Thursday, June 27, 2013

Daoud Kuttab Seethes in (Almost) Silence

So here's a quick story: Daoud Kuttab tried to go to Gaza, had to wait for a while, and didn't succeed. If this sounds like another whiny article that was recently written for the Huffington Post, then you might be correct.  What's amazing about this piece is even though absolutely nothing in it is Israel's fault, he manages to (a) attack Israel anyway and (b) leave his "rapier wit" at home. For example:
"Because Israel destroyed (physically) the Gaza International Airport that had been opened with a visit by US president Bill Clinton shortly after the beginning of the second Intifada, other routes had to be found."
I'm not sure why the "physically" was necessary, that's the only way you can destroy something. This is after he states, without a trace of irony, that he is going to Gaza because he was invited by the "Gaza Centre for Press Freedoms." Truly amazing. But anyway, after taking his shot at Israel he goes into a "just the facts" mode which doesn't usually appear in his other writings. Such as:
"Five and a half hours after leaving Cairo we arrived at the Egyptian side of the Rafah crossing. We were so close to Palestine that our phones were picking up the Jawwal phone signals. But our Egyptian contact at Rafah was not smiling when we arrived. It appeared that we would have to wait some time to find out if we could enter Gaza." 
"The problem, according to the officials, was that the border crossing might be closed as a precautionary measure any time. The Egyptian officials were concerned that if we entered and the crossing was declared closed, we would be stuck. They were not willing to be responsible for such a situation. Our assurances that we would take that risk failed to impress them. This problem was not only restricted to us. Neither was a Palestinian Danish family allowed to enter. Only the members that had Gaza ID cards were allowed in."  
"By late afternoon and after all attempts to enter failed, we began our long journey back to Cairo. A stop at a local beach front restaurant and a dip in the Mediterranean cooled our frustration, but did little to ease our anger at the plight of the Palestinian people."
Yeah, I'm really feeling that anger, Daoud. I can tell that you are practically shaking with rage. But let's be honest here: you are pulling back because it's Egypt that is responsible this time. And you can't even blame Egypt that much, they are doing this because they don't want Hamas running around their country stirring up trouble. Not even with a Muslim Brotherhood government in charge. Of course, if you admitted that then you might have to start thinking that the "plight" of the Palestinian people is mostly self-inflicted. Which I'm sure is not what the Huffington Post editors are looking for.

Here is his conclusion:
"The following day, we took part in the conference from our Cairo hotel by Skype; the event was dealing with issues such as the need for professionalisation, developing and adhering to a code of ethics, and the problems of unemployment among media studies graduates. We held our own meeting coming up with ideas to help nurture and develop the media scene in Gaza and ended our day with a collective vow to return to Gaza in the fall, in the hope that we would be able to cross the border then."
I do agree that Kuttab needs a code of ethics and has a need for professionalism, but he can start with his own writings. If it was Israel that blocked him from going to Gaza I'm sure the essay would be twice as long and filled with one-sided attacks on Israel and probably whining about the "settlements" as well. But we saw a long time ago that Kuttab has a lower standard for his Arab brothers.

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