Connect with us


The Cost of Bearing Witness – Read by Eunice Wong Chris Hedges



Subscribe now

Text originally published Dec 23, 2023

Bearing Witness – Mr. Fish

Writing and photographing in wartime are acts of resistance, acts of faith. They affirm the belief that one day – a day the writers, journalists and photographers may never see – the words and images will evoke empathy, understanding, outrage and provide wisdom. They chronicle not only the facts, although facts are important, but the texture, sacredness and grief of lives and communities lost. They tell the world what war is like, how those caught in its maw of death endure, how there are those who sacrifice for others and those who do not, what fear and hunger are like, what death is like. They transmit the cries of children, the wails of grief of the mothers, the daily struggle in the face of savage industrial violence, the triumph of their humanity through filth, sickness, humiliation and fear. This is why writers, photographers and journalists are targeted by aggressors in war — including the Israelis — for obliteration. They stand as witnesses to evil, an evil the aggressors want buried and forgotten. They expose the lies. They condemn, even from the grave, their killers. Israel has killed at least 13 Palestinian poets and writers along with at least 67 journalists and media workers in Gaza, and three in Lebanon since Oct. 7.

I experienced futility and outrage when I covered war. I wondered if I had done enough, or if it was even worth the risk. But you go on because to do nothing is to be complicit. You report because you care. You will make it hard for the killers to deny their crimes. 

This brings me to the Palestinian novelist and playwright Atef Abu Saif. He and his 15-year-old son Yasser, who live in the occupied West Bank, were visiting family in Gaza — where he was born — when Israel began its scorched earth campaign. Atef is no stranger to the violence of the Israeli occupiers. He was two months old during the 1973 war and writes “I’ve been living through wars ever since. Just as life is a pause between two deaths, Palestine, as a place and as an idea, is a timeout in the middle of many wars.”

During Operation Cast Lead, the 2008/2009 Israel assault on Gaza, Atef sheltered in the corridor of his Gaza family home for 22 nights with his wife, Hanna and two children, while Israel bombed and shelled. His book “The Drone Eats with Me: Diaries from a City Under Fire,” is an account of Operation Protective Edge, the 2014 Israeli assault on Gaza that killed 1,523 Palestinian civilians, including 519 children. 

“Memories of war can be strangely positive, because to have them at all means you must have survived,” he notes sardonically.

He again did what writers do, including the professor and poet Refaat Alareer, who was killed, along with Refaat’s brother, sister and her four children, in an airstrike on his sister’s apartment building in Gaza on Dec. 7. The Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor said that Alareer was deliberately targeted, “surgically bombed out of the entire building.” His killing came after weeks of “death threats that Refaat received online and by phone from Israeli accounts.” He had moved to his sister’s because of the threats.

Refaat, whose doctorate was on the metaphysical poet John Donne, wrote a poem in November, called “If I Must Die,” which became his last will and testament. It has been translated into numerous languages. A reading of the poem by the actor Brian Cox has been viewed almost 30 million times. 

If I must die,

you must live

to tell my story

to sell my things

to buy a piece of cloth

and some strings,

(make it white with a long tail)

so that a child, somewhere in Gaza

while looking heaven in the eye

awaiting his dad who left in a blaze—

and bid no one farewell

not even to his flesh

not even to himself—

sees the kite, my kite you made,

flying up above

and thinks for a moment an angel is there

bringing back love

If I must die

let it bring hope

let it be a tale.

Subscribe now

Atef, once again finding himself living amid the explosions and carnage from Israeli shells and bombs, doggedly publishes his observations and reflections. His accounts are often difficult to transmit because of Israel’s blockage of Internet and phone service. They have appeared in The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Nation and Slate.

On the first day of the Israeli bombardment, a friend, the young poet and musician Omar Abu Shawish, is killed, apparently in an Israeli naval bombardment, though later reports would say he was killed in an airstrike as he was walking to work. Atef wonders about the Israeli soldiers watching him and his family with “their infrared lenses and satellite photography.” Can “they count the loafs of bread in my basket, or the number of falafel balls on my plate?” he wonders. He watches the crowds of dazed and confused families, their homes in rubble, carrying “mattresses, bags of clothes, food and drink.” He stands mutely before “the supermarket, the bureau de change, the falafel shop, the fruit stalls, the perfume parlor, the sweets shop, the toy shop — all burned.”

