ModernityBlog

“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” Abraham Lincoln

Posts Tagged ‘Attacks

Red Mist, Arm Flapping And Its Consequences.

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I don’t know what happened in the middle of the night with the flotilla, and until more information comes out I’m reserving judgement.

I hadn’t wanted to post for a few days. I am not really in the mood and I hoped that some concrete facts would emerge, eventually once the recrimination and counter recrimination had died down.

Nevertheless, I feel rather compelled to blog, to record certain attitudes I have recently seen in Europe and Britain which don’t bode well, and to think where they might lead.

Firstly, at any one point there are hundreds of conflict going on in the world, yet what we actually see in the West and how much we are told is rather rationed.

For example, we see very little about Chinese brutality against the Tibetans.

We don’t hear about how Tibet is run and who benefits, nor do we hear much in the mainstream media that would really upset China’s powerful rulers.

There are various reasons for this, the timidity of the media, the fear of consequences, not forgetting the censorship and travel restrictions imposed by the Chinese ruling elite, etc etc.

Equally, we could look at parts of Afghanistan and the aftermath of drones blowing up civilians, or old village men killed in the night, fearing for intruders but instead being shot by American special forces, etc etc.

Not forgetting Turkeys’ continued conflict with the Kurds. You would be hard put to find much coverage, of the recent bombings by the Turkish government, there is the piece in the Western media on how Turkey jails children, but overall the coverage is fairly small compared to the true nature of these conflicts.

And so on.

There’s plenty of conflicts, lots of death, in the Congo, the Sudan and elsewhere, however, they don’t hold peoples attention in the West for very long, there might be a fleeting mention but nothing significance.

And the reactions that you find in the West to death in Africa, Turkey, China, or parts of Asia is one of resignation, “almost that nothing can be done and so why bother”?

There are a few activists who valiantly carry on reminding people in the complacent West of the wider world, but it’s an uphill struggle and doesn’t really have any “political sexiness”.

So you don’t see violent reactions when Turkish planes bomb Kurdish villages, killing dozens of civilians. Nor do you see much reaction when China locks up Tibetans, or executes them, etc etc

There’s not much reaction, but should something closer to home pop-up then what you see is completely different.

An attitude of almost hysterical arm flapping takes hold.

You begin to hear demagogic language and political hyperbole which is normally reserved to describe the events in the 1930s and 1940s. Still worse, much of this inflammatory language is dare I say it, borderline racism.

You know what I’m referring to, the indignation which has recently taken on a fever pitch in the West concerning the conflict in the Middle East.

You might even sympathise with one side or the other, but what you will notice if you take the trouble, is how it almost blots out the hundreds of other conflicts which go on in the world and don’t involve Europeans or Brits.

Now I’m not accusing anyone of being Eurocentric or only being concerned with the welfare of British nationals, but the language used recently to describe events I would say is at the very least, unhelpful and much of it seems to embody unconscious racism.

By that I mean, the fevered language which is used at the moment against Israelis, would never be invoked to discuss the French, the Germans, etc.

I have seen otherwise intelligent people throw around the word “Nazi” and “Fascist” as if they had never read a history book, or understood the need to use temperate language when referring to other nations and groups of people, lest bigotry creeps in.

A red mist has descended across the eyes of many Europeans and Brits, normally considerate individuals indulge in inflammatory language towards Israelis, make statements that they wouldn’t even consider using against the Turkish or Chinese governments.

Along with that red mist has been arm flapping.

Such arm flapping is, in some respects, understandable from a very European and British perspective, after all it is their nationals which are involved, and although it is regrettably how it happens, events in the world are often portrayed as having greater significance when Brits or Europeans are involved.

However, the arm flapping and hyperbole that follow often have a more localised consequence, that Jews in Britain and Europe are more liable to be attacked.

Whilst I’m sure that none of the chattering classes or media types, who helped to heighten the political temperature in Europe and Britain, would wish there to be any attacks on Jews, that is what will probably happen.

Such red mist, arm flapping and vocalising of animosity towards Israelis invariably has a more direct consequence, physical attacks on Jews increase.

That’s what happens.

Of course, those carrying out the attacks on synagogues or Jews in the street don’t really care about human rights in the Middle East, etc, nevertheless they feed off of the anti-Israeli frenzy which is currently going on in Britain and Europe.

So the next time you hear the word “Israeli” and a red mist descends before your eyes, just before your arms start flapping, please try to think of the consequences, please try to think of how your actions and words may help someone else justify his attacks on Jews in Britain and Europe.

Still better, try to use the temperate language that you naturally favour when discussing the French, Germans, other nationalities or your own.

Think, before you open your mouth, think of the consequences.

Written by modernityblog

02/06/2010 at 13:53

Anti-imperialist’s Poison?

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The Taliban will do anything to attack girl pupils and female students in Afghanistan, from indiscriminate shootings to acid attacks and the destruction of badly needed schools. Even gas attacks.

The Taliban has done that and much more.

Yet they may be sinking to a new low, the poisoning of girls, as the BBC reports:

“In May 2009, Afghan authorities launched an investigation after about 90 schoolgirls fell ill in Kapisa province.

Although officials suspected deliberate poisoning, the results of the inquiry were inconclusive.

In recent years there has been an increase in attacks on schoolgirls in Afghanistan, mainly in the south and east of the country where several acid attacks on schoolgirls have been reported.

Girls were banned from attending school during the rule of the Taliban, who were overthrown in the American-led invasion of 2001.”

Written by modernityblog

26/04/2010 at 01:45