Lynch: I watched the Hamas videos so you don’t have to
Dec 1, 2023, 7:45 AM | Updated: 8:04 am
(Photo: Alexi J. Rosenfeld/Getty Images)
When word spread in the KIRO Newsradio newsroom that I had accepted the assignment to watch the Hamas videos released by the Israeli government, the reaction from my colleagues was immediate. They were concerned about me. They were worried about how seeing the atrocities in the videos would affect my being. That I would have to live with the images in my head, forever.
My response; I am a journalist at my core. I believe in the foundation and fundamentals of journalism. As a constitutionally-protected profession, I believe there is an obligation and a responsibility among journalists to seek the truth and spread the news honestly and without bias.
Certainly, there were personal reasons to have declined the assignment, including my girlfriend MaryAnn — who didn’t want me to see the videos.
But if I declined, I wouldn’t be the journalist I know myself to be. That is why I chose to watch the Hamas videos amassed and disseminated by Israeli authorities.
Now to the videos themselves. There aren’t enough suitable adjectives to describe what I just watched. It was horrific. It was barbaric. It was brutal. It was appalling. And it saddened me greatly.
Oct. 7 was a horrific day for people in more than 30 Israeli towns and villages, and of course for those at the Re’im music festival. They had no warning. They had no time to run or hide. They didn’t have the ability to protect themselves.
Hamas terrorists slaughtered men, women and children. Some women were obviously pregnant. Some children still wore their Mickey Mouse pajamas and Tupac t-shirts.
They were shot in the face and in the chest. They were decapitated. There were reports of rape. Human beings were burned in their cars, in homes and on public streets. This was a door-to-door, car-to-car hunt for Israeli Jews.
They were killed indiscriminately, shot on sight, then shot again and again to make sure they were dead. Afterward, there was celebration among the terrorists while they desecrated bodies and took selfies to preserve the memories. All while praising Allah.
Human beings should never see such atrocities. Human beings should never commit such atrocities. But they do, and this was one of those times.
How do you ever change the hearts of men and women when they believe they act in the name of God? How do you stop the fighting and the killing? How do you even get to the point where the slaughter of other human beings is done as easily as eating lunch?
It’s a decades-old, difficult problem with no easy solutions.
What troubled me most were the terrorists’ smiles in the videos as the killings were underway. There were fellow journalists in the room who cried during the viewing and turned away to protect themselves and their memories.
The Israeli government made the videos public, on a limited basis, to “express the magnitude of war crimes committed by Hamas” while, at the same time, respecting the dignity of the victims. The faces of dead children — and there were a lot of them — were not shown.
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The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) also thought it was important to release the videos to combat a wave of denialism in the United States and around the world.
Some people don’t believe the attack on Oct. 7 actually happened, but it did, and the videos make it clear who is responsible.
I end with the words of Seattle Legend and music Icon Jimi Hendrix: “When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.”
Hopefully, that time comes sooner rather than later.