Can Photos From Gaza Help Blaze The Path To Peace?
It sounds cruel but it's very very simple. The media, the most powerful image in the media is a mother holding a dead baby - whether it be Jesus being held by Mary after the Crucifixion, whether it be Guernica, Picasso's painting where you have mothers holding dead children. And what Hamas and Hesbollah know is that then when they fire enough rockets at Israeli children, at school buses. When they aim the rockets from 7:00 to 8:00 in the morning when school buses are on the way. When they hit schools, fortunately the principals had the foresight to release the students, they know eventually any democracy, any democracy will have to respond. And how do you respond? You try to get the rocket firing. Where do they put the rockets? You wouldn't know it if you read the Goldstone Report, but right in the middle of civilian populations and the goal is to induce Israel to kill as many Palestinian babies as possible. That's the goal. The object is to have the Al Jazeera and the camera there to photograph the dead baby.
Those Who Have Been There
I've never been to Gaza but I've known many Americans who have visited there and even some who have lived there. I asked some of them if they had ever heard of Dershowitz' Dead Baby Strategy or if they had ever witnessed Gazans doing anything that would purposely endanger their children.
Freelance journalist Kristen Ess Schurr, who lived in Gaza from 2002 to 2006, and traveled frequently between Gaza and the West Bank during Israel's physical occupation of Gaza, had never heard of the Strategy. She said:
I lived in Gaza and worked there. Strikes were part of daily life during the occupation. I was there during many of them, having to run in supermarkets when Apache helicopters fired missiles into the city. I've seen children get shot and parents horrified, screaming and crying. I saw Palestinian parents try to protect their children at all costs. I saw Israeli soldiers target children and schools and talk about children as terrorists. These people have endured more than anyone should ever endure and they show only love and compassion, stronger than I've ever seen.
Asked why she thinks Dershowitz invented the Dead Baby Stategy, Kristen responded:
The only way Israelis get away with what they do is to dehumanize Palestinians to the point where they're not even allowed to publicly mourn the deaths of their children.
I spoke with Barbara Lubin, Director of the Middle East Children's Alliance (MECA), who will be returning to Gaza in two weeks with emergency supplies for the children. She, too, had never heard of Dershowitz' Dead Baby Strategy. Here's some of what she said:
In my twenty-five years of traveling to Gaza and working there, I have never seen any such endangerment between Palestinian parents and their children. It's insulting and obnoxious for him [Dershowitz] to make any kind of statement like this about Palestinians using children for some Dead Baby Strategy. It's sickening.
I agree. It is sickening.
To The Heroes
For those like me who've never been to war or lived through war, it's difficult to grasp the degree of pain, fear, destruction and suffering its victims endure. What must it be like to cling to tumbling walls when bombs fall, or watch a loved one explode into pieces, having done nothing to deserve such a fate? It took the photo of nine-year old Kim Phuc to show many my age the horror of Vietnam. Discussions of nuclear weapons evoke devastating images of a mushroom cloud and a torched landscape of burned bodies. Mention of the Holocaust brings vivid recollections of emaciated bodies caged behind fences and mass graves piled high with corpses. And in Gaza, because of the hard work and valor of intrepid journalists, we have the horrific photos of dead children and their grieving families that Dershowitz and his cohorts vindictively besmirch.