February 16, 2016

HABR | No Rest in Peace

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Every day, tragedy is televised from around the world, saturating the news with graphic images of death. It seems, however, that the respect shown to those who have died is contingent upon who they are and where they are from. Death is said to be the great equalizer, but that is certainly not true. Even after death, the way people’s bodies are treated and the way their deaths are portrayed drastically differs depending on who they are. Some people are remembered in thought, while others have their lifeless corpses splayed on television screens. Vivid images of death and gore repeat and circulate with the hourly news. I wonder why this difference exists: why is it that non-white bodies are shown gratuitously after a tragedy, yet the bodies of white Europeans and Americans are never shown, as the media chooses to focus on vigils and tributes instead?

Is it because we just don’t need to see their deaths to feel sadness and pain? Do we place more importance on certain lives than we do others? If just announcing the death of a white American or European has an equivalent (or even stronger) effect as showing a picture of a dead body of someone else, it is clear that white lives are valued more by the media and the world. The deaths of white people are less abstract and are felt more immediately. People feel pain at the knowledge that innocent lives were lost — they do not need to see the mangled remains and physical evidence of death to feel something. This sympathy, however, does not extend to others. Why did it take a picture of a drowned toddler’s body circulating on the Internet to awaken people to the migrant crisis that had been happening for years? Thousands of Aylan Kurdis died unnoticed — easily dismissed because the idea of a Syrian child dying alone was not enough to provoke a visceral reaction. There had been no mass movements, no political pressure, or public discussion about accepting refugees prior to this visual reminder of death.  The deaths of non-white or Western people are often treated as a given, and their lives and deaths are distanced and treated clinically. When certain demographics’ lives are less valued, it takes gore, shock and violence for people to feel.

Is it because only certain groups are entitled to a peaceful death? People of color are exploited even after their deaths. Universal human rights such as privacy and dignity are violated when their dead bodies are sprawled across screens as spectacle for the public to consume. When in 2013, it was discovered that Bashar Al Assad had been using chemical weapons to kill civilians, subsequent news coverage included pictures of rows and rows of dead bodies lying on the ground, their lifeless faces identifiable in full view. Adults and children whose lives were stolen had their peace and dignity stolen too as the world ate up their bodies with its eyes, showing no respect to their lives or identities.

After natural disasters around the world, we see bodies being pulled out of rubble, unburied and mangled. People of color are not given the liberty of dying in peace — their bodies are not given to their families, but are shared with the world in the most heinous way. They serve as shock factor and clickbait. White people, on the other hand, are respected; their bodies are never shown on the screens and used to suck in viewers. Instead, tributes to their deaths are shown. The news focuses on people paying their respects.

Or do these images serve as a reminder? In an act of violence, images of death are repeated, inflicting trauma, to remind certain people just how little their lives are valued and to serve as implicit threat. Communities are not left to mourn in peace; instead they are constantly reminded of the pain and loss of what has been ripped away. When white people in America are shot, videos of their deaths are not publicized. Yet when black men are murdered by police, looping videos of their deaths replay on the news, proving they are respected neither in life nor after death. Mothers have to watch their sons and daughters die over and over again, the traumatic footage disrupting efforts to heal. Black communities constantly are subjected to reminders of this violence, reminding them just how easy it is for these acts of violence to happen — that it could be them next.

All these factors are complex; too complex to unpack in a short column, but they all come into play and contribute to a certain outcome: Non-white and non-Western people are constantly dehumanized. Their deaths become stories and statistics the world is numb to. Race, socioeconomic status and artificial borders affect the respect people are given. Well-meaning statements that react to violence such as “I can’t believe this could happen in America, not Iraq or Palestine” further normalize violence and dehumanize victims (both here and abroad), even without meaning to.

