“It’s a bit like walking into a Sunday meeting of the Flat Earth Society. As they discuss great issues of the day, they discuss them from the point of view that the earth is flat.
“If someone says, ‘No, no, no, the earth is round!’, they think this person is an extremist. That’s what it’s like for someone with my right-of-centre views working inside the BBC.”
Jeff Randall, former BBC business editor
When it comes to discussing the BBC’s impartiality and the way they portray and present their news stories, Jeff Randall’s words pretty much sum it up. The BBC staff does discuss their list of issues through one perspective and should another individual come along to correct them, they insist upon that person being wrong or, in most cases like above, an extremist.
Take the Palestinian plight, for instance. They all discuss the issues through the Israeli perspective – so much for their so-called ‘impartiality’ – and if someone suggests telling the story through the right perspective of how a Palestinian may feel, then that person and that idea become wrong – completely unthinkable. This is why more than 5,000 people had gathered together outside the BBC building on Portland Place in central London.
As I walked along the streets of Westminster, heading towards the building, I already hear loud voice crying out in protest:
“What do we want? Justice! When do we want it? Now!”
“In our millions and our billions. We are all Palestinians!”
Clutching my camera, I click pictures of people hoisting their placards in the air, waving the Palestinian flags proudly and making their own video clips on their smartphones. I see a young man – his face covered with a black and white checked scarf – climbing up a yellow-flashing light on the zebra crossing. Fellow protestors urged him to come down as the police step forward; warning that the light could possibly break. A few buses and a van were stranded due to the protest going on. Some of the protestors boarded on to a bus and, from out of nowhere, the police officers stepped forward as if to apprehend some of the protestors. As the matter began to subside, one man said, “You are all the same. You are all the same”.
As the police officer held his hands out as if to stop traffic, I thought to myself: “You know what? He has a point. He’s right”.
If the cost of telling or standing up for the truth means arrest or getting held in custody, then the authorities in this country are not so different from the IDF bullies that threaten detainment or prison for the Palestinians there who face hunger and starvation – and most likely death – in prison for not having done anything.
The people all cried out: “BBC – Shame on you!”
I bent my head back and looked up at the building – shielding my eyes with my hand from the sunlight – and looked at a few people standing upon the terrace; looking down at us. Some of them had their mobile phones out; filming the protest that they might show to their friends and family over their evening meal. Obviously, they cannot fetch their television crew or the cameraman to film it all otherwise that will “breach” their impartiality. Hence why the protestors were saying, “How are you going to film us?”
Here is another thing. All throughout the protest, I kept turning around to look at them. I did not see any sort of expression – emotional or otherwise – upon their faces. They stood there like beings that felt nothing. Maybe that’s why the deaths of three Israelis gained more sympathy in the BBC den than almost 200 Palestinians in a week. Perhaps, they ought to take on the advice of a placard held by a young girl which read: “BBC, have a heart”. A diagram of a heart was drawn in place of the word.
So far, the BBC have only droned on about how “wicked” Hamas is as they keep firing rockets into Israel and that Israel has the ‘right to defend itself’. The BBC have forgotten to mention that most of the Palestinian death toll includes innocent women and children and men too; not to forget the elderly. They have forgotten to write about the father who cried emotionally over his deceased son’s body, pleading for him to wake up and that he had brought him a new toy.
“Ya Allah! Ya Allah! Ya Allah!” he cried as he was swept aside by another man.We haven’t seen or heard about the 27-year-old mother who died with her one-year-old child. If the three Israelis were ‘just hitchhiking’ and their deaths were appalling, then what makes these Palestinian lives any less valuable?
Those innocent children on the dusty streets of Gaza were ‘just’ playing and the women and elderly killed were ‘just’ living their normal lives. Time and time and time again, the plight of the Palestinians has always been labelled a ‘conflict’. A conflict is when two sides are up against each other. In this situation, we have a heavily armed side looking down upon a completely defenceless side. In short, we have a Israeli Goliath bombarding a small and defenceless David. When one armed side is bombarding another defenceless one, it isn’t a conflict. It’s a crime. A war crime. Some of us might say it’s genocide or ethnic cleansing and these two words cannot be given the new word or meaning such as ‘conflict’.
What happened in Rwanda wasn’t a conflict, it was genocide. What happened in Bosnia wasn’t a conflict, it was genocide. The Holocaust was genocide. So why is the BBC calling the war upon the Palestinians a conflict?
The BBC seemed to forget that above all relationships, friendships and connections, humanity’s connection with the truth is more vital and important. And that’s what they have forgotten for the sake of their Israeli chums. Rather than worrying about what Mr Netanyahu will say to the truth on Gaza being written, they need to worry about whether they are being impartial or not. Whether they are portraying every angle or not.
Remember, what I said about Goliath and David before? Do remember that it was David that won against Goliath no matter how small or defenceless he was. Apartheid in South Africa seemed impossible to defeat. It seemed almost impossible to bring an end to the days of the British Raj and see an independent and free Indian and Pakistan. However, eventually, apartheid was defeated and the British Raj saw its last days and a free Indian and Pakistan was born. Hopefully, one day, a free Palestine shall be born.