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‘One cannot understand conflict without knowing its victims’

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Want to be inspired? Read Allison Deger’s moving account of how she went from being a college journalist to being a reporter in the West Bank, below.

That’s one of the things we love sharing on this site: individuals’ stories of how they got to where they are today. During the current “Be The Mondoweiss Megaphone” campaign, we’ve asked for readers’ stories. We’ll be publishing many over the next few weeks, as we believe that such personal disclosure is one of the best ways to get past other people’s defenses.
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I got my first job as a journalist when I was 19 years old with Truthout, when I was still in college. I started out aggregating content and writing from the desk. Months later for my first assignment in the field, I covered a Veterans Day memorial.

It was during the heat of the Iraq war and Americans soldiers were silently dying in a conflict where the country was not sure what our armed forces were doing in the Middle East. Their remains were brought back to relatives in thin wooden caskets, often with little information about how loved ones lost their lives.

I was moved that day by the pain of the family members who placed flowers over the headstones. This reporting experience gave me the conviction that the impact of war, in Iraq and at home, needed coverage.

Since that first story I have reported on more than 50 funerals. I’ve covered Palestinians killed by the Israeli army, Israelis killed by Palestinians, Americans killed by police, and Europeans killed in acts of terror. I’m always impressed by the strength of people who must find ways to make sense of loss and carry on. Their stories are the human impact to politics.

My next position as a journalist was interning and then working for The Nation. My time with the magazine held tremendous value. It was a crash course in standards and ethics, and the process for moving an idea into an article. When I began working for Mondoweiss in 2011, I passed from researcher, fact-checker, and desk writer over the threshold into serving as a reporter. Mondoweiss gave me the opportunity to relocate to Israel/Palestine and become a correspondent at a much younger age that if I had taken a more traditional route in journalism. These four years with Mondoweiss have taught me to be an agile reporter.

I feel a sense of duty as a reporter to convey how an average person experiences events like war and protracted conflicts, because it is the sum of their experiences that builds national identities and often directs the political winds. This has led me to the belief that one cannot understand conflict without knowing its victims.

In Gaza during the summer war I met mothers trying to shield their children from a terrifying situation where they were trapped in a war zone without safe shelters. In the worst instances, people rode out waves of air strikes by holing up in construction sites, or even setting up camp in the corner of a public park.

I met one family whose arms were covered in blood after spending the morning burying their neighbors who perished the evening before. They spoke to me while waiting for a relative to arrive with a donkey cart to carry them away. Around us, the remains of some of their neighbors were still in the street, along with animal corpses. It was a level of devastation beyond the scope of anything I have seen.

I have the utmost respect for the people I interview, who courageously open their homes and hearts to me. Reporting in Israel/Palestine, I am always impressed with how generous people are to share their stories, even on what has amounted to the worst day in their life. I consider it a privilege to be able to document how one finds the strength of will to survive.

For previous messages in this campaign, including personal stories from Mondoweiss co-editor Adam Horowitz and editor-at-large Annie Robbins, click here.

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Allison Deger

Allison Deger is the Assistant Editor of Follow her on twitter at @allissoncd.

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22 Responses

  1. echinococcus on July 13, 2015, 4:46 pm

    Mrs Deger’s reporting has become the part of Mondoweiss that makes it unique, irreplaceable.

  2. bintbiba on July 13, 2015, 6:15 pm

    I agree completely, echinococcus !

    Thank you, Allison Deger !

  3. can of worms on July 14, 2015, 12:44 am

    “one cannot understand conflict without knowing its victims”

    We can carry that further, and say that injustice in Isra-Palestine exists *because* Jewish Israeli people are prevented from ever, ever knowing, or seeing, the victim. The apartheid state has created a complex web of physical and symbolic controls to ensure that.

    We had Mark Braverman the other day ( saying how the problem is not the occupation or the rightist settlers, but Zionist ideology. Well, that was only half-right, because what we’re seeing is a feedback loop.

    Zionism is a system that feeds back into itself through Israeli institutional segregation. It’s like a regenerative circuit.
    If you want to eliminate Zionism and its injustices you need to eliminate segregation in the feedback loop.

