This Ongoing War..
21 August '15..
Muhammad Allan, a Palestinian Arab, is widely depicted in parts of the social media right now as a hunger-striker unjustly detained, a veritable "freedom fighter", "courageously resisting tyranny". And of course "gentle, conscientious and well-respected".
Multi-media campaigns like the one in which he now features usually come with gentle backgrounders ("loved kittens, spoke nicely to his sisters") plus lawyers, mothers and protesters. This one is from that same template, along with media distortions, half-truths and inaccuracies.
A 31-year-old Arab lawyer, the man is indeed a hunger striker and has been since June. He became comatose earlier this week and then regained consciousness in Barzilai Medical Center, Ashkelon, on Tuesday where he has been getting Israeli medical care. The following day, Wednesday, Israel's High Court ordered that he be freed from administrative detention "due to his deteriorating medical condition, including the revelation Wednesday afternoon that his brain had been damaged." More than this,
Deputy High Court President Elyakim Rubinstein and justices Hanan Melcer and Neal Hendel held that due to his health situation, Allan’s family members could visit him on an unrestricted basis, as if he were not a detainee. [Jerusalem Post]
Once the court had ruled, one of his lawyers told Reuters that the 65-day hunger strike was done:
"The story is over, administrative detention is canceled, and therefore there is no strike," said lawyer Jameel Khatib. But a hospital spokeswoman said it would not have been possible for Allan to make such a decision, since he was not conscious or aware of his surroundings... [Jerusalem Post]
Hunger striker's mother in the Ashkelon hospital where his life
is being saved by Israeli medicine, despite his best efforts [Image Source]
Internal contradictions happen. No one seems too concerned for factual accuracy when Palestinian Arab figures are being elevated to mythic/heroic status against all the evidence. For us news consumers, we're left to distinguish among the available menu items of fantasy, exaggeration, political spin and ordinary empirical facts.
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