Respect is shown through what is depicted — calm vigils and silent mourning — and through what is not: bodies of the deceased are given privacy and family members are left alone to mourn and heal. No such respect is extended to many. We see gruesome and sickening pictures of their deaths, we become numb to the problems that cause these tragedies, and we ignore them, because when death and injustice are just a picture, and not a thought, making the problem go away is as easy as just changing the channel.

9 thoughts on “HABR | No Rest in Peace

  1. What is really disturbing is that Katy apparently believes what she writes. Let’s hope this foolishness is not the result of a Cornell education.

  2. I find this grossly offensive. I don’t remember seeing the bodies of police violence victims across every newspaper, so it is not simply a matter of people of color vs white people.

    And when it comes to Syria, those bodies were shown because they were the evidence of chemical weapons, the evidence that we all knew meant war. It was essential that people saw the proof that would lead to military action.

    This farcical construction of “a peaceful death” is bad discourse for the sake of bad discourse. We see bodies because we need to see the stark realities of the situation, because we need to care. We see them because we may be called to act on them. Not showing them would accomplish nothing.

    You clearly don’t know the history of this. Showing bodies and realities during Vietnam showed people the true cost of war, turning popular sentiment away from the conflict more than the bland pentagon statistics about “number of enemy killed.”

    I am deeply saddened that the rhetoric of today is being used for such a flawed point.

    • Also, you should think back to September Eleventh, when the falling of the towers was shown again and again, even though it affected white people as well.

  3. Katy writes another article that tells us more about her skewed (and prejudicial) perception of the world, than it tells us about reality. She writes:

    ” I wonder why this difference exists: why is it that non-white bodies are shown gratuitously after a tragedy, yet the bodies of white Europeans and Americans are never shown, as the media chooses to focus on vigils and tributes instead?”

    And when she starts with a premise as factually incorrect as this one is then it’s not surprising the balance of her article is as fanciful as it is.

  4. Katy writes, “Thousands of Aylan Kurdis died unnoticed — easily dismissed because the idea of a Syrian child dying alone was not enough to provoke a visceral reaction. There had been no mass movements, no political pressure, or public discussion about accepting refugees prior to this visual reminder of death. The deaths of non-white or Western people are often treated as a given, and their lives and deaths are distanced and treated clinically. When certain demographics’ lives are less valued, it takes gore, shock and violence for people to feel.”
    +++
    Katy, tell us what you think about Palestinians who glorify people who kill Jewish pregnant mothers? Why is it you always point your finger at white people for supposed crimes that your own brothers and sisters are guilty of?

    When Palestinians kill women and children the have streets named after them. When Palestinians slit the throats of three month old babies – and make no mistake about it this did happen – they are called heroes.

    Katy, you have a lot of gall with your never-ending articles accusing white people of indifference or cruelty or this-or-that, when it is your own people who are truly guilty of this sham accusations.

  5. Names of schools in the PA
    The Palestinian Authority transmits ideological messages through the names it gives to ‎its schools. ‎

    PMW has found dozens of PA Ministry of Education schools named after terrorists, ‎thereby presenting murderers who targeted civilians as role models for Palestinian ‎children. Three schools are named after the terrorist who led the most lethal terror ‎attack in Israel’s history in which 12 children and 25 adults were murdered. Names of ‎other schools glorify Martyrdom, and even one is named after a notorious Hitler ‎associate and Nazi war criminal responsible for the deaths of thousands. Children in ‎such schools interviewed on PA TV have explained that studying in schools named ‎after terrorists turned the terrorists into role models for the students who want to “reach ‎the level” of the terrorist their school is named after. ‎[Official PA TV, March 27, 2014]‎

    The most common school name PMW has found is the name Al-Khansa – with at least ‎‎8 schools given her name. Al-Khansa is the honored mother of Islamic tradition ‎because she expressed joy over the Shahada (Martyrdom) deaths of her four children.‎ A PA schoolbook for Grade 8, explains her importance this way:
    ‎ ‎
    ‎“Al-Khansa witnessed the Battle of Al-Qadisiyah with her four sons. She urged them to ‎fight… They fought until all of them fell as Shahids. When the news reached her she ‎said, ‘Praise Allah who has honored me by their Shahada.’”
    ‎[Reading and Texts Part II, Grade 8, p. 13]‎

