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Wednesday, April 02, 2008

The hunger artists

From The Independent (UK) comes a familiar-sounding article:
'Gaza is a jail. Nobody is allowed to leave. We are all starving now.'

Gaza is dying. The Israeli siege of the Palestinian enclave is so tight that its people are on the edge of starvation. Here on the shores of the Mediterranean a great tragedy is taking place that is being ignored...

A whole society is being destroyed. There are 1.5 million Palestinians imprisoned in the most heavily populated area in the world. Israel has stopped all trade. It has even forbidden fishermen to go far from the shore so they wade into the surf to try vainly to catch fish with hand-thrown nets....

There are signs of desperation everywhere. Crime is increasing. People do anything to feed their families....

"It is the worst year for us since 1948 [when Palestinian refugees first poured into Gaza]," says Dr Maged Abu-Ramadan, a former ophthalmologist who is mayor of Gaza City. "Gaza is a jail. Neither people nor goods are allowed to leave it. People are already starving. They try to live on bread and falafel and a few tomatoes and cucumbers they grow themselves."
What makes this article interesting is when it was written - in September, 2006.

That's right - the Gazans have been starving to death for at least 19 months, yet no one can point to a single person who has yet died of starvation.

The "starvation" meme is so prevalent that reporters don't even bother to check out the facts, they just mindlessly repeat lies. But this article makes it appear that the reporters are sometimes the people who make up the lies to begin with. In fact, in the two months after this article, many more "starving Palestinian" articles were published, as I showed in November, 2006.

Just as the "most heavily populated area in the world" meme refuses to die, and just like the "humanitarian crisis" soundbite - now at least 15 years old - will forever be with us, so will we have to live with the "starving Gazan" absurdity, thanks to "reporters" like the Independent's Patrick Cockburn.

But in case you have forgotten, here is what a starving person looks like:
And here is what Gazans looked like earlier this week, after years of poverty and starvation:

You can hardly tell the difference!