Who will stop these mad child killers?

Editors face this dilemma in the newsroom almost on a daily basis. Every time there's a slaughter of innocent which is like a daily occurrence these days, those in the news business face the predicament: To publish or not to publish? I agree with many of my colleagues that some of these gory images of the carnage, this mindless bloodletting with bodies of children, youths in their prime and desperate men and women carrying their loved ones in their arms, are not most pleasant to look at the first thing in the morning.

In fact, given a choice that's the last thing most of us would want to see when we pick up the newspaper in the morning.

Most journalists, media networks and their audiences around the world are understandably sick and tired of going on and on about the 'Palestine problem'. If many of them often suffer from what you would call the 'coverage fatigue,' you can't really blame them.

Why are the Palestinians dying all over again? They are dying because they want to live in dignity. They refuse to submit themselves to the tyranny and the disgrace of occupation.

Like you and me, they want nothing from life but to live in peace, security and dignity — in the comfort of their homes, with their loved ones. Like us, they want their children to get the best of education and grow up to enjoy a life better than their own.

But do they have a choice? They have to suffer the most ruthless and vile occupation regime the world has ever known because the world looks the other way. The blessed international community that leader writers and pundits keep telling us about is too powerless and self-serving to act.

What can the world community do anyway when the United Nations has even dispensed with the pretence of passing resolutions perfunctorily appealing the Israelis and Palestinians to "exercise restraint?"

Yes. In the hypocritical court of international justice both the oppressor and the oppressed are equal. But how are the victims supposed to exercise restraint? By not being in the way? But does it really matter? In any case, what has the civilized world and its vaunted institutions dedicated to peace done so far to stop the world's longest-running ethnic cleansing campaign?

Ban Ki-Moon, the UN chief, has finally stirred out of his slumber after more than two weeks and more than 500 Palestinian casualties. And what's the point of crying over the Western and US indifference. Has it made any difference? Ever?

But do we in the media have a choice? If this conflict has gone on for nearly 70 years now and the Palestinians continue to die like flies, should we stop reporting about it?

Should the media stop doing its job of telling the truth as it is for fear of offending the fine sensibilities of our sensitive readers? If we do not speak out against this ceaseless genocidal campaign against a helpless and defenceless people, who will? Especially if the Middle East media doesn't take a stand on the issue, who will?  

Just look at the obscenity of this conflict. More than 90 per cent of the victims of this genocidal campaign, apparently to save Palestinians from 'Hamas terrorism', have been civilians and an overwhelming number of them women and children.

What has Israel achieved?  What is its game? Who would dare raise these questions?

News agencies dutifully and dispassionately point out in a foot note that this round of the 'hostilities between the Israelis and Palestinians' has been the deadliest since Israel's last invasion of Gaza.  
Perhaps it's futile to blame the world community. It has understandably grown weary of this endless bloodshed in the holy land.

But the killing machine that is Israel never stops. It continues to kill — kill and kill...until the Palestinians give up what little remains of their ancient land—or give up their right to live.

Those four children wiped out while playing on the Gaza beach would never know what their crime was.
Ten-year old Nour Al-Najedy looks like an angel as she sleeps in peace, shrouded in white. She was killed when Israel hit Rafah refugee camp. Nearly the whole family was wiped out.

Twelve-year old Abdul Rahman Al-Batish hasn't stopped crying since he lost his father and 17 other family members in the bombing of an apartment.   "They think we are worth nothing. They are killers, and one day I will avenge my father", ITV's Middle East Correspondent reports him as saying. A photograph of Abdul Rahman, his shoulders slumped against a car, shows the moment when he discovered his father was among the dead. His pain-wrenched face has become one of the most powerful images of the Gaza conflict. The six-month old Mohammed Bourai never knew what his crime was. He sleeps in peace as his young, silently-mourning father cradles him in his arms. What father can bear such a sight? And what kind of people are they who do this to children as young as this?

Is there no one who can stop these child killers? Where is the international community when we need it so badly? Whatever has happened to the world's conscience? How long will it maintain its silence? Silence is crime. Silence is complicity. As the Prophet warned, those who see evil and do nothing about it also share the guilt. We are all guilty.

The author is a Gulf based award winning journalist. All the views and opinions expressed in the article are solely those of the author and do not reflect those of Times of Oman.


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