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On the photo of three Gaza brothers whose parents were killed by an Israeli bombing

The son (L) of one of the Palestinian members of Tayseer Al-Batsh's family, who hospital officials said were killed in an Israeli airstrike on Saturday, mourns during their funeral in Gaza City July 13, 2014. The Israeli airstrike on the family home of Al-Batsh, Gaza's police chief, killed 18 people, Gaza's health ministry said. (Photo: Mohammed Salem/Reuters)

The son (L) of one of the Palestinian members of Tayseer Al-Batsh’s family, who hospital officials said were killed in an Israeli airstrike on Saturday, mourns during their funeral in Gaza City July 13, 2014. The Israeli airstrike on the family home of Al-Batsh, Gaza’s police chief, killed 18 people, Gaza’s health ministry said. (Photo: Mohammed Salem/Reuters)

How do we function?  By distilling at unfathomable speed objects in our plane of sight, processing them instantaneously as symbols in order to protect ourselves from their infinite assault on our senses. Our brains are jolted every second from regarding surroundings, we inhale color and light, we react, we step away, we stay put, our synapses save us with their subliminal functionality. We prevent ourselves from careening into mental, then physical unwinding. This is every day.

Which exact moment is the center of a day of distilled objects? Do you—100 trillion cells, carbon and water, manually dexterous—usually attribute value to a central moment, or do you allow it to fleet by? The finding of keys which persecuted you with loss, the violence of humiliation from guilt, your child running towards your car after school lets out. Success, sadness, connectivity, isolation, renewed agency, love. What happened to us before the moment? We swiped the toothbrush across our top row with one hand, clicked the mouse with the other; we leaned toward a friend’s gasp and regarded their phone screen; we clicked on a blue-worded link, we clicked right clicked right clicked right we are clicking and then we saw the photo of three boys in Gaza whose parents were killed by a bomb from an Israeli airplane and there, that is the center of the day.

Has your opinion on “conflict in the Middle East” still not come about? You are not extraordinary enough to assess the policies of Israel against the Palestinians? We are all capable of comprehending them via a move through object regard, to symbol-imbuing, to interpreting as perhaps the most god forsaken thing that’s ever happened in our lifetime. But to be unwilling to interpret: this situation is perhaps what we have come to as a species, a full-circle point, no longer advancing as organisms except to manipulate our natural surroundings to our preferences and not to anyone else’s.

If you cannot interpret this photo, then you haven’t passed the point of object identification, ever. Let me try leading you: the object sprawled on ground, the object standing and leaning back, the object bent over and supported by the largest object. Here we go, brain: The jazzy blue shirt tucked in, the sandals retained on feet, the numerical gauge of a truck’s diesel capability, the mouths ajar and the eyes wailing; the brothers who had a mommy and daddy who are not in the photo; the incalculability of humans.

We should break down our biology (as I’ve started to above and below) to see where we began, and then trace ourselves back as a species to this photo which, if we’ve processed like a good liquid machine, we have at least then affirmed that its viewing is the center of our day, which might mean in multiple numbers of views that it could possibly be the center of the world today? Quickly, regard our jumbled biological history: carbon and water, primates, the history of dexterous hands—cut and wet from only foraging, slaying, eating, grabbing, to their present functions: clicking, clicking, and clicking. And we say we are the most reasonable on the planet. You may reason: “I cannot look at this photo again.” This is the result of seeing objects, turning them into symbols, you are an extraordinary functioning educable clicking machine—you will interpret the policies of Israel against the Palestinians as god forsaken and then leave it at that if you wish, because that was the moment after the center of your day. You can look at this photo again.

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11 Responses

  1. amigo on July 14, 2014, 2:03 pm

    My God , this is so heartbreaking.

    This photo fertilizes hatred for zionism in my very soul.

    Damn these b—–s.

    • DICKERSON3870 on July 15, 2014, 7:55 pm


      Please make a tax-deductible donation payable to The Gaza Mental Health Foundation Inc.

      Your gift will be sent to The Gaza Community Mental Health Program, which is providing vital mental health support to the traumatized families of the Gaza Strip.
      Your donation is tax-deductible to the extent provided by section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
      To donate, please print out brochure or send a check with your name, address, telephone number, and email address to:

      Gaza Mental Health Foundation
      PO Box 380273
      Cambridge MA 02238

      SOURCE: Gaza Mental Health Foundation –

      Bill Slaughter, President
      Donald McInnes, Treasurer
      Hilary Rantisi, Clerk
      Devin Atallah
      J. Timothy Davis
      Nancy Murray
      Alice Rothchild
      Sara Roy
      Ahmad Tahaha

      Cindy & Craig Corrie
      Jess Ghannam
      Ellis Goldberg
      Elaine Hagopian
      David Hall
      John Pirroni
      Yale Rabin
      Ted Rynearson
      Therese Saliba
      Tom Suarez
      David Trimble


  2. Citizen on July 14, 2014, 2:12 pm

    Americans can’t process this information, even if they overcome the American taboo in our mainstream media. Stenographic hasbara is our “4th Estate.”

