We are horrified/outraged/saddened by the tragedy/massacre/something occurring in Gaza. We want to do something to stop the Israeli attacks. We often turn to mapping in times like these. But of course, cartography was born in the midst of war, conflict and violence and that bond is not easily broken.
The BBC has a map comparing “Israeli Attacks on Gaza” to “Palestinian Rocket Attacks against Israel”
From this map one might be lead to think this is a conflict between two equals, with equal numbers of causalities on both sides. One might even be led to believe Israel’s claim that it is defending itself, only attacking “targets”, that all the Palestinians are dying in “clashes” between Hamas forces and the IDF. One certainly would not see the over 900 Palestinians that Israel has killed in the last 17 days, the nearly 300 children that have been killed, the refugee camps and schools that Israel has bombed. Nor would one see the effects of Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip — the lack of clean water, electricity, food, medical care. Even less would one see the cumulative effects of the Israeli occupation — the constant threat of violence, people denied their basic human rights and their ability to control their own lives and make their livelihoods.
But then again, how do you show horror, outrage, sadness on a map? How can you map even a single lost life? But 917 people killed in 17 days, 284 children? Or even write about it…