Point of View /
Vardi Kahana - curator's essay for Local Testimony 14

The summer war of 2014 lasted two and a half months. e media, in all its diverse forms, exposed its viewers and readers to gut-wrenching images: the three mothers praying for the safety of their three abducted sons, three weeks of searching, the communal funeral for the teens, the revenge in the name of which Jews murdered a teenager from Shu’afat, the following riots in East Jerusalem, the thousands of missiles red from Gaza, parents lying on their children in the middle of the street to shield them from the rockets, aerial photographs of bombed targets, and ground forces entering the Gaza Strip, marching, inwards, to the front line.

And at the heels of this mass of images, photographs of the military funerals started to appear, accompanied by the pages of newspapers, which like the Command-Order #8 (order for wartime reserve duty), were lled with a xed and familiar pattern: a headshot of a young man ashing a white toothed smile, and a hundred words trying to summarize his world.

Sixty seven military funerals and ve civil funerals. We gathered together in our grief.

The gut-wrenching pictures from Gaza came in late, parsimoniously mediated by the foreign press. e IDF did not grant the Israeli media access to the front line, as the media, on its part, followed the national “public diplomacy”.

At the same time, the Hamas’ speaker nudged the foreign photographers towards his own goals. e rocket launchers, placed between the homes, were only exposed a er the reporters returned to their own countries, and between the tens of photographs of the dead bodies and wounded individuals not even one member of the Hamas could be found; they were all civilians…

Thus, we have become numb to the images of targeted killings. ey ickered on the screen in black and white clips as if they were computer games, and our hearts turned to stone in the face of the pictures of the overcrowded morgues in Gaza, the devastation of wiped out neighborhoods and the hundred thousand of displaced Palestinians.

The media does not possess the stamina of the cultural critic. e critic will examine the chain of events through the perspective of time, and will attempt to mark the mechanisms of power and the generators of perception intertwined

into these mechanisms. e press is instantaneous by its very de nition.
Our contemporary culture with its myriad channels, networks and news, which spread information, have completely changed the rules of the game, fashioning an even shorter response time to events.

The media has lost its balance in favor of instant grati cation, and is therefore exposed, in its weakness, to the manipulations of the territory’s governing speaker, be it the speaker of the IDF or the speaker of the Hamas.

The media consumer, if he is not naïve, will doubt it all.

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