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Monday, February 25, 2008

AFP can't find a good photo, so it posts an old one

Today, Hamas staged what was meant to be a huge rally on the Gaza border with Israel. There was a lot of publicity and many people got very nervous, but it sort of fizzled out:
Despite concerns that Palestinian demonstrators against the continued blockade of the Gaza Strip would attempt to storm the border with Israel during a "human chain" demonstration Monday, the event itself proved an anticlimax and the thousands of Israeli security personnel manning the Israeli side of the border were not forced to cope with the nightmare scenario.

About 5,000 people, many of them schoolchildren released from school early to attend the event and university students, joined the "human chain" outside the town of Beit Hanun, about six kilometers from the border.

The crowd hoisted banners in English and Arabic, saying "End the siege of Gaza now," and "Your siege will not break our will."

Organizers had hoped to form a chain running the length of the 40-kilometer Gaza Strip, but turnout was well below expectations.
Not only was Hamas disappointed, but also the teams of wire-service photographers who were hoping for some juicy, Pulitzer-caliber stuff.

Reuters' picture was underwhelming:


So was AP's:


AFP was so upset that they decided to use an old photo to add the pathos that they felt was necessary to augment the story:

Palestinian children in the West Bank city of Jenin hold candles during a sit-in against the blockade on the Gaza Strip. Palestinians are forming a human chain the length of the Gaza Strip in protest at a crushing Israeli blockade, with Israeli forces on alert for any rush on the border.(AFP/File/Saif Dahlah)


See? That's much more likely to tug at the heartstrings, especially when AFP adds the "crushing" adjective to describe a group of apparently quite well-fed people.

Who cares when the photo was taken? Who cares what the signs say? As long as cute-looking PalArab kids are holding candles and AFP can claim some connection with events (or non-events) from today, then all is well.
(h/t Callie)