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Gaza Genocide: America’s response, Citizen Journalists, and the Role of social media

ByArshad Mahmud
on

It was early morning. Israel was in a holiday mood celebrating Simchat Torah. A concluding holiday of the Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot). No one except the Israeli government knew what was coming. 5,000 missiles fell upon the apartheid state.

Videos and images from Gaza began to flood social media. “We are liberating Palestine!” similar chants can also be heard. Their voice raw with relief from decades of pain.

Hamas announced that an attack from the land, air, and sea was taking place. As a response to the years of oppression, intimidation, and murder of the Palestinian people. Especially, for the tragedies that happened around the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Israel responded. And its bombing continues to this day.

 

Global Response

Thanks to the internet, I’m able to keep track of news and culture from the Western world. Especially in America. It was no surprise to me, that once again, according to the West, Israel was in danger and they had the right to self-defence.

“Hamas is Isis” “Palestinians are human animals” “We fight against Islamic Terrorism” “We fight for freedom” “We are protecting democracy in the Middle East”

Similar slogans, wordings, phrases, and framing were used post-9/11. For me, watching American news is akin to watching a soap opera. It is entertaining but none of it is real.

Curious, I scoured through social media to see how people responded. The general sentiment at the beginning was sympathetic towards Israel. But something nobody, at least not me, could have predicted how it would progress.

After days of videos circulating through TikTok and X(formerly Twitter), the majority of citizens and professionals around the globe began to chant “Free, free Palestine!” “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free!”

Mass media was overwhelmed by social media. The truth could no longer be hidden. And every day people armed with common sense began to see truth from falsehood.

My TikTok feed was flooded with Americans opening their eyes and waking up to the propaganda. After being exposed to the horrific images coming out of Gaza, and history lessons from content creators around the globe.

Every time I’d land on an American TikTok, the first words are usually a regretful “I didn’t know” or the surreal “Everything I thought I knew, is a lie.”

 

Citizen Journalists

Prior to October 7th, Journalism was a niche on TikTok. Content creators would report on engaging news in their own style. That was their thing. And the niche was small.

Today, normal users are posting content on Gaza. Reacting to the horrors. Telling their story of how they “woke up”. Sharing how they’ve been fed with lies. On the daily, they give and share updates directly from content creators in Gaza. The one I personally follow is Bisan.

These users had no intention of becoming journalists. After October 7th, it was their part-time job. And the payment they receive? A clear conscience knowing they are doing what they can, the best they can. Using their voice and their right to speak out.

For every lying headline from major publications in the US, there are thousands of content on social media responding with facts. The US as we know them are under attack. And it is not by the hands of foreign invaders. But by its citizens.

Slowly, the trust in citizen journalists rises while news outlets fall.

 

Social media and the American Empire

Genocide isn’t only happening in Gaza. It’s in Congo. It’s in Sudan. And the perpetrators? The very same government (or governments) that have been at war for the past many decades.

The bloodthirsty colonizers are well and alive today. They’re just more quiet and “diplomatic”. They join coalitions, organisations, and the controversial United Nations. Giving empty speeches and promises. Presenting a show, a diplomatic dance, and we are the disinterested audience.

Thanks to platforms like TikTok and X(formerly Twitter), people like you and me have the freedom and power to speak up. Social media platforms are now, maybe not on purpose, setting the standard for honest news reporting. We are the check and balance for major news outlets. The same news outlets who are controlled by a privileged few.

And they need to keep the war propaganda going to continue being the privileged few.

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