“Blood was everywhere, along with bits of kids’ toys, cans from the supermarket, smashed fruit, broken bicycles and shattered perfume bottles,” he writes. “The place looked like a charcoal drawing of a town scorched by a dragon.”

“I went to the Press House, where journalists were frantically downloading images and writing reports for their agencies. I was sitting with Bilal, the Press House manager, when an explosion shook the building. Windows shattered, and the ceiling collapsed onto us in chunks. We ran toward the central hall. One of the journalists was bleeding, having been hit by flying glass. After 20 minutes, we ventured out to inspect the damage. I noticed that Ramadan decorations were still hanging in the street.”

“The city has become a wasteland of rubble and debris,” Atef, who has been the Palestinian Authority’s minister of culture since 2019, writes in the early days of the Israeli shelling of Gaza City. “Beautiful buildings fall like columns of smoke. I often think about the time I was shot as a kid, during the first intifada, and how my mother told me I actually died for a few minutes before being brought back to life. Maybe I can do the same this time, I think.”

He leaves his teenage son with family members.

“The Palestinian logic is that in wartime, we should all sleep in different places, so that if part of the family is killed, another part lives,” he writes. “The U.N. schools are getting more crowded with displaced families. The hope is that the U.N. flag will save them, though in previous wars, that hasn’t been the case.”

 On Tuesday Oct. 17 he writes:

I see death approaching, hear its steps growing louder. Just be done with it, I think. It’s the 11th day of the conflict, but all the days have merged into one: the same bombardment, the same fear, the same smell. On the news, I read the names of the dead on the ticker at the bottom of the screen. I wait for my name to appear.

In the morning, my phone rang. It was Rulla, a relative in the West Bank, telling me she had heard there’d been an airstrike in Talat Howa, a neighborhood on the south side of Gaza City where my cousin Hatem lives. Hatem is married to Huda, my wife’s only sister. He lives in a four-story building that also houses his mother and brothers and their families.

I called around, but no one’s phone was working. I walked to al-Shifa Hospital to read the names: Lists of the dead are pinned up daily outside a makeshift morgue. I could barely approach the building: Thousands of Gazans had made the hospital their home; its gardens, its hallways, every empty space or spare corner had a family in it. I gave up and headed toward Hatem’s.

Thirty minutes later, I was on his street. Rulla had been right. Huda and Hatem’s building had been hit only an hour earlier. The bodies of their daughter and grandchild had already been retrieved; the only known survivor was Wissam, one of their other daughters, who had been taken to the ICU. Wissam had gone straight into surgery, where both of her legs and her right hand had been amputated. Her graduation ceremony from art college had taken place only the day before. She has to spend the rest of her life without legs, with one hand. “What about the others?” I asked someone.

“We can’t find them,” came the reply.

Amid the rubble, we shouted: “Hello? Can anyone hear us?” We called out the names of those still missing, hoping some might still be alive. By the end of the day, we’d managed to find five bodies, including that of a 3-month-old. We went to the cemetery to bury them.

In the evening, I went to see Wissam in the hospital; she was barely awake. After half an hour, she asked me: “Khalo [Uncle], I’m dreaming, right?”

I said, “We are all in a dream.”

“My dream is terrifying! Why?”

“All our dreams are terrifying.”

After 10 minutes of silence, she said, “Don’t lie to me, Khalo. In my dream, I don’t have legs. It’s true, isn’t it? I have no legs?”

“But you said it’s a dream.”

“I don’t like this dream, Khalo.”

I had to leave. For a long 10 minutes, I cried and cried. Overwhelmed by the horrors of the past few days, I walked out of the hospital and found myself wandering the streets. I thought idly, we could turn this city into a film set for war movies. Second World War films and end-of-the-world movies. We could hire it out to the best Hollywood directors. Doomsday on demand. Who could have the courage to tell Hanna, so far away in Ramallah, that her only sister had been killed? That her family had been killed? I phoned my colleague Manar and asked her to go to our house with a couple of friends and try to delay the news from getting to her. “Lie to her,” I told Manar. “Say the building was attacked by F-16s but the neighbors think Huda and Hatem were out at the time. Any lie that could help.”

