In South Africa there was an initial outpouring of sympathy for the victims of Monday's bombings in Boston.
However, by yesterday afternoon I heard on the radio that several opinions on the web were questioning why South Africans were so sympathetic to the
Boston terror attack victims when terror attacks in Iraq or Pakistan had claimed more lives.
Newspapers highlighted the US attacks as front page news, while terror victims in Somalia, and other Muslim countries were only reported as snippets.
Some said that the world has come to see Somalia or Iraq as a war zone, and therefore the loss of life was less shocking and run of the mill news.
Perhaps there's a truth to this and the media should highlight victims of terror in those countries.
However, I found it rude and unnecessary to turn a "Like" page on Facebook in sympathy with the Boston bombings into parodies that said things like
"Like" if you have sympathy with the victims of "American terrorism".
The America-haters came out of the woodwork, and went beyond a debate about media representations to actually directly blaming the US for terrorism
elsewhere in the world!
While the US certainly has to account for atrocities and drone attacks gone wrong (and countries should engage the US about this, just as Americans
should engage their own government) I don't buy the argument that the US is directly responsible for terrorism in Muslim countries.
Sure, they removed a brutal dictator from Iraq who ruled various factions with an iron fist, but to me that does not make them responsible for
terrorism in that country.
I think the Western media actually downplays terrorism in Iraq, Pakistan or Somalia because it would highlight the fact that there are Salafi
extremists who are anti-democracy and have ultimate goals to bring the whole world under their version of Islam.
Such statements can be easily found in various documentaries.
Not only that, but such groups are actively recruiting (indoctrinating) fighters in countries all over the world to go to countries where extremists
are engaged in combat with government forces.
I watched a German documentary about distraught German parents whose young adult children were converted by Salafist groups, and a few weeks later
they were fighting in Pakistan or Somalia. One couple found out that their son had died fighting government forces in rural Pakistan when the
authorities found his image on a website that celebrated fallen Salafi "martyrs".
The Western media has gone to great lengths to paint the majority of Muslims as moderate (despite the fact that SA had an urban terror campaign linked
to Muslim extremists in the mid 1990s) and to forestall Islamophobia.
If the media made terrorism in Muslim countries front page news it would inevitably raise questions on the identity of the terrorists and their
ideology, and that would not please local Muslim sensibilities.
In fact, not a single article even mentioned Muslim extremism and what these terrorists want.
It's all about the bad Americans.
In the eyes of some commentators there can be no other culprits or harmful ideologies except those from the US.
They've actually used the Boston bombs to push an agenda which would happily leave the world at the mercy of those with no belief in democracy or
human rights outside a strict fundamentalist code.
Well, none of this necessarily directly links with the Boston bombs, but with the wider discourse around it.
My heart goes out to the victims in Boston, as well as the victims of American war crimes, and to those killed in terror attacks by Islamic
extremists (actually war crimes too).
For myself the focus of sympathy for the victims of the Boston bombings is quite justified, no matter who was responsible, since it targeted a
sporting event with international participants, and if people want to highlight other victims across the globe they should have done so without
capitalizing on this tragic event, and using the victims as mere comparisons.
If they cared about other victims of terrorism they should have spoken up sooner instead of waiting for an American tragedy.
They're reinforcing what they want to criticize: they're going to wait for American victims to highlight the fact that other victims are less
How would they feel if they lost a family member and somebody said, oh, but much worse things happen somewhere else?
I do find it anti-Americanism, and a lack of sympathy, even for American civilians.
edit on 17-4-2013 by halfoldman because: (no reason given)