Wednesday, July 02, 2008

What Would You Expect?

If you were born in Gaza and had to start working at age 6 to help support your family because your father was in an Israeli jail, if your 17 year old brother, on his way to school, was killed by an Israeli sniper, if just over a week later an Israeli bulldozer attacked and destroyed your home without warning and with your family in it (severely injuring your mother) - what would you do? What would any human being do? The young man in this case decided to fight back: pick up the weapons of a notebook, pens, and a Canon D20 camera. Such is the story of Mohammed Omer (bio in pdf. file)

And what if you did this and became an award winning journalist in the process? And what if on your way back to Gaza from an awards ceremony in London you were stopped at the border by the Israeli Shin Bet agents, harassed, mocked, strip searched, tortured and finally sent home with broken ribs and unconscious in an ambulance? You might think that journalist advocacy groups would take up your cause and you might think US and British media would also give attention to the story (you'd be partially right on both counts (see BBC and Independent), but the overwhelming reaction was...silence.

Of course, IDF-loyal NPR did not have a single word of this gross (but all too common) human rights abuse case. On the other hand, you can be sure that we will hear ad nauseum about today's tragedy in Jerusalem where a Palestinian man killed innocent Israeli civilians with a construction bulldozer. In NPR's coverage, you can assume that there will be nothing of the context of such homicidal rage and - of course - no one will dare utter the bitter irony of this man using a bulldozer to commit his crime. An irony compounded by Olmert's reaction, noted in Haaretz, where he is reported to have "ordered ministers to examine the possibility of razing the terrorist's home in East Jerusalem."


Anonymous said...

Thanks myt, for not being silent.
[Silence = complicity]

John Pilger wrote an excellent piece in the Guardian:

Also the progressive Jewish blogger Richard Silverstein:

Omer is still in a Gazan hospital as of this writing, recovering. Well-wishers can offer him support at his web site (as well as see some of his award-winning photography) at


Anonymous said...

For more information and activism about this issue:

I've worked with this organization, they are awesome- trying to grow a movement~!