask myself, is war at the heart of the American identity? Much of what is left of this country’s manufacturing base is to make tools of war, the planes, the bombs and the ships that carry them. The United States spends more on defense than the next 13 countries combined. At the heart of America’s foreign policy are weapons, they allow some to buy them and pay for others to have them as well. The video game industry survives on make believe war and Hollywood benefits from it as well. The one place you would be hard pressed to find graphic images of war – on television news.
I’ve been watching the domestic coverage very carefully. I’ve written about the bias that I see in some of the reporting. It’s been fairly blatant in many cases, but there is a subtler form of bias and that is in choosing what pictures to show.
No dead or dying
I watched the 3 network evening broadcasts the other night. One talked to injured children but no one showed any of the dead or dying. They showed bombs from far away, toppled buildings, most didn’t show close ups of mourning and not once did I hear the death toll.
I’m not saying this is being done on purpose although that is always a possibility. I was brought up in American television and quite frankly I never really questioned the practice of not showing graphic images. In local news if a murder victim wasn’t covered up with a white sheet, you usually didn’t even take video of it until the coroner arrived. It just isn’t what is done. I remember when I first came to Al Jazeera English; I was very surprised, even mildly shocked, to see the footage we aired. We are always careful to not cross that hard to define line, but we don’t censor ourselves the way the American media does. In essence, we don’t sanitize the scene for our viewers to a point that it distorts the reality.
The images of the grief in Gaza and Israel are just powerful. The video of the dead, the grieving and destruction stays with you. The Pentagon knows this, which is why for years no one was allowed to take any video of the caskets of fallen soldiers being returned home. The loss becomes real. War becomes real.
I just watched video of a father being told his baby girl was dead. And his pain seared my heart. In many ways I wish I had never seen that, but to me, turning away would in some ways insult her memory. I have to watch this to really know what is happening. Information that makes us more empathetic humans cannot be a bad thing, even if it is so terribly hard at times.
With this heavy heart, I think I might take another walk. This time, I might go see the newest memorial; it honors the life of Martin Luther King Junior. He spent his life in the search for justice through the use of non-violent resistance. It will be good to be in the one place here where non-violence is held up as something worth honoring, something worth remembering.
The Al-Imdaad Foundation (AIF) has been urged to open its female only hospital in Gaza to all casualties, including males, as emergency medics struggle to keep up with the influx of patients needing medical care. More than 100 Palestinians have been killed in four days of deadly air strikes by the Israel military. By Friday afternoon, about 680 civilians had been injured.
Speaking to VOC News, AIF spokesperson Qari Ziyaad Patel said the request to open the hospital to all casualties came from the head of administration at the hospital. Medical staff are grappling with the sharp increase in the number of Palestinians injured in the violence. Hospitals in Gaza are unable to assist Palestinians injured in the bomb explosions.
The foundation’s doctors, nurses, ambulances and team members are on standby to help Palestinians in the hour of need. However, with the current increase in casualties, the well stocked hospital now opens its doors to everyone, including men.
“Listening to eye witness reports from Gaza is extremely horrific,” Patel said.
AIF opened the hospital in 2003 and offered to make it a space where Palestinian women, most of them in hijab, can feel comfortable and at ease. However, it also has other extensive humanitarian projects in Gaza.
“We have maintained that the hospital is well-equiped to serve the people of Gaza and so, we can proudly open the doors of the hospital and confidently assist the many unfortunate casualties,” Patel added.
Patel thanked local donors for their generous contributions to the people of Palestine and called on Muslim South Africans to show their support.
For contributions to the worthy cause, visit the website http://www.alimdaad.com for details on the organisations account or contact its offices at 036 352 1157 / 011 496 2754. VOC (Ra’eesah Isaacs)
News Reporter exposes Israel on live television. She did what millions didn’t dare to do. Much respect.
I finally realized that what I had been seeing all these years was not Israel defending itself, but rather Palestinians defending their homes and families, even when the best they could do was to throw rocks at tanks
Birds eye view of people standing up against Israel’s brutality outside the Israeli Embassy
Visit the Face book page of : Friends of Al Aqsa
Scotland’s hospitals stand ready to treat civilians affected by the continuing and increasing violence in Gaza, External Affairs Minister Humza Yousaf has said.
Mr Yousaf has written to Foreign Secretary William Hague to express his concern at the violence on both sides of the conflict, and to ask him to exert pressure on the Israeli Government to end the blockade of Gaza, which the Scottish Government views as collective punishment. The Scottish Government has called for an immediate end to hostilities including a cessation of both rocket attacks and air strikes to de-escalate the situation.
In the letter Mr Yousaf sets out the offer made by Scottish hospitals, and asks Mr Hague to consider doing the same in England.
Should medical evacuation (medevac) of casualties be possible, Scotland’s hospitals will be willing to offer treatment to patients requiring specialist care.
Mr Yousaf said:
“We are deeply concerned by the situation in Gaza and the escalating violence on both sides, and particularly the humanitarian impact on civilians.
“Scotland stands ready to offer whatever assistance we can – and it is in that spirit that we make this offer, to give specialist medical help to civilians caught up in the conflict should medical evacuation be possible.
“The Scottish Government also believes that the continuation of the blockade in Gaza is exacerbating the suffering experienced by the people there. For that reason, I have today asked William Hague to exert further pressure on the Israeli Government to bring that blockade to an end.”
Minister for Public Health Michael Matheson said:
“Compassion and the relief of human suffering have been central values of the NHS since its foundation 66 years ago. That is why Scotland stands ready and willing to help the innocent victims of this humanitarian crisis. Should medical evacuation become possible, we will work closely with doctors in Gaza to determine what kind of specialist care we are able to offer.”
Source: Scottish Government
The Prime Minister, David Cameron called Israeli Prime Minister and “reiterated the UK’s staunch support for Israel” and he strongly condemned the ‘appalling attacks being carried out by Hamas against Israeli civilians’.
David clearly hasn’t got a clue about what’s happening or is choosing to ignore the facts. So, we’ve written an open letter to him. Does Mr Cameron’s ‘staunch support for Israel’ mean he supports the murder or babies and children in their homes? We would like you to ask David some questions – either on twitter @david_cameron or email him.
Please ask David some of your own questions too, I’m sure you have many!
@David_Cameron do you condemn Israel’s collective punishment of the people of Gaza?
@David_Cameron do you condemn Israel’s breaches of international law?
@David_Cameron do you staunchly support the killing of 75 Palestinians?
@David_Cameron are you a ‘staunch’ supporter of Israel murdering 14 children?
@David_Cameron do you staunchly support the bombing of hospitals in Gaza?
@David_Cameron do you staunchly support the killing of 18 month baby Ranin Jawdat?
@David_Cameron do you staunchly support the right of the Palestinians to defend themselves?
Join the Emergency Protest
Friday 11th July
Outside Embassy of Israel, London, W8 4QB
Friday 11th July
Clock Tower, Leicester, LE1 1WT
Friday 11th July
Outside Waterstones, High Street (near Bull Ring), Birmingham City Centre
Saturday 12th July
MediaCityUK, Salford Quays, M50 2LH
Ask your MP to contact Hugh Robertson, the Minister for Middle East, requesting an immediate statement condemning Israel’s disproportionate use of force and relentless violence against Palestinians.
Find your MP’s contact details here:
Letter can be as simple as:
Dear ____ ,
As my MP I would like to ask you to contact Hugh Robertson, the Minister for Middle East, requesting an immediate statement condemning Israel’s disproportionate use of force and relentless violence against Palestinians.