Leaflets in Arabic dropped by Israeli helicopters float down from the sky. They announce that anyone who remains north of the Wadi waterway will be considered a partner to terrorism, “meaning,” Atef writes, “the Israelis can shoot on sight.” The electricity is cut. Food, fuel and water begin to run out. The wounded are operated on without anesthesia. There are no painkillers or sedatives. He visits his niece Wissam, racked with pain, in al-Shifa Hospital who asks him for a lethal injection. She says Allah will forgive her.

“But he will not forgive me, Wissam.”

“I am going to ask him to, on your behalf,” she says.

After airstrikes he joins the rescue teams “under the cricket-like hum of drones we couldn’t see in the sky.” A line from T.S Eliot, “a heap of broken images,” runs through his head. The injured and dead are “transported on three-wheeled bicycles or dragged along in carts by animals.”

“We picked up pieces of mutilated bodies and gathered them on a blanket; you find a leg here, a hand there, while the rest looks like minced meat,” he writes. “In the past week, many Gazans have started writing their names on their hands and legs, in pen or permanent marker, so they can be identified when death comes. This might seem macabre, but it makes perfect sense: We want to be remembered; we want our stories to be told; we seek dignity. At the very least, our names will be on our graves. The smell of unretrieved bodies under the ruins of a house hit last week remains in the air. The more time passes, the stronger the smell.”

The scenes around him become surreal. On Nov. 19, day 44 of the assault, he writes:

A man rides a horse toward me with the body of a dead teenager slung over the saddle in front. It seems it’s his son, perhaps. It looks like a scene from a historical movie, only the horse is weak and barely able to move. He is back from no battle. He is no knight. His eyes are full of tears as he holds the little riding crop in one hand and the bridle in the other. I have an impulse to photograph him but then feel suddenly sick at the idea. He salutes no one. He barely looks up. He is too consumed with his own loss. Most people are using the camp’s old cemetery; it’s the safest and although it is technically long-since full, they have started digging shallower graves and burying the new dead on top of the old—keeping families together, of course.

On Nov. 21 after constant tank-shelling, he decides to flee the Jabaliya neighborhood in the north of Gaza for the south, with his son and mother-in-law who is in a wheelchair. They must pass through Israeli checkpoints, where soldiers randomly select men and boys from the line for detention.

“Scores of bodies are strewn along both sides of the road,” he writes. “Rotting, it seems, into the ground. The smell is horrendous. A hand reaches out toward us from the window of a burned-out car, as if asking for something, from me specifically. I see what looks like two headless bodies in a car — limbs and precious body parts just thrown away and left to fester.”

He tells his son Yasser: “Don’t look. Just keep walking, son.”

In early Dec. his family home is destroyed in an airstrike.

“The house a writer grows up in is a well from which to draw material. In each of my novels, whenever I wanted to depict a typical house in the camp, I conjured ours. I’d move the furniture around a bit, change the name of the alley, but who was I kidding? It was always our house.”

“All the houses in Jabalya are small. They’re built randomly, haphazardly, and they’re not made to last. These houses replaced the tents that Palestinians like my grandmother Eisha lived in after the displacements of 1948. Those who built them always thought they’d soon be returning to the beautiful, spacious homes they’d left behind in the towns and villages of historic Palestine. That return never happened, despite our many rituals of hope, like safeguarding the key to the old family home. The future keeps betraying us, but the past is ours.”

“Though I’ve lived in many cities around the world, and visited many more, that tiny ramshackle abode was the only place I ever felt at home’” he goes on. “Friends and colleagues always asked: Why don’t you live in Europe or America? You have the opportunity. My students chimed in: Why did you return to Gaza? My answer was always the same: ‘Because in Gaza, in an alleyway in the Saftawi neighborhood of Jabalya, there stands a little house that cannot be found anywhere else in the world.’ If on doomsday God were to ask me where I would like to be sent, I wouldn’t hesitate in saying, ‘Home.’ Now there is no home.”

Atef is now trapped in southern Gaza with his son. His niece was transferred to a hospital in Egypt. Israel continues to pound Gaza with over 20,000 dead and 50,000 wounded. Atef continues to write.

