The Arab world possesses the largest number of satellite TV stations in the world, in proportion to population. Alas, the number of satellite stations does not mean the existence of any effort to present Arab causes on both the local and global level in a useful manner.
Take the second anniversary of the brutal Israeli aggression on Gaza. Arab media outlets have neither concerned themselves with the anniversary nor do they expose continuing Israeli crimes against the Palestinian people in Gaza, Hebron, Negev, Lod and Nablus; this despite the growing support of people of conscience in Turkey, Europe, Asia, South America trying to break the racist blockade.
In this framework, the return of the Mavi Marmara ship at Sultanahmet harbor in Istanbul on December 26, 2010, constituted a Palestinian event par excellence. The people of Istanbul rushed to meet the ship which had carried the martyrs of freedom, while Palestinian flags were waved everywhere. The exiled Archbishop of Jerusalem, Hilarion Capucchi, made a moving speech, particularly when he asserted his determination to see Jerusalem in his lifetime and when people repeated Allhu Akbar after him in a scene in which all religious differences disappeared for the sake of gaining freedom and dignity for the Palestinian people. This episode was not broadcast on a single Arab satellite station despite the fact that it represented the spirit of Christian ? Muslim brotherhood and constitutes a model for joint action between religions against occupation and injustice.
This coincided with a growing number of countries in South America recognizing the state of Palestine. It also coincided with the announcement of the prospective launch of the Flotilla 2 on May 31, the first anniversary of the massacre perpetrated by Israel against the unarmed civilians on the flotilla who were carrying food, medicine and wheelchairs to the handicapped in Gaza. The Spanish activists on Mavi Marmara built a memorial monument in commemoration of the nine flotilla martyrs killed, in cold blood, by Israeli soldiers in international waters. The Spanish activists are also planning to send two aid ships to break the Gaza blockade in the spring of 2011. It also coincided with the launch of the Asia 1 aid convoy organized by the Asian campaign to break the Gaza blockade. It includes 120 activists from 15 Asian countries and started from the Lattakia port in Syria on Saturday, January 1, 2011.
All these actions, which show the growing support of the free people of the world to the right of the Palestinian people to salvation from Israeli oppression, did not get the space they deserve on international media. If such crimes and many others do not find a place in Arab media, to become part of the conscience of all Arabs , how can we demand that the whole world should know about the crimes of Israeli occupation?
The Palestinian people have shown legendary steadfastness for over 63 years. They sacrifice their life and future for their country. Don’t they deserve from all of us that we tell the real story of their struggle for freedom and justice to all the free people of the world?
Bouthaina Shaaban is Political and Media Advisor at the Syrian Presidency, and former Minister of Expatriates. She is also a writer and professor at Damascus University since 1985. She has been the spokesperson for Syria and was nominated for Nobel Peace Prize in 2005. She can be reached through firstname.lastname@example.org