    I’ve noticed in reporting and in questions that people are asked—when we’re talking about a 1ss or 2ss, separation is a default setting. Transparent, invisible. Remember the debate between Munayyer and Beinart. Remember all our protests and all the organized struggles that we ever had –since the 1950s. Land Day. It was always about the expropriation of our land and rights but the one thing it was never about was the default setting of separation. At the very least people in the struggle have to be made conscious of their unconscious choices, even if these choices come out of legitimate worries.

    • CigarGod on July 19, 2015, 8:36 am

      Thanks for the “separation” perspective. It is now loaded into my BS detector. Hopefully it will help me detect the unspoken, better.

  4. Bubba on July 14, 2015, 12:52 pm

    I see the influence of Martha Gellhorn on this young correspondent. Or, maybe they just arrived at the same place. Idiots make political choices for the unfortunate residences of a conflict zone.

    To understand conflicts, you must know those that suffer the results. It seems obvious, but the world leaders (the Idiots) always miss that most important lesson. “When will they ever learn?”

    Stay safe Allison!!!

  5. JessicaWakefield on July 16, 2015, 4:57 am

    Well pointed Allison! Indeed It is not so difficult to understand why all the conflicts have ever been started. I am sure that all those world leaders fully understand what and why they do. As I read in one research paper found on “The old men start wars, the young die”. Basics of humanity are forgotten and seem very misty.

  6. Hostage on July 16, 2015, 5:12 pm

    ‘One cannot understand conflict without knowing its victims’

    In that spirit, here’s some breaking news:

    ICC calls for reopening Marmara flotilla case against Israel
    About six months after ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda rejected the war crimes complaints made by the Comoros Islands, a panel of three judges, by a majority of 2-1, decided to demand that they be reconsidered.

    Looks like the Judges at the ICC didn’t buy into the Palmer Inquiry/Turkel Commission hasbara whitewash or the Office of the Prosecutor’s refusal to open an investigation on the basis that the crimes committed against the victims in the raid on the flotilla, including murder, were not of sufficient “gravity”.

    Get ready to start hearing the propaganda talking point that the Pre-Trial Chamber can only recommend an investigation, and that the Prosecutor has the final say in the matter.

    That’s incorrect. Article 46 of the Rome Statute and the Rules of Procedure and Evidence Article 24 require that a Judge or Prosecutor be removed from office for a “serious breach of duty” if either “Repeatedly causes unwarranted delay in the initiation, prosecution or trial of cases, or in the exercise of judicial powers.” and these Pre-Trial Chamber Judges are not debarred from initiating action to do that.

    • just on July 16, 2015, 5:19 pm

      It’s good news. Gotta love the incensed and outraged responses from the Israelis!

      Here’s the PM:

      “Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu slammed the ICC, calling it hypocritical. “Israel Defense Forces soldiers acted in self defense when they stopped an attempt to break the naval blockade, which was implemented in keeping with international law as determined by a committee appointed by the UN Secretary General, a committee headed by a Supreme Court justice and international observers,” he said.

      “At a time when in Syria Assad is butchering multitudes of his people, and in Iran hundreds are being executed, and in Gaza Hamas uses children as human shields, the court chooses to occupy itself with Israel out of cynical, political considerations. In the face of this hypocrisy, our soldiers will continue to safeguard us and we will protect them in the international arena.”

      – See more at:

      What “self- defense”??????? And it is Israel that uses Palestinians as human shields…

      I really appreciate this:

      “Article 46 of the Rome Statute and the Rules of Procedure and Evidence Article 24 require that a Judge or Prosecutor be removed from office for a “serious breach of duty” if either “Repeatedly causes unwarranted delay in the initiation, prosecution or trial of cases, or in the exercise of judicial powers.” and these Pre-Trial Chamber Judges are not debarred from initiating action to do that.”


  7. Hostage on July 16, 2015, 5:57 pm

    @ Just

    Even Haaretz is engaging in the hasbara spin. From your link: In November 2014, prosecutor Fatou Bensouda decided to close her preliminary investigation into the incident, saying there were no grounds for a full-fledged criminal probe.

    In fact, her written report explicitly concluded that war crimes or crimes against humanity were undoubtedly committed, but she incorrectly claimed it would be hard to indict the parties who bore most responsibility for the crimes committed during the raid and that the scale, severity and impact of the 10 murders were not an act of “sufficient gravity” to warrant any action by the ICC. This, despite the fact that “murder” is listed as the first example in the Rome Statute’s list of Crimes Against Humanity and “willful killing” and “murder of all kinds” are listed under “War Crimes” and that the blockade is definitely “part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against a civilian population”, and “a plan or policy that is part of a large-scale commission of such crimes”.