The story of Christmas is the story of a poor woman, nine months pregnant, and her husband forced to leave their home in Nazareth in northern Galilee. The occupying Roman power has demanded they register for the census 90 miles away in Bethlehem. When they arrive there are no rooms. She gives birth in a stable. King Herod – who learned from the Magi of the birth of the messiah – orders his soldiers to hunt down every child two years old and under in Bethlehem and the vicinity and murder them. An angel warns Joseph in a dream to flee. The couple and infant escape under the cover of darkness and make the 40-mile journey to Egypt. 

I was in a refugee camp in the early 1980s for Guatemalans who had fled the war into Honduras. The peasant farmers and their families, living in filth and mud, their villages and homes burned or abandoned, were decorating their tents with strips of colored paper to celebrate the Massacre of the Innocents.

“Why is this such an important day?” I asked.

“It was on this day that Christ became a refugee,” a farmer answered.

The Christmas story was not written for the oppressors. It was written for the oppressed. We are called to protect the innocents. We are called to defy the occupying power. Atef, Refaat and those like them, who speak to us at the risk of death, echo this Biblical injunction. They speak so we will not be silent. They speak so we will take these words and images and hold them up to the principalities of the world — the media, politicians, diplomats, universities, the wealthy and privileged, the weapons manufacturers, the Pentagon and the Israel lobby groups — who are orchestrating the genocide in Gaza. The infant Christ is not lying today in straw, but a pile of broken concrete.

Evil has not changed down the millenia. Neither has goodness.


The Chris Hedges Report is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.


Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


TGIF: WWIII May Come Tomorrow, But. . . Nellie Bowles




Google employees protesting at the office. They were later fired. (Via X)

Welcome back. World War III watch over here continues. The Axis of Resistance seemed ready to kick off a major war, but then our Ayatollah stood down. The Houthi Youth at Columbia University camped out in solidarity, but the rebellion was short. Then, at press time, Israel struck back against Iran, so World War Watch resumed. You know what helps my stress? A good book. This one, by your faithful soldier, is out May 14.

→ Trump’s Gettysburg Address: Before Trump hit the campaign trail, I’d forgotten a little what he sounds like. In the amber of my mind, he was just “MAGA” and “Shithole countries” on a loop. Now, thanks to a campaign speech Saturday in Schnecksville, PA, we are back in the game with the craziest American orator who’s ever been in the game. The topic was Gettysburg. And our former president gave an impromptu slam poetry interpretation that left me snapping. 

Gettysburg, what an unbelievable battle that was. I mean, it was so much and so interesting and so vicious and horrible and so beautiful in so many different ways. It represented such a big portion of the success of this country. Gettysburg, wow. I go to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, to look and to watch. And the statement of Robert E. Lee—who’s no longer in favor—did you ever notice that? He’s no longer in favor. “Never fight uphill, me boys, never fight uphill.” They were fighting uphill. He said, “Wow, that was a big mistake.” He lost his great general. They were fighting, “Never fight uphill, me boys,” but it was too late.

Vicious and horrible and beautiful. And the sun that blazes over the October sky. Who will watch the watcher? Who will sing the song of the lonely? Check out my self-published novel in the back, Trump says. 

→ Biden continues paying off successful young voters: Sorry, I mean “forgiving student debt.” Biden this week paid off another $7.4 billion in student loans, making his total student loan cancellation something like $153 billion. And by cancellation, I mean tax dollars were used to make the ledger go to zero. How much exactly? From Penn Wharton’s analysis: “We estimate that President Biden’s recently announced ‘New Plans’ to provide relief to student borrowers will cost $84 billion, in addition to the $475 billion that we previously estimated for President Biden’s SAVE plan.” But that goes to really needy people, right? Well, actually, at least 750,000 of those households are “making over $312,000 in average household income.” Meanwhile, to anyone who questions this allocation of resources, the White House answer is to shame them from official White House accounts by listing how much in pandemic loans were forgiven for House Republicans who own individual small business, which is weird because the reason businesses needed pandemic relief was because the White House banned them from operating. It’s a trap! And the only answer is to pay off every Media Studies PhD student’s loan. Colleges, for their part, are now charging up to $100,000 a year. Yes, literally. And since that’s ultimately going to be paid for by the taxpayers, why work to make it less expensive? Why cut corners when you need to remodel the cafeteria?

