Monday, April 23, 2007

Asharq Alawsat: "Who's Kidnapping Who?"

The writers who appear regularly in Asharq Alawsat can seem reasonably pro-Western at times--not this lady. Diana Mukkaled urges us to "put ourselves in the shoes of the executioner." What if kidnapping all those journalists discourages them from giving us favorable coverage?
[...]Calls and action for the release of BBC reporter Alan Johnston, who was kidnapped in Gaza over a month ago, surfaced once again last week. Johnston was kidnapped amid vague and incomprehensible circumstances and his fate and the circumstances of his capture remain inexplicable. What is clear, however, is that Johnston was a target for the kidnappers, and what is even clearer is that there are those who want to see another Iraq in the Palestinian territories as reporters have been repeatedly targeted there.

It is time to think and to put ourselves in the shoes of the executioner – the kidnapper – who presumably has a cause. By kidnapping the BBC reporter, this "victimized" executioner has lost one of the world's leading and most reliable media outlets. Without further engaging in unacceptable arguments on Western bias, let us recall our numerous rightful issues that were revealed by the Western rather than the Arab press – Abu Ghraib is just one example. Can we imagine what it would mean to hide the stories of Palestinian suffering from the global press?

Let us imagine what lies ahead for Gaza and the Palestinian territories if Johnston's capture continues and if such kidnapping and threatening behavior recurs.

We could think about the recent bombing in Baghdad's Sadr City that claimed approximately 200 civilian lives and may have been the most deadly bombing since the outset of such suicide attacks. But how was it dealt with by the media? The gravity of the crime failed to be more than a piece of news and a figure because the press is barely alive in Iraq today.

Iraq has many cameras and even more victims. However, the story between the numbers and the image no longer exists.

Let us look at Iraq and hope the Palestinians will not fall down the same trap.

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