The award-winning voice of North Cobb High School in Kennesaw, Georgia.

The Chant

The award-winning voice of North Cobb High School in Kennesaw, Georgia.

The Chant

The award-winning voice of North Cobb High School in Kennesaw, Georgia.

The Chant

Why Palestinian journalists deserve recognition

Ivan Mendoza
As Americans live in the comfort of their suburban homes and listen to news broadcasters discuss Hamas and Israel, Palestinian journalists courageously showcase the massacre that innocent civilians routinely endure in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. At a time when prominent American organizations may avoid discussing the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians, listening to the journalists in Gaza remains important and Americans should amplify their voices. Although individuals may identify calls for Palestinian freedom as anti-Semitic language, exposing the reality of Palestinians constantly under attack does not convey hatred toward Jewish people.

December 6, 2023, TIME magazine revealed their Person of the Year: Taylor Swift, while their finalists included Vladimir Putin, King Charles III and even Barbie. As one of America’s widely regarded media sources, the prominent figures on their list stand as mere personalities in a year that battled natural disasters, political drama and record-breaking temperatures. As the Israel-Hamas conflict began October 2023, the courageous individuals and journalists stood on dangerous battlegrounds to share heartbreaking stories of Gaza, and became overshadowed by media who prioritized pieces of popular culture rather than showcasing the crucial Palestinian narratives.     

October 7, 2023, the Palestinian militant group Hamas attacked southern Israel, resulting in an estimated 1,200 Israeli deaths. Ever since the Hamas-directed attack, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) warplanes have carried out numerous airstrikes across the Gaza Strip. October 20, 2023, the Biden-Harris administration requested $14.3 billion in aid for Israel from Congress as part of a package that would provide security assistance for international conflicts. Ever since October 7, around 1,000 children in Gaza have lost one or both of their legs. An average of nearly 12,000 children a day have fled Gaza since Israeli authorities launched their military operations. While Americans celebrated New Year’s Day with fireworks and celebrations, innocent Palestinians became utterly traumatized by airstrikes and inhumane terror at the hands of IDF and American tax dollars. While Americans could peacefully attend hospitals without worrying about danger, the World Health Organization recently claimed that Gaza ran out of functional hospitals due to Israel targeting medical facilities. As of January 23, 2024, over 25,000 Palestinians have died in Gaza and the West Bank, while an estimated 62,000 Palestinians became wounded

Without the sheer bravery of Palestinian journalists, the aforementioned statistics would appear unbelievable to the average American. With past conflicts such as World War II and the Vietnam War, American citizens sympathized with America’s international efforts because journalists could not report facts that the military did not want disclosed to the public. In other words, a majority of American citizens believed American newspapers without questioning their beloved country or the possibility of harming other countries. CNN endured a similar circumstance in November 2023, as they reported that the IDF required media outlets to submit footage filmed in Gaza for military review. With 5.3 billion people globally using the Internet, journalism in Gaza remains important for people to become aware of issues impacting marginalized people. Palestinian journalists risk their lives to showcase the inhumane acts of Israel on innocent civilians to a worldwide audience, and Internet users can easily access videos of police and military forces enforcing violence. Journalists impact people’s lives in a plethora of ways, and stories and photojournalism can illustrate the unfathomable conditions of oppressed people.

Motaz Azaiza stands out as an exemplary journalist who documents the struggles of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. Before October 7, he dedicated his Instagram page to photography with colorful and breathtaking pictures of Gazans and their environment. As the IDF continued to escalate with its airstrikes and artillery, the trajectory of Azaiza’s career changed drastically. His page now consists of photos of innocent civilians trapped under rubble, brutal depictions of dead people and severely injured children. As American students and teachers walk through hallways and wait for the school day to end, Azaiza and several other journalists trek past bombed buildings with blue helmets and bulletproof vests marked with the word “PRESS.” As prominent news organizations such as Fox News continue to categorize the Israel-Gaza conflict as a war, the 24-year-old photographer watches his unarmed friends become martyrs at the hands of IDF soldiers. While popular men’s magazine GQ Middle East named Azaiza as their Man Of The Year, Americans turn a blind eye to the fearlessness of Palestinian journalists.   

Palestinian filmmaker and journalist Bisan Owda also deserves the spotlight for her courage. With an Instagram page of over four million followers, she curates several videos where she follows the lives of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. In one video, she asked several Gazans about their worst moments in the previous months of relentless bombing while in another video, Gazan children talk about their New Year’s Resolutions. Journalists such as Azaiza and Owda powerfully portray the lifestyle of Palestinians showing that each life lost in the IDF’s ethnic cleansing acquired hopes and dreams. Owda has persistently called for a ceasefire on Palestinian-occupied land, and she hopes that people can participate in a global strike while advocating for dehumanized Palestinians.  

