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Washington Post Breaks from Cynical Coverage of Gaza; Gives a Human Face to Statistics

“Gaza Reports More Than 11,100 Killed. That’s One Out of Every 200 People” is the headline on a heavily-illustrated Washington Post article covering some 20 pages, published today. “They include doctors, journalists, professors and poets,” the kicker reads. With more than 11,100 Palestinians reported by Gaza’s Health Ministry to have been killed in Gaza, that means that “in just a little over a month of war, that amounts to over 0.5% of Gaza’s more than 2 million people,” the Post notes. Graphs comparing the rate of killing to previous conflicts, draws home the enormity of what is occurring.

The article has all the copy on a black background illustrated with several beautiful pictures, with short profiles of the innocent civilians who have died. It is designed to make the reader think about the dead as people, and then, perhaps, to cry over what humanity has lost with the loss of each person.

Pictured, for example, is Hala Mufid Abu Saada, who was 14 years old and lived in the Jabalya camp in Gaza’s Al Fakhoura area. “She loved drawing, Dabkeh dancing and singing…. Those who knew her said she was a smart child.” She died when an Israeli airstrike destroyed her family’s home on Oct. 16, taking the lives of her mother, brother and five sisters as well. “That day 87 children, including Hala, were killed in Gaza,” the Post adds.

Then there is “Khalil Rafiq Al-Sharif, 28, [who] tirelessly pursued a career in health care, which led him to volunteer with the Red Crescent Society. He had dreams of starting a family. On Oct. 11 he responded to a call in northern Gaza, hoping to rescue those wounded there. Another shell dropped on the site, killing Al-Sharif and two of his fellow ambulance crew members.”

Hani Issa El-Haddad “was quick-witted and passionate about art and astronomy,” said his daughter Basma. “He knew something about everything, it seemed to me.”

Mohammed Attef Al Dabbour, “a beloved medical school professor. One of his third-year students had dreaded the class he taught, pathology, known for its challenging and vast curriculum. But once in Professor Al Dabbour’s class, it became an adventure, the student said. `Everything about him was special. How passionate he was. How supportive, caring and understanding.’”

And many others. “The cost to society will be seen for years to come,” Amber Alayyan, a pediatrician with Doctors Without Borders (MSF), told the Post.