    • just on July 16, 2015, 6:30 pm

      Thanks, Hostage. It’s really unfathomable to me that she’s ditched the investigation. I can only be grateful that those 2 judges aren’t going to let her off the hook for this egregious act that let the Israelis get away with murders.

      I have to say that I am less than impressed with her. amigo linked to this a couple of weeks ago:

      She’s not very believable and definitely not effective, imho.

      • lysias on July 16, 2015, 6:36 pm

        They got to her somehow. They have lots of ways.

      • Hostage on July 17, 2015, 12:47 am

        It’s really unfathomable to me.

        The Judges didn’t get it either. Among many other things, they noted that she had concluded that “there was reasonable basis to believe that the war crimes of wilful killing under article 8(2)(a)(i), wilfully causing serious injury to body and health under article 8(2)(a)(iii), committing outrages upon personal dignity under article 8(2)(b)(xxi), and, if the blockade of Gaza by Israel is to be deemed unlawful, also intentionally directing an attack against civilian objects under article 8(2)(b)(ii) of the Rome Statute (the “Statute”) have been committed in the context of the referred situation.” – but that her decision “not to proceed” had not only been erroneous, but had also failed to explain why merely conducting an investigation “would not serve the interests of justice” (the only other grounds mentioned in the Statute for deciding not to conduct one).

        I can only be grateful that those 2 judges aren’t going to let her off the hook for this egregious act that let the Israelis get away with murders.

        Well, I haven’t read their whole decision yet, but the first 15 pages have literally been a joy to read so far;-) Apparently there was considerable argumentation, with written replies back and forth from both Comoros and the Prosecutor, when the Judges got fed-up and ended the debate in-progress and said they’d already heard enough. I especially like the fact that they cut through the fog of “preliminary examination” and prosecutorial “independence” jargon that the OTP has employed in this, and many other cases, to avoid opening investigations:

        The Prosecutor’s assessment of the criteria listed in this provision does not necessitate any complex or detailed process of analysis. In the presence of several plausible explanations of the available information, the presumption of article 53(1) of the Statute, as reflected by the use of the word “shall” in the chapeau of that article, and of common sense, is that the Prosecutor investigates in order to be able to properly assess the relevant facts. Indeed, it is precisely the purpose of an investigation to provide clarity. Making the commencement of an investigation contingent on the information available at the pre-investigative stage being already clear, univocal or not contradictory creates a short circuit and deprives the exercise of any purpose. Facts which are difficult to establish, or which are unclear, or the existence of conflicting accounts, are not valid reasons not to start an investigation but rather call for the opening of such an investigation. If the information available to the Prosecutor at the pre-investigative stage allows for reasonable inferences that at least one crime within the jurisdiction of the Court has been committed and that the case would be admissible, the Prosecutor shall open an investigation, as only by investigating could doubts be overcome.

        I have to say that I am less than impressed with her. amigo linked to this a couple of weeks ago:

        Oh yeah, I abandoned any illusions that she was operating in good faith years ago and have insisted all along that the Palestinian Solidarity movement needs to stop blaming the PA and start protesting against the stalling and deliberate obfuscation of the situation by the ICC Office of the Prosecutor. She’s either been the Deputy or Chief Prosecutor ever since the day the Statute entered into force in 2002. So she was part of the team that spent $1 billion and 12 years to secure a grand total of two convictions. Her department alone has an annual budget of $166 million and hasn’t indicted a living soul since she was put in charge two years ago. She’s never had more than 22 defendants on her plate, but nonetheless complains about “the lack of resources” and “tremendous workload”.

      • just on July 17, 2015, 1:34 pm

        Hostage~ huge thanks!

        “Well, I haven’t read their whole decision yet, but the first 15 pages have literally been a joy to read so far;-) ”

        That alone gives me a frisson of real hope.

      • Hostage on July 17, 2015, 3:20 pm

        That alone gives me a frisson of real hope.