→ Oh, RFK’s running mate: For a flash I was thinking, Am I an RFK voter? I’m a mom who worries about plastics, and no, I don’t like how our national conversation is getting so divisive these days. And those steely blue eyes. It just felt right. But this week, my love affair hit a snag. Here’s RFK’s new vice-presidential pick, Nicole Shanahan, arguing that the Covid vaccine is not just bad, that it’s not just something she personally doesn’t want and should have the freedom to choose not to take, but that it should be banned. Over to Nicole: “Here is the devastating reality: it is not a safe vaccine, and must be recalled immediately. Many people are suffering who took it.” I guess this is really the agenda: RFK Jr. might be just asking questions, but if Nicole is chief executive, it sounds like she’s going to be executing. And that looks like legally required sound baths and astrology readings. The government understands that you want to take antibiotics, but you haven’t even tried rubbing yourself in honey yet. 

→ Wow, Kari Lake comes out as really pro-choice: Kari Lake, the Republican running for Senate in Arizona, has released a video about how she disagrees with Arizona’s total abortion ban, a ban she previously supported. I’m all for mind-changing. I actually want our politicians to put their finger to the wind every once in a while. Here’s Lake: “We as American people don’t agree on everything all of the time. But if you look at where the population is on this—a full ban on abortion is not where the people are.” 

She says, “I chose life, but I’m not every woman.” She pivots to Europe, which has all those annoyingly sensible abortion laws, and which is my exact same move: “I had the opportunity to visit Hungary, and it completely changed my view of how we should deal with this complicated, difficult issue.”

Is this Kari Lake sounding normal? In case you need to be reminded of the old Kari, here she is shaking hands with a statue. 

→ Oh no, “get out the vote” helps. . . Trump? Now that young people are for Trump and old people are for Biden, there’s another switcheroo: those who vote less or have never voted are more likely to be Trumpers. Call off the Rock the Vote campaigners! Return the blue t-shirts! The new message for Democrats to win needs to be: do not register new voters. Keep on keeping on. Stay home, save lives.

Read more


Continue Reading


April 18, 2024 Heather Cox Richardson




I will not spend the rest of 2024 focusing on Trump and the chaos in the Republican Party, but today it has been impossible to look away.

In Trump’s election interference trial in Manhattan, Judge Juan Merchan this morning dismissed one of the selected jurors after she expressed concern for her anonymity and thus for her safety. All of the reporters in the courtroom have shared so much information about the jurors that they seemed at risk of being identified, but Fox News Channel host Jesse Watters not only ran a video segment about a juror, he suggested she was “concerning.” Trump shared the video on social media.

The juror told the judge that so much information about her had become public that her friends and family had begun to ask her if she was one of the jurors. Legal analyst Joyce White Vance noted jurors’ fear for their safety was a concern normally seen only “in a case involving violent organized crime.”

Nonetheless, by the end of the day, twelve people had been chosen to serve as jurors. Tomorrow the process will continue in order to find six alternate jurors. 

It is a courtesy for the two sides at a trial to share with each other the names of their next witnesses so the other team can prepare for them. Today the prosecution declined to provide the names of their first three witnesses to the defense lawyers out of concern that Trump would broadcast them on social media. “Mr. Trump has been tweeting about the witnesses. We’re not telling them who the witnesses are,” prosecutor Joshua Steinglass said. 

Merchan said he “can’t blame them.” Trump’s defense attorney Todd Blanche offered to “commit to the court and the [prosecution] that President Trump will not [post] about any witness” on social media. “I don’t think you can make that representation,” Merchan said, in a recognition that Trump cannot be trusted, even by his own lawyers.

An article in the New York Times today confirmed that the trial will give Trump plenty of publicity, but not the kind that he prefers. Lawyer Norman L. Eisen walked through questions about what a prison sentence for Trump could look like.

Trump’s popular image is taking a hit in other ways, as well. Zac Anderson and Erin Mansfield of USA Today reported that Trump is funneling money from his campaign fundraising directly into his businesses. According to a new report filed with the Federal Election Commission, in February and March the campaign wrote checks totaling $411,287 to Mar-a-Lago and in March a check for $62,337 to Trump National Doral Miami.

