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Opinion: Gaza’s ongoing struggle for truth and justice

A genocide ignored by journalists.
Image by Ava Weinreis
Mass media is failing to highlight the atrocities in Gaza.

The chanting at the protest for Palestine in front of Coffman Union on Oct. 25 was impossible to ignore. The people suffering in Palestine deserve justice and the students at the University of Minnesota were demanding it.

“Netanyahu, you will pay for the schools you bombed today … for the hospitals you bombed today … for the families you killed today … for the children you killed today,” said the protestors.

As speakers came in front of the crowd one by one, they all mentioned the same thing: the media is complicit in the atrocities in Gaza.

We have failed the Palestinian people.

There is no sugarcoating the truth, and accountability must be taken. As the genocide rages on, mass media organizations continue to frame the situation in Gaza as a war. Misrepresentation is a large contributor to the ongoing violence in the region, and until we confront the obvious bias in the media, change will continue to be out of reach.

“The narrative that is being painted [in the media] is that it is a conflict between two equal sides with equal power, even though that is not the case,” said Beesan El-Khatib, a second-year student at the University who was at the protest. “You cannot equate the occupier with the occupied.”

Journalism in the United States has been referred to as the “Fourth Estate.” The role of a journalist is to therefore act as another part of the checks and balances system and hold the government accountable for its actions.

An informed public is a vital part of a representative democracy, which is highly dependent on mass media outlets performing their duty diligently to ensure the public is well-educated in all matters without bias. When looking at the reporting on the conflict in Gaza, it is clear journalists have failed in this duty.

In their reporting of the death toll in Gaza, the BBC has framed the health ministry in Gaza as “Hamas-run.” The implication of this positioning is clear: do not trust the numbers given by a terrorist-run organization.

The death toll of Palestinians has also been questioned by President Joe Biden. However, international humanitarian organizations have come out and stated that the figures provided are accurate and reliable.

President Biden has not recanted his statements, and the media has chosen to highlight his doubts rather than the fact that the growing death toll figures are accurate.

The New York Times has clearly shown its support of Israeli actions in Gaza. According to the Times, Hamas has tunnels they operate through that are positioned under schools, hospitals and mosques. The locations of these tunnels mean the Israeli government has to bomb innocent civilians. The blame is completely on Hamas.

Similar to the BBC, the New York Times also questions the death toll reported by Gaza authorities, stating these numbers are relayed by Hamas.

The Palestinian death toll has surpassed 9,000. The Israeli government continues to bomb hospitals with little notice for evacuation. Gaza’s water supply is controlled by the Israeli government. The water was shut off by the Israeli government and the water that was accessible was contaminated.

“They’re losing family, they’re losing their homes,” said Shahd Omar, a third-year student at the University. “If they’re not gonna die from all the bombings and airstrikes that Israel is committing at them, they’re gonna die from diseases and not having access to clean water.”

It is easy to ignore an issue you feel does not involve you, but American tax dollars are funding this occupation. Since World War II, the United States has sent over $300 billion to Israel. Currently, the House of Representatives and the White House have proposed a plan that requests $14.3 billion dollars to be sent to Israel during their siege on Gaza.

There is no denying that Palestine is outmatched. When the world has turned its back on a nation of people, it’s hard to imagine a way to fight back.

This is where social media has come into play.

“If it wasn’t for them [social media accounts] documenting, I honestly wouldn’t know what’s going on or understand the truth if I was just sticking to mainstream media,” Omar said.

Accounts like Eye on Palestine, Motaz Azaiza and Plestia Alaqad, as well as local organizations such as Students for Justice in Palestine and American Muslims for Palestine Minnesota, are posting on social media to raise awareness. People rely on social media to help them gather accurate information directly from Gaza as well as information on protests and how to help the humanitarian crisis.

Talk to Palestinians. Listen to Palestininans. Their voices must be uplifted because they are being silenced. Don’t be complicit during a genocide as blatant as this. The media has failed. The government has failed. It’s up to citizens to hold the people responsible accountable.

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  • Nazia
    Nov 8, 2023 at 7:15 am

    Such an insightful and well-written article. You truly have done your part as a journalist by raising your voice for those who can’t.

  • Sonali Pahwa
    Nov 6, 2023 at 8:38 am

    Thanks to brave student journalists for maintaining ethical standards where so many corporate media have failed to do so.

  • Tariq Bashir
    Nov 6, 2023 at 5:23 am

    An excellent analysis of the current situation and truth about the unjust treatment of the Palestinian people.

    Thank you for providing us he other side of the story that our national media completely failed to report.