Thursday, January 25, 2007

Sloppy myths

The reporting on the death last Friday of Abir Aramin shows how sloppiness and laziness can count for so much in particular circumstances. The 10-year-old Palestinian girl from the West Bank town of Anata, near Jerusalem was struck in the head during a clash between stone-throwing Palestinians and Israeli border police, who responded with rubber bullets. She had evidently gone out to watch during a school break.

AP stated that she had died because of an Israeli rubber bullet. Agence France Presse said she had been "wounded in her head by shrapnel from a stun grenade fired by the Israeli force". The New York Times was less specific: she died from wounds sustained when "she was hit by fire from the Israeli border police".

This Monday, however, Ha'aretz reported that the autopsy "with a pathologist hired by Aramin's family in attendance" had ruled out rubber bullets as the cause of death.

No bullet wounds were found on her body, and the skull injury that caused her death was a large one, whereas rubber bullets, even if they do not penetrate, usually make small wounds.
That is, she may have been hit by a (Palestinian) rock, just as Mohammed Al-Dura was probably hit by a Palestinian bullet.

What I find interesting is not what the three Western news outlets reported (what the relatives had said, basically), but that in the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz on the same day that they published the results of the autopsy, there was an article that, in passing, mentions the little girl's death and assumes that the Border Police were responsible.

So, not only do the Western news outlets not correct their story, but an Israeli journalist accepts the 'witness' account despite what his own newspaper was printing that day to contradict it. Out of such things are made fatal myths.

All this and more from CAMERA.

(via Augean Stables)


wodge said...

Was it the stun grenade that hit her head, the shock caused by its explosion or the rubber bullet fired by the Border Police? Does it make any difference? Did the Border Policeman intend to kill a child of 11 - or not? What difference does it make? The real question is why Border Policemen come almost daily to Anata, doing the devil's work, as it were, just when children are on their way home from school? What are they looking for, for heaven's sake, near a school in Anata, a West Bank town located northeast of Jerusalem? The Border Police come, the schoolchildren throw stones, the police fire and kill another innocent little girl - and nobody is called to account. The Shai (Samaria and Judea) police district is investigating, but not the Police Investigation Department.

Ha'aretz: Twilight Zone / 'I've lost my heart'

NoolaBeulah said...

The story told by Aramin, Abir's father, is very moving. If he can maintain the feelings he expresses in the last sentence ("I will continue to fight in order to protect her siblings and her classmates, her girlfriends, both Palestinians and Israelis. They are all our children."), he's a better man than me. If this vile situation is ever to be alleviated, it will need people of monstrous, Mandela-like far-sightedness, with the support of men like this.

What happened in Anata, I do not know. The problem is that it is even more difficult than in a battle to understand what is happening, or has happened. If you've followed the al-Dura case, you'll know how a quickly a myth can be generated and how destructive it can be. And then kids like this, cut down before they have lived, are abused in life and in death.