Straight from the upside-down world of HuffPost's coverage of Middle East affairs, on October 14, 2009, this was the splash headline on the front of its World page:
The shocking front page image linked to this story page:
The copy reads:
A zoo in Gaza cannot afford to buy zebras and has instead painted stripes on two donkeys, AFP reports.
Israel controls the movement of goods into and out of Gaza and only allows in humanitarian and basic supplies. The zoo could smuggle zebras into Gaza through tunnels connecting the strip with Egypt, but that would cost $30,000. The zoo director, Mahmud Barghut, told AFP: "We couldn't afford real zebras." Donkeys only cost $700.
The Telegraphs reports that the zoo had two zebras, but they died of starvation during the Gaza War.
Check out this slideshow of the zoo's donkey-zebras and other animals. Is painting the animals a brilliant idea or terribly depressing?
First, in what non-insane, non-pharmacologically-infused world could painting animals be considered "a brilliant idea"? Does HuffPost even have an iota of understanding that painting an animal chokes off its skin's ability to breathe, and will eventually kill it?
The caption on the photo reads:
Palestinian Mahmud Barghut, owner of the 'Happy Land Zoo', stands next to a 'Gaza-made zebra', a donkey painted with stripes, in a cage at the zoo just outside Gaza City on October 3, 2009. Faced with an Israeli blockade, the Palestinian zookeepers were unable to bring in real zebras. Their solution was to paint a couple of donkeys at the zoo, which have become symbols of life under the Israeli blockade, a local attraction and a bit of a joke.
And there it is. An Israeli blockade prevented these poor, civic-minded zookeepers from being able to bring a little extra sunshine into the otherwise peaceful, benevolent, warm-hearted citizens of the Gaza Strip.
Once again, it's all Israel's fault.
Not a word of condemnation on the part of HuffPost for these zookeepers, who sentenced these donkeys to prolonged, painful, cruel deaths, all on the altar of Pallywood political propaganda.
Not a word of explanation as to why Israeli has blockaded everything but humanitarian materials from entering Gaza.
Not a word about how the Gazans themselves had booby-trapped their own zoo with explosives, to kill Israeli soldiers (along with the animals they claim are needed to bring rays of sunshine into childrens' lives):
Not a word about the history of Gazans, those animal-loving pacifists, placing bombs in/on donkeys and horses to murder Israelis (caution: disturbing imagery):
Pat Dollard: The Jihadi Horse: Palestinans Use Bomb-Strapped Horses To Fight Israeli Border GuardNope, just condemnation of those mean Israeli Jews who are, again, committing supposed "human rights violations" against Gazans.
Palestinians using donkeys as live bombs against Israelis:
So what kinds of comments do you think HuffPost reviewed, approved and decided to publish, as a result of this incitement? Need you ask?
And where was these users' venom directed --- at these cruel zookeepers, or against Israel and Jews? Where was the sympathy directed --- for the Israeli victims of relentless terror attacks, or for the Gazans who were perpetrating them (personally, or by proxy, via Hamas)?
alysheba 3 I'm a Fan of alysheba 3 I'm a fan of this user 36 fans permalink
The world shows no compassion for humans suffering under Israeli occupation but perhaps PETA, or other animal welfare groups, can get people moving to stop the illegal blockades of the world's largest open-air prison.
Reply Posted 02:37 PM on 10/14/2009
YankeeCanuck I'm a Fan of YankeeCanuck I'm a fan of this user 28 fans permalink
Zoos are generally sad places, but this one is especially so. But it does show Palestinians making a statement about their situation in a non-violent way. Plenty of gentle irony in this story.
Reply Posted 04:16 PM on 10/14/2009
alysheba 3 I'm a Fan of alysheba 3 I'm a fan of this user 36 fans permalink
Gee, sorry, The feed store wouldn't deliver if they had to dodge IDF bullets.
Reply Posted 08:22 PM on 10/14/2009
GeorgeP922 I'm a Fan of GeorgeP922 I'm a fan of this user 102 fans permalink
Obviously this is terrible.
The Israelis have no excuse for such a punishing blockade.
How absurd it is that to get Zebras they would have to be smuggled in.
Reply Posted 03:04 PM on 10/14/2009
dfranz I'm a Fan of dfranz I'm a fan of this user 59 fans permalink
This has to be one of the saddest pictrures I have ever seen. It makes me wonder what it is like as a child growing up in Gaza and never having known what it's like to go camping or to Disneyland or a real Zoo.
The adults will do as they wish against each other. It's the kids that suffer and then grow up into angry adults living in a dysfunctional society.