    Al-Khansa’s celebration of her four sons’ deaths makes her a perfect role model for ‎Palestinian girls, as Palestinian society has chosen to teach that death is a greater ‎value than life.‎

    One example of this teaching is in Palestinian Authority schoolbook for 13 year-olds ‎that teach children:
    ‎ ‎
    ‎“Your enemies seek life while you seek death.”
    ‎[Reading and Texts Part II, Grade 8, p. 16]‎

    Lastly, many schools are named after Israeli cities. The PA frequently presents Israeli ‎cities as if they are Palestinian cities.

    The following are some examples of schools named after terrorists, Martyrs, and Israeli ‎cities:‎
    PA Ministry of Education opposes changing name of school named after terrorist
    Source: Ma’an, independent Palestinian news agency, Aug. 26, 2015
    Headline: “Saidam: ‘Kanafani is a national figure, and the affront to prominent people and symbols is offensive”
    “Minister of Education and Higher Education Sabri Saidam emphasized that national symbols must not be denigrated in any way, and that the naming of schools and changes are the responsibility of the Minister of Education, by a direct decision of the Ministry or the Name Committee. Saidam stated today [Aug. 26, 2015] in an interview with Radio ‘Mawtini’ (radio station of Fatah’s Information and Culture Commission -Ed.): ‘It is regretful that Hamas changed the name of the Rafah school that was named after Ghassan Kanafani. A notice was published in Gaza, according to which this didn’t happen, however published documents clarify that this indeed did happen…’
    Saidam stated: ‘The Fatah movement opposes the change [of name] of the street named after Martyr (Shahid) Ahmed Yassin, as our ethics and principles do not allow us [to do this], for how can a Palestinian harm national figures of prominence and Martyr leaders?'”
    Click to view bulletin

    Ghassan Kanafani – was a leader and spokesman of the terror organization the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).

    Sheikh Ahmed Yassin – Founder and former head of the terrorist organization Hamas. The Hamas movement is responsible for numerous terror attacks and the deaths of hundreds of Israeli civilians.

    PA Ministry of Education, responsible for school names, refuses to change name of school named after terrorist
    Source: WAFA, official PA news agency, Aug. 25, 2015
    Headline: “The Ministry of Education and Higher Education: ‘Naming or changing the names of schools is under the authority of the Minister'”
    “The [PA] Ministry of Education and Higher Education emphasized that naming state schools is under the authority of the Minister alone, and he does not know of any name change in any of his schools in the Gaza Strip.
    In a press release this evening (Tuesday) [Aug. 25, 2015] it said: ‘The Ministry, which names its schools after one of the Martyrs (Shahids) at the beginning of the school year, did not and will not agree to change the name of a school named after a Martyr as prominent as Ghassan Kanafani.”
    Click to view bulletin

    Ghassan Kanafani – was a leader and spokesman of the terror organization the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).

    PMW education report includes detailed chapter on schools named after terrorists
    Source: PMW, Sept. 1, 2015
    Palestinian Media Watch’s comprehensive report on Palestinian Authority education ‎was presented at the 7th World Congress of Education International (EI), the ‎international organization of teachers’ unions, on July 21-26, 2015. ‎
    PMW was invited by the Association of Secondary School Teachers in Israel, after the ‎association was notified that the congress, which brought together nearly 2,000 ‎teachers and educators from all over the world, planned to vote on several anti-Israel ‎resolutions that included calls for boycott of Israel and support for BDS. The ‎resolutions did not pass, due in large part to PMW efforts.‎
    The first chapter of the report examines names of PA schools and exposes 25 schools ‎named after terrorists. For example, three schools are named after Dalal Mughrabi, ‎who led a bus hijacking in 1978 in which 37 civilians were killed, 12 of them children. ‎Three schools are also named after Abu Jihad, who planned the 1978 bus hijacking ‎that killed 37. ‎And another three schools are named after Salah Khalaf, who planned the murder of 11 Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics (Sept. 5, 1972), and the murder of two American in Sudan (March 1, 1973).
    Click to view full report

