Sunday, January 04, 2009

Seeing Gaza from the Web

As the conflict between Israel and the Hamas heats up in recent weeks with aerial bombardment, rocket attacks, and a ground war that makes both sides unwilling to compromise, the consequences of this geopolitical violence are recorded in social media.

Of course, as in previous conflicts, Israeli and Palestinian bloggers with a variety of perspectives are posting about the human costs of death and dislocation. English language readers can check out From Gaza, with Love for an example of a blog that specifically addresses Western readers who might be otherwise unsympathetic to the Palestinian cause by emphasizing the writer's ethos as a physician and women's rights activist.

Palestinians are also using the mapping and annotation tools of Google Earth to engage outsiders in their fate by showing the location of villages subject to military assault at Palestine Remembered. On Google Earth Hacks there are satellite maps marked up to show the location of the border and border crossings at Google Earth Hacks. Those following the stories can also check out these UN maps.

A blog posting called "Gaza: 'Though torn in two, we can be one'" points out that both sizes are using Twitter for fast-paced news bursts about the fighting. The Israeli consulate updates Twitter regularly with patriotic messages and another Twitter account tallies the landings of Qassam missiles that threaten Israeli citizens. Al Jazeera also has a Twitter account for pro-Palestinian tweets.

There is also a multilingual Facebook group called "Arabs and Jews Refuse to Be Enemies" that my friend Susan Joy from my MFA days is promoting.

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