Not Taylor Swift: Why Gaza journalists deserve to be TIME Magazine's Persons of the Year

At least 68 media professionals have been killed in Israeli strikes in Gaza

Web Desk
Friday, December 08, 2023
Colleagues of Palestinian journalists Mohammed Soboh and Saeed al-Taweel, who were killed when an Israeli missile hit a building while they were outside reporting, stand next to their bodies at a hospital in Gaza City on Oct. 10.—Reuters

Pro-Palestinian activists are challenging TIME Magazine's choice of Taylor Swift as Person of the Year, arguing that the honour should be bestowed upon Gaza-based journalists who have risked their lives to report on the Israeli bombardment and siege.

Swift's recognition comes after a year of record-breaking achievements, but activists point to the dedication of journalists like Motaz Azaiza, Bisan Owda, Plestia Alaqad, and Hind Khoudary, who have faced life-threatening conditions in Gaza since October 7.

The activists emphasise the sacrifices made by these Palestinian journalists, documenting the realities of life under Israeli occupation, siege, and bombardment.

At least 68 media professionals have been killed during this period, with Israel facing accusations of deliberately targeting journalists. The resilience and courage displayed by these journalists, including Al Jazeera correspondents Wael Dahdouh and Yomna El Sayed, have earned them the title of heroes.

Online voices are rallying behind the cause, with users expressing admiration for the journalists who persistently showcase the harsh realities in Gaza despite personal losses.

The campaign seeks to redirect attention to the unsung heroes reporting from the conflict zone, shedding light on the ongoing struggles faced by Palestinians in the Gaza Strip amid relentless Israeli strikes and a crippling siege.

Amidst the accolades Swift has received for her chart-topping albums and stadium tour, some argue that the recognition would be better placed on those who provide an unfiltered look into the hardships endured by Palestinians.

Activists have taken to social media, sharing images of the Gaza journalists photoshopped onto TIME's cover with the caption "my people of the year."

One activist, Zayna, said: "Today, I choose to honour the real people of the year: the journalists in Palestine. Their constant strength and courage amid a genocide is something so admirable".

Another X user, Jay, expressed: "Palestinian doctors, journalists, men, women and children have faced unimaginable horrors for 60 days (and 76 years) straight and their spirit has remained strong. To ignore how their strength has influenced and touched billions worldwide is to plug our ears and shut your eyes".

As the Gaza Strip continues to endure Israeli strikes and a complete import siege, citizen journalists, like Wael Dahdouh who lost his family in an airstrike, exemplify the extraordinary resilience and strength of a community under relentless pressure.

With the online campaign gaining momentum, it reflects a global call to recognise those reporting from conflict zones, putting their lives on the line to provide essential coverage that often goes unnoticed.