Friday, May 17, 2013

Journalism Between Loyalty and Transparency

I had to visit website and look for the controversial video that everyone around me was talking about. The Lebanese journalist who is aiming to destroy the image of Gaza in front of the whole world.

At first, I did not even know her name, for those who know me well, they know that me and politics are fierce enemies and I know nothing about it. It was not difficult at all to know her name and find the video because of the big amounts of articles and blogs attacking Ghadi Fransis for the report she made.

In her segment, she said that a person who does not know Gaza, will not know that it has Movenpick Hotel, will not know that there is Western Union and Money Gram, will not know that an apartment in Al Remal Street has almost the same cost as the one in Beirut –Al Roushe' street and will not know that Gazan people use the Israeli products(but she said that at the end of the sentence "they do not have a choice").

Many questions just popped into my head after watching this segment:
1-   Do we have a Movepick hotel in Gaza ? Yes.
2-  Do we have Western Union and Money Gram in Gaza? Yes.
3-  Does an apartment in Al Remal street costs the same as the one in Al Roushe' Street? Yes (and even more)
4-  Are most of the products that we have made in Israel and we use them because we have to ? Yes.
At the same time, another series of questions came up to my mind:
1-   Does having hotels means that we are not suffering? NO .
2-  Does having Western Union and Money Gram mean that most of the people living in Gaza are not suffering from financial problems and the economical situation is not bad? NO.
3-  Does the fact that Al Rimal apartments are expensive means that no one in Gaza is living in very bad apartments under the worst living conditions ever? NO.

Just as every other place we have good things and bad things, we have one of the highest percentages of educated people but also have one of the highest percentages of unemployment for example.

When I watched the clip on youtube, it was published under the name of " Gaza Scandals from the Inside", I was completely against the title but I noticed that it was NOT mentioned in the clip, and since the clip was just a part of the episode not the whole one, I decided to go and watch it all.

I was shocked, first because the clip was under the name "Gaza Surprises", second because the episode has discussed a lot of issues and showed the reality about many other aspects that were NEVER mentioned in the articles attacking it, for example the fact that the tunnels were a sign of defeating Israel, the history of Gaza and famous Muslim and Christian places in it.

To watch the whole episode, here is the link:

Why do people attack whoever has another opinion or shows an opposing idea? And here I am not saying the Ghadi Francis does, she just showed some things and places that actually happen and exist.

Is the job of journalists these days to show only the suffering of people of Gaza ? Otherwise they are considered 'bad people' who want to destroy the reputation of Gaza? Does this report erase all the others about the martyrs who died during the wars or about the problems that we face?

While writing about this topic I remembered a conversation I had with a close friend of mine who works as a journalist, he was asked by the agency he works for to make a report about the products that Gazan people have in their supermarkets, he refused. I was surprised and asked him about the reason, he told that this will be considered as a betrayal, it will give the impression that Gaza is having no problems, etc. and then he will not be loyal to his own country.  I thought that he was crazy at that moment, apparently he was correct and has predicted what Ghadi Francis was about to face.

What do you think ???

 Written by: Ziad Bakri
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Thursday, May 16, 2013

Holding Hands

Holding Hands…
They arrived to the hospital running from their homes, the news was so shocking that they were not able to stop for a minute to take a taxi. They were holding hands as they have always done in every crisis they have been through.

Unable to breathe, sweat covering their red faces and tears falling down their eyes,  they entered.  A nurse was passing the hall when she felt Ahmad's hand grabbing hers.

"Are you crazy?" the nurse yelled at him, looking shocked.

He did not leave her hand.
"My son, ehhhh, my son had an accident, ehhhh, our sons, our sons… ehhh…"

The nurse's face softened and she tried to calm him down, she did not pay  attention to the other man who was holding his hand.

"Please sir, calm down, I am sure that your sons are in good hands, give me the names and I will go and check for them."

He told her the names, she looked at his hand around her arm hoping that he will get a clue and leave her, but he did not.

"Why are you still here? Go and ask about the children..ehhh"

"You need to leave my arm sir."

