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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 5/28/16

Time to End the "Hasbara": Palestinian Media and the Search for a Common Story

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In fact, a real victory for the truth would only happen when the Palestinian narrative is no longer seen as a "counter narrative" but as a sovereign story of its own, free from the confines of defensiveness and the burden of a history laden with lies and half-truths.

The only way I see that happening is when Palestinian intellectuals invest more time and effort in studying and narrating a "people's history" of Palestine, which could finally humanize the Palestinian people, and challenge the polarized perception of them as terrorists or perpetual victims. When the ordinary individual becomes the center of history, the outcomes are more relatable, more effective and poignant.

The same logic can be applied to journalism, as well. Aside from finding their common story, Palestinian journalists need to reach out to the wider world, not only to their traditional circle of dedicated friends and supporters, but to mainstream society. If people truly appreciate the truth, especially from a humanist perspective, they cannot possibly support genocide and ethnic cleansing.

And by "wider world" I am hardly referring to London, Paris and New York, but to Africa, South America, Asia and the entire South. Nations from this hemisphere can fully understand the pain and injustice of military occupation, colonization, imperialism and apartheid. I fear that the emphasis on the need to counter Israeli "hasbara" in the West has meant the allocation of a disproportionate amount of resources and energy in a few places, while ignoring the rest of the world, whose support has for long been the backbone of international solidarity. They must not be taken for granted.

The good news, however, is that Palestinians have been making great strides in the right direction, although with no thanks to the Palestinian leadership. The key, now, is to be able to unify, streamline and build on those existing efforts so that such growing solidarity translates into greater success in raising global awareness and holding Israel accountable for its occupation and violations of human rights.

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Ramzy Baroud is the Managing Editor of Middle East Eye. He is an internationally-syndicated columnist, a media consultant, an author and the founder of PalestineChronicle.com. His latest book is My Father Was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza's Untold (more...)
 

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