War has familiar sounds, but according to the BBC's Vanessa Barford, war sounds change and identify the conflict they're in. In the case of the Israel-Gaza conflict, war is marked by the clear sound air raid sirens and that of drones.
Some sounds - the silence of shock, the pain of the wounded and the cries of bereaved relatives - unite all wars.
But others, in many ways, help define a conflict.
"Every period has its own sound, all the way back to the Roman period, when you would hear the clash of shields in battle," argues Maj Charles Heyman, editor of Armed Forces of the United Kingdom.
"The key WWI sounds were artillery barrages. There were thousands of guns on each side, and the bombardment in France could be heard in Dover, and even sometimes in London.
"WWII was sirens, the Blitz and bombs, and the Spitfire. For me, helicopters have been the sound of the past 30 years, and this age is definitely marked by the sound of buzzing drones," he says.
Meanwhile, according to Omar Baddar of The Huffington Post, with American media giving "Israeli officials and spokespersons a free pass to shape the narrative of this conflict with falsehoods," he has put together the top 5 lies the media doesn't challenge about the crisis in Gaza. For example:
1. Israel Was Forced to Respond to Rockets to Defend Its Citizens
CNN, like many other American outlets, chose to begin the story of the latest round of violence in Gaza on November 10th, when 4 Israeli soldiers were wounded by Palestinian fire, and the IDF "retaliated" by killing several Palestinians. But just two days before, a 13 year old Palestinian boy was killed in an Israeli military incursion into Gaza (among other fatalities in preceding days). Is there any reason why those couldn't be the starting point of the "cycle of violence"? The bias was even more blatant in 2008/09, when Israel's massive assault on Gaza (which killed 1400+ Palestinians) was cast as self-defense, even though it was acknowledged in passing that Israel was the party that broke the ceasefire agreement in place at the time. Are the Palestinians not entitled to self-defense? And if indiscriminate Palestinian rocket fire is not an acceptable response to Israeli violence (which it absolutely isn't), how can indiscriminate Israeli bombings of Gaza ever be acceptable? And why is the broader context, the fact that Gaza remains under Israeli blockade and military control, overlooked?
And as always, The Onion, puts the conflict in perspective with an article titled Middle East Conflict Intensifies As Blah Blah Blah, Etc. Etc..
MIDDLE EAST?With the Iraq war in its fifth year, the war in Afghanistan in its sixth, and conflict between Israel and the rest of the region continuing unabated for more than half a century, intelligence sources are warning that a new wave of violence in the Middle East may soon blah blah blah, etc. etc., you know the rest.
"Tensions in the region are extremely high," said U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker, who added the same old same old while answering reporters' questions. "We're disappointed by the events of the last few months, but we're confident that we're about to [yakety yakety yak]."
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