Journalist, not an ally

The main story in Ramallahstan those days is what happened with Amira Hass in Beirzeit university few days ago.
Long story short, Amira Hass, was invited to talk in Beirzeit university. A group of student protested and kicked her out.

Some people came out in support of the students, while others choose to throw the “She is more Palestinian than Palestinians” line.


First, lets explain who is Amira Hass!?
Amira Hass is an Israeli journalist, lives in Ramallah, and write for the Zionist newspaper, Haaretz, no more no less.
She is not more Palestinian than Palestinians, nor she is a spy “Spy on what?“. She is a journalist who choose to live close to the main topic she covers, which is Palestine and the Palestinians.
Like Robert Fisk, the British journalist who choose to live in Lebanon to be close to the Middle East, the region/topic he covers, Does this make hime a supporter to the Arab cause?
PS: I mentioned what is relevant, for more info about her, click here

Second, Amira Hass is an Israeli by birth, she belong to the colonial oppressive system Palestinians have been suffering from for the last 60+ years, she also write for a Zionist newspaper, who sometimes sound progressive, yet still strongly serves the Zionist colonial project in Palestine.
Do I really need to explain why people who live under colonial regime tend to be hostile towered those who belong to the “Colonial Master” nation!? I thought this should be obvious by now.

Third, “She is more Palestinian than some Palestinians”.
1- Who the gave you the right to say whose Palestinian and whose not!?
2- If every journalist who cover Palestine fairly will become more Palestinian than Palestinian, I can think of a long list of names before Hass.
3- Did you answer the question in the first point? Regardless to your answer, No one have the right, to say whose Palestinian and whose not. No one have this right, not even Mahmoud Abbas himself, “He is after all the head of PLO and the PA, which suppose to represent all Palestinian everywhere

Finally, It’s important to remember that Amira Hass is simply a journalist, who maybe take the ethics of journalism more seriously than the usual propaganda tools in other Israeli media outlets. She is not a pro-Palestine, solidarity activist nor she is here because she loves us!
I find it sad, that our experience with good and fair journalism is very limited, we consider whoever write a decent story, an allies to our struggle.

Also we can’t abandon the fact that Amira Hass, regardless to her impressive journalistic work belong to the other side, and this is something we can’t ignore or overcome, at least not now.
The Israelis can walk around and say “It’s not personal, it’s politic”. This is a privilege we don’t have, it’s personal for each and everyone of us.

I hope her commitment to fair journalism, not to Palestine is beyond what happened in Beirzeit.


Remember Iraq


Remember Iraq

Time magazine light box posted a group of pictures to “celebrate” 10 years since the American colonial forces started what they called “Operation Iraqi Freedom”, the pictures were great reminders of the work of empires, and how they destroys nations just to put their hands on the conquered nations resources.

One of the pictures was this old picture from January 18, 2005, I have seen it many times before, yet I never really knew the story behind it.

The picture was taken by Chris Hondros, an American photojournalist who covered conflict zones all over the world, to end his journey in Mesrata, Libya in April 20, 2011, where he was fatally wounded in a mortar attack by the Libyan government forces.

The caption of the picture above is an excerpt written by Chris Hondros himself. The writing was pulled from his laptop recovered after his death in Libya.

“At six in Tal Afar, it isn’t yet quite dark. A gloom hung over the roads and alleys with just a little dark blue light from the sky. No one was out. As we made our way up a broad boulevard, in the distance I could see a car making its way toward us. With all the relentless car bombings in Iraq, groups of soldiers are understandably nervous about any cars that approach them, and they do not allow private cars to breech the perimeter of their foot patrols, particularly at night. 

”We have a car coming,” someone called out, as we entered an intersection. We could see the car about a 100 meters down but I doubt if it could see us—it would be hard to see this group of darkly camouflaged men in the gloom. That already gave me a bad feeling about what might conspire, so I moved over to the side of the road, out of anyone’s line of fire. The car continued coming; I couldn’t see it anymore from my perch but could hear its engine now, a high whine that sounded more like acceleration than slowing down. It was maybe 50 yards away now.

“Stop that car!” someone shouted out, seemingly simultaneously with someone firing what sounded like warning shots—a staccato measured burst. The car continued coming. And then perhaps less than a second later a cacophony of fire, shots rattling off in a chaotic overlapping din. The car entered the intersection on its momentum and still shots were penetrating it and slicing it. Finally the shooting stopped, the car drifted listlessly, clearly no longer being steered, and came to a rest on a curb. I stared at it in shocked silence. Soldiers began to approach it warily. The sound of children crying came from the car, and my worst fears were instantly realized. I walked up to the car and a teenaged girl with her head covered emerged from the back, wailing and gesturing wildly. After her came a boy, tumbling onto the ground from the seat, already leaving a pool of blood.

“Civilians!” someone shouted, along with a stream of epithets, and soldiers ran up. More children—it ended up being six all told—started emerging, crying, their faces mottled with blood in long streaks. The troops carried them all off to a nearby sidewalk. It was by now almost completely dark. There, working only by lights mounted on ends of their rifles, an Army medic began assessing the children’s injuries, running his hands up and down their bodies like he was frisking them, looking for wounds. Incredibly, the only injuries were a girl with a cut hand and a boy with a superficial gash in the small of his back that was bleeding heavily but wasn’t life-threatening. The medic immediately began to bind it, while the boy crouched against a wall, his face showing more fear than pain.

From the sidewalk I could see into the bullet-mottled windshield more clearly, and even my hardened nerves gave a start—the driver of the car, a man, was penetrated by so many bullets that his skull had collapsed, leaving his body grotesquely disfigured. A woman also lay dead in the front, still covered in her Muslim clothing and harder to see. Body bags were found and soldiers grimly set about placing the two bodies in them. 
 Meanwhile, the children continued to wail and scream, huddled against a wall, sandwiched between soldiers either binding their wounds or trying to comfort them. The Army’s translator later told me that this was a Turkoman family and that the teenage girl kept shouting, “Why did they shoot us? We have no weapons! We were just going home!”

There was a small delay in getting the armored vehicles lined up and ready, and soon the convoy moved to the main Tal Afar hospital. It was fairly large and surprisingly well outfitted, with sober-looking doctors in white coats ambling about its sea-green halls. The young children were carried in by soldiers and by their teenaged sister. Only the boy with the gash on his back needed any further medical attention, and the Army medic and an Iraqi doctor quickly chatted over his prognosis. “Oh, this will be okay,” the Iraqi doctor said in broken English, roughly pulling the skin on the edge of the wound, causing the boy to howl. “We will take care of him fine.”

The unit’s captain, Thomas Siebold, was adamant that the children be kept in a waiting room when the body bags, which were waiting outside on gurneys, were brought through the doors to be taken to the morgue. “They’ve seen enough,” he said. “I don’t want them seeing any more tonight.” I thought of Seibold’s office where I’d met up with him earlier, and the picture of his smiling 5-year-old daughter filling the entire desktop of his computer at his desk.”

Picture source; print screen from Times light box