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The Gaza Conflict, Rendered in Facebook

PUBLISHED: January 22, 2009

Facebook status updates are usually used to inform one’s friends of one’s emotional state or geographic location, to share an interesting tidbit, a piece of news, or a political perspective. In the past month nearly 700,000 Facebook users “donated” their status to an application called Support Gaza, which uses the updates as a means of disseminating the number of Palestinians killed in Gaza. A similar application called QassamCount tracks the number of Qassam rockets fired into Israel. The collection of updates below chronicles the events of the past three weeks from four different perspectives, a very personal and rough draft of History. The identifies of these four individuals have been anonymized. “A” is a activist in Madison, “B” is an academic in Beer Sheva, “C” is a student in San Francisco, “D” is a lawyer in Jerusalem.

C has Gaza on his mind. Dec 27

D is kol hakavod l’tzahal. [“Way to go Israeli Army” in Hebrew] Dec 27


B is devastated at the loss of all life as drums of war pound in our region, prays for our soldiers, Gilad Shalit and the innocent in the Western Negev and Gaza. Dec 28


C F$ck Israel!!! Dec 29


A is Boycott Israel Apartheid Dec 30

B is glad to hear Amram Mitzna and David Grossman’s voices: a call for a 48 hr cease-fire IF Hamas stops rockets, achieve calm; if not, ground troups go in… Dec 30


C from the river to the sea PALESTINE WILL BE FREE! Dec 30


C is Protest tomorrow at 2 P.M. on Market and Powell in SF. Jan 1

B is ashamed of the Home Command’s disregard for Beer-Sheva’s citizens. Five days into the operation: alarms still don’t work, shelters are a mess, w/out water! Jan 1


A Chicago March for Gaza Jan 3

B is thinking about our soldiers (and their parents) and praying for their safety and for a speedy end to the operation… Jan 3


A How about a little hope and change? Jan 4

C thinks you should donate to the Palestinian Children’s Relief fund NOW! They need it more than EVER! Jan 4


C are you feeling the economic pinch? then you should ask why the US gives 3 billion dollars to israel every year. Jan 5


D wonders what the UN would say if Israel responded “proportionately” and randomly fired rockets into Gaza? Jan 6

C “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” Jan 6


B is pissed off - we just had a 3 hour cease-fire to provide humanitarian aid and no sooner was that over when the Hamas bombed Beer-Sheva! Jan 7


D is hoping for a quiet weekend. Jan 8


C 854 murdered by israel…. your tax dollars at work Jan 10


B is sharing:­MFA/Government/­Communiques/2009/­IDF_warns_Gaza_population_7-­Jan-2009.htm (please read and forward! standard IDF procedure). Jan 11

D is not happy about rockets in Northern Israel. Jan 11


B is barely able to write and has been crying for 2 hours. We killed the daughters of my friend Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish just now Jan 16

D يتطلع الى السبت [“Waiting for Shabbat” in Arabic] Jan 16

C genocide- noun: the deliberate and systematic destruction of a racial, political, or cultural group. Jan 16

B has had it with the sirens, the bombing and most of all, the destruction, the dead and injured…can we pls find a way to put an end to all of this suffering? Jan 16


A is pondering what it will actually take for folks here to express their massive collective outrage over Gaza. Jan 17

B is devastated over the tragic loss of the daughters of my courageous friend, Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish of Gaza. Jan 17

C If it were a true ceasefire, then the army would withdraw. Classic Israeli tactic of appearing to make magnanimous “concessions” while carrying out atrocities. Jan 17


Jacob Silverman's picture
Jacob Silverman · 15 years ago
Great post, Michael. Interesting way of approaching the issue.
Nava EtShalom's picture
Interesting post, Michael – it’s true, Facebook is a strange new terrain for these political discussions; people we haven’t talked to in years are offended by our Posted Items or heartened by our status updates. I’ve found it to be a great educational and organizing tool this month, and also a risky and shallow one, in the way that it exposes us to immediate responses from far away and long ago.

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