Experts say it is legal for candidates to pay their own businesses for services used by the campaign so long as they pay fair market value. At the same time, they note that since Trump appears to be desperate for money, “it looks bad.”

Astonishingly, Trump’s trial was not the biggest domestic story today. Republicans in Congress were in chaos as members of the extremist Freedom Caucus worked to derail the national security supplemental bills that House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) has introduced in place of the Senate bill, although they track that bill closely. 

The House Rules Committee spent the day debating the foreign aid package, which appropriates aid for Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan separately. The Israel bill also contains $9.1 billion in humanitarian aid for Gaza and other countries. A fourth bill focuses on forcing the Chinese owners of TikTok to sell the company, as well as on imposing sanctions on Russia and Iran. 

At stake in the House Rules Committee was Johnson’s plan to allow the House to debate and vote on each measure separately, and then recombine them all into a single measure if they all pass. This would allow extremist Republicans to vote against aid to Ukraine, while still tying the pieces all together to send to the Senate. As Robert Jimison outlined in the New York Times, this complicated plan meant that the Rules Committee vote to allow such a maneuver was crucial to the bill’s passage.

The extremist House Republicans were adamantly opposed to the plan because of their staunch opposition to aid for Ukraine. They wrote in a memo on Wednesday: “This tactic allows Johnson to pass priorities favored by President Biden, the swamp and the Ukraine war machine with a supermajority of House members, leaving conservatives out to dry.”

Extremists Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) and Thomas Massie (R-KY) vowed to throw House speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) out of the speakership, but Democrats Tom Suozzi of New York and Jared Moskowitz of Florida have said they would vote to keep him in his seat, thereby defanging the attack on his leadership.

So the extremists instead tried to load the measures up with amendments prohibiting funds from being used for abortion, removing humanitarian aid for Gaza, opposing a two-state solution to the Hamas-Israel war, calling for a wall at the southern border of the U.S., defunding the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and so on.

Greene was especially active in opposition to aid to Ukraine. She tried to amend the bill to direct the president to withdraw the U.S. from NATO and demanded that any members of Congress voting for aid to Ukraine be conscripted into the Ukraine army as well as have their salaries taken to offset funding. She wanted to stop funding until Ukraine “turns over all information related to Hunter Biden and Burisma,” and to require Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky to resign. More curiously, she suggested amending the Ukraine bill so that funding would require “restrictions on ethnic minorities’, including Hungarians in Transcarpathia, right to use their native languages in schools are lifted.” This language echoes a very specific piece of Russian propaganda.

Finally, Moskowitz proposed “that Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene…should be appointed as Vladimir Putin’s Special Envoy to the United States Congress.” 

Many congress members have left Washington, D.C., since Friday was to be the first day of a planned recess. This meant the partisan majority on the floor fluctuated. Olivia Beavers of Politico reported that that instability made Freedom Caucus members nervous enough to put together a Floor Action Response Team (FART—I am not making this up) to make sure other Republicans didn’t limit the power of the extremists when they were off the floor.

The name of their response team seems likely to be their way to signal their disrespect for the entire Congress. Their fellow Republicans are returning the heat. Today Mike Turner (R-OH) referred to the extremists as the Bully Caucus on MSNBC and said, “We need to get back to professionalism, we need to get back to governing, we need to get back to legislating.” Derrick Van Orden (R-WI) told Juliegrace Brufke of Axios:  “The vast majority of the Republican Party in the House of Representatives…are sick and tired of having people who…constantly blackmail the speaker of the House.”

Another Republican representative, Jake LaTurner of Kansas, announced today he will not run for reelection. He joins more than 20 other Republican representatives heading for the exits.

After all the drama, the House Rules Committee voted 6–3 tonight to advance the foreign aid package to the House floor. Three Republicans voted nay. While it is customary for the opposition party to vote against advancing bills out of the committee, the Democrats broke with tradition and voted in favor.





Twitter (X):







Continue Reading


April 17, 2024 Heather Cox Richardson





Continue Reading

Shadow Banned

Copyright © 2023 mesh news project // awake, not woke // news, not narrative // deep inside the filter bubble