Dienstag, 16. April 2013

The News Media - Terror's (not so) Little Helpers

Now, that's a provoking post title, isn't it? Is it, really? Or isn't it just the truth? Once again, a terrorist act has killed and injured people - the bombing at the Boston Marathon is the number one news world-wide at the moment. And once again, the media choir sets in, telling us, that we need to be very afraid, that there is no safety, that anyone at any place can be a target... and, of course, the usual polls, questionnaires and reporters sticking microphones into passer-by faces are all part of it again, with the usual question:

"Are you afraid of terror?"

That's quite as intelligent as asking "Is the Pope catholic?" Terror, by definition, is meant to scare people. Be it by randomly bombing places where people gather unawares or by creating a threat, such as placing an anonymous call with a bomb threat in a mall (which happened in the town where I live, last year). Therefore, the greater the fear spread, the larger the "success" of the terrorist act. Therefore, the only viable answer to that question should be "NO!" - that would diminish the terrorists' goal and success to spread fear.

Without doubt, any person killed or injured from such terrorist attacks is one person too many.
Of course, prayers should go out and solace should be offered to the victim's families and friends.
That goes without saying.

But the recurring media hype about a "war on terror", constant threats, the fear-mongering, etc. just has to stop.

I, personally, have lived under constant terror since my early childhood...

From the early 1970s on, my home country - Germany - has had its own terrorist threat gripping the whole nation, in shape of the Baader-Meinhof group, later calling itself "Rote Armee Fraktion" (Red Army Faction - RAF), which committed bombings, kidnappings and brutal shootings, in order to bring down the (wht they thought) repressive politicial system of its time, which was blind on the right-wing eye, still saturated with old nazis and lying in bed with capital. To an extent, that was even true. And they "made their point" with bombing and burning consumerist symbols (department stores in Berlin), the editorial offices of the conservative tabloid press (the Axel Springer Verlag in Berlin) and targetting the high and mighty of U.S. military, capital and politics. There were civil victims, too, but mainly these terrorists aimed at the "classic" targets. When the leading figures were caught in one giant concerted command enterprise of all police forces in Germany, terrorist activities to blackmail the state into releasing the high-ranking RAF members (Andreas Baader, UIrike Meinhof, Gudrun Ensslin, Jan-Karl Raspe, Holger Meins) went haywire, now reaching the level which is currently connected with the term "terrorism": The kidnapping of industrialist Hanns-Martin Schleyer and the highjacking of Lufthansa flight LH181 and the hostage rescue in Mogadishu, Somalia in autumn 1977 (which was later named "Deutscher Herbst" - the German Autumn).

During that time, the media had a crucial part not just in informing the public, but also in doing their share of fear-mongering, thus increasing the "success" of the terrorist attacks. When this source of terror became weaker, the attacks on high-and-mighty targets more seldom, the media discovered new terror to induce fear: the quite real and palpable terror of imminent nuclear armageddon during the cold war. This time, the terrorists weren't some radicals trying to bring down the high and mighty - no, the terrorists were the high and mighty themselves, engaged in an armament spiral dwindling up... In a Freudian sense, those men must have had very tiny penises, since they had to compete their size in megatons capacity of killing people. Roughly at the same time, terror inflicted on the world at large by greed and capitalism became more and more apparent: ecocide, poverty, hunger and oppression of indigenous people... ultimately, all these are terrorist acts, against which I, among others, stood up to campaign and protest against and to engage in the One-World-movement, too.

And back in those times (late 1970s to mid-1980s) I, together with my co-campaigning friends, realized that the crucial means of counterin terror is information and not blindly falling into the trap of the mainstream news media fear-mongering.

Basically, there's terror still going on nowadays on a daily basis. Remember that phrase, first recorded in 195 BC by Plautus: "homo homini lupus" - "man is a wolf to (his fellow) men" (most popular after used by Thomas Hobbes in his work Leviathan)? All acts of terror seem to reinforce that... the notion, that so-called "civilized" human beings are their own worst enemies.

If only it were true, that they were like wolves - for those are among the most social animals, living in packs, in tune with Nature, caring lovingly for their young. Yes, they are predators and they have their rank skirmishes within the pack, but that's designed by Nature and not driven by greed, power hunger or distorted political and/or religious beliefs. Nature has Her way of teaching us peaceful ways of living. It's up to us to listen to and learn from these lessons.

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