Over 100 Journalists Killed in Less Than Three Months

Photograph Source: Paul Searle

(This is a transcript of the speech I gave on December 22nd at a vigil  for the overwhelming number of journalists who have been killed in Gaza since October 7th. It was held in front of The Oregonian headquarters, a publication that, like many mainstream media outlets, has chosen to remain silent amid the unprecedented targeting of their colleagues. At the time of the speech, 96 journalists had been confirmed dead, and tragically, that number has now surpassed 100. Each loss represents a grievous violation of international law.)

My name is Nathaniel St. Clair, and I’ve worked for CounterPunch, an independent media publication, for over a decade. And though I hesitate to call myself a journalist, I have had the privilege of editing and publishing the work of hundreds, from all over the U.S. and the world. So I’m very familiar with the kind of people who commit themselves to this indispensable profession. And wow, the gravity of their work feels more powerful than ever. It certainly seems more dangerous.

Nearly 100 journalists have been killed in less than three months in Palestine. And that’s not by accident. They aren’t collateral damage. They weren’t human shields. Most were targeted deliberately. Their offense: exposing the deceit behind the propaganda flushed out by the Israeli government, and our own government, our president, and the mainstream media, many of whom don’t function as journalists. Instead, they act like stenographers for the state, for the military-industrial complex. Which is profiting massively off of this slaughter, banking on people being uninformed and indifferent to it.

Well, real journalists are preventing that, because the real journalists are standing in defiance of power, standing in the face of the war machine, and are bravely documenting its crimes. Documenting the daily horror raining down on millions of civilians trapped on a small slice of land.

So the powerful want these journalists silenced, by any means necessary, because they are proving to be very powerful themselves. I’ve gone to many rallies for Palestine over the years, and I’ve never seen the groundswell like we are witnessing now.

I have friends who rarely want to talk about politics, now asking me all about Israel and Palestine and Gaza and the West Bank, and I ask them back “Why? Why do you care now?” It’s almost always because of a Palestinian journalist that they discovered on social media, that they liked, and who gave them their first glimpse of what is really going on.

And that’s why the Israeli military, with the blessing of the United States, has killed nearly 100 journalists. Because those snapshots of reality are gaining momentum and are reshaping public perception of this awful humanitarian crisis in ways that the powerful are unfamiliar with, and are frightened of.

So we must demand accountability for the deaths of these journalists, alongside those of countless innocents, not just as a legal obligation; but as a moral imperative.

And we must carry their work forward, to continue in their fight, wielding their pen, their keyboard, their camera, their microphone and their fearlessness in our ongoing pursuit of truth and accountability.

I’m going to finish now with a quote from a journalistic giant, I.F. Stone, who said:

“The only kinds of fights worth fighting are those you are going to lose because somebody has to fight them and lose and lose and lose… until someday, somebody who believes as you do… wins.”

I think that day, for Palestinians, is on the horizon. In large part because of the work that these brave journalists have done.

Ceasefire now. End the occupation. And never forget the people who were killed for giving us a glimpse of the truth.

(This vigil was organized by Jewish Voice for Peace Portland, Veterans for Peace Portland, PSL Portland, Empire Files, Zaytuna PNW, American Party of Labor, and International Women’s Alliance.)

Nathaniel St. Clair is CounterPunch’s photo editor, copy editor, and social media manager. You can follow him @NatStClair.