Tuesday, May 29, 2012

A Great Read from Martha Gellhorn, War Correspondent


I have taken a temporary break from blogging. Feeling mired in filth witnessing the ever increasing degradation of language employed to delegitimize Israel -- Apartheid, genocide, ethnic cleansing, police state, boycott, 'every day is Kristallnacht for the Palestinians', Nazi-like brutality, etc. -- I needed to cleanse my mind for the long road ahead.

Nicole Kidman as
Gellhorn on the front
lines of war.
But... having watched the enjoyable, if sometimes nutty, HBO production of Hemingway & Gellhorn, I was reminded of Gellhorn's extraordinary report, The Arabs of Palestine, published in The Atlantic in 1961 and wanted to share it with those who weren't aware of it. You will find in it continuous rehashing of the Palestinian narrative which Gellhorn often describes as Mad Hatter, unexpected descriptions of UNRWA welfare state conditions, a Gaza 'open-air prison' ruled by Egypt, Holocaust denial and other eternal pilars of intransigence. You will see that, although some of the actors and numbers have changed, nothing has really changed.

After reading this epic piece -- and you really should -- and given Gellhorn's apparent life-long devotion to Israel, you may wonder: who stole The Martha Gellhorn Prize for journalism? The prize, established several years after her death in 1998, has John Pilger, with whom she disagreed about Israel, on its awards committee plus other members who have, shall we say kindly, a 'critical' take on Israel. Furthermore, the award has been bestowed upon several journalists, including Robert Fisk, Patrick CockburnJulian Assange and Jonathan Cook, all of whom are bitterly hostile to Israel. It's a good question, I think.