THE SWEET FRAGRANCE OF MARTYRDOM
Palestinian Media Watch Director Itamar Marcus reported in the last issue of Israel's weekly Makor Rishon:
Until recently, we have suspected that the PA was encouraging children to get killed - but a look at many clips that have been broadcast recently on Palestinian television has now supplied concrete proof of it. A new clip that was broadcast [last] week for the first time accompanies a Palestinian boy on the day he plans to die. This is a nice-looking and smiling boy of about 12 who says goodbye to his family and walks off happily, self-confidently, and purposefully to his death. Before he leaves, he even writes a parting letter to his family - but he does not give it to his father, but rather transmits it via his friends. The message here probably is not to inform one's parents, so that they will not put a stop to it. "In the background, the singer sings, 'Don't be angry, my love, and don't cry over my parting. Oh, my dear father, this martyrdom is on behalf of my land! For my land I will sacrifice myself! . How sweet is martyrdom, when I embrace you, my land! [Picture shows the boy falling on his chest] ... My beloved mother, more dear to me than anything [mother wailing], be happy over my blood, and don't cry for me! Tell my brother [the boy kisses his brother] that our souls are sacrificed for beloved Jerusalem! We don't run after wars, but we are great at them."
Marcus reports that the boy conveys a feeling of serenity throughout the clip: "The death itself is not cruel, and the boy shows no fear or resistance, he does not cry, and even the way he falls is gentle, and he hardly bleeds. His friends approach him, turn him on his face, and they are serene."
PMW also reports on the screening of clips of the "life after death" of Muhammad al-Dura, the 12-year-old Arab who was killed in crossfire near the Netzarim junction at the beginning of the current war. The boy has been made into a Palestinian hero; some 400 songs have been written about him, and the films of his death, which were internationally televised at the time, are shown dozens of times a day on Palestinian television. Information indicating that he was likely killed not by Israeli bullets but by Palestinian fire has been largely ignored. A recent clip on PA television shows him calling to other children, "I'm waving to you, not to say goodbye, but to say, 'Come follow me.'" He is portrayed after his death playing with a kite in a beautiful, green, tree-lined field; on the beach; at an amusement park; on the Temple Mount; and in a sunny field with water being sprinkled high - while sandwiched in-between are scenes of blood and Israeli Army violence. "In the background is the voice of a popular female singer, "How pleasant is the fragrance of the earth, its thirst quenched by a gush of blood flowing from a youthful body... How pleasant is the aroma of the martyrs..." The clip ends with the flashing of a caption, "Produced by the [Palestinian] Ministry of Information and Culture and the Palestinian National Fund."
Palestinian Media Watch and Itamar Marcus can be reached at "firstname.lastname@example.org".
Arutz 7 May 15 2001
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