Crusaders Of Truth

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The India Observer, TIO: CHANGING TIMES: Journalism is defined as collection, preparation and distribution of news and related commentary and feature materials through print and electronic medium.

 For Ammajaan’s  (my maternal grandmother) daily dose of keeping herself update about current affairs Qaumi Awaz (Urdu newspaper) was subscribed ,it landed religiously everyday on our doorstep in the early hours of morning . Doordarshan was our local news agency which delivered news of national and international events, until the advent of private news channels in the country.

All this was part of a lifestyle where newspapers and local news channels brought about a revolution in bringing National and International news into our homes. We looked at the world through their prism. The advent of social media changed the world around us.

CRUSADERS OF TRUTH: With the Israeli offensive in Gaza (Palestine) starting on 7th October 2023 several western media outlets like BBC,CNN ,Fox News (whom we all relied upon a  few years ago for reports on world affairs ) have been taken over by a young breed of Palestinian journalists like Bisan Owda ,Palestia Alaqad ,Motaz Azaiza,Hindi Khoudaryetc they have become  primary sources of what is happening in Gaza .

Also Read, Tweet & Share: War On Journalism

Their reporting on ground has been instrumental in turning the tide and opening the eyes of the world of the impact of Israeli offensive on Palestinian population and their live video news feed have shattered the western narrative of Israeli- Palestinian conflict and human rights making them heroes of a free and honest press .

Photo Credit: Internet

Israeli has banned the entry of foreign media into Gaza strip from the onset of it’s offensive in Gaza, having pushed itself away any guarantee of lives of media personnel in it’s aggression over Palestinian population .Even those very few reporting  have been put through intense scrutiny , scanning ,documentations and censorship from Israeli army (IDF),which hampers fair journalism. 

As such the onus of sharing the real story and the truth behind Israeli offensive in Gaza has fallen upon these young shoulders ,who document the reality on ground ,report deaths ,witness horrifying scene’s of children ,women and adults found under the rubble of buildings with deadly injuries over their bodies .

These individuals cover day to day traumas and horrors of war while struggling to find their own safety and have eventually become the face of Palestinian resilience and resistance. 

Though depressing as they seem, the videos and reports that they share are a living proof of the atrocities Palestinian’s have endured since occupation of their land by Israel in 1948.

In between the sad reality of facing war and aggression everyday these young reporter’s never fail to enjoy and document the simple pleasures of life amidst the bloodshed. Bisan Owda in particular never fails to document Palestinian children ,their dreams, resilience and struggles. Her short video reels captures the true Palestinian spirit ,trying to make most of what life has to offer.

Also Read, Tweet & Share: TRIGS On Track-Diplomacy Unwound… Israel- Hamas-Palestine Conflict  

Being the only connection of Gaza with the outside world these young journalists and their content through pictures, video-diaries, reels, interviews or by print medium have quickly garnered International support in their social media accounts .Their content is not Televised but Instagrammed instead .

These champions of truth have the world following them virtually on  various social media platforms mainly Instagram ,Twitter and Facebook with many young people particularly Motaz Azaiza and Bisan Owda’s Instagram account’s gathering around 3 million plus followers. 

Photo Credit : Vatican News

Many people around the world who have taken to streets to protest against Israeli bombardment and killing of Palestinian lives have these young heroes printed on their placards showing us how much this new generation of ,’citizen journalist’s and their post’s online have impacted the moral consciousness of people, thereby exposing the Palestinian struggle and sacrifice to the world. 

These incredibly talented young individuals would have had certain goals and dreams for their lives like any young person today but sadly with a  cruel blow of fate they are besieged and displaced in their own country ,in their own land reporting live, the genocide of their fellow country men. 

As Irish lawyer Blinne Ni Ghralaigh puts a chilling statement that it is, “the first genocide in history where, it’s victims are broadcasting their own destruction in real time”.

The only weapon in their hand amidst the bloodshed and genocide of their people is a camera, mike ,press vest, and a phone which does not kill a human life but kills the Israeli propaganda machine.

Also Read, Tweet & Share: Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ): Slammed the brutal repression of media in Kashmir.

Recently Motaz Azaiza( photo –journalist )was evacuated from the besieged Gaza enclave to Qatar ,BisanOwda (film maker ,activist and journalist) looks exhausted yet, ‘still alive’, in her recent reels ,Plestia Alaqad (freelance journalist )escaped from the enclave fearing her life and her family’s in November 2023,Wael Dahdouh (Al Jazeera Bureau Chief in Gaza )was injured and lost several members of his family ,he’s currently recuperating in Qatar ,(Palestinian –Canadian citizen journalist )Mansour Shouman who was reporting humanitarian efforts to English speaking audience was last seen documenting massacre near Al Nasser hospital , since several days he stands missing in Gaza ,while recently a press reporter Amer from Gaza fainted out of exhaustion and hunger while reporting live to a television channel. 

Photo Credit: Hind Khoudary

All these are a just a handful of figures and updates about the situation on ground in Gaza with more than 26,422 Palestinian dead including 10,000children , thousands displaced or either injured,70 journalist’s dead in the worst real life documented genocide of modern history.

Israel has a long history of targeting Palestinian journalists ,to silence them it has resorted to having used target killing ,abduction or illegally slandering and keeping them in jails .All this is done with total impunity from  International media and governments.

Though Israel might be winning by occupying large swathes of Gaza strip and bringing it under its control but in the digital space and media propaganda it is fast losing battle. It’s own media blocking reality continues to dehumanize Palestinian land and people barring a few Israeli journalists who support the call for peace .

“Those who are silent when others are oppressed are guilty of oppression themselves ,”Imam Hussain (as)

In the face of current aggression in Gaza ,journalism has taken a new form with many media reporter’s turning citizen journalist’s ,where they update their audience about the genocide they currently are facing briefing them in either English or Arabic language . 

The last link between the world and Gaza ,these citizen journalist’s and their documentation, be it in the form of video’s, prints or reels is the only available evidence to show the world that Gaza (Palestine) and it’s people live and cry alone in face of genocide.

The onus is now upon us how we respond to those cries of help and despair….. 

Also Read more from this Author: Reflections, Mapping Gaza

Edited By Adam Rizvi

Curated and Compiled by Qayam Masumi

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Shahana Naqvi

Shahana Naqvi

CULTURAL MOSAICS : Shahana Naqvi a librarian by profession she loves to read on arts and culture and writes a blog , Museum of Passion, dedicated especially on various cultural traditions of the Islamic world . Having been brought up under the tender care and guidance of her maternal grandmother Ammajaan and the rich heritage tapestry of her beloved city of Lucknow is what shaped her life. Her quest to research Islamic traditions started when she was questioned about her faith, a beautiful journey to unearth the hidden treasures is what she has embarked upon and which according to her is her calling in life ……

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