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When Bad Journalism Kills: The Mohammed Al-Dura Story

Frida Ghitis Friday, May 30, 2008

The irony of great tragedies is that their smallest moments are the ones that truly touch us. Statistics and death-counts impress strategists and historians. But the image of a terrified boy crouching behind his father in the crossfire of armed fighters -- and then dying in his father's arms -- has the power to melt hearts, ignite fury, and move people to action.

Such was the case with Mohammed al-Dura, the Palestinian boy supposedly killed by Israeli soldiers in September 2000 during a gun battle with Palestinians. His story sparked outrage around the world and added fuel to a raging fire that exploded into an even greater inferno after news of the 12-year-old's death. But what if the tragedy did not happen? What if it was all a hoax? History cannot be undone. Perhaps we can at least avoid repeating it. ...

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