On the immaculate neutrality and accountability of Norwegian journalists II

I wonder if the photographer/journalist understands how she just demonstrated that Norwegian journalists cannot be trusted to remain somewhat neutral in their coverage of Israel. She clearly spills out what the goal is: to get sanctions and boycott of Israel.

 

lifted from dagbladet.no (google translate)

 

Does the pictures promote peace  or contempt?
It is easy to explain the brutality of war claiming the other side is inhuman.
Published on 22 July 2014, at. 10:13 by
Ine Eriksen
photographer
A few days ago I stood at the airport in Tel Aviv. I waited to board a plane home to Norway together with our nine months old daughter. In front of me in the queue stood a Norwegian family and we got to talking. It turned out that we both had family in Israel. So we stood and muttered quietly that it was certainly not the best timing to be in Israel, especially with children. It would be good to come home, away from the sirens and bangs.

“Boy are we lucky to go”, I took myself to say and continued: “What about the family of the four boys who died on a beach in Gaza. Have they all got time to mourn their dead children between the bombs? ”

The man in front of me stopped smiling. His face was tight and hard, so he replied: “You need to stop believing all the propaganda. Stop believing the images you see. The IDF is in Gaza to prevent you and me from getting killed by terrorists. There are those who hate Israel which records all the pictures on Facebook. This one-sided propaganda leads to hate. The children were killed because Hamas used them as shields. ”

All friendliness disappeared with me too. All the stress from the last few days came over me again and I took a deep breath. As I opened my mouth, the man said briefly: ” have a nice trip.”

They backed away from me and stood further back in the queue. Ten safe meters away.

The monologue I prepared – about killing children, the constant terror, for the collective punishment of Palestinians, about phone calls from friends in Gaza who say that their child has wet the bed, in the absence of water and power to take away all the laundry, about children who are so scared that they run into walls and break your arm to get away drones – hung in the air.

The monologue was burning inside me, along with all the pictures that have attached themselves to the retina in recent days. What he and many of his supporters these days perceive as propaganda is the reality for 1.8 million people in Gaza. When journalists are criticized for bias is because the two sides in this conflict are not in any way equal. The fear we feel in Tel Aviv pales against the terror people in Gaza are experiencing.

My fellow traveller still often right. Photos of children’s suffering has been used as propaganda. We stop to see the child in the picture as the daughter or son of someone, but looks rather an argument that justifies our more or less well-aimed wrath.

Before this war was properly started, people were so eager to express their frustration that they posted pictures of children who were killed in the last war on Gaza, but also photos taken in other conflicts such as Syria and Iraq. The images stopped documenting a conflict, but was instead photographs.

Gaza still have partial access to the Internet, and I wonder how it feels for the families to see pictures of their dead from the last war while fighting to stay alive in this?

As I scroll down my FB wall, I see a mix of photos of smiling children, freshly baked bread, white beaches and happy selfies. In between these I find a picture of a little girl with terrified eyes and huge bloody gashes scattered over a freckled face. We post pictures of the injured and the dead children in despair and lack of other ways to react. But what is the effect of seeing these images side by side with images of successful nuclear families, new dresses and buns?

Are we better people to watch the contrasts, or are we nummne consumers of war? Will peace come closer to the depicted? Would we have posted the same pictures if it had been of Norwegian children?

Hardly.

Do Erna Solberg, Obama and Merkel the same pictures? Make it that they think that this time it has gone too far? That now is the time for sanctions? Now is the time for a boycott? Have pictures an effect beyond that we get to show our indignation at our closest 400 friends?

Probably not.

Most of us shudder slightly in the pictures hazards across the screen, so we take the kids out to play in the garden. In anger mails we celebratory images of Israelis, with subtitles like “here rejoices over dead children in Gaza.”

A few weeks ago was similar photos posted by Palestinians reportedly cheered the killing of three Israeli boys. Depending on where we stand politically, we use this as an argument for the other camp inherently shit. If you look closely at the pictures, they are often, but not always, taken out of context. It is easier to explain the brutality of war with the other side, whoever it may be, is inhuman.

The losses on both sides feels like cruel and unfair for the families concerned. Grief is the same. It is easier for us to show a polarized reality than to produce more complex stories.

There were few who showed pictures from last Saturday where Palestinians and Israelis stood in Haifa and demonstrated against the war only to be attacked by right-wing extremists. The matter was not mentioned in the newspapers and scarce mentioned on FB.

Let’s try to show pictures it takes longer to consume. Images that require more of the spectator. Let’s try to work with our own ability to go in depth.

As we stepped off the plane, my fellow traveler and I, we came home to the Norwegian media everyday. I also see an increasing level of hatred against Jews mixed in with the legitimate disgust for the war. My fellow comes home to Norway where he is afraid to let their kids tell where they were during the summer holidays.

After hearing his statements about how Palestinians are willing to sacrifice their children, I felt an uncontrollable anger well up in me.

The old myths about Jews and Arabs has found a fertile ground on Facebook too. The images of Israelis who sit and are entertained by the bombing of Gaza are real photos, but they make up barely one per cent of the Israeli population. Most Israelis are like you and me, they have enough with their own stuff

The images of Hamas training camps for youth are real, but when you think about it, not unlike pictures of Norwegian Home Front youth training with guns

Palestinian and Israeli parents Parents often have the same desires for His children like you and me. A good education, financial security and a happy life. My fellow racism and the racism of his children face in the schoolyard is our common responsibility to put an end to.

We may not end the war through Facebook, but we need not regurgitate brown dirt about other ethnic groups.