Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Journalistic truth --and-- how do you spot a terrorist?

Calgary filmmaker Garth Pritchard, writes in the Toronto Sun today about the lack of insight and understanding we in Canada have about 'human bullets' as he calls them. He talks about the radical madrassas, where young boys are indoctrinated into the culture of hate, and notes that interpretation depends on the cleric, not the geographical location.

He talks about the myopia of North American news outlets, and slams the CBC for failing to present the realities of the war in Afghanistan. He takes them to task for airing the likes of Gwyn Dyer, one of the pontificating "'experts' who have never been there." (Dyer is the fellow who noted that 400 people die of natural causes in London every day -- and that on 7/7 that number was 450 -- implying the extra fifty-odd deaths were negligable.)

Pritchard notes that the "CBC coined the term 'docudrama' to explain away questions about truth and accuracy, or lack thereof" . . . "CBC will not take real journalism from areas of conflict, on grounds that it is propaganda (. . .) Recently, the $270-million slush fund known as Telefilm (the money behind documentaries, movies, children's programming and drama) made it very clear: Footage shot in real-time, in particular, the scratchy old grainy stuff -- will no longer be on your screens. The reason? "We can write it and reproduce it better in studios and on computers.""

Is it any wonder the CBC can't bring themselves to say 'terrorist' -- they have an aversion to reality.

and . . . Yesterday I wrote that I didn't believe suicide bombing would catch on in the West because most people could scarcely find something to live for, let alone something to die for. Today, in the National Post, Richard Cohen warns against projecting our own value system onto other cultures. (Update: link to the same article in the Washington Post)

Cohen noted the Western habit of assuming everyone wants what we want . . . peace on earth, health and security for our families, the material trappings of the consumer culture . . .

He went on to illustrate how these misconceptions allow us to project our own feelings on people who have been raised with very different ideas and ideals, and he used the attitudes of the Japanese during WWII as an example of this sort of mindset. Like militant Islam, the Japanese culture glorified suicide and honoured those who would fight to the death -- but unlike the newest brand of militant Islam, those who died by kamikaze, hit military targets, and did not live and die amongst the general population of the enemy. This twist on 'honourable death' makes our situation particularly unsettling.

It's too hard. How do you look into the eyes of a person who lives in your city, who has a family, ties to the community, a job working with children -- someone who has visited your home -- how do you look at that person and see that he is capable, willing even, to murder people like you in the name of some religious/political agenda?

We judge people we know by their own merits. We see ourselves in other people --- we see people who came to this country for a better life, whose kids go to the same school as our own, who work beside us. No matter how vigilant they tell us to be, how do we start looking for hatred in the eyes of our neighbours, and how do we know when we see it?

The Scotsman today talks of a Labour MP taking one of the London terrorist on a tour of the House of Commons after he'd they'd determined not to put him on a terrorist watch list. I might not be able to tell a terrorist when I see one, but I don't have access to their travel history, or lists of their associates. How did they miss this one? Could it be they projected their own values onto him? If our governments can't spot a impending threat in their midst -- how will we?



Debris Trail said...

Watch it Anna: You are sounding completely un-Canadian. Suggesting, even for a moment that a "culture" or "religion" or "branch of a religion" can be at fault as much as the bomber will be called bigotry and racism by the Liberal/Socialist masters that run this country. No religion, culture, or even part thereof can be criticized as a whole.

Seriously, it is a dangerous and fine line to point fingers at a whole group, but in the case of violent threat to one's own culture, it is sometimes necessary. And, in some cases, like in radical Islam, you must generalize or you will dither your culture to death.

Justthinkin said...

Good Post anna...I feel we must in this case try to be a little more observent of activities going on around us...but the sad,hard truth is that until the moderate Muslims start speaking out enmasse against the actions of those who have stolen their religion...then we have no choice but to generalize and be suspicious...dt put it best as our government continues to dither away our very country and souls.

49erDweet said...

Good question. How do we tell the difference between a thinking and non-thinking muslim?

What we may need is a world-wide mosque registry and identification system that clearly identifies those Muslim houses of worship that reject and those that accept the extremist islamofacist creed.

But that would too straightforward. Instead, we will continue to dither and slither around, applying western cultural values to middle eastern cultural angst. "Can't we all just get along"?

Nicol DuMoulin said...


A question I've contemplated much lately, especially from the vantage of living in New Canada.

The right, in general, in the West are the ones who are most committed to fighting the war on terrorism. Yet, the left has been most successful in defining Western culture for at least 2-3 generations.

I wonder, hypothetically of course, if we will get to a point where the right gives up the fight realizing that the civilization they are fighting for has already been defeated from within. How would the left respond?

I could be wrong, but I don't think the Islamic Fundamentalists will take too kindly to a culture predicated on SSM and Sex in the City.

But then again, maybe I just read too much Ann Coulter.

Good post!

Candace said...

another kick-butt post.

How do we determine the "threat from within"?

I dunno. I vote we call the RCMP every time our "Spidey senses" tingle and let them figure it out.

We will not win all the time; likely, not even most of the time, as these guys learn how to integrate.

But what else can we do?

Mark said...

'Moderate' or 'radical', it doesn't matter. Islam is a political ideology that seeks to establish Islamic states under Islamic law. The difference between the moderate and radical is only the means; the goal is the same.

The Arabian Knight said...

"It's too hard. How do you look into the eyes of a person who lives in your city, who has a family, ties to the community, a job working with children -- someone who has visited your home -- how do you look at that person and see that he is capable, willing even, to murder people like you in the name of some religious/political agenda?"

You see this right here demonstrates the two main differences between Militant Islamic ideology and Western Civilization. It speaks volumes of how each view life's philosophy. The Militant Islamic ideology is so different, so barbaric that it boggles the human mind for folks over here. In fact we can't even imagine it or make any sense of it.


Being a muslim myself, I can honestly tell you that there are some Muslims who do not share the goal of worldwide Islamic supremacy. But I don't blame you for having this opinion. Truth, is its a myth to think that the majority of muslims are peace-loving, tolerant pacifists. Salim Mansur of the London Free Press wrote about this specifically. I don't know how to hyperlink, but clink on my name to get to my blog, I've posted his article.