Picking cherries from olive trees

Picking cherries from olive trees

Now comes a generation that says both #jesuischarlie and #jesuispalestine, writes Magdy Omar Yatraid Abdel Majeed.

This could be the mother of all conflicts. If so, then my generation is the child of all conflicts.

This is the facts. Any opinions expressed in the text are the responsibility of the author. If you would like to submit an article proposal, you can read how here.

One of my strongest childhood memories is when I went to work with my father right after the Gulf War. I had big eyes, big curly hair, and a little button with the flag and the title “Free Kuwait” pinned to my shirt. A father and his son on the border between Kuwait and Iraq. We stood and watched the oil fires, and I imagined them to be giant matches.

Several scary young men in Finnish hats and machine guns stood next to us, but I remember that they smiled at me with their eyes. Then they weren’t scary anymore.

I was raised by a courageous journalist with strong opinions. He never complained that this meant living in exile or the threat of death. He was allowed to write his book, and he was allowed to write freely.

Once a month, every year, my sister and I would sit down and put up blue stickers that said “A pair of planesA pair of planesPar avion is French for “by airmail.”», on the envelopes, as well as the name, address and place to which the political magazines will be sent. We gradually learned about the capitals of the Arab world, and in which countries censorship was strict, not least the names of booksellers or others who dared to accept them.

There was a whole world of news channels in Norwegian, English, Arabic and French running around the clock at that time, while the journalist in the next room sat and wrote his free opinions from a country where you wouldn’t get arrested or killed by the authorities for it. Just do it.

Surreal to read

Nearly 25 years later, just like much of the Norwegian public and A few years on the Freedom of Expression CommitteeIt’s very surreal for Rydon Kjeleng Nybo, Secretary General of the Norwegian Society of Editors, to tell you that I don’t understand the difference between news journalism and opinion journalism.

The background to all this is that I recently… VG’s (then) political editor Han Skartveit criticized Because of their clear bias towards one side in the conflict between Israel and Palestine. Not in one comment, but in every comment I’ve ever written. Out of respect (and emphasis in my case), I made a point of reading all of the (publicly available) commentary that Scartveit has written about the Middle East over the past 17 years, before I publish my criticisms.

Under the title “The war of words over media coverage reveals a lack of understanding of what journalism is.”, Published in Aftenposten on November 4, Nebo wrote the following about my criticism: “Skartveit is a political editor, and VG is so careful to distinguish between news and opinions, both in organization and publication, that Abdelmadjid does not seem to have reversed it.” above.”

OK. thank you for replying.

I have not yet shared my views on Western media’s news coverage of Israel and Palestine. On the other hand, my criticism was related to the fact that a political editor of Norway’s largest newspaper, a member of the management group and a major opinion bearer, was uncritically allowed to engage in one-sided, and very friendly to Israel, comments about such an inflamed conflict for 15 years.


At the end of last week, the letter came Scartfit retires As political editor at VG. It is very easy for the Secretary General of the Norwegian Association of Editors to dismiss the criticism Skartveit received before she left, with the critics not understanding the meaning of journalism. However, maybe I wasn’t clear enough, so I’ll try to be more specific.

“There is no single truth in the conflict between Israel and Hamas. There are many. And none of them are completely true.

This is how Scartfeit himself chose To open their answer It has been criticized as being unbalanced. I should at least be able to be more specific than this. The sentences sound very good, but the more I read them, the less I understand them. “Many facts.” “None of them are quite right.” If there’s anything that confuses news and opinion, it’s comments like these.

Scartfeit also wrote that everyone can find support for their arguments depending on which historical point they choose to enter, something she has reiterated in several comments in the past. Here I don’t understand what you mean either. Yes, it is true that there are forces that choose to enter history sooner Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans In 70, but they do not find much support outside their extremist circles. These are the same people who argue that God promised Israel to the Jews. Some also believe it all started on October 7, 2023, but few (if any) historians start anywhere other than October 7, 2023. The emergence of Zionism in the nineteenth century When they have to explain the conflict.

Unless mentioned

The fact that this conflict is extremely complex and complex (perhaps the most difficult in the world), is a recurring argument of Han Scartveit. When I studied the Middle East and North Africa at the University of Oslo, it was the civil war in Lebanon that was cited as one of the most complex wars. not this. Because the big moves are actually very simple:

Jews were persecuted in Europe. Most Those who lived in what is now known as Israel and Palestine were Palestinians. Now, their country has been annexed, occupied, or besieged. From Israel.

