One of the key strategies used against apartheid in the American South during the civil rights movement, was exposing the regular confrontation between apartheid authorities and their victims in the presence of reporters and media devices. For decades, the rest of the nation had heard accounts and recounts of the atrocities and humiliations of the southern Jim Crow structure. But they lacked the visceral reaction of seeing it first hand for themselves, and of feeling it on an instinctual level.
This was not only a matter of revealing the most heinous crimes. For many reasons, what is most shocking can often be cast aside as exceptional and thus not quotidian. Something that can be investigated and studied, the study published, and the episode dismissed as an aberration. Especially in the Palestinian context, images of dead and injured Palestinians can be weighed against those Israelis killed in Palestinian violence–no matter the fact that Palestinians deaths and injuries are greater than Israeli ones by several orders of magnitude. One dead body looks exactly like another, no matter whether one is the product of an unlikely event and the other the product of regular and systemic violence.
But what cannot be dismissed is what the average Palestinian, the laborer, mother, or school kid must experience every day simply to meet their responsibilities in their life and to their loved ones and families. For Palestinians, the Israeli occupation is a daily and over-looked story of beatings, terror, indefinite incarceration, and military attacks–the near-literal rat race that is daily life for Palestinians. When these images and their stories begin to be disseminated on a regular basis, perhaps we will at last see the average American experiencing the revulsion that moved them to clamor for an end to similar practices supported by our government here and elsewhere.
Here’s some video of an Israeli soldier cocking and aiming his weapon in the face of a Palestinian man, originally from human rights org, Btselem and disseminated widely by the online Israeli zine +972,:
And here’s the Guardian’s tweeting-reporting account as Guardian reporter Harriet Sherwood experiences first hand what it’s like to be a Gazan fisherman, risking being shot by an Israeli manning a machine gun turret on a military boat in order to go out far enough to find fish.
Update: The New York Times based blog, The Lede, carried the video and story of the Israeli military officer caught in this video, and the Btselem video documentation program that captured it. The Lede has carried at least a few, if not several, stories originally broken by +972, Electronic Intifada and Mondoweiss in the past weeks.