Close to 150,000 died in the illegal and unjust war imposed on Afghanistan and
Iraq and no one is even willing to diligently count the dead. Deadly bombs went
off in Iraq Wednesday and not a word was published. Hours later, in London, more
bombs exploded and the western media was all over the story.
Ottawa Citizen alone published 43 stories with more than 20,000 words together.
It seems as if they were ready and only waiting for the bombing to take place
in London. Not to speak of the fact that most of these stories were to frame
Muslims and Islam. The stories are focused on three main aspects: fixing the
blame on Muslims, showing resolve to continue war and spreading more fear.
The titles of Ottawa Citizen analysis and editorial are good enough to show
these trends: “United against terror,” “Resolve bred in the
bone,” “t could happen here, too,” “This was 'inevitable',”
Canada is the only target left on Osama's list,” “Young, fanatical
British Muslims among prime suspects,” “Trying to stay one step
ahead of jihadists,” “Forces of fear, reality collide,” “'We
shall prevail. They shall not,” “Recruited to wage war” and
Stories like “'They've hijacked our faith',” are used to emphasis
comments by one Muslim leader who is blaming Muslims for the attack but marginalising
comments by another Muslim leaders who calls for not jumping to the conclusions
and blame everything on Muslims.
October 7, 2001 is a clear example of when bombs explode in a city on the other
side of the world, it is just a matter of collateral damage if innocent people
get killed. When a whole country is occupied it is for not occupation but liberation.
But when a fraction of all that killing takes place in the West, it becomes
an attack on freedom. Story of the bombs that ripped innocents to pieces in
Iraq and caused grievous injury didn’t get reported in a single Canadian
On the other hand when bombs exploded in a city in the West, the tragedy dominated
the every other newspaper, newscast and news channel in the western world. Interestingly,
leading papers, such as the New York Time’s runs an opinion piece to implicate
Muslims on the basis of the assumption that one of the bombs were set off by
a suicide bomber. That assumption was good enough to write an anti-Islam article,
Whereas the top story in the news section contradicts the suicide theory completely.
Friedman comes out with his war mentality as usual and writes: “one assault
may have involved a suicide bomber, bringing this terrible jihadist weapon into
the heart of a major Western capital… The attacks are also deeply disturbing
because when jihadist bombers take their madness into the heart of our open
societies, our societies are never again quite as open.”
The News story in the international section however contradict Friedman thesis
which he used simply to vent out his anger on “jihadists.” Title
of the news report by Don Van Natta and Elaine Sciolino reads: “Timers
Used in Blasts, Police Say; Parallels to Madrid Are Found.” The first
para of the story gives the conclusion: “Investigators searching for clues
in the attacks here said Thursday that the three bombs used in the subway apparently
were detonated by timers, not suicide bombers, and that a fourth device may
have been intended for a target other than the city bus that it destroyed.Skip
to next paragraph”
Response of the Western media, particularly the so-called mainstream media,
to the deaths in the Muslim majority world and the Deaths in other places provides
lessons in the exigencies of co-opted journalism and the nature of wars imposed
on the Muslim world. Ignoring the root cause and real culprits and a focus on
the symptoms also helps explain why the bombs keep exploding.
It is not the number of dead in the London and Mashruh bombing that made the
difference in response of the Western media. Of course, in Mashruh, there were
two bombs, both rigged to cars and detonated almost simultaneously. At least
13 people were killed and 30 injured. In London there were twice as many bombs,
three in the subway and one on a bus. At press time, at least 37 were killed
and about 700 injured.
A notable difference, but hardly great enough to explain why one story gets
no coverage and the other is broadloomed wall-to-wall, ignoring that Mashruh
was just another day in the more than 2 years long bloody occupation; not to
speak of the 1.8 million starved to death due to genocidal sanctions.
We might note that last February, when the deadliest bombing since the occupation
of Iraq killed 125 in the city of Hillah, it warranted no more than a single
story on page A6 of the same Ottawa Citizen that carried 43 stories today. The
story was similarly played in most other newspapers.
