On May 11, while Israel was unleashing its military machine in occupied Jerusalem and elsewhere, I was contacted by CBC Radio-Montreal looking for someone to interview to talk about Sheikh Jarrah’s violent events. After offering to speak on one of their programs on the requested day of May 12, they told me they would love to book me into the program.
Unfortunately, the person had to be specifically, and I quote, a “Palestinian-Montrealer”. Apparently, its strict policy is that all guests of the program must be Montrealers. Also, I now had an hour to look for this specific subspecies of a Palestinian.
Really good. In 40 minutes, I found not one, but two Palestinians-Montrealers, capable and willing to be interviewed. I even consulted with these two people. And they confirmed to me that every day they wake up they think, “Wow, it’s not great to be a Palestinian-Montrealer!” Only when these two words are combined do they feel complete. His combination is the defining trait of his own existence and the source of all his experience and knowledge about what was happening to Sheikh Jarrah!
Fantastic, CBC Radio-Montreal respondent. All within an hour. We can’t believe it. Thanks.
The Palestinians-Montrealers I met were so kind that they made clear their busy schedule for the time slots that suited CBC Radio-Montreal not only for the live interview, but also for the interview. preselection. Schedule has been deleted. Preparations done. Wonderful.
May 12 comes and goes. But there is neither an email nor a call from CBC Radio-Montreal to tell this Palestinian-Montrealer that they will not air them or even do a pre-interview.
This story is by no means exceptional in the mainstream Canadian media landscape, and indeed in the media landscapes of Europe, North America, Australia and elsewhere.
For three days, between May 11 and 13, I found for CBC, Palestinians in Palestine, Palestinian-Canadian, Palestinian-Montreal and Palestinian experts in Palestine who are not a “journalist’s voice,” but are only a “local voice”. ”- whatever that means, I found one. And every time I found one of these increasingly specific Palestinian subspecies, I was simply ignored or told no, today we are looking for another subspecies. And he continued.
If it weren’t for the fact that it’s about structurally hiding the colonial brutality of settlers and a form of harassment of people who give up their time to find available Palestinian interviewees, as well as Palestinians who spend hours of their time preparing for in interviews for nothing, these stories would just be comical.
Within the media landscapes of Canada and other countries, of course, there are brave and conscientious journalists who are working very hard to open the wall of silence and tell the story of Palestine to their audience. They are everywhere. They work within the conventional media, within CBC News, and some are creating their own media platforms and achieving that.
We should all support these journalists, both freelancers and those working from the mainstream. When they break through, when they put a Palestinian on the air and give them real time to talk and explain the situation, when the journalist’s own language in the way they frame events on the ground moves away from the misleading clichés of “the two parts”. , “Real Estate Dispute,” and “Israel’s right to self-defense as a justification for anything and everything,” and anything else that spreads government propaganda, is when we have to stand behind these conscientious and real journalists.
Write to your news stations. Tell them you appreciated the work of these journalists. Ask them to do more. Help these journalists break the silence. Break the barrier of fear.
Over the past two weeks and still ongoing, young Palestinian journalists and activists have been on social media providing a more accurate and complete picture of what is happening on the ground than the entire Euro-American media landscape combined.
This is not to say that there is no censorship on these digital platforms. I’m sure. Instagram and Twitter accounts and Facebook groups are being disabled, blocked and censored. Therefore, these platforms will not serve as a panacea for these serious structural and fundamental problems of the media landscape. Digital platforms are also a controlled space and built to ultimately serve the powerful.
CBC and other news organizations may think they are sending us to a wild goose chasing Palestinian and Montreal persecutions for ghostly interviews. But we understand their games and tricks. We understand how they will respond to what I am sharing here. They will now point out how they have invited two, three, maybe even ten Palestinians to speak live during these days and maybe even the coming weeks, and will try to use it as an exoneration from these charges.
But we know and understand that inviting Palestinians of different subspecies for a few minutes here and there will not really spend hours upon hours of daily cementing the narrative of powerful states like Canada, the US and Israel (and there almost no there is daylight between their positions).
And we also understand that the old guard of CBC and other media organizations is on the wrong side of history. Any and all gains that will be made in the coming weeks, all the advances that are already taking place and that we hope will intensify, will come despite state interests rooted in the mainstream media. These gains are being made by people who unite both inside and outside the mainstream media, pushing these power structures toward much-needed change. But, like the state of Israel, the mainstream media will respond to this setback with structural violence.
In an open letter last week, some 500 conscientious, fair and balanced Canadian journalists rightly claimed “the lack of nuanced Canadian coverage of forced expulsions and indiscriminate airstrikes” against Palestinians, making the following simple request: “That all “Principles of journalism should be applied to the Canadian coverage of the advancing Occupied Palestinian Territories. Fair and balanced coverage should include historical and social context, journalists with knowledge of the region, and, fundamentally, Palestinian voices.”
And how does the old guard of the upper levels of the mainstream media respond? By banning some of the signatories from covering Palestine / Israel.
Let this sink. The call for more nuanced, fair, balanced and truly legitimate journalism entails the punishment of these journalists.
And, in fact, something is urgently needed, and it is never so elusive Palestinian-Montreal. There is an urgent need for a public discussion of clear, open, honest, participatory and deliberative openness across the planet on how oppressive governmental structures are built and maintained with and through major media institutions.
Never forget: our history is not just a Palestinian history. It is the story of all oppressed, murdered, imprisoned, mutilated, enslaved, colonized and erased peoples. It is the story of indigenous struggles on Turtle Island, in Bolivia, Mexico, Chile, Australia and beyond. It is the story of Black Liberation struggles around the world. It is the story of Kashmir’s struggle for freedom. It is the story of the still unfinished struggle to dismantle the structures of economic and social inequality that apartheid left in South Africa.
It is the story of the struggle for freedom and democracy in Thailand, the Philippines, Hong Kong and beyond. It is the story of all the people struggling to overcome the yoke of the postcolonial authoritarian states of Guinea, Uganda, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Sudan, Algeria, Tunisia, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and beyond. It is the story of workers’ struggles in Italy, Spain, Brazil, China, Egypt, Greece, the United Kingdom and beyond. It is the story of the Jewish struggle against the destructive monstrosity that is the anti-Semitism that created Europe.
We are all dominated in this world, which was erected through colonial modernity. The tactics and strategies used to silence and dominate the Palestinians are the same that all oppressed people also face or will face, and this includes the structural violence practiced by the mainstream media.
Nelson Mandela once said, “We know all too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.” Is true. But let me also add this: not all people caught up in these previous struggles are free. The Palestinian struggle for freedom is, in fact, also the struggle for so many people around the world for freedom. Either we all get there together or no one goes.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial stance of Al Jazeera.