Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

The Tragedy of Gaza | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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I, like many others, watched helplessly as the bodies of “Jawaher” and “Dina” and “Samar” and “Ikram” and “Tahrir” were carried out of their destroyed house in “Block 5” of the Jabalya Refugee Camp in the Gaza Strip. The five sisters were killed in their sleep after an Israeli missile struck a mosque adjacent to their house. Their small bodies covered in dust and stone, the cries of their bereaved parents, the shock of their surviving siblings; all of this continues to reverberate painfully in the imagination. But does pain still have the same meaning or significance during this time of great despair and useless anger?

It may be that helplessness is the most difficult feeling to experience during this tragedy which we have begun to pay attention to as if it was the only tragedy in the world.

Gaza has been experiencing intimidation for days, and children are dying; we count their numbers and look at their pictures, as we have done before, and this only serves to increase our bitterness. However, this time around the confusion in the Arab Media in how to deal with the unjustified Israeli aggression on Gaza was not because of the event itself, but rather the same repugnant confusion that occurred during the July War [Hezbollah- Israel War in Lebanon] in 2006.

We were politically divided during this war by insisting on “Hezbollah” accountability and responsibility for the Israeli attack. This division was reflected in the media with regards to the aloofness in the coverage during the early stages of the war. There have been subsequent corrections to overcome the deep political and media divisions that dominated Lebanon and the Arab and Islamic community as a whole. It is unacceptable to repeat this mistake today.

The attack on Gaza was met with a similar confusion in the Arab media, especially by prominent news and media agencies. I cannot and will not spend a single moment supporting “Hamas” or “Hezbollah” or “Al Qaeda” or any other groups who have desecrated our society and contributed to its demise by using liberation and nationalistic slogans. But this political situation must not result in us losing our direction…Israel attacked Gaza brutally and barbarically, and media agencies must deal with this reality first, before any other considerations.

This is not the time of reckoning. We can and must maintain our political positions no matter how critical they may be without it affecting us on a human or occupational level. There is a war of genocide and desecration being committed, a type of war which nobody is entitled to commit, especially not a violent country such as Israel who continue to work towards the dissolution of political movements and people, which is what is happening now.

I do not support the Hamas movement, but I will never accept the extermination of its leadership, members, and supporters, which is what is happening today. Also an ethical position requires scrutiny of this equation i.e. the elimination of “Hamas” who possibly pose a significant risk to the structure of society with regards to the genocide that is occurring in the Gaza Strip today.

We are journalists, and we are human beings also. Both have a consideration in our coverage of events in Gaza. As human beings we must not forget that children are being killed by [Israeli] aerial raids…we have to be partial to the victims. It is an obvious equation. Confusion here is completely unjustified.