        You better pinch yourself then, because we are talking about applying common sense and international law to a situation involving Israel and Gaza;-) Even the experts who concede that the blockade is illegal, and that the Court can exercise jurisdiction over crimes committed in Palestine (at least in theory), still insist in more than a few cases that it would be an utter disaster if it ever decided to do so. You should also recall my warning above that you should get ready to hear the talking point that the Pre-Trial Chamber can only recommend that the Prosecutor review the decision, e.g. See: “The Pre-Trial Chamber’s Dangerous Comoros Review Decision” by Kevin Jon Heller

      • Hostage on July 18, 2015, 5:16 pm

        Enjoyed your response ;-)

        If you are interested in seeing the Prosecutor’s decision not to investigate Operation Cast Lead or any other crime committed prior to November of 2012 overturned, then you’ll enjoy this one that I just posted there:

        Re: “The problem with the Comoros situation, as I’ve noted before, is that it is simply a backdoor attempt to get the OTP to investigate the Israel/Palestine conflict. If it does ever investigate, the OTP needs to focus on the larger situation — not on a tiny situation in which, conveniently, only one side has committed crimes.”

        As John Oliver says from time to time “How can this still be a thing?” There can’t be any doubt whatsoever by this point in time that the situation in Palestine involves crimes that are listed in the Rome Statute, which are of sufficient gravity to demand an investigation (if Article 53(1) contains a mandate to conduct one, as these Judges have suggested).

        It doesn’t require a vast expenditure of time or effort to locate prima facie video evidence on Youtube of the current Prime Minister of Israel and members of his party list standing on territory illegally annexed to Israel (Har Homa) after the Six Day War bragging about the on-going crimes he and his government have been instrumental in committing there and elsewhere beyond the armistice lines since his first term in office. Israel is a party to the armistice agreements that were concluded under the auspices of Article 40, Chapter 7 of the UN Charter. See UN SC resolutions 62 and 73. The Declaration on Principles of International Law concerning Friendly Relations and Co-operation among States in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations says: “Every State likewise has the duty to refrain from the threat or use of force to violate international lines of demarcation, such as armistice lines, established by or pursuant to an international agreement to which it is a party or which it is otherwise bound to respect.”

        It is no secret that the 10th Emergency Special Session of the UN General Assembly was convened to take up that same Har Homa settlement as a situation of on-going concern to the international community of states. They called for a Reconvened Conference of the High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Conventions and obtained an ICJ advisory opinion. Both of those bodies concluded, among other things, that Israel had established settlements illegally in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem.

        Despite the fact that the Rome Statute requires the ICC to establish a treaty relationship with the UN, there are no procedures in place that require its judicial organs to advise the Prosecutor when one of the ICC’s member states refers to an alleged violation of the Rome Statute in a formal written submission, as Jordan did in 2003.

        The situation in Palestine wasn’t dragged-in over the transom, it walked right in the front door of the ICC in 2009 when the government of Palestine accepted the Court’s jurisdiction. It isn’t the fault of Comoros or anyone else that the Prosecutors failed to properly address the situation. At the time, both the UN Human Rights Council and the General Assembly endorsed the conclusion contained in paragraph 1835 of the Goldstone report that the Prosecutor had the necessary competence to recognize Palestine as a state capable of making an Article 12(3) declaration in accordance with the rules of customary international law. In fact, the Prosecutor as a creature of an organization with its own “international legal personality,” is one of the officials who has been empowered by the state parties to conclude special agreements on the exercise of the Court’s jurisdiction with “any other state” in accordance with Articles 4 and 54(3)(d) of the Statute. In line with the customary principle and practice reflected in the ICJ “Reparations” case, all of the members of such an organization are bound to respect agreements with third parties that the organization concludes on its own behalf in the fulfillment of its functions and purposes.

        The ICC Registrar said that a “conclusive determination” on the applicability of Palestine’s Article 12(3) declaration “would have to be made by the judges at an appropriate moment.” I subsequently pointed out that the Prosecutor didn’t have the final word on the subject of Palestine’s statehood. You indicated it was a moot question, but seemed to change your mind when Eugene Kontorovich, Nimrod Karin, Robert Howse, et al suggested that it was a valid dispute that could be addressed to the Judges in accordance with Article 77(2) of the Vienna Convention and Article 119 of the Statute.

