JOHN MENADUE. Our White Man’s Media again on display in London (Manchester) terrorist attack.

The following article was posted on 27 March 2017. Substitute ‘Manchester’ for ‘London’ and the story is very similar.  John Menadue

I have often commented that a person from Mars reading or listening to our media would conclude that Australia is an island parked off London or New York. We saw that last week in the coverage of the London terrorist attack. We continue to cling to the coat tails of the London and New York media.  

Where is the sense of balance or proportion.? The data shows that less than 3% of deaths from terrorism occur in Western countries like the UK, the US or Australia.

The US Department of State, in its report on terrorism in 2015, reported that there were a total of 28,328 deaths from terrorism worldwide. The main countries where the deaths occurred were Iraq 6,932; Afghanistan 5,292; Pakistan 1,081; India 281; Nigeria 4,886; Egypt 656; Philippines 258; Thailand 75; Libya 462; Syria 2,748. No Western country was anywhere near in the ‘top’ ten.

Our media continues to exaggerate the extent of the terrorist problem in Western countries like the UK, the US and Australia. But it is always graphic and easy news, particularly when a camera is around. We all remember the hype over the Boston marathon bombing when three were killed. Only three people have been killed in Australia in a terrorist attack in the last 20 years. Media coverage suggests something very different. (See my blog ‘the terrorism threat here is because our troops are over there‘.)

From London last week we were told how brave Londoners were and how they were determined to go about their business as usual. We gave a good run to their bravery, but we scarcely mention the bravery of tens of thousands of people in the Middle East, or Nigeria, suffering from terrorism.

Our media relies on feeds from London or New York and is largely ignorant or unconcerned about the plight of people in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria. After all, they are not people like us!

Our media scarcely ever asks how it could be that there has been such a surge in terrorism. Yet the data shows very clearly that the surge in terrorism worldwide occurred after the 2003 invasion of Iraq, instigated by George Bush,, Tony Blair and John Howard. They are the real culprits and cause of continuing world terrorism.

Before the invasion in 2003, ISIS and Al Qaeda were unknown in Syria and Iraq.

Yet there has not been a royal commission on our illegal and immoral involvement in Iraq which has spawned the terrorism upsurge.. The British attempted this to some degree through the Chilcott Enquiry.

Our media, turns itself inside out over the London terrorist attacks but shows little interest in addressing the basic and fundamental issue of the factors which have driven international terrorism and deaths of millions of people since the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

To hide the illegal and immoral invasion of Iraq and the grievous consequences thereafter we are encouraged to focus on a symptom-terrorism- flowing from the invasion, rather than the invasion itself.

What nonsense Malcolm Turnbull speaks when he tells us that the London attack was really an attack on the parliamentary system itself. We know that terrorists seek maximum publicity for their attacks and focus on an iconic building, like parliament. But the real motivation for these terrorist attacks is surely the invasion of Muslim lands by foreign powers that has let loose a whole range of ethnic, tribal and sectarian feuds – and a powerful incentive for retribution against the Western powers that have brought such death, damage and humiliation to Muslim lands.

But our White Man’s Media avoids the obvious.

One consequence of the disaster that has unfolded in the Middle East has been the millions of refugees who have fled and seek sanctuary elsewhere. But even there we try to avoid responsibility and play politics with the most vulnerable people on earth.

At some point we will have to be a national reckoning to expunge our guilt and complicity at what we helped set in train in Iraq in 2003.

In our national life of the last decade, two major failings stand out. The first is our inability to respond adequately to the challenge of global warming. The second is the calamity set in motion by John Howard in the invasion of Iraq. On both these issues the media and particularly News Corporation bear a heavy responsibility.

A whole anti-terrorist industry – government, non-government and even universities – has grown up in the West to combat terrorism. It is a great money-spinner for many. Terrorism is a threat, but we have it all out of proportion.

Our White Man’s Media is grievously failing to tell the true story of what has driven the surge in terrorism. We badly need some honest history from our media. But what an orgy it has had over the London attacks last week.

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John Menadue is the publisher of Pearls & Irritations. He has had a distinguished career both in the private sector and in the Public Service.

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