    School named after Nazi collaborator Amin Al-Husseini
    Source: PMW, Aug. 2, 2015
    Amin Al-Husseini was the Grand ‎Mufti of Jerusalem at the time of the ‎British Mandate. During World War ‎II he moved to Berlin, was a Nazi ‎collaborator and associate of Hitler. ‎Al-Husseini was on Yugoslovia’s ‎list of wanted war criminals, and ‎was responsible for a Muslim SS ‎division that murdered thousands ‎of Serbs and Croats. When the ‎Nazis offered to free some Jewish ‎children Al-Husseini fought against ‎their release and 5000 children ‎were sent to the gas chambers.‎

    The Amin Al-Husseini Elementary School – El-Bireh ‎

    Boys’ school named after Hamas terror leader Ahmed Yassin
    Source: PMW, Aug. 2, 2015
    Ahmed Yassin was founder of the Hamas terror organization and its leader during its ‎suicide terror campaign. He was responsible for numerous terror attacks and deaths of ‎hundreds of civilians in suicide bombings. ‎

    The Martyr Ahmed Yassin School for Boys – Jenin

    Girls’ school named after Hamas bomb builder Nash’at Abu Jabara
    Source: PMW, Aug. 2, 2015
    Nash’at Abu Jabara was a member of Hamas and a bomb builder. He built suicide belts ‎used by suicide bombers involved in numerous terrorists attacks against Israeli civilians. ‎

    The Martyr Nash’at Abu Jabara High School for Girls – Tulkarem

    Two schools named after Munich Olympics Massacre planner Ali Hassan Salameh
    Source: PMW, Aug. 2, 2015
    Ali Hassan Salameh was the commander of operations of the Black September terror ‎group. He planned many terror attacks, including the attack on the Israeli team at the ‎Munich Olympics in 1972, in which 11 Israeli athletes were murdered.‎

    1. The Ali Hassan Salameh Elementary School – Gaza
    ‎2. The Hassan Salameh Junior High School for Girls – Gaza
    3. The Martyr Ali Hassan Salameh Sports Auditorium, at the Martyrs of Nuseirat High ‎School for Boys – Gaza

    Two schools named after Mustafa Hafez
    Source: PMW, Aug. 2, 2015
    Mustafa Hafez was an officer in the Egyptian army who organized terror squads and sent ‎the terrorists across the border to attack Israeli civilians in the 1950’s. ‎

    1. The Mustafa Hafez Elementary School for Boys – Khan Younis
    2. The Mustafa Hafez School – Gaza ‎

    Schools named after Shadia Abu Ghazaleh
    Source: Official Palestinian Authority TV, Dec. 9, 2013
    Shadia Abu Ghazaleh was active in the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) terror organization and was involved in many attacks against Israel. While she was preparing a bomb for an attack in Tel Aviv in 1968, it accidentally detonated and killed her.

    1. Shadia Abu Ghazaleh High School for Girls – Jabalia, Gaza Strip

    A sign on the wall of the school reveals that the school belongs to the PA:
    “The Palestinian National Authority
    The Ministry of Education and Higher Education
    The Northern Gaza Education Administration
    The Shadia Abu Ghazaleh High School for Girls”

    2. The Shadia Abu Ghazalah High School for Boys – Jabalia, Gaza Strip
    Click to view bulletin
    Click to view video

    Girls’ high school named after Abu Ali Iyad
    Source: Official PA daily, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Dec. 1, 2013
    Abu Ali Iyad was appointed head of Fatah military operations in 1966 and was responsible for several terror attacks. The attacks included a bombing in the town of Beit Yosef in northern Israel on April 25, 1966 (injuring 3 people), and placing bombs in the town of Margaliot in northern Israel on July 19, 1966. He was killed in 1971 in Jordan by the Jordanian army when it forced Fatah members out of the country.