    • American on July 14, 2014, 3:18 pm

      Citizen says:

      July 14, 2014 at 2:12 pm

      Americans can’t process this information, even if they overcome the American taboo in our mainstream media. Stenographic hasbara is our “4th Estate.”

      Yea they can, I did and I’m no genius or General George Washington hero. I processed it long ago when I saw Israeli snipers pin down a boy and his a father against a wall and kill the boy.
      Quit saying we cant overcome the taboos and start telling people not to be cowards in the face of special interest taboos.

    • jd65 on July 15, 2014, 12:18 am

      Hey Citizen. I agree w/ you that most Americans can’t process the information. Pardon the long post here, but the processing of media information on this conflict is something I wrote a little about a while back. This article, and your comment, reminded me of it. I summed up my thoughts after detailing how I think our media (and government…) manipulates and clouds our population’s perceptions of these events. I have no other outlet so I’m hoping this is allowed here. Yes, it does relate to the photo above and the concepts in the excellent article. Maybe of interest to some below:

      This clouding of the nature and reliability of sources, and the general erosion of any faith in the integrity of media and politics, creates an environment where seemingly no information can be trusted. Add to this the increasing polarization of the political “right/left” narrative within the media, publishing worlds, and throughout the culture. This polarization mirrors, and widens, the same gap of attitudes within the Jewish community toward Israel (not to mention the polarization between the rich and the poor). Publishing houses and news organizations put out increasingly conflicting content. So conflicting now that it’s to the point of complete opposites. This is certainly true of content relating to the Israel/Palestine conflict, but maybe the more obvious example of this phenomenon familiar to all Americans would be the case of the Bush II administration. We have thousands of books and reports on their war crimes, impeachable offences, intentional deceptions of the public, improper justice department firings, legalization and acceptance of torture (not unlike Israel), corporate welfare, etc… We also have a huge amount of publications praising this same administration’s moral authority, the legality of their tactics in their “war on terror” and their necessity to the world’s safety, their fair and honest tax policies that allow businesses to grow and hard-working people to reap the fruits of their labor, etc… Leaving aside the validity of either side’s argument, there can be no debate that they are essentially opposites. And like the physical acoustical properties of opposite signal waves, they cancel each other out. When people are confronted with so much wildly conflicting information, the natural impulse can be to shut it all out. Trying too hard to make sense of so much polar opposite information could literally drive some to experience serious, prolonged, and unresolved cognitive dissonance. This could lead to major behavioral problems, so ignoring this information can be a survival mechanism. But when people decide (or are led) to ignore information, they become susceptible to being manipulated solely through their emotions. This opens up the floodgates to mass manipulation. The inability to trust the media and publishing houses, coupled with the reflex of shutting out conflicting reports with polar opposite spins on the same realities of major issues, is the end of information. The “Information Age” has imploded and has left us with its evil twin: The Age of Disinformation. In 21st century technology-speak, it’s as if the whole of our news/media/mass information system is one large corrupted file.

  3. Kay24 on July 14, 2014, 3:41 pm

    This is such a haunting picture. It tells the entire sad story. My heart goes out to all the innocent little children,who have experienced so much of suffering, lost so much, and will continue to do so. Who can fault them for hating their occupier? We feel strongly against what these scumbag zionists keep doing, imagine how they live with this?
    It must be depressing as they grow up, and know they cannot get out of this hell hole made especially for them by their terrorist neighbor with the big guns, that are pointed at them constantly. Who can fault them for wanting to throw stones, or joining any group that want to pay Israel back?
    The true victims of Palestine.

  4. seafoid on July 14, 2014, 4:20 pm

    Yossi Israeli needs fresh kill in Gaza regularly. I don’t understand why.some hangover from ww2 perhaps.

    Those poor kids. And the poor Israelis who can’t escape the cycle of zionist hatred.

  5. seafoid on July 14, 2014, 4:27 pm

    The guardian is reporting that the arab league and the european union back hamas’ demand for a return to the 2012 ceasefire terms.

    • Sumud on July 14, 2014, 5:21 pm

      Fricking dirtbags should be insisting the siege on Gaza be ended immediately.

      Between them they have the power to bring Israel to it’s knees, especially the EU – Never Again means shit if they let Israel run a concentration camp by the Med.

      • amigo on July 14, 2014, 7:32 pm

        Bad news from Irish Gov reshuffle.

        New FM is Charlie Flanagan a pro Israel jerk.

        “Trocaire, the official overseas development agency of the Catholic Church, has been accused of mounting a biased and partisan political campaign against Israel. – See more at:

        I know Ireland is only small fry but having a rabid pro Israel in the EU does not help.Typically we had pro justice ministers to date.

      • Marnie on July 15, 2014, 1:05 am

        I think the “never again” bit only means never again to us – to the rest of y’all, who aren’t quite so chosen, not so special, do not have a “soul”, eh, not so much.

        Where are these boys going to be in 5 or 10 years? Who is going to take care of them? I am so sorry for their loss. Their lives have been destroyed, but they know full well who is responsible. And the cry will be heard “Why do they hate us?” Look at this picture, one of thousands, and you’ll have your answer.

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