        Palestine declared its statehood in 1988 and applied for membership in both the UN and UNESCO on the basis of its original UDI. It’s latest Article 12(3) declaration reserved its right with respect to retroactivity in connection with other crimes committed on its territory. So it certainly has laid the necessary ground work for its own request under Article 119 on the validity of its disputed Article 12(3) declaration. The General Assembly explicitly acknowledged the role played by the PLO Executive Committee acting as the Provisional Government of the State of Palestine since November of 1988 in its November 2012 resolution on the status of Palestine in the United Nations. No one can prevent Palestine from filing a declaration accepting the compulsory jurisdiction of the ICJ for the purposes of the Genocide Convention retroactive to that date. In fact, those declarations are customarily considered to be retroactive in effect, unless there is a reservation to the contrary.

        So, I think you have it exactly backwards. It has always been the Office of the Prosecutor who deliberately cobbled-together a sophomoric rule of treaty interpretation and tried to sneak it in the back door, despite the fact that it flagrantly contradicts the stated policy and position of the General Assembly; the stated policy and position of the UN Secretary General; the explicit terms of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties regarding the rights of UN specialized agency members; and the customary peremptory norm (jus cogens) of self-determination. The latter is incorporated by reference in the Statute itself under the auspices of the contents of the “Applicable Law” subsection and the “Definition of the Crime of Aggression” criteria outlined in “United Nations General Assembly Resolution 3314 (XXIX)” that was adopted as part of the Kampala amendments. Despite her protests to the contrary, the OTP did employ it own “status at the UN” jargon in order to avoid opening a proper investigation of crimes committed on Palestinian territory since 2002. those have included the ones contained in the correspondence of the 10th Emergency Special Session of the General Assembly, the ICJ’s findings in the Wall advisory opinion, and those committed by both sides during Operations Cast Lead, Pillar of Defense, and Protective Edge.

        Comoros and Palestine are both full member states of the Arab League. They brought-in incontrovertible evidence of their multilateral treaty relationships when they had the Secretary of the League present an official exhibit to the Office of the Prosecutor back in 2009 regarding the status of Palestine. After the State of Palestine filed an Article 12(3) Declaration with the Court and an application for full membership with the UN, the UNESCO board of governors simply decided to finally take action on a pending application for full membership that it had originally received from the government of the State of Palestine in 1989. See the text of “Admission of Palestine as member of UNESCO – Resolution (29 October 2011)” @ UNISPAL The moment that Palestine became a member of UNESCO, the Secretary General had an affirmative obligation under the terms of General Assembly Resolution 368 (IV) 1950 to dispatch a letter of invitation to Palestine to become a state party to the UN Genocide Convention. Likewise, he had a binding treaty obligation to accept deposits from the State of Palestine for all of the so-called UN “Vienna Conventions,” including the Law of Treaties, on behalf of the “international community of States” as a whole (see Article 52 VCLT). They included standing instructions for the Secretary General to accept signatures, ratifications, and accessions to that treaty from all members of UN specialized agencies in Articles 81-83 of the VCLT. So it’s unlikely in the extreme that the Judges of the ICC would find that the Secretary erred in performing his duties as a despositary.

        The General Assembly itself had repeatedly adopted resolutions which acknowledged or recalled that the 1988 unilateral declaration of the State of Palestine was a step taken “in the exercise of the inalienable right of self-determination” and that Palestinian statehood was “not subject to any veto or to the peace process” (resolution 55/87, 21 February 2001). It had also adopted numerous resolutions regarding the fact that the League of Arab States had “recognized” the permanent observer mission of the PLO as that of another existing state whose origins could be traced to the Treaty of Lausanne and the Covenant of the League of Nations. It encouraged all UN member states to sign, ratify, or deposit accessions to the “Vienna Convention on the Representation of States in their Relations with International Organizations of a Universal Character” so that their own relations with the PLO mission, and that of any international organizations hosted in their countries, could be “governed” in accordance with its rules. It explicitly noted that they “only apply to states”. Article 8 of that Convention defined the term of art “permanent observer mission” as one that applied to “missions from States”. So the General Assembly’s position has always been clear, i.e. that international organizations of a universal character, like the ICC, should treat Palestine as a state. See the texts of: The Vienna Convention on the Representation of States in their Relations with International Organizations of a Universal Character and the series of resolutions titled “Observer status of national liberation movements recognized by the Organization of African Unity and/or by the League of Arab States”: General Assembly resolutions 35/167 of 15 December 1980, 37/104 of 16 December 1982, 39/76 of 13 December 1984, 41/71 of 3 December 1986, 43/160 of 9 December 1988, 45/37 of 28 November 1990 and 47/29 of 25 November 1992.

