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Where are the dead children this time?

Posted by Richard on July 13, 2007

Have you been following the news from Lebanon? For some time now, the Lebanese army has been slugging it out with Islamofascist militias. The recent fighting has involved Sunni jihadists associated with Hamas and/or al Qaeda, not the Shi’ite Iranian proxies of Hezbollah. Here’s the latest report and photo from the AP via Fox News:

AP: "Smoke rises from artillery shell landing in refugee camp."Islamic militants fired back volleys of rockets at the Lebanese army on Friday as troops pounded the remaining suspected hideouts of the Fatah Islam fighters holed up in a Palestinian refugee camp in north Lebanon.

Regular artillery and tank fire could be seen falling on Nahr el-Bared, sending plumes of black smoke rising in the air over the refugee camp’s bullet-punctured buildings.

The story goes on to describe the rocket fire, the heavy bombardment of the “camp” on Thursday, the number of soldiers killed, and various tactical and other matters. Reuters has a similar story with similar pictures.

Reading these and other recent reports has made me wonder about some things.

The Lebanese army is fighting jihadists holed up in civilian neighborhoods, just as the Israelis did last year, and the Lebanese artillery and tank attacks seem much less restrained and precise. Why is the coverage so different? The AP story quoted above is 18 paragraphs long, and it isn’t until the 17th and 18th paragraphs that civilians are mentioned (emphasis added):

At least 60 militants and more than 20 civilians have been reported killed in the fighting, the country’s worst internal violence since the 1975-90 civil war. The camp housed more than 30,000 Palestinian refugees before the battles began.

Most of the camp’s residents already have fled, but a few thousand are thought to have stayed in their homes.

A few thousand civilians stayed? Look at the photo above and the others at the Reuters story linked above. That kind of bombardment of a densely-populated area has been going on for days. Don’t you suppose the “more than 20” reported killed is the tip of the iceberg? Why are the AP and Reuters not even bothering to provide an accurate count of the reported civilian casualties, much less an estimate of actual civilian casualties?

Why are civilian casualties barely worth noticing this summer? Last July, when Israel’s precision strikes against Hezbollah occasionally produced civilian casualties, AP and Reuters cranked out an endless series of breathless stories and photos documenting every last corpse and grieving woman. Where are the dead children and bloody shirts this time? Where is this summer’s equivalent of “green helmet man”? Why are AP and Reuters so much less interested in civilians killed by Lebanese than civilians killed by Israelis?

And one more question. Why are communities filled with 6- and 8-story apartment buildings called “refugee camps”?

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2 Responses to “Where are the dead children this time?”

  1. mothanskin said

    Your point of media bias against Israeli military actions is a valid one RG. In the effort to point out that Israel is “no angel” in the Middle East conflicts , She is at times unfairly “demonized”!

    A six story tenement slum is the same as a six block one story tenement slum. Refugees are refugees whether they are stacked on top of one another or not.

  2. RedPencil said

    Merriam Webster defines a refugee as “one that flees; especially : a person who flees to a foreign country or power to escape danger or persecution”. Since the Nahr al-Bared refugee camp was founded in 1949 for the persons displaced from Lake Hulah in northern Israel by the 1948 Israeli war of independence, by simple actuarial calculations, most of the inhabitants of this “refugee camp” are in fact not themselves refugees, regardless of the number of stories of their dwellings.

    They are instead the descendants of refugees. In some countries (say, the U.S., or Jordan) the native-born children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren of Palestinian refugees would be citizens and full members of the country of their birth, but the people who live in this refugee camp are not allowed to be Lebanese. Instead they have been kept as “refugees” to preserve a reservoir of resentment.

    In this particular “refugee camp”, resentment may not be exclusively or even primarily anti-Israel any longer. Oops?

    UNRWA on Nahr al-Bared

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