When people become numbers



 
Since the attack on Gaza started on December 27, local and international media outlets in the Arab world, and international news agencies have been busy counting - the number of dead and injured and the number of missiles fired. Fadi Abu Saada director of the Palestine News Network, asks what happens when people become only numbers in a news briefs, leaving the real stories in Gaza to fall on deaf ears?
 
By FADI ABU SAADA
 
GAZA REAL JANUARY 6
A wounded Palestinian is carried near a United Nations school in Jabalya in the northern Gaza Strip January 6, 2009. © Ismail Zaydah/Reuters

RAMALLAH, January 6, 2008 (MENASSAT) As the onslaught of Gaza continues, and the death toll of Palestinians rises, the media once again forgets they are talking about humans.

They forget the necessity to reach out to families – parents, children, and elders – and transmit the human aspect of the story.   

What the media has been doing when covering Gaza these past 10 days is merely counting the losses.

Apparently, we are living in an era where the central focus of the media is figures rather than humans.

The number of casualties exceeded 300 in the morning of the third day of the offensive, which means that there are 100 humanitarian stories that the media could cover to show the world that even if Israel is talking about a so-called war against terrorism against Hamas, the truth is very different.

Gaza is a total area of 360 square kilometers, housing one and a half million Palestinians. The Strip is 4 kilometers long and only 2 kilometers wide, and is closed off from the rest of the world.

None of its neighboring countries, Israel or Egypt, allow Gazans to leave their land. Even the Strip's airspace, territorial waters, and offshore maritime access, are controlled by the Israelis.

In such a densely populated minuscule area every human being in Gaza is subject to targeting from Israel, even if the Israeli government claims to be targeting Hamas members or military bases.

‘…but we are still humans’


We Palestinians are not animals - something I find it preposterous to be stating.

I ask journalists to be aware and stop counting the dead and wounded in such a well - humiliating way.

Remember the people you are reporting about are human beings before they are victims - so take a look at where the families of the injured are living, where they are buried, and what they are eating and drinking.

Why not try to discover where the destroyed homes are for scores of families sleeping under the crush of large munitions shot from F-16s and Apache helicopters?

Or how about asking questions to Gaza's  children living amid the unending horror of continuous Israeli bombardment?

How about asking why Gazans are facing the most powerful army in the region with only the sky and the earth between them?

We die every minute in Palestine, but we are still humans. We have feelings just as any other living human in this world.

So we have a request for the reporters covering this conflict - please treat us as humans and not as slabs of stone unaware of the bombs, death and destruction around us.