        The note on the use of the term “state” in the General Assembly’s definition of aggression and its application to the situation in the occupied Arab territories is also an established part of the practice of the General Assembly.

        I’ve mentioned in the past that the General Assembly noted Palestine’s full membership in the League in its 1998 resolution on Palestine’s observer status. Those Arab League multilateral treaties predate the entry into force of the Rome Statute and deal with a variety of subjects, including diplomatic immunity and extradition. Under customary law, the Rome Statute can’t create rights or obligations for the 18 other third party Arab League states without their consent. The Statute itself stipulates that the Court’s procedures for “surrender” cannot be “more burdensome” for them than the procedures for “extradition” contained in those and similar agreements with the Organization of the Islamic Conference member States. The Statute contains provisions that will require the Court to recognize those international agreements and work with third party states under the terms of Article 98 should the need ever arise.

        I doubt that it was the intention of the authors of article 98 to create a loophole for the ordinary customary rule concerning head of state immunity to preempt their erga omnes responsibilities regarding the jus cogens prohibition of genocide as Asad Kiyani has suggested, since that would only have rendered their attempt and the Rome Statute itself null and void in accordance with the Article 52 of the VCLT.

      • annie on July 17, 2015, 6:53 pm

        oh wow hostage i just saw all your comments here. thanks so much. i love reading the ruling, it’s thrilling. i recall having hope about her early on since she was trained in maritime law. that proved worthless.

    • CigarGod on July 19, 2015, 8:44 am

      Oh, dear…
      In the racist prosecutors mind…
      They were only Turks, so their executions were not of sufficient gravity?

  8. just on July 17, 2015, 3:51 pm

    I’m pinching away, Hostage.

    I read most of Heller’s piece. I found some of his piece and his responses ‘interesting’ and quite frankly, a bit biased:

    “1. I agree that, in theory, there may be situations in which situational gravity could be assessed only through a comparison to specific cases. At a very minimum, though, there should be no larger situation into which the smaller situation could be folded. (Your micro-state example, perhaps?) The problem with the Comoros situation, as I’ve noted before, is that it is simply a backdoor attempt to get the OTP to investigate the Israel/Palestine conflict. If it does ever investigate, the OTP needs to focus on the larger situation — not on a tiny situation in which, conveniently, only one side has committed crimes.


    3. I was also shocked by the nasty tone of the decision. The condescending “we expect the Prosecutor will fulfil her mandate” comment was exceptionally uncivil, unnecessary, and unprofessional. The OTP, for all its flaws, deserves better.

    4. We will see what the OTP does now! I hope it will appeal, and I expect it will. I could also easily see it doing exactly what you say — refuse once again to investigate on the basis of gravity. Indeed, if it loses the appeal, that is exactly what it should do. It can’t buy into the PTC’s approach to the interests of justice, for the reasons I mention (and with which you seem to agree).”

    Enjoyed your response ;-) Heller’s really interested in manners, I guess. Even when involving murder on the high seas.

  9. John Douglas on July 17, 2015, 5:53 pm

    Thank you so much Allison for your work. I always come away from reading your reports with the feeling that I understand better and at more important level. You don’t have an equal in reporting th ME.

  10. annie on July 17, 2015, 6:46 pm

    i’m a big fan of allison’s reporting, as well as her personality and just about everything else. she’s a wonderful person to work with that’s for sure. as a staff member i thought it i’d wait to say that instead of hogging the top of the thread.

    and just for the record i thought i’d mention that allison, apparently intentionally, sent in a photo for this post completely obscuring her radiant beauty (truly stunning) which i am sure everyone who has ever met her can’t help noticing. that’s off the record but someone had to say it. it might as well be me.

    you’re a class act allison.

  11. justicewillprevail on July 17, 2015, 7:17 pm

    Totally agree with the headline, and the impact of Allison’s reporting. Nothing is as important as the stories of incredible hardship, but also incredible dignity, in the lives of people who could be any of us, anywhere. Reclaiming and recovering their stories from the fog and distortions of propaganda is vital, and should stand as an eloquent riposte to all those armchair warmongers, zealots who talk blithely of ‘self-defence’ and other pathetic justifications. Thanks, Allison.

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