On 11 May, Israeli forces shot and killed Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh. Unbelievably, the Israeli army then attacked her funeral. Video footage shows Israeli soldiers targeting mourners. The soldiers ripped down the Palestinian flag and beat mourners, who then almost dropped Shireen’s casket:
One of the most unbelievable things I’ve ever seen! Even in death Shireen Abu Akleh is attacked by Israeli forces. Police attack pallbearers carrying the coffin of a journalist who was shot in the face by Israeli soldiers. Why? Because the coffin is draped in the Palestinian flag pic.twitter.com/zr4kNbQLe3
— Hind Hassan (@HindHassanNews) May 13, 2022
VICE journalist Hind Hassan pointed out how many Palestinian journalists have been killed by Israeli forces:
Interesting fact(s):The international Federation of Journalists says 46 Palestinian journalists have been killed by Israeli forces since 2000. Not a single Israeli has ever been convicted by an Israeli /military court of a crime. pic.twitter.com/mpMD9PW5KW
— Hind Hassan (@HindHassanNews) May 12, 2022
And rapper Lowkey shared the names of other Palestinian journalists Israeli forces have killed:
The Israeli occupation killed Shireen Abu Akleh.
Like it killed Yasser Murtaja, Ahmed Abu Hussein, Basil Faraj, Fadel Shana, Imad Abu Zahra, Issam Tillawi, James Miller, Khaled Reyadh Hamad, Mahmoud al-Kumi & Nazih Darwazeh. All wore clothing identifying themselves as press.
— Lowkey (@Lowkey0nline) May 11, 2022
Israeli forces shot and killed Shireen in cold blood. This was an attack on freedom of the press. It was an attack on the right of Palestinians to exist. And it was an attack on everything Shireen stood for, including fearless reporting on the actions of an apartheid state.
Make no mistake, the Israeli army knew of Shireen Abu Akleh – as Al Jazeera producer Linah Alsaafin pointed out:
Shooting a journalist just under the ear – an area not protected by the helmet and flak jacket she was wearing – is intentional. Soldier had his orders. The army and government knew who Shireen Abu Akleh is.
— لينة (@LinahAlsaafin) May 12, 2022
Predictably, just as Shireen’s killing was spun by mainstream media, so too was her funeral.
The BBC News world edition tried to disguise the despicable actions of Israeli forces:
“Violence breaks out”
“Israeli police & Palestinians clashed”
Her coffin was “jostled”
Israeli occupation forces attacked the funeral procession, beat mourners, caused her casket to fall to the ground and the BBC tweets one of the worst obfuscations of Israeli violence yet. pic.twitter.com/tW61Bj9oNE
— Sana Saeed (@SanaSaeed) May 13, 2022
And CBS News brought up the fabled ‘clashes’ again:
@CBSNews says Shireen Abu Akleh’s casket clashed with Israeli police. Palestinian humanity is so marginalized that American media would rather disparage the corpse of their fellow slain journalist than afford Palestinians even the most basic of dignity. It’s a fucking funeral. https://t.co/lPjdAMjRkR
— Saad B. سعد (@SbsEsq) May 14, 2022
The willingness of so many media outlets to use such weak language only shows how fundamentally opposed they are to the existence of Palestinians. Israeli forces killed Shireen Abu Akleh. She spent her life reporting on those same forces. They attacked her funeral and stopped mourners from grieving the loss of a beloved reporter.
Middle East Eye shared an article which argued that misreporting is free propaganda:
— Middle East Eye (@MiddleEastEye) May 13, 2022
As Middle East Eye argued, the silence from fellow journalists is directly propping up an apartheid state.
Silence is violence
Al Jazeera producer Laila Al-Arian pointed to this same silence from many journalists:
Hi fellow journalists, your silence on the killing of Al Jazeera’s Shireen Abu Akleh is telling.
— Laila Al-Arian (@LailaAlarian) May 13, 2022
Moreover, VICE producer Lama Al-Arian also shared thoughts on the lack of solidarity:
Feeling really demoralized about the lack of outrage and support following Shireen Abu Akleh’s killing from our western journalist colleagues.
— Lama Al-Arian (@lalarian) May 14, 2022
Meanwhile AJ+ presenter and producer Dena Takruri pointed to the dehumanisation of Palestinians:
I'm deeply disturbed by the lack of outrage from Western journalists & the US government re: Israel's killing of Shireen Abu Akleh.
It reinforces what we as Palestinians have long felt: that there is little regard for our humanity.
— Dena Takruri (@Dena) May 12, 2022
Also, Takruri explained how media outlets dismiss and distrust eyewitness accounts from Palestinians:
The way so many media outlets have dismissed EYEWITNESS ACCOUNTS of how Shireen got killed reveals how Palestinians aren't seen or trusted as reliable narrators of their own experiences. But Israel's army is trusted/given equal weight.
There's some deeply engrained racism there
— Dena Takruri (@Dena) May 12, 2022
And one of Shireen’s friends and co-workers, foreign policy expert Rula Jebreal, shared her grief:
I’m shattered by the news of the assassination of my friend & colleague Shireen Abu Akleh, a veteran journalist. @IDF shot her in the head while she reporting in Jenin… she was wearing a press vest.
This was an execution; a heinous crime & an attack on the freedom of the press. pic.twitter.com/DwhzxLarQu
— Rula Jebreal (@rulajebreal) May 11, 2022
However, that grief – as Palestinians know all too well – is conditional. The inaccurate reporting from many outlets reflects the fact that Palestinians are abandoned both in life and in death. Palestinians cannot grieve the same as everybody else. Palestinian deaths cannot be mourned without interference.
As AJ+ presenter Sana Saeed said:
Shireen Abu Akleh isn’t just an Al Jazeera journalist, she’s also a Palestinian, born in Jerusalem. She was killed by the very forces that occupy and have stolen the homeland she dedicated her life to reporting on. May she rest in peace & may we uplift her legacy.
— Sana Saeed (@SanaSaeed) May 11, 2022
So we must grieve openly and hold Shireen in our hearts. Her killing is indescribably painful, as is the attack on her funeral. Her family and loved ones must feel the outpourings of love and solidarity from the global community.
Featured image via screenshot YouTube/Al Jazeera
We know everyone is suffering under the Tories - but the Canary is a vital weapon in our fight back, and we need your support
The Canary Workers’ Co-op knows life is hard. The Tories are waging a class war against us we’re all having to fight. But like trade unions and community organising, truly independent working-class media is a vital weapon in our armoury.
The Canary doesn’t have the budget of the corporate media. In fact, our income is over 1,000 times less than the Guardian’s. What we do have is a radical agenda that disrupts power and amplifies marginalised communities. But we can only do this with our readers’ support.
So please, help us continue to spread messages of resistance and hope. Even the smallest donation would mean the world to us.