Just before the Green Revolution broke, in May 2009, reporter Simona Weinglass published in TNR a fascinating account of rival tallies of the civilian death toll in Israel's assault on Gaza in early 2009. In one corner was Khalil Shaheen of the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR); in the other, retired Israeli intelligence officer Jonathan Dahoah Halevi. I was struck at the time by Weinglass's endnote:
That remains true, of course, and in some sense has always been true, and ever-increasingly so in the last two centuries. What's new is that now the perception war occurs simultaneously with the physical struggle. There's almost parity. You have a truncheon or gun, I have a camera. You inflict pain, I inflict infamy. Martyrdom is instantaneous and viral. Bearing witness is the keystone of political action. It can also affect the action directly. You shoot, I tweet (or IM or phone) for more demonstrators:
Both agree, however, that the war does not end when the fighting stops. "In every war there are two components," says Halevi. "The first is the battle itself, defeating the other side, and the second is presenting the facts of what happened." If a country is not vigilant, he warns, "The other side will rewrite your history."
salmasaid salma said
If you are coming down to
#tahrir bring food, water and blankets. People have beem fighting for 8 hours now!
And in spheres including but extending far beyond the political, to experience is to record.