An Alternative History of the Media on Terrorist/ Hostage Crises

CNN report

Yesterday, when Israel rescued 4 hostages (found in civilian homes) in Gaza, headlines ran the gamut from CNN describing the rescue as “4 hostages released” to “Gaza’s health ministry says 274 Palestinians were killed in raid that rescued hostages,” from there being an “outrage at the massacre in Gaza” to an earnest question about “whether or not Israel should have alerted Palestinian civilians in the area as to the intended daylight raid.” Well, then.

So, I’m offering an alternative history of different terrorist acts and hostage crises, if they were reported on like the Israel-Hamas war often is. 

“Outrage at massacre of civilians in Mosul holding Yazidi sex slaves.” (release of Yazidi women held as sex slaves by ISIS, 2018)

“90 Killed, 460 Injured, by militants responding to French attacks on Syria and Iraq.” (Paris ISIS attacks, 2015)

“7 people killed after French police invade Bataclan night club, releasing hostages.” (Paris ISIS attacks, 2015)

“Man killed by police after hostages released from the bathroom” (Orlando Pulse Nightclub Shooting, 2016)

“2 Jewish men attack Muslim man in Paris Kosher grocery store, killed in the process” (Yohan Cohen and Yoav Hattab’s death attempting to kill hostage taker — Armed Coulibaly — at Kosher supermarket standoff in France, 2015)

“4 people killed, 15 people held hostage, in apparent response to French attacks on ISIS bases” (Kosher supermarket standoff in France, 2015)

“50-odd females released, previously captured by Boko Haram from their school” (on the rescuing of schoolchildren kidnapped by Boko Haram in Nigeria, 2014)

“Report of gang rape in Delhi bus unverified, images and videos of girl’s rape and mutilated body irrelevant” says University of Alberta sexual assault centre head. (2012 Delhi Gang Rape and Murder)

“200 hostages released from windows at the Taj Mahal Hotel” (Mumbai Terrorist Attacks, 2008)

BBC: “President Obama, should those sheltering in Osama bin Laden’s villa in Abottabad have been given warning of Seal Team 6’s impending raid, to prevent civilian deaths?” (Capture and killing of OBL, 2011)

Briahna Joy Gray on the Hill: “President Bush, don’t you think that the 19 hijackers who attacked you four months ago could be understood as resistance fighters who are just reacting in response to your support of Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestine?” (9/11)

“Canada causes international incident with Tehran after ferrying several US embassy workers out of the country disguised as Canadian film crew; ICC debating warrants for Canadian Prime Minister” (the true story behind the Argo movie, 1979)

“5 Palestinian resistance members killed in failed hostage crisis standoff in Munich.” (Munich Olympics, 1972)

“6 Palestinian resistance members and 1 West German police officer killed, 11 Israelis dead, in apparent gun battle at Munich airport” (Munich Olympics, 1972)

“Israel kills 2 militants and 45 civilians in gun battle at Entebbe Airport in Uganda” (Entebbe hostage crisis, 1976)

“The ICJ hears arguments from Germany about American genocide of Japanese civilians in Tokyo.” (Firebombing of Tokyo, 1945)

I rest my case.

  • AFS
About the Author
Dr. Alexandria Fanjoy Silver has a B.A. from Queen's University, an MA/ MA from Brandeis and a PhD from the University of Toronto (all in history and education). She lives in Toronto with her husband and three children, and works at TanenbaumCHAT as a Jewish history teacher. She writes about Jewish food history on Substack @bitesizedhistory.
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