The Language used about Palestinians is putting their lives at risk

By Donna
Miles-Mojab, The Palestine Chronicle, June 4, 2018

language used by most mainstream media to report and analyze the events in Gaza
is not just shameful, it risks Palestinian lives.
in Gaza Take part in the Great March of Return.
(Photo: Abdallah Aljamal, PC)

appears the media’s collective mind has been so saturated by Israeli propaganda
that they are prepared to go as far as defying what they can see and hear with
their own eyes and ears.

This is
how BBC ended up describing the massacre we have witnessed in Gaza as
“clashes”, even though clearly one side is doing all the killing, and the other
side all the dying.
misapplication of language is not merely irksome, it is downright dangerous,
because the language used in the media feeds into, and strengthens, the
narrative that allows Israel to commit crimes against Palestinians with
brains are being trained to ignore the application of what is sane, reasonable
and moral to Palestinians, and to assume that Palestinians are born inherently
violent and are used to a way of life that makes getting shot an ordinary
experience for them.
No human
being will ever choose to get shot. But if, and only if, we choose to ignore
that Palestinians are just like us, just as human, just as capable of feeling
fear and suffering, just as capable of feeling joy and hope, then – and only
then – can we possibly believe that they would willingly make a choice to get
this warped way of thinking is called dehumanization of the Palestinians. Look
for this type of dehumanization in most reports you read about Palestinians and
you will find it is there – sometimes explicitly and sometimes in the most
subtle way.
Let’s get
the language right: Palestinians are being massacred by one of the most
powerful armies in the world, which does not want to give them any option other
than living in captivity, with daily humiliation.
The only
choice the Palestinians have made for themselves is not to tolerate their
oppression, not to be stripped of their dignity, and not to live in captivity.
sniper attacks have, so far, shot dead close to 100 Palestinian protesters and
wounded thousands, during a peaceful protest march recorded and reported by the
world media.
In these
reports, we can see with our own eyes and ears that the civilians, including
women and children, are unarmed – and there are no threats to Israeli lives or
any risk of a “mass border breach”. Yet our media is happy to allow the
peaceful march of the oppressed people of Gaza to be labelled as “terrorist
This is
truly outrageous. Where are the Palestinian voices?
The media
is not interested in the Palestinian voices and their stories, and so it
reinforces a narrative that we have heard repeated time and time again by the
Zionist propaganda machine aimed at dehumanization of Palestinians – namely
that the Palestinians hate Israel more than they love their own children, or
that they want the destruction of Israel more than they want peace.
dehumanization project is central to the Zionist agenda, because without it,
there could be no justification for Israel’s inhumane treatment of
We need
to see and hear more from Palestinians. We need to hear narratives that are not
framed entirely around the security concerns of Israel, or are not based on the
depiction of Palestinians as terrorists bent on annihilation of Israel.
We need
to hear about the aspirations and hopes of Palestinians and about their
suffering and resilience.
It really
is time for the media to make more room for Palestinians to tell their stories
of displacement, humanity and resilience, and stop perpetuating a narrative
that allows us to forget they are humans and not targets for Israeli sniper