    The Abu Ali Iyad High School for Girls – Qalqilya

    Two schools named after terrorist Abu Ali Mustafa
    Source: Official Palestinian Authority TV, Aug. 26, 2012
    Abu Ali Mustafa was the General Secretary of the terror organization Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). The PFLP, which rejected the Oslo Accords (1993), planned and carried out numerous terror attacks against Israeli civilians since its founding in 1967 and throughout the Palestinian terror campaign between 2000- 2005 (the Intifada).

    1. The Abu Ali Mustafa Elementary School for Boys– Arabe, Jenin
    2. The Abu Ali Mustafa Elementary School for Girls – Arabe, Jenin

    Note: The school in Jenin named after Abu Ali Mustafa was most recently mentioned in a PA TV broadcast on Aug 26, 2012 and on June 29, 2012. It was also cited in the official PA daily on July 8, 2009 and Oct. 2, 2003.

    Three schools and a college named after terrorist Abu Jihad
    Source: Official PA daily, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Oct. 21, 2009
    Abu Jihad (Khalil Al-Wazir) was a founder of Fatah and deputy to Yasser Arafat. He headed the PLO terror organization’s military wing and planned many deadly Fatah terror attacks, including the most lethal in Israeli history, the hijacking of a bus and killing of 37 civilians, 12 of them children.

    1. The Abu Jihad High School for Boys – Arabe, Jenin
    2. The Martyr (Shahid) Khalil Al-Wazir Elementary School for Boys – Samu’a, Hebron
    3. The Martyr (Shahid) Khalil Al-Wazir Elementary School for Boys – Al-Yamun, Jenin
    4. The Martyr (Shahid) Abu Jihad College – Ramallah

    Text on sign: “The Palestinian Authority
    Ministry of Education and Higher Education –
    Administration of Education and Teaching – Jenin
    The Martyr (Shahid) Khalil Al-Wazir Boys’ school”
    Note: Three of the above schools were cited in the official PA daily, the first on July 8, 2009, the second on Oct. 21, 2009, and the fourth on Dec. 20, 2012. The third school was mentioned and shown on PA TV on May 5, 2013 (pictured above).

  6. Three schools named after terrorist Abu Iyad (Salah Khalaf)
    Source: Official PA daily, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, July 8, 2009
    Abu Iyad (Salakh Khalaf) was a founder of Fatah and head of the terror organization Black September. Attacks he planned included the murder of two American diplomats (March 1, 1973), as well as the murders of 11 Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics (Sept. 5, 1972).

    1. The Salah Khalaf Junior High School – Gaza
    2. The Martyr (Shahid) Abu Iyad School – Rafah
    3. The Martyr (Shahid) Salah Khalaf Boys’ Elementary School – Gaza

    Schools named after other terrorists
    Source: Official PA daily, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, July 8, 2009
    Osama Al-Najjar – Spokesperson of the “Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades,” the military wing of the Fatah during the PA terror campaign (the “Intifada,” 2000-2005)
    The Martyr Osama Al-Najjar School – Khan Yunes

    Kamal Adwan – A senior Fatah leader in the Sixties. Was in charge for the Fatah terror attacks in Israel:
    The Kamal Adwan High School for Boys – Tel Al-Sultan, Rafah

    Saa’d Sayel was a senior Fatah commander, who led the Palestinian terrorist forces which fought in Lebanon during early 1980s:
    The Martyr Saa’d Sayel Elementary School for Boys– Nablus

