The Baby Bomber and Other Photos

Category: Life & Society, Middle East Views: 1605
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A Palestinian filmmaker, Mohamed Bakri is currently directing a film documentary about Jenin, the massacre and the lives that were wrecked or forever changed. In an interview that was cited in London based Al-Arab, Bakri had this to say about the children of Jenin:

"I have never seen in all my life the amount of smiles that the children of Jenin had displayed. I have not seen one sad child, except at the graveyard; some were playing near the coffins. I found myself before a human drama, and I wept."

But in recent days, a media uproar around the world was not motivated by the senseless treatment of Palestinian children, but as a result of Israeli allegations of a picture of a Palestinian toddler found in a family album in Hebron.

The Israeli account indicates that Israeli soldiers found a photo of about two-year-old child with a fake bomber' belt, a toy version of ones often used by bombers who attack Israeli targets.

Need I say that the Israeli media propaganda is indeed capable of forging much more than a simple photograph? However, the attention that a simple photo has generated in the media was incomprehensible; Israel's patrons around the world, in media and governments raised hell, boasted over the Palestinian "culture of violence", forcing the White House to demand answers, while as always denying Palestinians a fair chance in the same media that accuses them, to deliver those "answers."

The Israelis however, got much more than a fair chance, extremist officials had enough air time and newspaper space to make all kinds of false allegations, to justify the murderous military campaign of the Israeli army. But even the emotional reaction of the Israelis was a topic that deserved to be examined. The Israeli streets sweat anger and outrage, several media outlets around the world reported.

But the uproar was phony, as there was no disaster as some conveyed, but a dirty scheme aimed at further deteriorating the image of the Palestinian, constantly denounced by racist politicians and commentators alike.

The scheme had several dimensions, one is that the picture could as well be forged in the "IDF" labs; second, even if it's accurate it could be a reflection of ideas held by one or a few individuals, motivated by tasteless humor, or out of anger, hardly representing the views of most Palestinian parents.

A few of those who might have been shocked to see the photo, including the "angry" Israeli people might have asked the question: what in God's name was a bunch of hooligan Israeli soldiers doing at some civilian homes in a strange city, wrecking furniture, terrifying children and checking out family albums, in the middle of the night?

But even if we fail to see through the propaganda, since its hard to resist the image of a baby bomber circulated all over the world accompanied by "experts'" analysis of the impact the baby is to leave on the Middle East peace process, let us compare photos.

Israeli Jewish militants (i.e. settlers) pride themselves with photos of their children holding automatic rifles during marches, protests or simply to the camera. Of course these photos hardly cause uproar in the United States' media, nor did they ever compel a White House spokesman to "demand answers".

Israelis teach their children violence, whether by sending them to join a nazi-like army, or the militant settlers whose pursuit of Talmudic dreams make them drag their entire family into a war zone to steal land that is not theirs.

Palestinian children learn violent resistance at a young age, just by observing the daily tragedies in the streets and all around them.

But the occupier has more advantages, the upper hand, and the ultimate choice. The Israelis have the choice of ending the cycle of violence by simply pulling their forces out of the West Bank and Gaza, dismantling their militant settlement posts, and granting Palestinians all of their rights that were withheld for decades.

Palestinians only have once choice, resistance; it is human nature for one to defend him or herself. That right or desire to resist can hardly be constrained by age brackets, a child would fight for his candy, would throw rocks at a solider who is beating daddy senseless, and an old man would die for his stolen land.

When the Israel army assassinates Palestinian fathers (under whatever allegations), they care little if they conduct their assassinations while the father is surrounded by his children. Israeli assassinations often kill and wound children as well.

Israel does in fact kill children; over 550 to be exact since the outbreak of the Palestinian uprising or Intifada. Israel detains children; tortures them, beats them, kills them, topples their homes on them, shells their schools; yet when it is able to prove that Palestinian children are growing up with violent tendencies, it sends shock waves throughout the world media: "Palestinians Teach Their Children Violence."

Why wouldn't children learn violence when they witness summary executions conducted against their neighbors, schoolteachers or fathers?

Why wouldn't they learn violence if they are constantly chased, harassed, beaten up, forced to strip naked and humiliated?

Why wouldn't they learn violence if their days revolve around their fears of soldiers or militant Jewish settlers coming to stage deadly raids in Palestinian neighborhood?

Why wouldn't they learn violence if the Israelis bomb them every day of every year, to the point of creating a level of anger and disparity that would turn those same children into human bombs?

I grew up playing my favorite game, "Arabs and Jews", where the mean kids of the neighborhood would wear wooden machine guns, and get the "resistance" kids to stand at a wall, spread their legs, punch and verbally abuse them, before the "Arab fighters" revolt and chase the mean kids away, who would later return sparking a new fight, a new game.

Why shouldn't all Palestinian children play this game if they experience it every single day of their lives?

What else does the world expect from Palestinian children, who spend their childhood deprived from a toy, all that consumes them is their fear of murderous soldiers who don't hesitate to shoot at their peers, and to gun down toddlers and school children?

Palestinian children are the most beautiful in this world. But they grow up so fast, and with them their pain and suffering also grows. They become men at a very young age, or the moment they find themselves digging with bare hands for the corpses of their mothers and fathers, and tragically too often, becoming the subject of a recovery mission themselves.

