July 10, 2014

The Latest Israel/Hamas Missile War: Fear at the Beach

Reuters has two slideshows up right now on the latest Israel/Hamas missile war. One slideshow is titled “Sirens in Israel” and primarily depicts scenes across Israel in response to air raids as Hamas rockets demonstrate increasingly greater range. The second one, “Airstrikes in Gaza,” is a more familiar and gritty alternation between images of havoc and destruction wreaked on Gaza and images of fear, preparation and examples of sporadic damage in different Israeli communities. The photo above happens to be in both of them.

Why did I choose out this picture from Tel Aviv from the hundreds circulating yesterday to represent the hostilities? If the “Airstrikes in Israel” slideshow strongly prompts for comparison, I’m wondering how much that really happens versus how much those on each side primarily absorb and identify with the images most sympathetic to them.

If you are open to the comparison, the photo above and others like it can’t help but speak to “who’s on top.” Again, there are those who, looking at this photo, would more purely react to the shattering of normalcy, innocence and repose one would otherwise grant any kid on a sandy beach in the summertime. On the other hand, there are the trappings to be accounted for, the background — far from being confused with Gaza — having the feeling of a resort. And as for the child-surfers, only one of the two seemed unsettled at all.  Seeing this kid scan the sky, the surf lesson cancelled after the Israel missile defense system eliminated a Hamas rocket, the phrase that came to mind was: trouble in paradise.

(photo: Finbarr O’Reilly/Reuters. caption: Boys carry their surf boards ashore after their lesson was cancelled following a mid-air explosion from a rocket which was intercepted by the Iron Dome defense system, in Tel Aviv July 9, 2014.)

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Michael Shaw
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