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Posts Tagged ‘Today programme

What is Gaza Really Like?

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Who really knows what goes on in Gaza?

Who is free to tell? How does Hamas manipulate sympathies in the West?

I do not know and I will bet that neither do most people.

But we know that Hamas controls Gaza with force. Hamas will subjugate, torture or murder any dissidents.

Hamas play the Western media’s game, portraying a particular image that they wish Westerners to see, but occasionally the façade falls

The BBC’s Edward Stourton reports from Gaza [07:39 on the 18th Jan 2010 BBC’s Today programme, available here via the BBC player, approximately 1 hour and 40 minutes into the programme].

It is well worth a listen, especially the bit where Stourton reports:

“I am actually in rather an elegant hotel by the sea in Gaza City, you maybe able to hear the waves lapping on the beach, and give or take the odd shortage it just about works…..hundreds of tunnels, and we are told some are big enough to allow entire cars to be smuggled through…..I am in the heart of Gaza City in the shopping area, in front of a shop absolutely stuffed with goods, inside there are clocks, and kettles, and crockery and pretty much anything you could want. Outside there on the pavement piles of fridges, washing machines and microwave ovens…”

It strikes me that Gaza is very much like any city or society, with its rich elements and the poor.

Capitalism with all of its inherent problems, is alive and well in Gaza, but it’s not just that.

Clearly, poverty in Gaza is exacerbated by Hamas’s actions, the military conflicts, Hamas’s excessive spending on weaponry and building up their own internal security forces, to keep them in power.

The money wasted on arms cannot be spent on alleviating the real poverty that exists in Gaza.

But then again, I suspect that Hamas do not really care much about the poor, except when they can be pulled out and shown to the Western media as objects of pity. Hamas has a vested interest in portraying the worst possible picture, but can’t be absolved of blame as they have run Gaza since 2006.

On top of that, the Western correspondents in the Middle East are partly to blame, they know full well the divide between rich and poor in Gaza. They know of the elegant hotels, the shops stuffed with goods and tunnels big enough to smuggle a car in, yet without exception we hear next to nothing about them.

I wonder why?

Update 1: See the comments, but in late 2008 Hamas kicked out an Israeli journalist. “But on Sunday, Hamas officials told Amira Hass they would no longer guarantee her security and told her to leave. “

As she says:

“AMIRA HASS: I don’t know. They just got tired of me, I guess, because they insisted from the start to follow me, to escort me twenty-four hours a day, which, of course, didn’t make my work very easy, but I took it OK. They said there is a—“We want to avoid any—the slightest chance that somebody might hurt you.” And then, all of a sudden on Sunday, they told me that the circumstances have changed, and there is more tension in the region, and there are all sorts of information—there is all sorts of information that my life might be in danger. And as a principle, I don’t take such, you know, at face value what any security apparatus tells me, whether it is the Israelis, whether Arafat or Hamas. But they left no option. I mean, they were very strict about it. I have some friends in Hamas. They tried very hard to put sense into some people, but it was in vain. “

Written by modernityblog

18/01/2010 at 16:15