Saturday, January 24, 2009

The bonfire of Gaza-DEC vanities

There's an interesting little spat going on right now. The BBC has refused to provide air time for the disaster emergency committee (DEC) to do its usual appeal after a high profile humanitarian disaster for the people in Gaza.

There clearly has been a lot of suffering and need is Gaza since the Israeli attempt to stop Hamas firing missiles at its people, and Hamas' human shield policy causing so much destruction.

But then perhaps the BBC knows a little more. They know all the aid will be controlled by Hamas ( already aid lorries are being hijacked by Hamas ). Hamas supporters will get first call, and building materials are as likely to be used for military purposes as anything else.

Equally Hamas have been behaving like the Fascists many claim them to be. People suspected of being sympathetic to Israel or being Fatah supporters are being tortured, having eyes gouged out, kneecapped and summarily executed as a matter of course.

The towns of Gaza may be in the state that some of Europe was after WWII, except in their case the fascist's are still in power.

So its no longer a clear cut issue. In addition some of the aidlack;" >aid agencies have shown themselves to be a long way from impartial.

These major appeals are also major feeding times for the professionalised charities with their career charity workers and high over heads. Remember their over kill for the tsunami and for Burma ? In the current climate some who work for these charities may lose their jobs if the money doesn't start rolling soon.

Hence sending aidlack;" >aid to Gaza has a highly political and self interested element to it. And on this basis the BBC are right to block it. Though they might like to do something about some of their reporting. When they finally got into Gaza some of their bone headed reporters where going round asking people if they still supported Hamas ! I saw one man, his eyes pleading with the camera at being asked such a question - which is really just an invitation for suicide - bravely saying he had no opinion.

But all this has been manner manna from heaven for wee Dougie Alexander who can try to put Labour on side with its Muslim floating voters by demanding action etc ( which also confirms the political nature of this appeal ). Its hypocrisy from the government who really gave the green light for Israel's actions.

I suspect the BBC will cave to pressure, political pressure, which will just confirm they were right in the first place.

But what of the victims of Hamas' human shield policy in Gaza ?

My advice is to chose your charity carefully. I sent money during the fighting to one that works with the diminishing band of Christians in Gaza ( estimated to be about 3000 ) who are persecuted at the best of times.

There will be other good charities, just do your home work and avoid those like the UN who are compromised - and do give something. Because the one significant truth of all of this is that a lot of people are suffering.

Further The BBC reporting on itself here and the news that ITV and Channel 4 intend to go ahead with the DEC broadcast.

Further background:

The BBC explain their case here.
Janet Daley argues for no censorship on our news and broadcasts here.
Everywhere else people are laying into the BBC and this decision.

Except apparently Andrew Roberts of the Times who argues that the charities themselves are biased. He makes a good case that is very much worth reading.


Anonymous said...

Your analysis is as good as your spelling. Crap, in other words.

Man in a Shed said...

Anon - Feel free to try and make a point, if you have one.

Man in a Shed said...

Ah - spotted the aid/aide point.

Really if you have another view point, why not try and make it.

Anonymous said...

So you haven't spotted "manner from heaven" yet.

How exactly is Hamas going to use building materials from the DEC appeal, when the DEC says it will not be involved in reconstruction?

How will Hamas abuse the blankets the DEC charities plan to buy?

Is Hamas going to seize the food parcels and throw them at Israelis?

And how is this different from any other humanitarian disaster caused by war?

Man in a Shed said...

Nope - but of course I have now.

In short Hamas controls Gaza. They will control anything that is sent in. They already have hijacked lorries of charities and will control the distribution of food and aid to bolster their position and reassert their terrifying authority. Hence its necessary to chose your charity carefully. ( DEC offers no choice ).

The difficulty is that civilian suffering is the weapon of war in this case. On the Israeli side by strangling the economy to try to stop Hamas firing rockets at its people, on the Hamas side to get pictures of dead or suffering civilians on TV's to undermine support for Israel in the west - bringing their ultimate goal of annihilation of Israel closer.

In that context the airtime for a DEC appeal constitutes backing one of the sides and taking part in the conflict. A point the BBC seems to have understood, though I imagine it will back down under the current pressure.

Anonymous said...

Spoken like a true Tory, except your own party disagrees with you. Personally, I trust Oxfam, the Red Cross, Cafod, Christian Aid, Help the Aged etc. more than I do someone who can't spell the word "aid" and thinks that Jehovah sent "manner" to the Israelites in the Sinai.

Man in a Shed said...

Anon - you do much better when you use reason.

Personally I don't trust all the charities you listed, nor a few of the ones in DEC you didn't.

That's why I was careful with where I sent my donation.

There will be no shortage of money for Gaza ( there never has been ), there's just a shortage of people willing to do what's necessary to bring peace. [ Just look at the result for Israel of unilaterally withdrawing from Gaza. Even Israel's left now accept that doing the same in the West Bank would be national suicide. ]

All the UK political parties see the DEC issue as a way of gaining favour with the public, especially certain sections of the electorate. However, there is a very real problem of providing support for Hamas, or publicity for its use of the Palestinian peoples suffering. The BBC had this right.

The best thing would be for Arab countries at peace with Israel to take control of Gaza and give its people a genuine break from all this. But that's not going to happen.

Unfortunately Gaza will remain with Hamas and what we have seen will repeat itself. That is the true tragedy for the people there.