Changing the Palestinian narrative: Why our voices matter

14 min read

It is no secret that the traditional media has been plagued by misinformation and misrepresentation like never before during these tough times of crisis. The unabashed cruelty of the world gets to me whenever I try to make sense of what’s actually going on, and every time I try too hard, I lose something of myself to its unabashed cruelty. The moral standards it sets for itself and the degree of righteousness it sets for itself seem so utterly incongruous with ours.

In the midst of all the atrocities being committed in Palestine, each of the principles of human and women’s rights that we have learned – the very same principles that the West conveniently turns a blind eye to – just seems too hopeless.

It did seem almost improbable to me when I first read about misrepresentation in theory – but to be honest, I do need to catch up on a couple hundred history lessons before I can truly grasp it all.

Nevertheless, what happened on October 7 and what has been going on virtually every single day since then is nothing short of a horrendous display of irresponsible reporting leading to disinformation that has been permeating every western news channel in a very noticeable way.

As I searched for additional context, I came across a TED Talk published on YouTube by a prominent Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi. In her work, she explores intersections of identity over the course of human history and has won numerous awards.

There are many obvious dangers in misrepresenting one’s self that are evident from the author’s oration, and I am currently witnessing all of these dangers playing out all over the media in real time before my very eyes.

She went on to explain that power is not just the ability to tell the story of another person, but it is also the ability to make the story the definitive story of that individual, something that left me speechless.

According to Ngozi, the power structure of our world has been able to influence our media, determining what story needs to be told, how it needs to be told, and when it needs to be told, all as a result of the power structure of our world.

As a result of Hamas’ retaliation against the settler colony of Israel, which lasted nearly one century, the oppression of the settler colony of Israel has come into sharp focus. In an attempt to shift the narrative, Western media, as well as their leaders, have been feeding us lies and half-baked stories in the hopes of portraying the oppressor as oppressed.

As the survivors of mass destruction are airing out their devastated stories, a special mention should be made to the tone-deaf journalists who are still trying to find the words of condemnation for the resistance force.

During this crucial time of deliberate disinformation, it is our responsibility to both reject it vocally, and to strive to ensure that accurate information is widely disseminated as well.

Misrepresentations of the Palestinian people lead to a much more tormenting perception of their plight due to the dangerous misrepresentations. To make the world believe that they are suffering, they have to display their sufferings in front of the camera, which is difficult for them to do since they are forced to ignore their grief.

To make matters worse, the Western media readily dismisses their trauma as collateral damage when they are asked to detail their trauma for the very first time that they have been subject to such cruelty.

The dehumanization of Palestinians, however, is jarring, despite the fact that the genocide is documented in real-time and Gaza is reduced to ruin and mayhem as a result. It is common for Israeli officials to tag children as being in the dark on national television, even with the only fault they can be held responsible for being born in the dark.

By using contrasting expressions to describe when the oppressors commit crimes against Hamas and when Hamas resists, the ethnic cleansing is subtly toned down and the oppressors’ crimes are pointed out in a more positive light.

A settler’s death is regarded as ‘killing’, while the death of a Gazan is just regarded as ‘dying’. It is a common misunderstanding that both sides have access to equal resources in the conflict between Israel and Palestine, but this is not the case at all.

Since the occupation forces have held the region for seven decades, it has been a one-sided ethnic cleansing.

According to the United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide, the colonial state is currently committing three acts of genocide. Dehydration and starvation are the two biggest causes of death for those who are not dying from airstrikes.

Whenever all this is over, the children are left disabled with no one to take care of them once this has all concluded. There is a huge amount of illegal destruction going on in Gaza, including the destruction of hospitals, the destruction of places of worship, the destruction of educational institutions, and the bombing of mosques, all done by the occupying forces without so much as a word of condemnation from the European governments.

It is extremely important to recognize that the state-sanctioned violence is not simply driven by the fascism of the Zionists, but rather by the continued efforts by Western leaders to portray colonizers as victims of terrorism, while slowly draining the land of Gaza from anyone but their own.

Breaking through Israeli PR’s veil of secrecy

While social media users have been under assault from a flood of misrepresentations and misinformation, they have gone above and beyond while resisting silencing tactics such as shadow banning and unannounced suspensions of credible accounts in the face of this deluge.

Despite the fact that it is a delightful sight to see the power of the public encouraging officials to do whatever it takes to preserve their credibility under any circumstances, it is understandable that they are skeptics about the impact of their actions.

As a result of the government’s complicity in the ongoing genocide, most governments are utilizing force to silence the masses.

In an effort to make it appear that Israel is simply defending itself, the official X account is forced to revert back to tweeting like a 13-year-old fangirl. Influencers and celebrities from all walks of life are rushing to preach peace as part of their PR efforts, while at the same time maintaining a neutral stance with their curated PR statements.

As you and I know, the position of social media users – including you – is crystal clear. 

There is no more need for us to feed off of misrepresentation any longer. We understand that what the press is referring to as Hamas’ instigation of war is actually retaliation upon what they have done. We fear that what is happening in real-time is not a self-defence but rather the act of genocide that is being perpetrated by the Israeli occupying forces. 

As a result of this, we are committed to boycotting any and all products and brands that continue to facilitate war crimes against the innocent. It is despite the fact that we have been facing resistance from authorities concerning protests around the world that we are coming out in record numbers in order to exercise our right to freedom of speech.

It is enlightening to see how the government does not seem to understand the disconnect between the government and the people. The people of this country are not afraid of denouncing the decolonization and subjugation of minorities at the expense of the stability of the country. 

Despite the many decades of oppression that the Palestinian people have been experiencing over the past few decades, we are not willing to look past that oppression. As ordinary people, who have no power in either the United Nations or any other worldly organizations that profess to champion the rights of people, we, the ordinary people, disown the government and their representatives of our own country, which proclaim to champion the rights of people.

The Palestinians have said that our voices are important, and we agree with them. Despite the meager presence of the brave coterie of the oppressed on social media, we have continually been convinced that it is vital that we continue to speak out on behalf of them. 

With time, it is a normal thing for us to become desensitized to the increasing number of causalities. We may also feel upset about our inability to provide some kind of tangible help to those who are in need as a result of our helplessness. We must, however, continue to channel our rage into what is the only thing that Palestinians have requested from us, and keep it alive as long as we are willing to engage in this struggle. Make yourself heard.

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