It's a full circle.
Reply Posted 05:14 PM on 10/14/2009
lbsaltzman I'm a Fan of lbsaltzman I'm a fan of this user 67 fans permalink
In a strange way it is a testimony to the incredible endurance of the Palestinian people and their ability to survive despite all attempts by Israel to destroy what is left of their country.
Reply Posted 05:12 PM on 10/14/2009
nexxtep54 I'm a Fan of nexxtep54 I'm a fan of this user 34 fans permalink
This is uplifting. It's amazing that in spite of all their hardships, these people saw fit to maintain the wonder of nature's variety for the children visiting their zoo. This is such a small thing to do to get wonderful results . . and no, it's not pathetic. [...]
Reply Posted 05:03 PM on 10/14/2009
EllaLaurent I'm a Fan of EllaLaurent I'm a fan of this user 14 fans permalink
This is what happens when you have a military funded by the US government conducting a war of aggression against a civilian population.
Why do we continue to call this a war? Where is Gaza's standing army?
Reply Posted 04:47 PM on 10/14/2009
blutigeroo I'm a Fan of blutigeroo I'm a fan of this user 27 fans permalink
There should be no zoo's in the middle east as the place is barbaric?
Can you not see the happy smiling faces of the Palestinians? They are oppressed and being around animals is making them happy, who are you to deprive them of that?
The zoo does not lock its animals in confined places all day. The donkys can roam around and be patted and fed by the children. Do any zoos in America give the animal that much freedom?
You call the middle east barbaric, I say America is inhumane and barbaric in her treatment of other nations. Does that mean that YOU should be deprived of the happiness that comes from going to a zoo.
Reply Posted 08:04 PM on 10/14/2009
SergeantRoss45 I'm a Fan of SergeantRoss45 I'm a fan of this user 5 fans permalink
Let's remember these people have been occupied for more than 40 years and have been under a brutal seige for more than 3 years.
Reply Posted 09:00 PM on 10/14/2009
mindact I'm a Fan of mindact I'm a fan of this user 4 fans permalink
I think what's really troubling about this is the fact that Israel controls what goes into and out of Gaza. And the fact that only humanitarian aid is allowed. Is there any other country in the world experiencing blockade like this. The only reason why this can happen is because the palestinians don't have the ability to defend themselves.
This is not sustainable for the long-term.
Reply Posted 07:26 PM on 10/14/2009
adlerstein I'm a Fan of adlerstein I'm a fan of this user 3 fans permalink
Unlike at this zoo:
in the Gaza zoo in mates can feed the animals
Reply Posted 07:02 PM on 10/14/2009
Happyexpat I'm a Fan of Happyexpat I'm a fan of this user 36 fans permalink
Brilliant on the part of Palestinians, depressing that the zebras were killed and even more depressing that the Israelis have not seen fit to replace the zebras. In addition to all the other depressing things the Israelis are not doing.......
Reply Posted 04:56 AM on 10/15/2009
mediamarv I'm a Fan of mediamarv I'm a fan of this user 32 fans permalink
Making lemonade, I'd say.
Why does the Israeli Army hate zebras?
Reply Posted 01:38 AM on 10/15/2009
plan9 I'm a Fan of plan9 I'm a fan of this user 8 fans permalink
Thank you, Israel for demonstrating that our support for your cause was so well founded. Time to find some new friends, maybe the Chinese.
Reply Posted 10:28 PM on 10/14/2009
janeycat I'm a Fan of janeycat I'm a fan of this user 63 fans permalink
I think it is a great guesture of kindness to the kids that are not old enough to know the difference.
the kids willlook back one day and remember the zebra's they saw at the zoo.
now stop all the negative talk ..... and see the good that has been done for the kids...
Reply Posted 12:52 AM on 10/17/2009
jollyelle I'm a Fan of jollyelle I'm a fan of this user 17 fans permalink
Gee, but Israel spends a good deal of it's PR saying it left Gaza, funny, how they don't ever mention the blockade? Israel does control and limit......water, electricity, medical supplies but ZEBRA'S too???? [...]
Reply Posted 05:48 AM on 10/15/2009
Behold: This is how "grassroots" support for certain policies towards Israel is incited and cultivated.
As you read these comments, ask yourself: How, in substance, do these comments differ from those that are voiced on radical Islamist websites? And is it unreasonable to wonder if some of these comments may, in fact, be posted by some of the estimated 135,000 users who, according to Alexa, visit HuffPost each month (see Section 4.3 here)?