Saturday, 20 July 2024
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Gaza’s citizen journalist daily life in war

  • Many Palestinian reporters continue to work despite displacement, the death of family members, and the ever-present risk of injury and death.
  • After Hamas launched an unprecedented attack on Israeli cities and kibbutzim on October 7, killing 1,200 people and taking hundreds hostage, Alaqad began receiving calls to work as a reporter for British and French television channels, and his Instagram became a personal account of the war.
  • No international journalists are allowed into Gaza until now unless they are aligned with the Israeli military, and since Palestinian reporters are often overwhelmed by mainstream news, social media often steps in to fill the gap.

The video that made Plestia Alaqad go viral is simple but shocking. At the beginning of Israel’s attack on Gaza, he was filming a neighbor’s apartment in Gaza City as they removed the glass from the windows and took shelter inside.

But as she filmed, a series of strikes struck near the building, filling the air with dust. Alaqad didn’t flinch but her face became a mask of open-mouthed shock.

Life amidst war, bombs, and death

” I was trying to describe matters, however you can listen them now,” he stated. The video has been preferred over 200,000 times.

Looking back on the video from an embarrassing exile in Australia, Allacott, 22, is as surprised as any viewer that he didn’t react at the time.

People are surprised because I am surprised too,” he said, speaking via Zoom.Alaqad’s journey from the usage of Instagram to educate outsiders approximately each daily existence in Gaza to warfare correspondent has been quick. Before the war he worked at a marketing agency and did media training, using Instagram to photograph everyday life in the territory, posting rows of colorful parasols on the beach or sharing selfies with his friends. He says the goal is to teach his followers that there is more to Gaza than conflict and destruction.

After Hamas launched an unprecedented attack on Israeli cities and kibbutzim on October 7, killing 1,200 people and taking hundreds hostage, Alaqad began receiving calls to work as a reporter for British and French television channels, and his Instagram became a personal account of the war.

His feed was quickly filled with pictures of devastated neighborhoods and strangers sharing their food amid scarcity. Alaqad remembers standing in a tent full of corpses or walking through the rubble.

No international journalists are allowed into Gaza until now unless they are aligned with the Israeli military, and since Palestinian reporters are often overwhelmed by mainstream news, social media often steps in to fill the gap.

On the ground in Gaza, a small group of young reporters brought the war to the outside world, sharing their most intimate moments of loss and struggle with millions of viewers.

Bisan Owda, a 25-year-old filmmaker covering the attacks on Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, has 3.1 million Instagram followers on his English-language channel, while 24-year-old photographer Motaz Azaiza is famous. His eerie drone footage of devastated landscapes, 15.8 million.

Alaqad’s followers grew from 4,000 before the war to 4.2 million, and just like that, she could open every message and email she received from viewers and answer their questions.

The death toll in Gaza has surpassed 18,200, with almost no family untouched by the loss.

Sixty-three journalists and media workers have been killed in Gaza since October 7, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists. Al Jazeera bureau chief Wael al-Dahdouh lost his wife, son, daughter and grandson in an Israeli airstrike at his home. Another reporter for the community, Moamen Al Sharafi, misplaced 22 family contributors in a single assault.

Many Palestinian reporters continue to work despite displacement, the death of family members, and the ever-present risk of injury and death.

“For me, it is vital to build a dating with people to get them fascinated and invested in what is going on,” Alaqad stated. “

She often spent hours looking for somewhere to rate her cellphone or discover adequate internet coverage to upload her content material. These challenges worsened after a complete power outage and frequent communication blackouts.

For Alaqad, a turning point was the death of Belal Jadallah, the renowned head of the non-profit media group Press House-Palestine, who was killed in an Israeli airstrike on his car. Jadallah used to be an inspirational figure for a generation of Palestinian journalists, and his dying is a huge blow.

She returned her flag jacket and helmet, marked “Pressure”, to the press house, fearing they would target her, but said she “feels naked without them”.

After work, Alaqad would debate whether to sleep in the car or return to where she reported — or to her family, who had been displaced repeatedly.

Alaqad said he often wondered if it was better for them all to die together. She added: “Now I say what I was thinking out loud, it sounds crazy. How was it normal to think that way?”

45 days after learning of the destruction, Alaqad left Gaza, fearing her family’s growing pains, but she was also plagued by guilt about leaving the territory.

Owda and Azaiza recently tweeted to their followers that they fear they may not survive the coming weeks as Israeli forces advance into southern Gaza.

“Two days ago, I was on the news and I was covering the news. Now I’m refreshing, refreshing every page trying to find out anything, trying to see if my friends are alive or dead.

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