editor-in-chief of the independent online media “Mada Masr”, in Cairo, Lina Attalah had a lot of esteem to report the Palestinian-American channel of the Al-Jazira chain killed while she covered clashes in the West Bank.
“I was in Lebanon on Wednesday May 11, when I learned from posts from Palestinian friends the death of Shireen Abu Akleh. Then his photo was published in a loop. The suddenness of the death of this journalist Courageous and brilliant of the Al-Jazira chain, under the bullets of the Israeli occupier, when she was reporting in Jenine, deeply shocked me. She was identifiable, with her bulletproof vest with “press”. I have no doubts about the identity of those who killed her. These news absorbed my thoughts and my days.
During his funeral, in Jerusalem, Friday May 13, I was back in Cairo, stuck to my television station. Seeing Israeli security forces beat the mourning procession was another shock. What vulgarity! In the Western prism, Israel is considered the only democratic and modern state in the region, compared to an supposed lack of modernity of the Arabs. But the death of Shireen Abu Akleh and the obscenity of the police during the funeral undermine this vision.
I have anger, a feeling of helplessness and a great pain. As a journalist, I naturally identify with her, like other reporters: we work in very difficult conditions, where producing free information is dangerous. Shireen Abu Akleh was a journalist I felt and followed. It brought us closer to Palestine, from a territory to which we do not have access.
I was prohibited from entering the Palestinian territories by the Israeli authorities after having covered, on one of the boats, the action of the flotilla which tried to break the blockade of Gaza in 2011: I have was arrested and I had to sign a paper saying that I had entered illegally. And it is complicated for an Arabic, equipped with an Arab passport, to go to the territories, for logistical and security reasons: it is one of the effects of the occupation.
A throbbing refrain wants the Palestinian cause to have become marginal among the Arabs. But the shock wave caused in the region serious events, such as the death of Shireen, shows that this little music sounds false. In Egypt, his funeral was very followed. The Palestinian cause remains central, it links our destinies. This question was founder for many young people of my generation, in our commitment and our political thought.
As a journalist, the second Intifada, in 2000, introduced me to what information is, the way in which it can serve those in power. Today, I continue to write on Palestinian subjects, to make this question visible, when there are many attempts to make it invisible, in Egypt or elsewhere. The lukewarmness of the West reactions to the death of Shireen Abu Akleh does not surprise me. But that shakes me up. It is as if the principle of freedom of expression, so dear in Europe or North America, no longer counts in certain contexts, such as that of Israel and Palestine. “