The Israel-Palestine conflict has brought out unlikely individuals living within the Gaza Strip to showcase their war-torn reality, displaying the urgency to report the atrocities committed against civilians. A 17-year-old teenager, under the name of Abboud on Tiktok, documents his life within Gaza and provides rare insight into the latest events happening on the ground. Through his light-hearted reporting, he showcases childish antics but still captures the seriousness of the danger, a somber reminder of a childhood replaced with experiences of constant destruction and hardship. Instead of enjoying the innocence of childhood, Palestinian children became exposed to death and destruction even as Gaza remains under constant siege. At only nine years old, another young journalist began to capture the scene in Gaza, amassing over 760,000 followers on Instagram. Using her mother’s cellphone, Lama Abu Jamous uploaded videos of first-person narratives and her interviews with Palestinians to show the dire situation happening within the battered battleground. As expected, formative years allow a child to slowly understand the world around them and remain naive to the true nature of the world. However, these children play the role of reporting the world around them and advocating for freedom, releasing them from the conventional expectation. These unconventional reporters choose to document the cruel nature of the Israeli government, while not allowing the loss of their childhood to block their voice of the atrocities committed against them. 

“I think it’s really impressive to see young journalists reporting on important issues like the situation in Gaza. It shows that even at a young age, they have a passion for storytelling and a desire to make a difference. It also highlights the impact of conflicts on civilians, including children, and the importance of sharing their experiences. It’s inspiring to see their bravery and dedication,” junior Ayah Abdallah said. 

Journalists criticizing the actions of the Israeli government and calling for Palestinian freedom have received backlash over their comments, arguing their critiques fed into anti-Semitism—a prejudice or hatred against Jewish people. Calls for Palestinian freedom and anti-Semitism intertwined, developing synonymous notions toward one another. Individuals have cited that revealing and criticizing the crimes committed by the Israeli government aligns with anti-Semitism sentiment and should face continued condemnation and censoring. To stray away from a reputation of the possibility of spreading anti-Semitic language, media sources have chosen to align with the reasoning for censorship. Palestinian commentators remain absent from newsrooms after criticizing the actions of the Israeli government and sharing the narratives of Palestinian oppression that has carried on for years. Since the attack, reporting the horrific events happening in the Gaza Strip does not inherently flaunt hatred for the Jewish population, it allows people from around the world to witness the harsh reality imposed on innocent civilians by the Israeli government. Showcasing the experiences within the besieged strip highlights the experiences of the people living there and the inhumane conditions they live under. Identifying coverage of violence against Palestinians as anti-Semitic works to erase the people who endure it and hides Israeli leaders as the real perpetrators of this Palestinian genocide.

October 27, 2023, the IDF told news agencies that it could not guarantee the safety of journalists and blocked international journalists from entering the Gaza Strip. As of January 23, at least 83 journalists have died: 76 Palestinian, four Israeli, and three Lebanese. Independent news organizations such as Al Jazeera claimed that at least 100 journalists have died since Israeli attacks began. As Israeli forces refused to stop their attacks, Azaiza evacuated the enclave January 23 after months of documenting the conflict on social media. Although reporters of The Chant write in the comfort of their office and NC students do not worry about airstrikes, students live in a time period where social media activism can provide change and reform. Although prominent organizations such as TIME will highlight celebrities over heroic journalists, American students, teachers and citizens can protest against the IDF and America’s involvement in the conflict. Americans can either protest on the streets or participate in the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement to showcase support for Palestinians and the journalists who document their lives. Americans live in a time period of intersectionality, where marginalized people across the world share similar experiences of discrimination and oppressed Americans can amplify the voices of Palestinians. 

“I might not be fully informed through doing my own research, but I know that Palestinian journalists are genuinely risking their own lives to inform the world about what the Israel-Palestine conflict really entails. The number of posts we’ve seen developing off on the conflict proves that this really isn’t a conflict, but that this is a genocide. I think you should spread awareness and pressure companies and our government to end this, and if we get enough people we may be able to end this,” magnet senior Divano Agassi said. 

Free Palestine! 

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributors
Ivan Mendoza
Ivan Mendoza, Page Editor
Ivan Mendoza is a senior at NC and has been a part of The Chant staff since 2022. Since his adolescence, he always pursued reading and writing and felt that The Chant provided the perfect outlet for him to write about whatever he wanted. From music reviews to thorough investigations to award-winning documentaries, Mendoza is not afraid to expose his thoughts and opinions on the world around him. Whenever he’s not writing for The Chant, Mendoza is either filming a video, biking or wasting his entire paycheck on amazing novels, memoirs or superb vinyls. Find him on Instagram at @ivans.interludes.  
Rose Ordonio
Rose Ordonio, Page Editor
Rose Ordonio, a senior at NC, is a returning member of The Chant. She hopes to continue writing about developing topics around the world, showcase her opinions and get involved in the Kennesaw community. She enjoys plants and is involved in NC's environmental clubs. Outside of school, she loves watching her favorite dramas, going out with her friends, and watching games from her hometown baseball team: the Atlanta Braves. Ordonio plans to study public relations in college and pursue journalism.    

Comments (0)

To provide a comment on a story, you must include a valid first and last name. If you do not include both a first and a last name, The Chant reserves the right to not post your comment.
All The Chant Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *