The number of people fleeing Lebanon is immeasurable…
It seems that only journalists who are heading for Beirut these days…
However, the increasing number of journalists and correspondents entering Beirut to cover the war does not indicate that the information and pictures that are transmitted are accurate and truthful.
Since the beginning of Israel’s bombardment of Lebanon, the killing of hundreds of innocents and the displacement of thousands of citizens, media coverage of the war has varied, causing much controversy inside and outside of Lebanon. In order to radiate discussion, it seems that the focus for media today is the humanitarian aspect of the Lebanese crisis as the most prominent and pressing issue in the continuous battles and the increasing cries of distress and fear.
When Israel committed the Qana massacre in 1996, tens of cameras were quick to occupy the scene and broadcasted shots of the crime live, urging for the war at that time to be stopped. The world could not face the horrific massacre and was forced to respond.
Today however, another story unfolds. Israel has severed south Lebanon, targeted those fleeing the war and any moving object, making it difficult for journalists in the south to transmit the truth behind the massacre that is being committed, ultimately resulting in inaccurate and obsolete coverage. Furthermore, there are political complexities and divisions surrounding media coverage in Lebanon that has weakened the enthusiasm of journalists.
Only a few days have passed since we saw the images of a little girl lying by the side of her family’s car that was shelled by an Israeli missile as they attempted to flee the village of Marwaheen. It has been even longer since we have witnessed the burial of over eighty victims in Tyre and its surrounding areas. Many victims have died however we have not seen their images and do not know there names. The war continues, with an increasing number of victims of such a meaningless war.
The destruction of roads and bridges has prevented rescue efforts of those whose homes have been destroyed and who have died amongst the rubble. Tyre hospital recently announced that it is to bury the bodies of victims who have died, as there is no room in the city’s morgues. The image of the mass burial, of which the majority of bodies were not identified, was the only news we received on these victims.
In western media, even if this term is a generalization, we have noticed that the general inclination of American coverage especially, has not differed from its usual course. American media has for example, discussed the number of civilian victims in the conflict of the Middle East in an attempt to camouflage the real number of casualties in Lebanon. American media has also sought to conceal the images of Lebanese victims, the majority of whom are children. On the other hand, the same American media has focused on the terrified and weeping individuals in Israel. I would like to reiterate here that I stand firmly against the targeting of any civilians wherever they may be.
The war in Lebanon today is causing major political divisions in Lebanon and the entire region. Such divisions have concealed the main feature of the Lebanese crisis that is represented by these massacres and have not made this aspect the priority of media coverage that is now imprisoned by the political status quo.