Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The revolution will be televised

Thanks to new media, death now only counts if it is caught on video.

Israel cannot and will not find any tolerance for the murderous actions it inflicted upon a civilian vessel in international waters early on Monday morning.

But what many are finding hard to stomach is the blatant hypocrisy of the international community's response.

A tragedy? Yes. The provocative act of a pariah state with nuclear capability? Yes. A surprise? No.

Embassies are rattling and marchers are marching in the wake of Israel's latest crimes. But the raid on the Mavi Marmara should not shock anyone familiar with how the Israeli government goes about its work.

But simply because Sky News and Reuters and France 24 were broadcasting shaky deck footage of soldiers attacking and being attacked within an hour of Monday's dawn raid, it becomes an international incident.

Because Twitter was alight with frantic updates all yesterday morning about reported death tolls, it becomes an international incident.

The ancient ignorance of diplomatic rules and a modern obsession with the latest footage came together in a shameful marriage yesterday morning.

Where were the citizen journalists when Palestinian children were being killed in hospitals struck by IDF bombs in December 2008?
Where were the UN Security Council when Israel used white phosphorous bombs on the innocent people of Gaza City?
Where is the rage of the online masses every single day that Israel breaks international law by starving the Gaza Strip and building new settlements in the West Bank?

New media has brought the information era into the minds and pockets of a new generation. Say whatever you want about the cheapening effect this has had on professional reporting.

The Board, for one, supports the editor of The Guardian Alan Rusbridger when he speaks of a future of 'mutualisation' between the creators and consumers of media. But New Media needs to sharpen its moral compass.

A two-year-old child crushed to death in its mother's arms cannot record footage on an iPhone. Until it can, its death will never mean as much to us as that of the 26-year-old Turk who does.

That truth - one we hold in our own minds - is as appalling as anything in Israel's murderous arsenal.

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