AFP And The Samer Ol’ Bias

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AFP is running a story picked up all over the place, about Gazans heading to the cinema.

Titled One night only: Gazans head to the cinema for first time in 30 years, the piece does place the blame for a lack of cinema primarily on the shoulders of Islamists and Hamas..but wastes no time in trying to vilify Israel.

Several hundred Gazans went to the cinema on Saturday for the first time in more than 30 years, albeit for one night only.

The long-abandoned Samer Cinema in Gaza City, the oldest in the strip but closed for decades, hosted a special screening of a film about Palestinians in Israeli prisons.

About 300 people of both sexes attended, with men and women not segregated by gender and despite the lack of air conditioning on a hot and humid evening.

The Islamist Hamas group has ruled Gaza for 10 years and there are currently no functioning cinemas in the Palestinian territory where two million people live in cramped conditions under an Israeli blockade.

Ghada Salmi, an organiser, told AFP the one-night showing was “symbolic” of wider efforts “to bring back the idea of cinema to Gaza”.

Jawdat abu Ramadan, a member of the audience, said he wanted to see a permanent cinema in Gaza.

“We need to live like humans, with cinemas, public spaces and parks,” he said.

Let me just stop there. This is a quote included by AFP without any fact checking whatsoever. Because had someone looked into it, they’d realize it is a lie. Gazans can live like humans, with public spaces, parks and more.

Heck, the AFP reporter could even have simply asked Hamas.

And here’s some more images of Gaza I have uncovered over the years that indicate AFP is not being accurate here.

And the piece ends with more blatant bias.

Gaza is still recovering from the last of three wars with Israel in 2014, when more than 2,000 Palestinians were killed and much of the strip was devastated.

Seventy-four people died on the Israeli side, most of them soldiers.

Note how the AFP reporter sees the need to mention that the majority of Israeli casualties were soldiers, yet not mention how many of the approximately 2,000 palestinians killed were combatants (which happened to be almost half of them).

Update: This Anadolu Agency piece is better, including some important information that not everyone thinks about.

Hints of the building’s Art Deco-inspired former glory remain, from when Gaza was controlled by Egypt and Egyptian cinema flourished, but are hidden behind overgrown trees and a bricked-up entrance.

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