Thursday, January 17, 2008

De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da … yet again

Of course, it is also possible to mislead with the absence of words.

Here is a picture from the Devil Bunny City Morning Herald showing some protesters in Israel a few days back at the time of George Bush the Greater’s visit, with placards calling him an accomplice to terrorism. The caption is banal and uninformative, and I am sure that most readers of the paper would have breezily assumed that the protesters were people like themselves, calling the American and Israeli leaders terror-friends from a point of view on the ‘left’ which sees military action in places like Jenin and Fallujah as terrorism. But... I am sure that is not who the protesters are at all. In the pictures Bush and Olmert are wearing Palestinian-style headdresses. They are being called terror-friends from a point of view on the ‘right’ which sees establishing a Hamas-led state that lobs missiles at Sderot as complicity in terrorism.

It is always an interesting exercise, when listening to a report on the radio that mentions Palestinian deaths due to Israeli military action, trying to figure out how many of them were people who were shooting back. There always seems to be an effort to blur the difference between ‘militant’ and ‘civilian’. My estimate is 15 out of 18 were militants for day-before-yesterday’s Israeli incursion into Gaza. The report I heard last night said that Hamas had ‘taken responsibility’ for rocket attacks from Gaza on Israel. Surely part of ‘taking responsibility’ for attacking someone is being prepared to say ‘it’s a fair cop’ when they attack you back?

5 comments:

Marco said...

Yes, But all the action is happening on Klause Rohde's blog He has mentioned Whales, Lamarckism and the Military PR industrial complex.

Dr. Clam said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dave said...

I always think that the best think for the whole Middle East is for all the militant lunatics on both sides of the conflicts to be locked in a small room together and allowed to beat the crap out of each other at their leisure.

Then I realise that that's actually what happening, and that there are a whole lot of less psychotic people trapped in the room with them.

Nevertheless you are correct. Randomly lobbing mortars over a wall is less morally defensible than launching surgical helicopter strikes at militant strongholds - though when the militant strongholds in question are in heavily populated urban centres, the lines do blur somewhat.

(I may have strayed from your point there. Sorry.)

Dr. Clam said...

Sometimes, straying from the point *is* the point.

(Sorry, practicing to be a purple dinosaur Zen master...)

My point may have been the complicity of our media in muddling labels that it is in the interest of Hamas et al to keep muddled: if someone is killed by an Israeli helicopter gunship, they might be a terrorist/freedom fighter OR an innocent civilian victim, but not both, and by calling them just 'Palestinians' journalists are not doing their job. When Australian is killed overseas, the first thing we always hear is whether they are a soldier or a civilian.

Dave said...

Can't disagree with you there. I despise laziness in journalism, and even meticulous and dedicated journalists are often constrained by contemptibly abbreviated coverage.

Then again (and again straying from the topic, because, hey, I'm getting good at it) the Australian media's default parochialism - "no Australians were among the 1400 killed by flash flooding" - shits me to tears as well. I can barely sit through two minutes of 7 and 9's international coverage without vomiting.