Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Talk About 'Tunnel Vision"

From The Globe and Mail:
In Gaza, tunnel vision staves off starvation

Say what you will about them, the people of Gaza are survivors. No matter what gets thrown at them, they find a way to get around it.

Just look at the tunnels at the south end of the Gaza Strip. First developed when Israel began restricting supplies into Gaza almost three years ago, these remarkable passageways are burrowed down in the ground 10, 15 or even 20 metres. They then proceed some 500 metres or more under the border with Egypt, before coming up again, somewhere, on the other side.

And what began as a handful of tunnels, to get around restrictions imposed when Palestinians elected a Hamas government in 2006, grew in number along with the restrictions, until today, there are hundreds of them.
The article seems to go to great lengths to make sure the read knows that the purpose of the tunnels is to provide needed supplies for the people of Gaza in the face of Israeli restrictions.

It is not till a couple of paragraphs later that the article revises itself:
Controlled by Hamas, which takes a percentage, the tunnels tend to specialize. The earliest were used to bring in weapons; more recently they get around Israel's siege of Gaza.
After clarifying the point that the primary use of the tunnels is for weapons, the article clarifies a larger point, debunking one of the more popular myths about Gaza:
Reports that as many as 50 per cent of children are suffering from malnutrition are exaggerations, says Khaled Abdel Shaafi, director the United Nations Development Program.

"This is not a humanitarian crisis," he said. "It's an economic crisis, a political crisis, but it's not a humanitarian crisis. People aren't starving."
After seeing the media obediently follow the Hamas line, providing pictures of Gazans in candlelit rooms in midday with the sun shining in--it's good to see that there is some attempt to keep the story in Gaza straight.

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