Monday, May 31, 2010

The flotilla incident

(Edit: There's a lot going on in the world, and while I have converted this blog to focus on fiction writing, I'm still a political animal, and sometimes I have to speak out.)

There are more questions than answers right now. The facts as we know them:

1) A "flotilla" of ships was headed toward Gaza.

2) This "flotilla" was asked by Israeli authorities to divert to Ashdod.

3) The "flotilla" refused to divert, was confronted by Israeli authorities, and people were killed.

As far as I can tell from what I'm reading, those are the only concrete facts that have been established.

Things that have not yet been established, but are being speculated on and used as rallying points for various angry parties:

1) What was the "flotilla" actually carrying? Food? Medicine? Weapons?

2) Who fired first?

I haven't seen a single objective report on this situation. People are posting videos all over the web that seem to support one side's view or the other side's view. I just watched a choppy video posted on BoingBoing with commentary in English, Arablic, and I think Turkish. The video was choppy and difficult to interpret, and as I don't speak Arabic or Turkish, I can't really tell what the commentators were saying.

I also saw a video from the Israeli military, with captions in English, telling a very different story.

My point is this. When we're dealing with the Israeli-Palestinian situation, we must take any "news" report with a grain of salt. The first question we must answer when looking at a video is: who shot the video, do they have an agenda, are they a neutral party? One cannot make any assumptions in this conflict. We cannot assume a) that this flotilla was actually carrying aid, b) that the Israeli military fired first, and c) that the people they were firing at were unarmed innocent victims. Likewise, we cannot assume that a) the flotilla was actually carrying weapons and other dangerous materials to arm Hamas, b) the Israeli military was defending itself from rioters carrying knives, broken bottles, and other weapons, and c) the deaths on the ship were only a result of such defense.

I don't know what happened. I wasn't there. I haven't seen a single objective news report. The objective fact that people were killed is a tragedy. But that is all that I know for a fact.

Eyes open, people. Be smart. Don't fall from propaganda - from either side.

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