Boston


This will probably offend some people. However, may I be permitted to speak my mind freely?

I’m not sure which is more abhorrent, the psychotic mentality that drives men to commit “vile acts of violence”, or the manipulative powers of the media to yet again divest Americans of their sense of proportions, and to twist them to the expression of false and ugly opinions.

It has been brought to my attention that on the same day of the attack on Boston there was a series of coordinated attacks in Iraq, killing more than 40 people and injuring hundreds. CNN has thought it satisfactory to devote only a short article to this story, whilst on their homepage there are pages after pages of intensive coverage on the Boston bombings. It’s not unexpected considering that CNN is an American network, but my actual critique goes beyond a numerical fact.

Over the hours following the attack, CNN published some of the most creative and emotionally-charged headlines imaginable. Torn limbs, broken bones, burnt human tissue and massive pools of blood all took turns in the limelight. In fact, they updated their headlines so regularly that one imagines CNN writers could easily have depleted an entire thesaurus by the time the day was over!

I don’t doubt that the event was surreal, chaotic, tragic, and all of the above combined. But when was the last time such emotional descriptions were assigned to a Middle Eastern crisis? Such things are unheard of. “Dozens dead, hundreds injured” suffice as headlines. Where, I wonder, are the broken bones, blood spills and torn limbs? Where are the families separated, children maimed and innocence lost?

Rather we get detached accounts of tragedies reduced to banalities. Unless of course it involves our own soldiers, or our own children caught in the crossfire, then immediately it’s headline-worthy.

News reporters can be forgiven a little for their biases, for surely a public of country X can’t possibly be expected to concern itself with tragedies of country Y, because things that happen far from home are not interesting, even less so if they happen to brown people (am I being too blunt?). Such events are not newsworthy. If for example an American drone goes off killing scores of people overseas, hardly anybody ever talks about it — it never makes the headlines. Yet explosions, minor I daresay, in the heart of Boston, and immediately the “civilised” world reacts with utter anger for the (yet unidentified) perpetrators, and sympathy for those victimised. Meanwhile the real terrors of our age happen everyday, not least from the perversion of country X’s own foreign policies and war-mongering habits, but such events are deemed unimportant — for the lives of others are worth less than the lives of our own.

For what it’s worth, I will mention that my thoughts go out to those affected by the Boston explosions. However, they also go out to victims of terrorism elsewhere in the world. And may I add in retrospect that the real terrors of humanity come often in subtler and  unspoken forms? Real and present evils linger like dust under an imaginary carpet, of which Boston is but an emerging and no less significant speck.

In light of the incident yesterday, I predict that in the following weeks there will be talk of revising or even strengthening anti-terrorist policies, the global reverberations of which will not be insubstantial. I think it best for America to keep this in mind, so that she will not easily allow herself to be persuaded to taking desperate measures by cheap tricks of her not-so-disinterested media and authorities.

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