Of course, body count is not directly proportionate to column inches, but column
inches are directly proportional to the perceptions of the Western mind and
the misconceptions that the war lords try to consolidate with the kind of coverage
they give to an event.
Well, what about motive? A fake unknown group claiming responsibility for the
London attacks does not justify blaming Islam and Muslims and statements from
Bush, Blair and Martin that this is a war on “our way of life” and
“our freedom.” No one talks about the freedom and human rights of
those who are under the US and its allies direct occupations in Iraq, Afghanistan,
Chechny, Kashmir, Palestine; and under indirect occupation in Pakistan, Egypt,
Saudi Arabia, Uzbekistan and other places.
In Mashruh, there is no terrorism and not the same “jihadists.”
In Mushruh there is legitimate resistance to the occupation by the aggressors
who launched a war on defenseless country on the basis of nothing by white lies.
Blindness of the Western analysts is at its peak, or they might bee faking
total blindness as if they don’t know anything. London's plight warrants
special attention for the most basic journalistic reason, suggests Chris Dornan,
director of Carleton University's school of journalism. It's a man-bites-dog
Newsworthiness is measured, in part, by novelty, says Mr. Dornan. "A lot
of news is the violation of expectation," he says. "We expect London,
with the worst of Irish sectarian violence behind it, to be bomb-free. We have
no such expectation for Iraq." But this is not on the minds of those who
are rushing 43 stories in a single day in a single issue of a daily newspaper.
“We shall prevail,” as their headlines shows, is uppermost in the
minds of the war lords on the media front. This is a perfect opportunity for
the war lords to promote their ideas and continuing crusade.
“Another act of terrorism in Iraq? Regrettable, but not news.”
This is how the mindset has has been prepared. Even if 130,000 people die, it
is of no significance, because they were either all terrorists of part of the
In London, says Mr. Dornan, the news quotient was pushed up by the fact that
the bombings occurred at the same time the leaders of the industrial nations
were meeting in Britain. Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin was hardly in danger
at the G8 summit site in Scotland, but he and the rest of the best-known western
leaders were in the vicinity of trauma.
This is a lame duck excuse for the fascist mindset that considers starving
1.8 million Iraqi as the “price worth it.” With or without the G*
heads of state in the vicinity, the response was bound to be disproportionate.
Those who are responsible for preparing such a mindset also keep in mind that
there is no coverage when they unleash terror in the Muslim world. They would
ban Al-Jazeera and other alternative news sources. They would kill journalists
and bomb their office. But the same people when stage attacks in the West to
mobilize support for their wars abroad they choose places like London and occasions
like the G8 summit.
Mr. Dornan confirms it. The amount of coverage a story gets has a lot to do
with who is available to cover it. Independent media is banned in Iraq. But
"London is the media capital of the United Kingdom; you've got networks
galore and correspondents based there so the coverage is much more accessible,
instantaneously, than it would be for the western media if it had happened in
some place like Jalalabad or Kandahar." This also shows, who really are
behind these bombings and what they really want to achieve.
It is wrong to assume that the London bombings get more coverage because western
news editors know, instinctively, they resonate more with their readers. Of
course it's not a matter of news but of psychology, as Cecilia Taiana, a psychologist
from Carleton University's school of social work, argues. But she is simply
a psychologist, not an analyst to understand that these news editors are allied,
embedded and co-opted with the neo-cons and covert war lords who justified and
paved the way for invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan. They have to prove to their
public that they were right in the fear mongering and promotion of war.
These editors have to take advantage of the multiple visual and emotional associations
to the spaces under attack. Some like Friedman would not hesitate to bring in
“suicide bombers” to justify his position as promoter of war and
violence at a time when no one has even hinted at the possibility of suicide
The “mainstream” news media is so visibly taking their cues from
the war lords in Washington. As the war goes on and misery multiplies they,
get caught up in their tangled web of lies and deception and they need such
occasions to justify their promotion and justification of the crimes against
humanity. With every addition death and destruction in the occupied lands increase
their personal stakes and they need to convince the public that the enemy is
Islam and its way of life, as opposed to the Western way of life. Too sad, but