‘The news from Gaza: dispelling myths and telling the truth’

The Glasgow Balfour Project event. March 14, 2019.

( Held at the Sir Charles Wilson Building, Glasgow University, 7.30pm-9.30pm Thursday March 14, 2019)

Hala Safadi, a film-maker from Gaza, made the essential point: “The truth is always censored for the Western world.”

Ms Safadi was speaking at a conference of journalists, media analysts, diplomats and United Nations officials, held at Glasgow University on March 14, under the auspices of the Balfour Project, a Scottish educational charity, in collaboration with the Glasgow University Media Group

Hala Safardi

 Hala showed us film and camera stills from Gaza, the human face and the reality of the Palestinians trapped there: in their misery and in their joy as humans. She described how difficult it was not just to send the message but to have it received. That Palestinians are real people, who lead real lives. The Western media, the BBC, CNN, the newspapers, for example, do not wish to see, hear or read it. The West gives a dead Israeli soldier the human factor and the vivid story of his life. A dead Palestinian is anonymous, a body carted to a grave in a chaotic funeral.

Sarah Helm, formerly of The Independent, and Donald MacIntyre, also of the Independent, reinforced Hala’s story. They had managed to tell the Palestinian story, but it had been a struggle. MacIntyre praised his former editor, Simon Kellner, an English Jew, who had published him and supported him. They all said in different forms what Hala Safadi showed us: “We Palestinians are not just numbers.”

300 packed the Sir Charles Wilson lecture theatre

Sarah Helm said that Palestinians had been trying to make their voices heard since the early 19th Century; but as Greg Philo, head of media studies at Glasgow University, observed: right up to now, the Palestinian story does not get through, does not get transmitted or heard or seen in the main stream of news and comment. Social media carries much of this material, but by its very selective and focused nature it does not reach the mass audience and therefore the electorate to which our politicians pay so much attention.

All of these reports, films, experiences, views and comments and more will be available on the Balfour Project’s website, and in written and edited form by the middle of April. The Balfour Project was also privileged to have the UN’s Humanitarian Coordinator for Palestine, Jamie McGoldrick, Ilan Baruch, former Israel Ambassador to South Africa, Sir Vincent Fean, Britain’s former Consul General in East Jerusalem, and chairman of the Trustees of the Balfour Project, and Andrew Whitley, a former BBC and Financial Times Correspondent and United Nations Relief and Works Agency regional executive, to report on the facts of Gaza’s and Palestine’s calamity. The Balfour Project’s aim is to describe and to stress Britain’s responsibility for what is happening in Palestine, and to persuade the British Government to use its weight to recognize Palestine as a state,alongside Israel, and to work for the equal rights of all who live in Israel/Palestine.

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