Jul 24, 2014

Razer’s Class Warfare: tweeting pictures of dead Palestinian babies helps no one but you

In an age of spectacular oversupply of both images and political perspectives, gore has lost its value. Sharing graphic images from the Gaza conflict turns private moments of death and grief into horror pornography.

Helen Razer — Writer and Broadcaster

Helen Razer

Writer and Broadcaster

Perhaps you are troubled by the atrocity enacted on the people of Palestine since 1948. Perhaps you are distressed by what you see as Israel’s very asymmetric “justice”. Perhaps you believe that a colony whose wealth and existence is predicated on the displacement or apartheid of millions has no right to call itself a democracy.


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42 thoughts on “Razer’s Class Warfare: tweeting pictures of dead Palestinian babies helps no one but you

  1. Bento

    If there were no empathy, we would all be dead. Gotta have it. Gotta show it.

    Better, I feel, to offer more encouragement of the positive next steps that one could take (as you do very well in your article) rather than to deride people’s attempts, however misguided they may be, to highlight some bad in the world.

  2. Will

    Reverential respect for the dead is an ontologically anomalous attitude for a Marxist concerned with material power relations. The identity politics you spurn is predicated on symbols no less emotionally potent, yet equally arbitrary under a materialist ontology, yet you reject one emphatically and assert the other.

  3. Dianne Longson

    Razor your article today is disappointing. Further it is based on a false premise. You assume that those who post on social media sites pictures of dead Palestinian children do nothing else to support this country or its people. Frankly that’s a pretty facile and arrogant assumption. You have no clue what these people do away from FB or Twitter. Talk about an unsubstantiated judgment. A basic mistake! I personally expect more from you and your writing.
    Also you say you find the pictures disrespectful of the dead. Really! On what basis? I find the fact that Israelis are killing children with impunity a far greater wrong and think that showing the pictures goes some way to exposing the activities of an oppressive and tyrannical regime.

  4. Helen Razer

    I am not so much questioning the motives as the outcomes, Dianne.
    This piece mentions only in passing the disrespect to the dead. It is chiefly and overtly about questioning the usefulness of a public compassion. To read it as diminishing the plight of the Palestinian people is a bit wilful. To read it as out-and-out revulsion for the people who might care as privately as they do conspicuously again is a purposeful misreading.
    I do not believe these images function. I think this is obvious in the piece.

  5. Venise Alstergren

    Something I find even more repulsive than shots of butchered MEN, WOMEN, CHILDREN, is the relentless whipping up of their readers into a sort of catatonic blood lust. Even the ABC is guilty of this. On the day this terrible thing happened it was not possible-hour after hour-to switch on the station without yet another drenching of blood.

    I imagine the hypothesis behind the MSM is to help people to grieve. This is a load of cods. All it is is harkening back to the Roman Empire and their brutal circuses. The MSM panders-with success-to the very lowest of man’s barbarisms.

  6. Liz Connor

    For a balanced account I think we should include concern about the use of equally ‘heartrending’ images of the toys and personal belongings of children killed in the downing of MH 17. The mainstream media use these images relating to child victims of violent conflict expressly for their personal impact, and social media merely reflect that impact.

  7. Nevil Kingston-Brown

    Yet another article from Helen about how her generation’s left wing media activism was so much better than the current generation’s left wing media activism. Why isn’t she writing for The Australian?

  8. Helen Razer

    It was no such thing, Nevil. I don’t regard the activism of the nineties as much chop at all and nowhere in this article do I suggest that a previous kind of activism was preferable.
    I simply say that graphic images of death, ethics of their depiction notwithstanding, better serves the person who is sharing them than the persons depicted. This is a contemporary practice which addresses, in the case of Palestine, a 60 year old problem. Clearly, no solutions of western solidarity have worked well in the past and where you would get this idea beyond your own imagining is a mystery.
    If you would like to defend the sharing of images of graphic brutality enacted on children, please be my guest. Otherwise, try not to make stuff up based on a dislike of me and the ludicrous assessment that I am right wing.

  9. Buddy

    I had an image such as your describing come through my feed and I’m generally not a person who finds this necessary or easy to deal with, but on this day I made a point of looking, not moving on. I reflected deeply on this young boy and in the days since it has shaped conversations both in social media and in my private and professional life. That image was a horrifying reminder that these are real children, real deaths and I think all too often these deaths are abstract.. Less meaningful. I don’t mean them to be, it’s a simple consequence of lining in a world saturated by news. And on that day I was joted back into truth. War kills wonderful people and destroys families and it could just as essay be my beautiful grandson. So I feel profoundly touched by it and it has changed something important in me and pressed me to be more assertive and more active in denouncing war and seeking peace

  10. Mark out West

    Is it really worth the time and effort to write this piece, do you know the people who posted and their reasoning. Could it be a desperate call for justice for the victim from a relative/interested party who perceives no justice in these events and wonder why West predominately see the Jews as the victims. Who are constantly reminded that the Jews we the recipients of the most abysmal murdering while the world stood back and who are now the murderers.

    Maybe an article about how a people who’s graphic history is steep in isolation and abuse can become the abuser. This would be time well spent cause this is just a fluff piece.

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