What the Mainstream Media Won’t Tell You About Terrorism
We should mourn those killed in Paris and we should condemn in the strongest way possible the killing of innocent people. But, we should not learn bigotry and hypocrisy from US and other Western nations’ mainstream media, which would have us believe that the lives of Europeans and Americans are worth more than those in Middle East. That’s what they imply through their coverage and reporting, or lack thereof, depending on where the terror attack takes place. More people died in just the first hours of the terrorist attack on Iraq by the US military in 2003, in the name of finding weapons of mass destruction, than by the terror attacks in Paris, the other day.
Western countries are now vowing to find and bring to justice the perpetrators of the Paris attack and I hope that they do, but no one needs to search for the perpetrators of the 2003 terror attack on Iraq, which ended up killing over a million people and destroyed the country’s infrastructure and made millions homeless and impoverished. Those responsible for it are well known and those who advocated the attack happen to be among those who now talk tough about terrorists and how they should be brought to justice. They call for even more wars that will kill even more innocent people, in the name of fighting terrorists.
The Obama Administration, too, has his hands in the blood of people from Iraq and Afghanistan to Libya and Syria to Yemen and Somalia. Bombing innocent people, including children, into pieces for relatives to collect and bury is an act of terror, too. Invading and occupying countries or bombing people indiscriminately is different from acts of terror like the one in Paris only in scale and magnitude and the number of people killed as a result. Actually, the latter doesn’t even come close to the barbarism and savagery of the US, NATO and Israeli occupation forces, which if we cast aside our media induced bias, are really nothing but terrorist organizations, except much more lethal and much more powerful with the ability to kill a lot more people more quickly. The reason we view them differently is because they’re presented to us differently. The purpose of US or NATO bombings that kill just as other terrorists’ bombs kill is presented to people as having noble and benevolent goals and fighting against “the bad guys”. But, what was so noble or benevolent about killing so many Iraqis and destroying their country? What’s so noble about blowing entire families to pieces in Pakistan or Afghanistan or Yemen with drones? How is that not an act of terror? Is it okay if the purpose of the terror is the expansion of the empire’s sphere of control and hegemony and to impose its rule on foreign populations for corporate profits? The difference really, besides the magnitude and potency to kill, comes down to how one perceives one or the other, and that’s where the media of the empire comes in, with its vast resources and ability to present the most evil and vile acts as noble and benevolent.
We now live in an era when the two – NATO terror and Islamist terror – have overlapped and intertwined, as we saw how the Islamist jihadis from Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and other Muslim countries were armed and funded and sent into Afghanistan in 1980’s to fight the Soviets and now similar Islamist terror groups, like the ISIS, are again being armed and funded by the West and their allies in the Gulf, most notably Saudi Arabia, to try and overthrow the government in Syria. So, you see, even the Islamist terror was created by the original terror of imperialism. Not only did imperialism decimate the progressive and socialist forces all over the world, thus creating a vacuum for Islamists to fill, but it also directly encouraged the latter as a tool to fight the former, which was considered a bigger threat to imperialism than Islamic fundamentalism.
As the ranks of secular progressives and anti-imperialist forces depleted due to relentless crackdown, people in Middle East, West Asia and North Africa, who had been subjected to imperial tyranny for decades, began looking up to Islamists to stand up to imperialism. This transformation was accelerated and accentuated by imperialism, as it saw the latter not only as less threatening and a more manageable challenge, but also as a tool to fight and prevent the resurgence of secular left and socialism. Throughout the strategically and economically vital and oil rich Middle East, despotic and brutal caliphates and sheikdoms were kept in power to keep imperial rule unchallenged. This three pronged strategy – heavy crackdown of the left, support for brutal kings and dictators, such as the Saudis, and arming and funding of Islamist terrorists, as both a replacement for the secular left and a tool to destabilize uncooperative governments, have gotten us where we are now, with bombs blowing up in the streets of Western cities and even bigger NATO bombs in several Muslim countries, the example of which we’ve been seeing in Syria for the past five years with devastating and catastrophic consequences. And, after all this, ironically, after every bomb that goes off in the West, we hear calls for more and newer wars! The travesty isn’t just the wars that are sold to people on false premises, but that the very dangerous situation created by imperialism is used to go to even more wars and make the world even more dangerous than it already is.
The solution is not more wars, but the defeat of world capitalism and imperialism, which created this situation in the first place and establishment of a new international economic system that’s based on meeting people’s needs, rather than exploitation by a handful of giant corporations for their super wealthy shareholders in imperialist countries. That would then create conditions for new international cooperation, based on meeting each people’s needs, rather than coercion, war, oppression and exploitation, within an uneven and unfair framework of trade agreements and neoliberal policies that end up making the poor poorer and rich richer. That would also remove the need for oppressed people to fight back against their oppressors, which gives the oppressors more reason for further wars and crackdown.
The answer to terrorism isn’t more terrorism in the form of war, which kills innocent people, but in dismantling the military industrial complex that spawns wars and terror and building socialism. We have many challenges in getting there, one of the first being getting through the thick layers of lies and propaganda of the empire’s media and telling people the truth.