Monday, 31 May 2010

Mind Your Language

Mural in Beechfield street, Short Strand, Belf...Image via Wikipedia
I genuinely wanted to post about something, anything else, but I can't. The murder of the people in the little flotilla of boats 65km off the coast of Gaza by commandos is burning up Twitter today, with outrage being expressed across the Middle East and further afield. As I write, we know that 16 are dead but that figure will surely change as the picture clears.

The language used in international press reports has been at best questionable, but the biscuit belongs to Associated Press, whose deplorable report on events started with these immortal words: "...more than 10 pro-Palestinian activists have been killed after attacking naval commandos."

AP quickly re-worded the file, but these little tricks of language are part of the war of words that will largely dictate how the world treats this news. The message is now going to be that the soldiers, highly trained and heavily armed, were attacked and responded with minimum force in an intolerable situation made so by the actions of the 'activists'. I do hope that we don't neglect the inconvenient truth that these commandos stormed foreign-flagged boats sailing in international waters and then proceeded to use live ammunition against unarmed people, killing and wounding them.

Irish people still vividly remember Bloody Sunday, when British troops fired into the crowd at a Gaelic Football game in Croke Park, killing fourteen unarmed men. It was not to be the last Bloody Sunday in Irish history: in 1972 another shooting resulted in the deaths of fourteen men. Both events stand as moments of British history that evoke absolutely no pride whatsoever. Quite the opposite, in fact: they are shameful.

I do wonder if the evil of today will still be remembered in 38 or 90 years' time like Bloody Sunday is? I do rather hope so. The danger is, of course, that it will become like Today's Bombing in Iraq or Today's Fatality in Helmand - just Yet Another Act In A Senseless War.
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Simone said...

Hear, hear Alex. Media outlets from around the world report on matters with their respective biases - Fox will never sound the same as Jazeera. It's a horrible truth, but one I hope will change soon.

George McKee said...

All the western media talking heads, puppets whose strings are pulled by the corporate owners who will undoubtadley slant this story the wrong way will be drowned out by the bloggers and the Twitter feeds that most conscious citizens will go to to get the truth.

instant said...

sadly there is not a single bias free media source out there.. everyone has a vested interest somewhere along the chain.. ..editorial bias is natural however it is now being further plagued with this concept called 'paid news' where the media house solicits a fee to cover a story and spin it your way.. india this peaked during the last elections when several deep pocketed candidates managed to get media coverage at the expense of the poorer and usually better candidates.
a very dangerous trend indeed.

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