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July 15, 2014

What’s More Deplorable, the Killing of Journalists Or Hardly Noticing?

Given a media vehicle was bombed by the Israelis and the journalist was killed, what’s notable about the caption is how incidental it is. The caption reads:

People surround a car in which a journalist was killed during an Israeli air strike in Gaza City, Gaza on July 9, 2014. Due to recent escalation in the region, the Israeli army started new deployments at the border with the Gaza Strip. In the past three weeks more than 130 rockets where reportedly fired from Gaza into Israel.

Identified as just a car, the reference to the occupant as a journalist is primarily factual, largely subordinated to the information about military escalation and the quantification of the missile war.

If, according to the famous Gil Scott-Heron phrase, “the revolution will not be televised,” the routine evisceration of the men and women we depend on for the televising almost suggests the phrase might be true. Most disturbingly, journalists have become targets in that many places for that long now (like the story’s the air strike) that their vulnerability, and ultimately their fungibility has ceased to even be noteworthy. If there’s poignancy here, it comes from the stirring of memories that those letters used to mean something.

Can we at least agree that skipping past a photo like this in the daily Israel/Gaza war package is a moral symptom? God forbid that a photo like this,  in spite of the intractability of modern warfare, should simply become ironic.  Even if the journalist hadn’t been harmed, the violation of a clearly marked journalist’s vehicle should be recognized clearly and immediately as blasphemy — and an international incident. People and governments around the world should boldly register protest, and be subject to the same.  So another journalist is silenced. It’s like a car was bombed that somehow had five red strips taped on its hood.

(photo: Mustafa Hassona/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

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