An Evening with Journalists

This is a cross post by Marc’s Words

I have been in Jaffa since about 5pm where I had a massive bbq and was (admittedly belatedly) introduced to the classic gin & tonic. I was also introduced to several journalists, (proper ones who work for broadsheets in the UK as well as wire services rather than bloggers and occasional article people like me) this made for a very nice, boozy afternoon that included hearing war stories from Libya, the finer points of the night life in Ramallah and how even the big time journalists are happy to paraphrase the stuff they read on other news sites to make their own stories, it lasted until about 11:30 this evening. I don’t think it’s fair at all to name names but I learned a few things from them that I’d like to share with you all:

First of all if caught in a riot and tear gas is fired nothing works as well as Coca Cola rubbed on your eyes to counter the effects. (totally proven)

In Libya the rebels get their fashion sense from Italians and are wandering around in designer shoes along with their keffiyehs and are loving the fact that international journalists are on the scene.

You can get the best sea food in Benghazi, especially this weird species of lobster that have no claws.

There are no decent cakes in Ramallah though the night life is kicking with loads funky bars and clubs.

What struck me most though was that when they live in Ramallah or Jaffa or Tel Aviv or Jerusalem of Benghazi they are always outsiders looking in. To every country that they go they are standing at the outside of the house looking in. They can see all of the details looking through the window and they are saying that they don’t like the way the place is set up.

That’s fine when they are talking about any country other than Israel, it’s even fine when they are commenting on the UK but when they are commenting on Israel it sticks in my gut. I simply don’t like hearing it. They are looking through the window of my house they are commenting on the fact that I have bars on my windows and that that isn’t very friendly, they ask to speak to me and look around but they are never at home. That’s why I feel uncomfortable with them commenting to me about Israel and the checkpoints particularly. For all of their thoughts and views they have no personal attachment.

I respect them for they see things that I will never see, they risk their lives constantly to get the ultimate story and simply shrug their shoulders about the risks they take. From Beirut to Jerusalem and on to anywhere they are sent they will happily report the news and more power to them. Some of the guys there tonight live in Ramallah and endure the checkpoints in exactly the same way Palestinians do. They see things as they are, they see the Israel that I don’t see and perhaps I resent them for showing me those things. I still can’t shake the feeling that this is my country they are in and they are just guests, when it’s Shalom Achshav complaining I don’t think twice but tonight I just…didn’t like it and I know I am wrong for feeling that way, it’s always bad to have a mirror shown to you exposing the dark things that you don’t want to see.

I am thinking of one specific guy who was talking about coming in from Ramallah and I hated what I heard but he was telling the truth. It wasn’t that he had a particularly disgusting story, it was just the opposite, the casual “yeah well it’s never pleasant” that got me. I worked a checkpoint and it still got to me and I can’t shake it. His opinion was created by us, it’s much harder to own up to these things and take responsibility for our actions than to deflect criticism onto our enemies but it’s ultimately self defeating to do so. Instead of talking about our shitty PR the time is fast approaching to find the end game already because I am sick of this.

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