However, when Skartveit sums it up, it sounds completely different. in Comment “Surrounded by enemies” (May 15, 2021) It attempts to tell the story of the creation of the State of Israel in a simple way. I agree with much of what she writes, but once again she is picking the cherries from the olive trees. She writes that “Arabs, Greeks, Turks, Muslims, Christians and Jews” lived in the area until World War I, but she does not mention this. 95 percent Of those who lived in the area that is now Israel and Palestine, in the late nineteenth century, were Arabs.

When I studied the Middle East and North Africa at the University of Oslo, it was the civil war in Lebanon that was cited as one of the most complex wars. not this.

She writes that “in 1948 the United Nations agreed to create the State of Israel,” but she fails to mention that the Palestinians themselves and all Arab states were completely at odds. She writes that “one of the main demands of the Palestinian side is to allow all refugees to return,” but she does not mention the UN resolutions that actually grant them this right.

Beautification of expression

Israel has killed a hundred times more Children are more than enthusiastic He did so on October 7, in the so-called “counterattack.” According to Save the Children, the number of children killed in Gaza exceeds the number killed in armed conflicts worldwide in an entire year. UN special envoys are now convinced that, at the time of writing, the Palestinian people are at large Threat of genocide. Until now Little Scartfit The Israeli attack on Gaza is characterized by flowery phrases such as “massive response” and “disproportionate force.”

“Hamas and Israel are not equal in my moral compass,” Skartveit further wrote in his response to me. This unfortunately proves my point. She herself says she took sides.

What I didn’t understand was how many children, health workers, UN staff, journalists and other civilians Israel would kill, how many schools, hospitals, churches and mosques would be razed to the ground, how many war crimes or violations of international law, humanitarian law or human rights Israel would have to commit. You stick to it, before those two needles point in the same direction on the Scartfit compass.

Palestinians search for dead and wounded after an Israeli airstrike in Khan Yunis, southern Gaza Strip, on November 7.

Palestinians search for dead and wounded after an Israeli airstrike in Khan Yunis, southern Gaza Strip, on November 7.

Skartveit refers to Hamas and its actions as “brutality,” “extremism,” “terrorism,” and “ISIS-like.” The same strong use of words related to Israel is absent in all the comments I wrote. Regardless of what Israel did.

In a complementary textual analysis of one of Skartveit’s recent comments, published in Campanji newspaper onlineFounder Anders Wage Nielsen concluded that it “has a problematic and easy relationship with its integrity and independence”, and that it “contributes unobtrusively to confirming the narrative of military superiority”. I totally agree.

The essence of my criticism

Skartveit wrote the following in his response to my criticism, and I repeat the entire quote because Muslims in Europe have had to deal with deadly insinuations like this for more than 20 years: “I expect that Majdi, like me, witnessed the terrorist attack launched by Hamas against Israel like a bestiality. “He felt for everyone affected. I don’t know if he expressed that publicly. But I hope so.”

I Poetry the. It took me two minutes to figure that out.

Skartveit looks with great concern at “how Jews in Europe are exposed to incitement when the Middle East is on fire.” I do that too. Opinionists who fuel the idea that all Jews or all Israelis support the genocide of Palestinians are now dangerous. Implying that my views are the same as Hamas’s is equally dangerous. Both parts are troubling, but even here you only see one side.

This is the essence of the criticisms leveled against Han Scartveit.

Children from all conflicts

It is the duty of the press to critically shed light on how the media itself plays its role in society. Instead of seeing if there is any merit in my criticism, Nebo dismisses it with the fact that I don’t understand what purposeful journalism is. Like I never got a music review.

I have a deep respect for journalism and a free press. Right now, many journalists are risking their lives to show the atrocities in Gaza. Nebo writes that 33 journalists have been killed in Gaza since October 7. In comparison, 12 people were killed in the attack on Charlie Hebdo.

This could be the mother of all conflicts. If so, then my generation is the child of all conflicts.

If Nepo wants to understand the criticism, she must also consider where it comes from. Now there is a generation that says both #jesuischarlie and #jesuispalestine. A generation that does not differentiate between killing French and Arab journalists or killing Jewish and Palestinian children. We see no difference, we feel no difference, and we see no reason to refer to it differently.

This could be the mother of all conflicts. If so, then my generation is the child of all conflicts. We still have a lot to learn from the adults, but we have become very good at knowing who picks the cherries from the olive trees.

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Jabori Obasanjo

Jabori Obasanjo

"Coffee trailblazer. Certified pop culture lover. Infuriatingly humble gamer."

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