Andrew Ritchie Stuff


IDF Video Blogs Attacks In Gaza

30 Dec 2008

We live in a truly absurd age, if you require evidence of this notice that the Israel Defense Forces media & PR wing has setup a YouTube channel to share videos of the IDF's air attacks in Gaza. Anyone want to join me on a trip to Montparnasse Cemetery for a seance with the spirit of Jean Baudrillard? In the last year we have seen a rise in "citizen based journalism," but it is strange (though unsurprising) to see a nation's military attempt to usurp media coverage of their tactics with video recorded during missions. It is even more strange that the IDF's idea of justifying or explaining their actions is to provide the world with video of who they are blowing up as those people are being blown up. Yet I must admit, it worked. The first thought that came to mind when I saw what appeared to be Hamas operatives loading and transporting rockets was "Yeah, maybe someone should blow those guys up." Allow me to say that I am not voicing support for Israel's actions, just that on the shallowest cognitive level, maybe more visceral than cognitive (maybe visceral, then cognitive?), the IDF's videos were effective. Among the interesting ironies here: in a culture that has trended towards fantasy, digital existence and detachment from basic human experiences, here YouTube is allowing the violence in our world to be made more real rather than less. These videos are not the sort of images one would typically find in war coverage on the world news. And to further entangle things some of the IDF's videos have been taken down, most likely due to graphic content but YouTube policy is not to offer comment on why particular videos were removed from the site. According to the IDF's brief statement on their YouTube channel's home page YouTube has allowed some of the censored videos to be accessible again. I would also like to add that despite my claim about these videos enhancing the realness of military violence I am not wholly uncritically accepting these videos as the real of the Gaza attacks. If the IDF has say, videos of two different bombings. One video is clearly targeting Hamas operatives while the other is more ambiguous, targeting Palestinians believed to be Hamas operatives but not engaged in suspicious activity and possibly innocent civilians. I realize these two theoretical videos would not have an equal likelihood of making it to YouTube.