So, I wasn’t following the news live yesterday as the tragic events in #Munich unfolded. But I have just spent the last hour monitoring social media and the mainstream press, and would like to highlight the following points:
- Police have said there is an “obvious link” between the Munich shooter and extreme right-wing terrorist Anders Breivik; the man behind the 2011 Norway massacre at a children's camp, who wrote a political manifesto and in court gave a nazi salute. Breivik was even this Munich guy's whatsapp profile picture.
- However, what is interesting is the assertion being repeated in the newspapers and on the TV news (and by the same police who have just said there’s an "obvious link" to Breivik) that this is NOT terrorism but a “classic killing spree”.
- The long and short of it is this; it is ridiculous to rule out terrorism whilst at the same time saying there are “obvious links” to a terrorist.
- This narrative that terrorism only belongs to Muslims - and the disparity between how perpetrators of these attacks are treated - is never so obvious than at times like this, when the media, politicians and police have decided they don’t want to apply the usual rules to a case.
- There was similar treatment of Breivik himself, when with one unfolding fact after an another it become so obvious he WAS politically motivated and it WAS terrorism, yet day after day, year after year we have had headlines like “Don't call Anders Breivik a terrorist – he is a sad fantasist leading an army of one" with bylines like "the most appropriate response to this psychopathic narcissist is ridicule”. And not just in the traditionally right wing press either, This Guardian article tell us "Anders Behring Breivik's not a terrorist, he's a mass-murderer". It is by this same extension, by this same long, that there is now an "obvious link" to Breivik but not to terrorism.
- It is now a fact, beyond any reasonable doubt, that there is a systematic insistence that anything other than “Islamic terrorism” must be framed as 'nothing more than a lone-wolf psychopath' yet any lone-wolf psychopath who happens to be “Muslim” (and by Muslim read have a Muslim name) then this name (and sometimes very little else) becomes the only needed absolute proof of a global ideology rampaging terror across the world.
- What’s interesting about this case is that the guy DOES have a Muslim sounding name and WAS from the Middle East.
- Note: his name is Ali DAVID Sonboly – yet the majority of the news outlets I looked at have dropped the DAVID when reporting.
- Ali "David" is an 18 year old, GERMAN born and raised his whole life. Yet they are insisting on highlighting the fact that he is Iranian by heritage.
- Last week I wrote a (somewhat tongue in cheek) Facebook status that ISIS would claim responsibility for pub brawls soon…but I should have mentioned they would rather close-up shop than ever claim responsibility for something an Iranian with the name Ali ever did.
- So it seems we have a unique editorial and linguistic narrative here. At the same time you drop in the gems to keep the Islamophobic rhetoric moving. You drop the Western sounding part of his name, keep mentioning his Iran connection, keep saying he is not a terrorist even though the police are saying there is an obvious link to a white right wing terrorist. But be smart enough not to link the Iranian depressed teenager who had received psychiatric treatment to ISIS; who are Iran and Shia Muslim’s sworn enemy (btw we don’t even know if this teenager was a Muslim at this point, but facts don’t count with the Muslim sounding names so my "journalistic" fact checking should be fine here lol)
- I’m not even convinced that if this guy wasn’t an Iranian, and was, I dunno, a Tunisian named Abdul, that ISIS wouldn't have “claimed responsibility” anyway, just like they jumped to do for their Orlando “soldier” who kinda just ended up being a homosexual, club going, drinking, wife beating maniac (I'm pretty sure none of which are on the checklist to become an ISIS member)
- Ultimately, if this rhetoric and narrative didn't work, it wouldn't be implemented. Yes, it is true that more and more people are questioning and seeing through how media reporting and political posturing is done. But actually, a large portion have backlashed by becoming further indoctrinated in to the rhetoric itself. So, people who think the media and politicians are liars have decided that actually immigration is MORE of a problem than the media and politicians (who have been exaggerating the problem) are letting on. We see the same thing state side with the rise of Donald Trump.
We are living in dangerous times. Not just become of “terrorism”. But because of the press and the politicians. Because of hate rhetoric. Because of the Donald Trumps and the Nigel Farage’s of this world. It is particularly dangerous because fact and rationality are no longer valid. Our politicians tell us that "people are fed up with experts" and the internet provides a plethora of information to back up and fuel whatever ingrained belief you already have. We base our positions on how we feel, and then go and find the facts to back it up, we no longer look at the facts to inform our position.
It’s scary that, at a time when it has been a complex and collective effort that has led to the state of the world today, we are becoming increasingly isolationist. Isolating Muslims as the only problem, isolating ourselves from the rest of the world (as if that is the solution). We are becoming more and more polarised. We have forgotten what this level of polarisation can lead to, and have outdated views of what war and hate actually look like and I’m afraid when it finally gets so bad that it looks like the way that we think it should, it will be far too late to start objecting to all the things that led us to that point. Unfortunately history has taught us that, hate can consume, and lead to masses of people not realising the reality consequences of the views that they hold. And unfortunately the modern day is teaching us that we have learnt but little from history.
Earlier today I posted that we have whipped up a frenzy to deal with a monster that created a terror that we are going to deal with by whipping up a frenzy to deal with a monster that we helped create in the same way that created the monster in the first place! Yes, things are as convoluted as that sounds, they really, really are.
I really don't want to see what we have done to the world when that cycle comes back around again.