Thursday, May 27, 2010

Inside the Gaza Concentration Camp With Lauren Booth

Lauren Booth, British journalist, activist (and sister-in-law of Tony Blair) visited Gaza and publicly called it a concentration camp comparing it to Darfur.

In 2008, Booth sailed to Gaza on one of those Free Gaza convoys, elected to stay when the boat departed, then got stuck there when Egypt and Israel refused her entry.

Here are some photos of Lauren in Gaza (courtesy of Miggie) taken by Agence France Presse. Viewer warning: You may find some of these images disturbing.

Food is hard to find in the "concentration camp".

Getting an honorary passport from Hamas leader Ismael Haniya

But that was 2008. Let's get an update from my colleague Findalis of Monkey in the Middle:

Concentration camp? Darfur? Gimme a break.


Lance Christian Johnson said...

This is pretty shamefully disingenuous, Gary, unless you can prove that these scenes were typical of what she saw there.

Gary Fouse said...

Why don't you ask Agence France Press? (How's your French?)

If Gaza is a concentration camp, then Haniya (leader of Hamas) is the camp Komandant.

Siarlys Jenkins said...

Life is complicated, and rhetoric about "concentration camp" is definitely not helpful.

I am reminded of the period of intense famine in Ethiopia, when millions of dollars of food aid was pouring in, while the country was exporting beef and grain for foreign exchange. Several newspapers reported on the obvious incongruity.

But, it is true, particularly in a global economy, that a government has to sustain its nation, and if the people who are starving due to drought can't afford to buy the food from areas producing a surplus, especially if the government is on the hook to pay back IMF loans and foreign banks, not wishing to find itself in the position Greece is in now...

There are ways to reconfigure famine relief. For example, if relief agencies bought food inside the country (with hard currency), from areas producing a surplus, and hired unemployed people from drought-stricken areas to drive the trucks transporting it to the places it was needed... would reduce transportation costs, allow more aid money to go directly to relief, support the battered economy of the country receiving the aid in many ways, and no doubt, the food being purchased abroad to ship to the drought-stricken people could instead be sold to whoever was buying the exported beef and grain from Ethiopia!

How does this relate to Gaza? One store, that a well-heeled British political tourist can afford to shop at (as, no doubt, can Hamas functionaries), does not mean that everyone in Gaza has plentiful supplies. The conclusions to be drawn from that are multiplex, not all complementary to Hamas, nor all entirely speaking well of Israel.

Miggie said...

When I was in Israel a year ago, in March, I met some soldiers who were in Operation Cast Lead into Gaza. One showed me pictures on his cell phone of one of his platoon's objectives.
I was surprised to see that it was a beautiful villa in Gaza. I thought that they were all living in mud houses and in terrible conditions. It turns out that the objective was the house of one of the Hamas officials. Of course the Hamas officials live pretty well.
I saw some other pictures that changed my impression of the general situation there. These photos from this trip were, in fact, pretty typical of what I saw. I don't know what the overall situation is there or what it is like in other parts of Gaza but from what I saw personally, it is not as bad as it is in say, Haiti, which I can compare it to personally.

When I was there in earlier years, many Palestinians came in and worked in Israel. It was a pretty good working relationship until the suicide bombing started. Then the road blocks went up and the other defensive measures. The Israelis brought in other workers but the Palestinians never recovered the jobs they used to have in Israel.

Gary Fouse said...


Sounds like cutting off one's nose to spite one's face.

PatriotUSA said...

Gaza is far from a Concentration camp. To perpetuate this is
strictly propaganda that those
who hate Israel gladly spin.

Lance, show us these pictures
are fakes, please!

Lance Christian Johnson said...

Lance, show us these pictures
are fakes, please!

And yet again, you simply can't even understand what I'm saying. Where did I say that they were "fakes"?

Is the phrase "concentration camp" probably not the best way to describe it? Sure. But I doubt that the moments captured in these pictures are what Booth was talking about. I'm just saying that there's probably more to the story than just that.

I'm sorry, PatriotUSA, but you are simply not a very smart person. It's not because you disagree with me. Shoot, it's not even that you disagree with me, because first you'd have to even understand what I'm saying - which you clearly don't.