Sunday, April 04, 2010

4-Apr-10: Boys being boys

The next time we come across news media quoting statistics about tormented Gazan Palestinian Arab victims out of the mouth of Muawiya Hassanein (and it happens a lot), we plan to keep the following in mind 
The macabre count of Dr. Hassanein in Gaza [Online here]
GAZA CITY (AFP) — Doctor Muawiya Hassanein has no time for pleasantries these days. When a journalist calls, he barks out the latest number of the dead from Israel's war in Gaza and hangs up, getting back to his macabre count. The head of emergency services for the Gaza Strip, Hassanein is the sole person who keeps a running track of the ever-escalating death toll of Israel's deadliest offensive ever in the overcrowded enclave. "Every day, I get at least 200 phone calls from journalists and I give more than a dozen interviews," says the exhausted 55-year-old. "I never hold back on information..."
Four days ago, he was the source of this incendiary report that quickly grabbed front page prominence all over the world...
Gaza: Child killed by disputed fire [Online here]
Published Tuesday 30/03/2010 (updated) 01/04/2010 09:23
Gaza – Ma'an – A child was shot and killed east of the Yasser Arafat International Airport in Rafah on Tuesday, medics said. Muawiya Hassanein, director of ambulance and emergency services in Gaza, said Muhammad Zen Ismail Al-Farmawi, 15, was shot dead near the southeasterly border by Israeli forces...
No room for doubt about the man's certainty in this or any other story for which he is the source. A child murdered in cold blood, and at Easter no less. "Mohammad was apparently this year's "sacrificial paschal lamb" according to this especially scurrilous polemic. (The expression 'blood libel' is often overused. In this case, it's literally true, and as in the distant past, it's directed at the Jews. You can relax, Prof. Ira Chernus - no one over here is expecting you to retract or apologize. We more or less understand what drives you, and well appreciate that accuracy doesn't come into it.)

But in reality, the report was invented and false. The fifteen year-old is alive and well and back with his parents.
Gaza teen reported dead returns home alive [Online here]
April 4, 2010
JERUSALEM (JTA) -- A Gaza teen that Palestinian officials reported was killed by Israeli troops returned home alive. Mohammed al-Farmawi, 15, had reportedly been killed Tuesday during clashes between Palestinian demonstrators and Israeli troops on the Gaza border during Land Day protests. Gaza health officials had reported Tuesday that the teen was struck and then left to bleed for several hours before his body was collected, according to reports.
He was not left to bleed for hours - or at all. Ambulances were not "unable to retrieve the body because of ongoing clashes in the area" because no body existed. He was unharmed, whole, basically just doing what fifteen year olds sometimes do, even in battlezones.

And Muawiya Hassanein, the source of this beat-up, was doing what so many lazy and/or agenda driven journalists needed him to do. And will continue to do.

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