Politics Central: Al-Dura: The Verdict (Part Four)

Nidra Poller on the verdict:

Charles Enderlin has irretrievably lost his honor today, and it looks like France 2 and the rest of the French media have thrown theirs in the same murky al-Dura pool.

Judge Joël Boyer who personified the search for the truth as he presided over the hearing one month ago pronounced the verdict in a weak, anonymous, impersonal voice. (If I were writing as a novelist I would say he was ashamed of the verdict he had to announce. As a reporter I cannot so presume). Philippe Karsenty is convicted of defamation and ordered to pay a fine of 1000 euros. In addition, he must pay damages of 1 euro to each of the plaintiffs, Charles Enderlin and France 2, plus 3000 euros of legal expenses. The financial penalty, it would seem, is deliberately light. The intention of France 2 was to save its honor. I repeat, they threw it away for a hill of beans. Karsenty is appealing the verdict. That case will most likely be heard a year from now. It involves further heavy expenses for the defendant.

But there is a higher court, beyond the series of appeals courts through which Philippe Karsenty may drag his burden of truth, beyond the European Human Rights Court, which stands outside the huis clos that is France, and might judge in a more reliable light. There is a higher court that is convened in the mind of every courageous human being who is able to examine the evidence, reach a judgment, and defend it against the pressure of powers that be and powers that should not be.

Luc Rosenzweig, one of the four witnesses who testified in Karsenty’s favor, is a grizzly, endearing retired journalist and active author. He was one of the three journalists who viewed the 27-minutes of outtakes in November 2004 and saw that France 2 had been bluffing for four years; there were no other al-Dura images to be seen. Fifty-five seconds, that’s the whole story. Rosenzweig wrote an article exposing the hoax. It was supposed to be published in L’Express. L’Express opted out. Lost interest in the al-Dura affair, didn’t cover the trial, couldn’t care less…until, bingo, France 2 wins a lawsuit in a French court and the story is on the wires before the accused can go home and take off his tie. Well my friends, that’s a laugh! The French media are in a tizzy, trumpeting the triumph of Charles Enderlin. Is there no danger that their readers might wonder why this juicy story was kept in the larder all these years?

Read it and weep — many thanks Nidra.

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