An innocent, a broad
For two full days, our merciful and conscience-driven nation poured its holy wrath down upon Eden Abergil and her Facebook photos of handcuffed and blindfolded Palestinians.
For two full days, our merciful and conscience-driven nation poured its holy wrath down upon Eden Abergil and her Facebook photos of handcuffed and blindfolded Palestinians. There is no greater pleasure than sitting at home with the air-conditioning on and watching a poor girl sweating on television and trying to justify herself, as if she were a disruptive high-schooler who was sent home and told not to return without her parents. And then shaking one's head and declaring to no one in particular: "What an idiot! That's the last thing we needed now."
It isn't easy to find an argument to rebut all those merciful-children-of-merciful-parents. This is because the moment the right thing to think begins to spread like wildfire, it's impossible to change the verdict. And the verdict established, as noted, that Abergil is - how should we put it? - naive, a ditz, who caused us national damage. Like that other ditz, Anat Kamm, who copied secret documents from the Israel Defense Forces computer system. Or Tali Fahima, who got friendly with a terrorist and now has converted to Islam, heaven help us, or Sara Netanyahu, the most naive of them all, who embarrasses the country time after time and now has sent Interior Minister Eli Yishai a letter pleading that he not deport the children of illegal foreign workers.
The problem, then, is that ever since women were let out of the kitchen and given equal rights, they have been roaming around freely and doing stupid things. They upload inappropriate pictures, they reveal secrets, they write improper letters, they hook up with Palestinians and suddenly decide to convert to Islam. Try running a world with all these unpredictable people running around.
And indeed, what connects Abergil and her embarrassing Facebook pictures to the other women mentioned above is first and foremost the male fantasy that, with all due respect, women can't be trusted and they do irresponsible things without even knowing it. Proof: Breaking the Silence published photos of male soldiers with Palestinian prisoners and corpses, but those soldiers were not stupid like Abergil and they did not put the photos on Facebook.
Nevertheless, one could argue by the same token that because Abergil did not know what she was doing, she joins a respectable list of courageous women, who without realizing how courageous they were, challenged men's rules and did things that should not be done, to their credit.
The truth is, there is nothing intrinsically shocking and disgusting in Abergil's Facebook photos. The morality or immorality comes from the viewer. The viewer is shocked by the contrast between his own freedom and the captivity of the handcuffed people. Some girl happens to be using them as scenery for a souvenir picture.
But let us look at things in perspective: Abergil is not the main subject of the photos. She is only mediating the contrast screaming out to be noticed - a contrast that would have existed even without her in the photo - between people who have been denied their freedom, their right to see and their right to move, and our endless freedom to be photographed, watch television, use Facebook, look at other people's Facebook pages and do anything we feel like, including stupid things.
Completely obliviously, Abergil gave us something no professional news photographer would have been able to give us. This is because a professional photographer always tries to put his own moral seal on his pictures, and would not bother to photograph anything about which he cannot say: "Here, look, see what a horror I photographed for you."
This is why so few journalistic photographs arouse real shock. Abergil's Facebook pictures, however, show the naked truth, in complete obliviousness, and for this we should be grateful to her.
When one day a Palestinian memorial museum is built, I have no doubt Abergil's pictures will be shown as rare, authentic testimony from the Israeli regime's backyard in the territories. Until then they will be considered yucky, icky and gross.