Ramzy Baroud is the Editor-in-Chief of http://www.palestinechronicle.com/


  Category: Life & Society, Middle East
Views: 1605
 
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Older Comments:
THAHA MUZAMMIL FROM SRI LANKA said:
The rulers of Muslim lands deserve this punishments by enimies of Islam because they are devided. If at least three countries of Persian Gulf region namely Saudi Arabia, Iran and Iraq unite in some form the situation of the world will be different today. Muslims will become masters. Will the leaders of these countries realize the danger ahead and unite in the name of Islam?
2003-03-05

HABIBAH ABDUL-SHAHEED FROM USA said:
As-salaamu-alaikum:
There must be something that we can do besides discuss between ourselves how disgusted we are about the atrocities. Our brothers and sisters, our CHILDREN are dying!!!!!
2002-07-24

FARAH FADLON BAHAJAJ FROM SINGAPORE said:
I am disgusted with the atrocities that's being inflicted on innocent civilians, particularly the children. It beats me that the civilised West are unable to draw up an amicable solution. So while they sit in their ivory towers, and "well-insulated", innocent lives are lost by the hour!

It is evident that the West are biased and hypocritical in their dealings, can't the Middle East countries do something ? US has been acting unilaterally so far, of course for the benefit of their greatest ally, Israel!

Let's band together and bring back some sanity in the insane world of 'MID-EAST POLITICS'
2002-07-23

BUNJA DIBBA FROM THE GAMBIA said:
ASSALAMU-ALAKUM FELLOW MUSLIM,I AM ALWAYS DISTURB WHEN SEE OR HEAR OF PALESTINES' HARASMENT IN THEIR OWN MOTHER LAND.THE WORLD IS TURNING BLIND EYES TO EVILS COMMITTED BY USA AND ISRAEL.IT IS HIGH TIME WE MUSLIMS SPEAK WITH ONE VOICE AND TAKE APPROPIATE ACTION WHERE POSSIBLE.THIS IS A CRITICAL ERA FOR MUSLIMS ,LET US STOP PLAYING DOUBLE STANDARDS. I'M REFERRING TO WEALTHY MUSLIM NATION.A MUSLIM SHOULD NOT AID NON- MUSLIMS AGAINST THEIR FELLOW ONE.UNITED WE PROSPER ,DISUNITED WE FALL.I PRAY TO ALLAH TO PROTECT THE MUSLIM UMMA PARTICULARLY THE PALESTINES AND OTHER MUSLIMS IN FOREIGN LAND .MAY ALLA GUIDE US ON THE RIGHT PATH
2002-07-18

ABUADNAN FROM CHINA said:
assalamu alykum warahmutullahu wa barakatahu!
Oh my brothers how are you!I like to have a frend who can speak japanease,we will improve our skills on this area and islam by this way.if you like send me letter.I am able to in GUANGZHOU china .
2002-07-17

LEE GLAESEMANN FROM USA said:
Asalaam alaikum, brothers and sisters,
Between maghrib and isha prayers at the mosque, I had an opportunity to speak to brothers from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates about the situation in Israel. In passionate discourse and with specific detail, they intricately provided a convincing argument that American foreign policy in the region has been fraught with self-interest and ambivalence. What followed, though, after their argument was the statement: "Americans are so ignorant about what's going on in Israel; America supports the oppression of the Palestineans." Now, some of you may know, from my article, that I am a white American and muslim. If you didn't know the last part and were to see me on the street, you would say that I am your typical middle class white guy. So, I asked the brothers one simple question: "How many non-muslim Americans have you talked to at all in the last week?" Their answer: probably three. You see, brothers and sisters, have can we make any headway on this issue if we don't inform the general American public in the first place? Do you want the mainstream media to do it for you? No, the honous is especially on us, American muslims, to work with the American public on this issue. Contrary to propaganda out there which lumps us as the "United States supporting Israel" country, I genuinely know that several millions of Americans, from all religious backgrounds, condemn the oppression of our brothers in Israel. Here's the bigger question: How much money have American muslims contributed to lobbyists and political action committees in the United States who support our view on this issue? How many American muslims are striving for a BA, and MA, or a PhD? How many American muslims want to enter politics or actively support American muslim politicians with their political contributions? Brothers and sisters, we know what's really happening in Israel. The key is that it's our responsibility to inform the rest of America.
2002-07-16

SALIM FROM UAE said:
I read this with sadness. Not only because the people of palestine are being humiliated and killed, but also for the failure of Arabic, Islamic and "neutral" media establishments to present the true picture. The White House has never been put in a hot spot whenever such bias statements like this one are made. We should not expect Fox News to do it for us!
2002-07-15

UMM HURAIRAH FROM CANADA said:
Salaam - how the world views certain pictures speaks more about the world than the picture. The world gets up in arms and points to a picture of a child dressed in a tastless constume and says, "That is what Palestinians are! Have no mercy on them!" And yet, let the world view the devastation and horror that thousands of these Palestinian children must live through each day, let them see the tiny bodies, the minds forever scared, the laughter and joy forever silenced by murderous acts, and the world goes silent. The silence says the world has lost it conscience. The silence says we have lost our heart. Our silence is a condemnation of our own souls...Oh Allah! Let us not keep silent! Let us not condem ourselves through our willing silence! Ameen
2002-07-15

ADIOS76 FROM INDONESIA said:
The knowledge is the key to open something, wethout the knowledge we can not do something in this world.
2002-07-15

RAFATH WAHEED FROM US said:
I am very, very sad when I read the sufferings of Palestinians. InshaAllah one day and soon the world will not take it anymore and justice will be served. Thank you for your sincere articles. You have conscience and I wish there were more like you.
2002-07-15

ASMAHAN FROM USA said:
Thank you so much for your essay. We need more people like you to spread the real truth about what is really going on in Palestine.
Israel is the violent people not the Palestinians.
I do believe that the babby's picture is a manufactured propagand.
2002-07-14

ADEYEYE JAMIU FROM NIGERIA said:
It,s like it is getting almost impossible for the Muslims to get out of the fitnah every passing day. I only hope we can come together and shun the Western interest and go back to our creator-Allah (SWA)
2002-07-13