    Izzat Abu Al-Rubb was a Fatah military leader who participated in a number of terror ‎attacks against Israel. ‎
    The Martyr Izzat Abu Al-Rubb High School – Jenin

    Sheikh Izz A-Din Al-Qassam, an influential Islamic preacher in British Mandate Palestine during the 1930s. He led a Muslim terror group.
    The Hamas terror wing is named after him – the Izz A-Din Al-Qassam Brigades:
    1. The Martyr Izz A-Din Al-Qassam High School for Boys – Yaa’bad
    2. The Martyr Izz A-Din [Al-Qassam]” Elementary School – Jenin

    Eight schools named after Al-Khansa, the “Mother of Martyrs”
    Source: Palestinian Schools, July 8, 2009
    Al-Khansa was an Arab woman and poet from the earliest period of Islam (7th century). She is honored in Islamic tradition for sending her four sons to battle and rejoicing when they all died as Martyrs. She has been lauded by the PA and often presented as a role model for mothers. The PA has named eight schools after her:

    1. The Al-Khansa Girls’ Elementary School – Bethlehem
    2. The Al-Khansa Girls’ Elementary School – Jenin
    3. The Al-Khansa Girls’ Elementary School – Nablus
    4. The Al-Khansa Girls’ Elementary School – Han Yunis
    5. The Al-Khansa Girls’ Elementary School – Rafah
    6. The Al-Khansa Girls’ High School – Absan Al-Kabira
    7. The “Mother of the Martyrs [Al-Khansa]” Boys’ School – Nahalyn
    8. The Al-Khansa Girls’ Elementary School – Yatta Municipality

    Schools named after Martyrs
    Source: Palestinian Schools, July 8, 2009
    1. The Martyrs of Al-Zaytoon Elementary School for Boys – Gaza
    2. The Martyrs of Al-Montar Elementary School for Girls – Gaza
    3. The Martyrs of Gaza Elementary School for Boys – Gaza
    4. The Martyrs of Shiek Radwan Elementary School for Boys – Gaza
    5. The Martyrs of Al-Shati High School for Boys – Shati refugee camp, Gaza
    6. The Martyrs of Rafah High School for Boys – Rafah refugee camp
    7. The Martyrs of Khan Yunes Co-ed Elementary School – Khan Yunes
    8. The Martyrs of Dir Al-Balah High School for Girls – Dir Al-Balah
    9. The Martyrs of H’zaa School – H’zaa
    10. The Martyrs of Bany-Sohila High School for Girls – Bany-Sohila
    11. The Martyrs of Al-Maraz School – Al-Marazi, central camps
    12. The Martyrs of Jibalya High School – Jibalya
    13. The Martyrs of Al-Aqsa Intifada School for Girls – Yata, Hebron
    14. The Martyrs of Dora School for Girls – Dora
    15. The Martyrs of Sorif Elementary School – Sorif
    16. The Martyrs Elementary School for Boys – Anabta, Tol Karam
    17. The Martyrs of Kitna High School for Boys – Kitna
    18. The Martyrs of Hizma Elementary School – Hizma, Jerusalem
    19. The Martyrs of Silwad High School for Boys – Silwad, Jerusalem
    20. The Martyrs of Al-Aqsa Intifada School for Girls – Qalqilya
    21. The Martyrs of Al-Aqsa School – Qalqilya
    22. The “Martyrs” Elementary School – Qalqilya

  7. I believe Sennels is describing Katy here and Katy’s article is a clear example of this…

    “As Nikolai Sennels said, a Muslim never sees himself as the cause of his own actions. It is all external reality and everything is the will of Allah or the fault of the Big Bad Infidel. Hence the eternal victimhood status, the rage, the search for external culprits, hence the jihad. You can’t expect anything else from people who are incapable of taking a long hard look at themselves and who have been told since the cradle that this look is only reserved for the infidels.”

  8. Pingback: HABR | No Rest in Peace | The Cornell Daily Sun - PeaceWords.Us

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