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What is in a word? Quite a lot actually

29 May 2010

By Jamal Elshayyal via Al Jazeera

At a time when media and spin are arguably as powerful as armies, the outcomes of battles for hearts and minds often shape the world we live in.

This is truest when it comes to the Palestinian struggle for liberation. As a journalist I’m aware of the simple nuances that can, and are, often used which ultimately affect the lives of millions of people. For example, a “war” can be described as a “conflict”, or civilians “killed” in an air strike could also be referred to as civilians who “died” in an attack etc.

Whoever said words were just words was lying.

From Mark Regev, to Press TV, as spin doctors and media outlets decide how to react and report on the Freedom Flotilla in the coming days, it’s important that one scrutinises their words (or lack of) in every way possible.

For starters, one must ask why such a big story is not being covered by many of the large international news networks. Surely one of the biggest demonstrations of collective international civil resistance, involving 50 nationalities, more than 30 parliamentarians, and costing millions of dollars is news worthy.

This Flotilla directly affects the lives of 1.5 million Gazans who have been living under siege for over 3 years; in fact it also affects the lives of many Israelis too, as they struggle to cling onto a two faced fallacy of democratic colonisation. It baffles me how some news outlets think the European launch of Apple’s i-Pad is more of a story.

When it comes to Arab media, the case is similar. In Egypt for example, there is little mention that were it not for Cairo’s collaboration with Israel, the siege on Gaza would never have succeeded, and this Flotilla would probably not be necessary.

Instead, newspapers and talk shows alike, label the Flotilla organisers as disingenuous for refusing the benevolent offer by the Egyptian government to allow the ships through Alarish and into Gaza.

And Egypt is not alone, even those in the Arab world who have commended the passengers on board the Flotilla in their attempt at breaking Israel’s inhumane and illegal siege on Gaza, have failed to question why their governments have not done more.

Why have a few hundred individuals taken it upon themselves to relieve a besieged people, whilst their “brother” nations with all their wealth and military might do nothing?

In the coming days, as journalists and politicians alike ponder on what words to use (or not to use) let us not forget that beyond all this, 1.5 million people remain besieged.

Un spin the spin and you will find that a territory ravaged by 23 days of Israeli bombardment remains crippled.

Read between the lines and you will see that this Flotilla is nothing more than a flame of hope, for people who possess little more than just that. Hope. Just a word.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Mohamed Hassan permalink
    29 May 2010 1:12pm

    Well first lets me thank you for your continuous support for Gaza…

    I feel shame and anger upon media in general and our local one specifically, it has missed with people minds that we are fighting to get them think straight again :S

    Right now, I feel sorry being an Egyptian who can do nothing physically to break the siege..Just trying to do my best. Yet against the arabian media which is not even ignoring but criticizing the Palestinians for resisting..For having hope 😦

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