He looked at his hand holding her arm, waited for a couple of seconds and let go of it.

When the nurse left, Ahmad started crying…

"Oh my God, Oh my God.."

 Rami,  holding his hand, put his other hand over his shoulder and pushed him closer to him, Ahmad put his head over Rami's shoulder and continued crying…

"Don't worry, our sons will be right, I am sure that they will."

Ahmad and Rami have been best friends for twenty years, their friendship started when Ahmad got divorce and moved into Rami's building with his son, Jamal. At that time, Rami had been widowed for less than a month and living with his only son, Emad.. They found comfort in the presence of each others, they shared their feelings of loneliness, depression and sadness.

Raising the two boys up took all of their time to the extent that both of them neglected the idea of a second marriage. They worked hand in hand in order to survive and provide all the needed care for their two children who became best friends and family members….

One hour passed…. They were holding hands…

They were sitting on a bench in the hospital, Ahmad was wearing a black suit and a loosened red tie around his neck, he had just arrived to Rami's home from his work when they heard the news, they were preparing a surprise party for Emad. The plan was for Jamal to take him out for a while, while Rami and Ahmad prepare everything at home and then surprise him.

Ahmad felt a lot of pain in his foot, he thought it was because of all the running, but when he looked down he found out that all that time he had been wearing one shoe, he must have lost the other one while running. Rami was in his pajamas, when he heard the news he was just decorating the house for the birthday party. He looked at the pants of the pajamas and found some glitter that he was using for decoration. That day was supposed to be his son's birthday, and instead of celebrating it in their house with their beloved ones, they are in a hospital praying for him to be alive…

Suddenly, Rami started screaming…

"Sir, please calm down." A hospital employee told him.

Ahmad looked at the employee angrily."Calm down, you think he should calm down!! well, his son is now in the operation room and he knows nothing about it and you want him to calm down! NO!! Scream Rami, SCREAM!|"

Two hours passed… they were holding hands..

In situations like this one, flashbacks always find their way into people's minds. Ahmad did not sleep but somehow he fainted for a couple of minutes, he got up feeling Rami's hand squeezing his. He remembered the first time they held hands. Jamal was ten years old, he was chosen for a part in the school play, he was extremely nervous and scared to the extent that he had nightmares about it. Rami was there for them, all the time he helped Ahmad in talking with him and strengthening his self confidence.
In the day of the show Ahmad was  a mess, moving from place to another without any destination, yelling at everyone and smoking a lot. Rami held his hand, they did not even talk, Ahmad used to believe in the  'tough guy' theory that says a guy is not supposed to express his feelings, but he felt endless comfort touching his friend's hands.. his gesture was a clear message that he will always be there to support and help him.

It became a ritual, whenever someone is facing a problem the other one would hold his hands until it is over no matter what, and in their case, both of them are facing this crisis, and they need each other more than any other time.

Rami also remembered a story of his own, when a man who has always hated him decided to bring a group of people to hit him in his own house. When Rami opened the door he was terrified but his fear vanished the moment Ahmad showed up, held his hand and managed to terrify the man and his gang and push them to leave the place immediately.

They knew for sure that being together is a blessing…

Three hours passed… they were holding hands…

"What if something bad happens to our sons? What would we do?" Rami asked.

"It will be God's will , we will be strong and handle the situation no matter what it is." Ahmad answered.

"I don't think I can handle it."

"Maybe you cannot, but we can."

Six hours passed… they were holding hands….

The doctor came out of the operations room, Ahmad pulled all his strength to stand up, Rami couldn't, he remained on the bench.

"Tell me doctor, what happened to Jamal and Emad? Are they ok?" Ahmad asked.

The doctor was confused for a second before he answered:" I am sorry, but I do not know which one is Emad and which one is Jamal."

"It doesn't matter, what happened to both of them."

"I am sorry to tell you this…. One of them has survived, but the other did not . So sorry."

Seconds passed…..

They were no longer holding hands….

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About Me

Palestinian/ Freelance writer, translator and Trainer./ I believe that writing is therapy and that is why I write./ 26 years old.
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