Shocking Gaza – Romenzi

The news from Gaza has certainly been shocking, with now well over a thousand Palestinians, mostly innocent civilians, including many children now known to be killed. Of course we should grieve too for the Israelis who have died – mainly soldiers – but the figures point to the disproportionality – this is not a war but an entirely out of proportion one-sided punishment of the population of Gaza. The consequences of the attacks on heavily populated city areas with the weapons being used – even if every one was accurately targeted – are inevitably large numbers of civilian deaths. If you’ve not seen it, watch Jon Snow‘s report which makes this crystal clear – though it does contain some disturbing images. I was pleased I wasn’t watching in HD.

Although I don’t find it easy to look at the pictures and videos which are coming out from Gaza, I think it is important that brave journalists are going there and sending them out.  Today I read that another journalist I admire, Paul Mason, is now in Gaza and reporting for Channel 4.

One of the sets of photographs which brings home what is happening there to me appeared a few days ago in Time Lightbox, Innocents in the Crossfire: Alessio Romenzi’s Shocking Photographs From Gaza, work by a 40 year old Italian photographer who has spent the last five years in Israel and Palestine.  There isn’t a great deal of gore in the images,  though an enormous amount of destruction in the background, but for me they bring me very close to  the people who are suffering in Gaza.

I’ve just spent two days photographing protests in London about what is happening in Gaza, and the realities of the situation seem now to be getting through – even through the media smokescreen that seems to prevent the BBC from hearing what its own reporters are telling it about the situation. One thing that impressed me about yesterdays protest – by around 50,000 people – was the strength of the feeling among many Jews in the protest that Israel – as one speaker put it – “is not behaving as a Jewish state should.”  Over 600,000 people have read Naomi Wolf’s statement on Facebook about why she is “mourning genocide in Gaza.”

As I write this, the latest figures for the Palestinian deaths are 1032,  with the BBC reporting the total number of Israeli deaths as 40 soldiers and two civilians. A Facebook post today pointed up the reason for these very different figures:

Israeli Tanks – 3930 – Palestinian Tanks – 0
Israeli F-16 Fighter Jets – Palestinian F-16 Fighter Jets – 0

By the time you read this, the figures for deaths will doubtless be higher. Surely it must be time for peace.

You can see more of Romenzi’s work from Gaza and elsewhere on his Photoshelter site.

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