Sunday, November 08, 2020

  • Sunday, November 08, 2020
  • Elder of Ziyon
The New York Review of Books has an article by a journalist born in Gaza, who couldn't report what he saw when he was there, and who finally received asylum in the US from Hamas.

My name is Jehad al-Saftawi. I am a photographer and journalist. For years, I clung to the idea of fleeing my country for the Western world. There is no free press in Gaza. Most of the news channels cater to political parties that use violence to silence opposition. I come from a place overflowing with weapons, where my father could easily buy a pistol and shoot it into the air while cruising the streets of our city. A place where, on any night, you could be awoken by a bomb exploding in your neighbor’s home, stored there by a member of their family who belonged to an armed faction.

Working as a journalist in Gaza is like walking barefoot in a field of thorns. You must always watch where you step. Each neighborhood comprises its own intimate social network, and traveling through them with a camera makes you a significant cause for suspicion. 

I am the second son of five children. Our father, Imad al-Saftawi, grew up in an ultraconservative middle-class family that was heavily influenced by the Muslim Brotherhood. As an adult, he spent many years participating in armed struggles, both within and outside the framework of Palestinian armed organizations, which he believed to be justifiable resistance to the Israeli occupation. As a member of one of the leading armed factions in Gaza, Islamic Jihad, he killed innocent Israelis.

I condemn these actions, though many in Gaza consider my father a hero, one who carried out valiant operations for the sake of his country and religion.

... My siblings and I lived with my father’s family at the time, constantly feeling the weight of his reputation as a hero, and his community’s disapproval that we weren’t following his lead. Set free in December of 2018, Imad al-Saftawi has served as a brigadier general in Hamas’s Ministry of the Interior.

By then, however, I had succeeded in escaping. In 2016, when I was twenty-five, I managed to leave the Gaza Strip for New York, and, soon after, I began the process of seeking asylum in Berkeley, California. I’m now seven thousand miles away from him, from Gaza, and I walk as a free man.
How often do we hear from journalists  - whose only job is to report accurately from Gaza - how difficult it is? Even the many journalists who have left Gaza over the years don't write a final report about what they couldn't report at the time. Perhaps it is because they don't want to be known as cowards - but the rare articles like this show what supreme cowards nearly every Gaza journalist is and has been. 


(h/t YMedad)




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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون



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