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Sunday, April 3, 2005

Palestinian scientist objects to 'Times Magazine' portrayal.

Rana El Farra, a Palestinian scientist profiled in James Benet's New York Times Magazine article on Palestinian politics after Yasir Arafat's death, posted the following comment in reply to my mention of the article:

With much eagerness, I waited for the March 13th, 2005 issue of the New York Times Magazine. I was interviewed by James Bennet the magazine whom I invited to my parent’s house. Yet I was very disappointed at what I saw for the following reasons:

First, describing me as “the real political face of Hamas’ has raised so many concerns and has seriously jeopardized my research and work relations. I seriously object to such a description just because I might vote for them in the upcoming elections or because I happen to just cover my hair. I am not a member of Hamas or any other political organization. Like citizens everywhere, I will make my choices in the elections according to what I believe is in the best interest of my community.

Second, it is clear that the reporter lacks a true understanding of the situation that made him put words into my mouth that I did not say and made implications that do not apply to my situation. I am a very open minded Palestinian woman that hopes for peace and believes in our right to fight the occupation by legitimate methods of resistance that does not include the targeting of civilians or suicide bombings.

Third, I was very clear that Hamas as a political party and municipal service provider might be successful based on the work they have done in Gaza. Yet I am very supportive of the role of Fatah (Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas political party) to carry out the negotiations towards peace with the Israelis.

Fourth, during the interview, I mentioned the strong relations that I have with Israeli professors whom I cooperate with on health and science issues. This part was totally absent from the article. Including my comments brought out would have stressed the fact that coexistence is phenomenon that I believe in and actively practice on a regular basis.

Finally, I would like to make it clear that I object to presenting my picture to the world this way through your magazine. I trusted you and apparently you did not deserve this trust since you were more intent on publishing your perspective than accurately reflecting my point of view. I respectfully request that you publish my objection letter in your magazine.

Rana F. El Farra

My site is one of the few places that mentions El Farra and I can appreciate her concerns about how the magazine's portrayal of her could interfere with her work, so I'm posting her comment to the front page in the event that the Times Magazine doesn't publish at least a portion of her letter.

Copyright © 2005 by Philocrites | Posted 3 April 2005 at 9:29 AM

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April 3, 2005 02:06 PM | Permalink for this comment

I'd like to thank Rana El Farra for composing a clarification and for bringing it to our attention that reporters for respected media outlets are still writing with an agenda and a bias. Not that The NY Times is as respected as it once was, but still... her criticisms are quite damning. Good stuff, Philocrites!

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