An appalling report on the great film “5 Broken Cameras,” by Larry Abramson of NPR last night, suggested that filmmaker Emad Burnat had brought violence upon his tiny occupied village, Bil’in, by seeking to document the oppression.
Here (thanks to Susie Kneedler) is the end of his report:
ABRAMSON: [Hamza] Suleiman [20, a photographer in Bil’in] says that Israeli soldiers are more frightened of cameras than of the stones that are often thrown at them. But his camerawork has already cost Suleiman and his family a lot. He’s been hit by gunfire and spent 11 months in prison. His mother, Fatima, says she wishes he’d put the camera away…
It’s a complaint that Emad Burnat’s wife also makes during “5 Broken Cameras” as she questions the price her family must pay for his project. In this lasting conflict, cameras are an important witness to suffering, but they also may be the cause of some of it.
A journalist questioning the rightness of journalism! When that journalism is a means of documenting oppression, no less.
I see the NPR’s commenters are all over this. Thomas Antenucci writes eloquently:
Do they argue that, or do they state it as fact? Why is NPR treating Palestinians as tendentious when it comes to basic human rights? One listener has written to say that Jews should not be assigned to cover this conflict. An inevitable, unfair response; but the reasonable question is, Is Abramson a Zionist? It’s time for the media to discuss the influence of this Jewish-nationalist ideology born amid the nationalisms of 19th century Europe in contemporary Jewish and American life.