Discrimination in the Media [Part 2]

The lectures we had last week were interesting, to say the least. There was a particular lecture that focused on how the media changed after 9/11. My thoughts after sitting through that lecture:

There’s absolutely no doubt that after 9/11, people (and it started with the Americans; no offence y’all) wanted someone to blame. That they decided to blame Muslims was an unfortunate result of their need to place blame somewhere. Also, it didn’t help that the Bush government hyped things up so much, especially with regard to the WMD’s that they never found. An interesting nugget of information that I picked up from the lecture: Since 1981, the USA has been involved in invasions of a multitude of countries; no year has gone by without them sticking their fingers into some country or the other. It was just a matter of whether people realized it. Now, every time someone commits an act of terror or kills someone and IF they happen to be Muslim, everyone goes “Muslim terrorist”. I’m sorry, but when the Virginia Tech massacre happened back in 2007, no one mentioned the religion of the killer. I am 100% sure it would’ve made an even bigger deal if he was Muslim. No one said “Christian terrorist” did they? There are loads of examples of the current discrimination in the media, that if a killers’ religion happens to be Muslim, they attach that to the entire incident. Religion – and I repeat this – cannot be the cause for any act of terror; religions do NOT promote violence. People do. If someone really wants to commit an act of terror, they can twist ANYTHING to suit their needs, including a peaceful faith. For example, earlier this year, girls in Bangalore were attacked by a “Hindu” group for being in a pub. Even IF they thought the girls were committing a crime against their religion, did it justify them dragging them into the streets by their hair, kicking them, beating them and throwing them to the ground? No.

I do want to point out that I am in no way trying to undermine what happened that day in New York. It was a terrible thing. An atrocity and there’s no reason to forget it. I know I won’t forget 26/11. However, I don’t blame Muslims or Pakistanis for 26/11. I blame the people who actually did it. Their actions in no way reflects on people from their religion or nationality.

Something else that I’ve always wanted to say, and while it’s been said many times and by many people, it needs saying again: Governments need to be more responsible as they are, in my opinion, the ones who spread the fear, that gets picked up by the media and then exacerbated amongst the public.

When are governments and the public going to realize that this sort of hatred and fear is just worsening situations and creating divides in a world that needs no more reason to be divided as it is?

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8 thoughts on “Discrimination in the Media [Part 2]

  1. We are missing something here & that is, the reactions of the various Muslim communities across the world to the tragedy. Until somebody told them to cool it, Palestinians were distributing sweets on the streets. Ditto in Karachi, Lahore, & Islamabad. Months after the act, and some even to this day, remain in denial. Why? When Shiv Sena goes on a rampage we condemn it outright. When the Lashkar kills, its killers are heroes & are lionized in public. Arguments to justify the act are crafted & widely circulated to Imams in mosques to preach every Friday. Get my point? Individuals commit crimes, but it is the society’s reaction to them that tell us if the problem was an isolated individual phenomenon or if it had wider ramifications. What was most unfortunate in the Gujarat riots was similar; many Hindus tried to justify it as a reaction to Muslim aggression & we as Nation failed to redeem our secular creed.

    If you were to distinguish between the garbage churned out by Fox News & the US in general, you would be more discriminating in your criticism of the US actions. But even here I would caution you to research your subject in a little more depth. Bush, for all his faults, he had many, did not go after Saudi Arabia although all the killers were from there. The US to this day has not officially named the ISI officer to whom Mohammed Atta returned $100k just before going ahead. Why? It was to AVOID a civilizational war with Islam. Nevertheless, international politics being what it is, the US had to act to show the world it was capable of hitting back. You will recall that Bin Laden & his Pakistani backers had just defeated a super-power, the USSR. They were euphoric & confident that if they could embroil or inveigh the US into a similar asymmetrical war, it could be defeated. That was the purpose behind the 9/11 attack – to test it & if possible to drag into a guerrilla war in Afghanistan. Bush or rather Collin saw through the ruse. Iraq became thus a proxy for Saudi Arabia & Afghanistan for Pakistan. Iraq because it was a convenient & easy target, Pakistan because it had nukes. Pretty cynical but that international politics for you.

    It is tribute to Bush & the US system’s maturity that Bush never tried to defend himself by stating the obvious truth in face of the most excoriating criticism. Can you even begin to imagine if on first principles, Bush had gone after Saudi Arabia & Pakistan?

    I suggest you take any one of the 3 main Pakistani papers, dailtytimes.com.pk dawn.com and thenews.com.pk and read for yourself what the Pakistanis have to say about their own country & its society. It will also bear out some of what I have said above. I am sure you can dredge up enough stuff on your own but I ‘ll be happy to help you find material in the archives of Pakistani & US publications that have a bearing on the subject.

    I could take you thru the converse of this proposition as well: racism in the Arab world, atrocities in Somalia, lack of freedom in Muslim societies etc. That isn’t my purpose. The reason I bring all this up is this – the media’s job is not to express opinions, but to investigate & report what it sees. Most “liberal” media persons have their heart in the right place. It doesn’t help. We need your eyes, we need your heads, we need you to report. Making up our minds is our business & our business alone!

    Now if you are simply aiming at expressing an opinion, no quarrel. But if you are onto a career in journalism then take away just one thing from this – investigate, investigate & investigate .. you aren’t in the opinion business.

    And this isn’t a whack job πŸ˜‰

    1. Thanks for the comment! And no, I don’t think you’re a whack job. I find whack jobs are… irrational in their posts.

      I definitely understand your point on how communities react to various tragedies, but again, I still think it’s their interpretation and upbringing that contributes to it. I still would not blame anyone else for 26/11 regardless if people were distributing sweets or anything. It’s disturbing yes, but not their fault. I’d blame upbringing as opposed to saying ‘all Muslims were celebrating’. Possible that imams are chosen as the voice to circulate such feelings, but I don’t consider them then, as true Muslims; religion doesn’t promote violence. My point of this post was to say that a difference needs to be made between personal interpretations of religion as opposed to what it may really mean. I don’t know if that makes sense to you though.

      And yeah this was my take on things, not a report. πŸ™‚

      Btw the end part of your comment has inspired the next post that will come about. Thanks πŸ˜‰

  2. “religions do NOT promote violence”

    I don’t know how much I agree with that. Yeah we are in general taught to love and forgive, but at the same time some of the things in the holy books are extremely violent. The imagery of hell. The whole “do what I tell you to do or you will burn in a fire for all eternity” is quite, quite violent in my opinion.

    But yeah that is irrelevant to what you wrote about. I think your comments on US politics are a little naive. Bush did not not invade SA in order to avoid a war on Islam. You mentioned above that religion had nothing to do with it, and Bush knew that very well. If anything, Bush’s family has a lot of ties with the saudis.

    And the attack on Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11 either.

    1. Thanks for commenting Dana!

      I agree with your statement about Bush’s family having ties with the Saudis. And also on the last part, that Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11. Apologies if I made it seems as though the Iraq invasion was because of 9/11. As we know, they did not have anything to do with 9/11 anyway.

      Am not saying Bush waged a war on Islam but used hate to further his agenda. And that hate and ‘Islamophobia’ is something that is commonplace now after 9/11.

      1. I agree with your last statement. Sorry- some of my reply was actually directed to ‘absurd surd’

        Oh, and suddenly feel inspired to write! So thanks xD

  3. Read that as MY first introduction to the Prophet & his times, NOT yours. I found it difficult to put the book down & read it as I headed out to Dubai to understand a bit about the place. Sorry for the bad post; me used burst from the hip but no more than a couple of sentences at a time; most of which I never get right in terms tense or tenor.

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