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January 5, 2009



Until yesterday in the Gaza battle, the visual media had been fairly consistent in following specific conventions to differentiate one side’s attacks from the other.

Specifically, most Israeli assaults have been represented by scenes of badly damaged buildings or piles of concrete rubble. Conversely, an image of a pierced roof with an isolated insult along with distressed rebar or falling drywall has been the signature of the Hamas threat to Israel. (There are good examples here and here, as well as here of the classroom photo I posted the other day.)

In a move that seems as much an editorial repudiation of Israel’s “self-defense” rationale as it is an illustration that the physical and psychological skin of Gaza is disintegrating, the feature story in yesterday’s NYT WIR suddenly subverted the latter convention by using the image above — of an isolated roof breech in a damaged Gaza home — to now represent Israeli aggression also.

Based on the application of the photo, significantly labeled “Incoming,” Israel — certainly, as far as The Times is concerned — seems to have destroyed any moral distinction between incoming projectiles.

(image: Ibraheem Abu Mustafa/Reuters. caption: INCOMING Palestinians in their damaged Gaza homes after an air raid in Rafah.)

  • weisseharre

    a s kin affect(s): maewests on bunkerbusts

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  • yg

    why didn’t the wars in congo get this kind of wall to wall coverage?

  • Lightkeeper

    A very good question. It seems the world is divided into white=top rung, Black=we don’t give a shit. Everyone in between gets to occupy their relative hierarchical position.
    I have often been boggled by the fact that 5 million – MILLION – no, I will write it again: M.I.L.L.I.O.N. – people have died in the Congo since 1997 alone. How this is still going on without even the slightest bit of a peep from the international gang that calls itself (in typical Orwellian fashion) a ‘community’ is beyond comprehensible.
    Israel/Gaza get attention because its the fucking Holy Land. Duh.

  • Lightkeeper

    And I guess also because most Israeli’s look like typical white Europeans to us, so their lives are worth more newspaper columns than those in the Congo. Its still surprising that even when the Gazans are being so overwhelmingly killed there is so much attention. Most of it propoganda, but still.

  • mse

    Agreed that the wars in Congo, and Africa coverage in general, is sadly lacking within US mainstream media — but the reason this attack on Gaza deserves the coverage it gets is the overwhelming backing, financial and otherwise, that Israel receives from the United States. This absolutely would not be taking place without our dollars and explicit consent.
    “Total U.S. aid to Israel is approximately one-third of the American foreign-aid budget, even though Israel comprises just .001 percent of the world’s population and already has one of the world’s higher per capita incomes.” Stephen Zunes writing in the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
    Lots of additional info on the gnarly topic of US aid to Israel at the above link.

  • eric notmytribe

    More than reversing the images, I think this photograph attempts to insinuate parity between the destruction being caused by both sides.

  • Lightkeeper

    I agree, Eric. The smiling Palestinian boy seems to imply Palestinian children are doing just fine.
    Oh wait, was that a school Israel just bombed by ‘accident’? Oops, my bad.

  • richard dent

    The “accident” was that Hamas launched rockets from the school into civilian territory of Israel.
    Plenty of US foreign aid of various kinds goes to countries with far worse conditions and unrestrained direct killings. As noted by Lightkeeper, this is the “Holy Land,” which emotionally involves a lot of US people.

  • Lightkeeper

    A categorical lie, which only makes the killing of innocent civilians so much more disturbing.

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