On his excellent blog in Hebrew, Roy "Chicky" Arad points out this day's main headline of Yediot Aharonot, Israel's largest daily:
"Fire in Gaza, Blood in Sderot"
Yesterday, a volunteer from Ecuador (I've previously written Uruguay, my mistake) died at a kibbutz near Sderot from Hammas fire. The killing was tragic and indeed newsworthy - partially because of its rareness. While life in Israel's southwest has become stressful and difficult, there are seldom any victims from fire shot out of the Gaza strip. Simultaneously, In the past three days, about twenty Palestinians were killed in the besieged, impoverished and completely vulnerable Strip from IDF fire. Judging by the headline, Chicky deducts that they died without shedding any blood. How neat!
I've repremended Yediot Aharonot for their wording once before. The newspaper is printed at about 600,000 copies each day and is responsible for Israel's most popular news website. Its approach to human life at one time reflects that of the mainstream Israeli and influences it. Scores of red blooded human beings read this headline without seeing anything the matter with it.
I can say in my defence that I haven't seen the paper today, though perhaps I too have become desensitized. Chicky, a poet, a performance artist, an editor, a Tel-Aviv social catalyst and a former Eurovision star, is no mainstream Israeli. His way of looking at things is original and deliberate.
Make a sharp u-turn from the headlines and look at the sentence that opened his previous blog post: "Real swinging isn't when the guy is switched with another guy and the wife with somebody else's wife. It's when the entire couple is replaced by another couple, preferably forever." This was followed by a poem about the pleasantness of meeting a vacationing urban hot-dog vendor, then by another, dealing with checkbook stubs.
Apparently none of this goofy surrealism has anything to do with people dying and bleeding in Gaza and in Sderot, but it does. Someone who doesn't take swinging, hot-dog vendors or checkbook stubs for granted will not take cheap "fire vs. blood" talk for granted and will not be easily fed fascist manipulations. By voicing cynical boubt, he's reclaiming humanity and performing a service. Chicky informed me today. no thanks to Yedioth editor Shilo De-Beer.
Democracy is dependent on wacky artists and thinking people who look at things twice. They are so much more valuable to it then newspaper editors with little or no universal values and human integrity.