Words for slaughter / Pop saturation

Palestinians inspect the damage following an Israeli airstrike on the El-Remal aera in Gaza City on October 9, 2023
Palestinian News & Information Agency (Wafa)/AP [CC BY-SA 3.0] via Wikimedia Commons

Today: Arwa Mahdawi, columnist at The Guardian, and author of Strong Female Lead; and Leila Brillson, author of the newsletter Night Creeps.

Issue No. 60

How to Write About Palestine: A Guide for Confused Western Journalists
Arwa Mahdawi

The Whoa Oh Oh Feelings of Taylor Swift
Leila Brillson

How to Write About Palestine: A Guide for Confused Western Journalists

by Arwa Mahdawi

Almost twenty years ago the late Binyavanga Wainaina wrote a brilliant essay called How to Write About Africa. In light of the lily-livered way much of the Western media is covering (or rather, providing cover for) an unfolding genocide in Gaza, I’d like to proffer my own guide on How to Write About Palestine.

First, let’s define “peace.” Peace in the Middle East is when Arabs are being killed but Israelis aren’t. Arabs are used to war, you see, used to tumult. They are born with thicker skins than people in the civilized world and it’s perfectly normal for them to live wretched lives and die even more wretched deaths. Suffering is their status quo. Unless Israelis—a civilized people, who share our Western values—are also suffering, there’s no need to make much of a fuss. Two hundred thirty-four Palestinians were killed in the West Bank by Israeli forces and settlers from January 1 to October 7 2023: the deadliest year on record (until now) for Palestinians. That was “peacetime.” As everyone knows, this conflict, this violence, started on October 7, 2023, and there is absolutely no relevant history before that.

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