Monday, January 28, 2008

28-Jan-08: Collective punishment? Of whom?

Memo to Ed O'Loughlin of The Age/Sydney Morning Herald:

When you describe (as you did this weekend) the chaos in Gaza as "tens of thousands of people enjoyed a rare outing from what has been for many years a de facto prison for 1.5 million untried inmates", you might consider a different viewpoint.

Here's Brad Burston's take:
Imagine a situation in which thousands and thousands of people, many of them children and the elderly, are plunged into a situation in which they must fear for their lives day in and day out, their livelihoods crippled, their schools and even pre-schools under siege. Entire communities are trapped, paralyzed. Whole childhoods are spent in a state of post-traumatic stress. Occasions which should be high points in a lifetime are routinely curtailed or cancelled. The people of this place are forced to bear the burden of the whole of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. They are the unarmed proxy warriors of their side, victimized by the tactical cruelty of the other. They are the victims of collective punishment.

And they live in Israel.
We'd be pleased to think that you're going to click and read the remainder of his well-reasoned piece. But in truth, on the basis of our experience with hundreds of other members of the press who have passed through our home and our home-town, we think you're unlikely to be too interested in a version of matters in which your Palestinians-as-victims narrative is turned on its head.

You're not alone, of course. Many of your colleagues reporting from this area are just as true as you to the "1.5 million untried inmates" dangerous nonsense. For them, as for you, the only important thing to know is, to quote you, that "in Gaza a humanitarian crisis is already the normality".

Know, Ed, that there is another normality to take into account; the normality of Israelis, enduring barbarism and hatred emanating from the jihadist regime in power on our southern border. A normality that comes at a high price paid by our society in terms of disturbed, damaged and lost lives. It's a subject we personally would be glad to describe to you if you ever happen to muster up the interest to examine it. We and many of our friends here in Jerusalem can provide you with some well-articulated English-language first-person insights into how it feels, what it means, how it impacts our lives.

You ignore the humanity of our side in one column after another. And you place theirs at the center of this conflict. Like so many of your colleagues in the reporting industry, you're voting with your fingertips. Nothing wrong with that in principle, provided you and your editors and their managers declare your partisanship openly - and desist from the pretense of giving an impartial view of life in this complicated region.


Rob said...

I read Ed's column. Just sighed and shook my head.

Whispering_Jack said...

Sorry to say this but you're wasting your time asking Ed O'Loughlin to consider any viewpoint that differs from the one he holds.

He is an unrepentant enemy of Israel who would not publish a word that shows Palestinian terrorists or "miltants" as he chooses to describe them (as well as the murderers from Hezbollah) in a negative light. By repressing any news that might be critical of Israel's enemies, he is acting as an agent for those forces.

O'Loughlin is therefore also bad news for any Palestinian who wants to live in peace with Israel because of the fact that his efforts promote the cause of those groups that don't want a peaceful outcome to the conflict.