Tuesday, 9 October 2012

The Arrogance of the British Media - A reflection of Western Society

Malala Yousafzai - Victim of the Taliban because she dares to speak up

I was watching the news this evening, and  a particular 
item caught my eye. It is regarding the attack on a 14 year old Pakistani girl called Malala Yousafzai. The girl was shot and badly injured by the Taliban in her village in the valley Swat because she campaigned for the right of girls in to go to school. While this story is horrific in its own right it is not what made an impression on me. Sadly stories of children being the victims of adult wars has become a common news item. What I noticed was the interview done by Cathy Newman of Channel 4 news with former Pakistani High Commissioner for the UK Dr. Maliha Lodhi. In this interview and the report before the interview Channel 4 through the catalyst that is Cathy Newman made a statement that Pakistan is failing in its attempts of getting rid of the Taliban. The suggestion being that the Pakistani government and Military are unable and/or unwilling to get rid of the Taliban threat that “lurks” around the edges of Pakistani society. This struck me as incredibly arrogant and short sighted for reasons that I am about to list, but before I launch into that I would like to point out that I have absolutely nothing against Cathy Newman or her work as a journalist, in fact she along with everyone involved t Channel 4 News are my favourite news team. After all during my time at Brookes Jon Snow was my Chancellor, but to get back to my issue with the statements upon Pakistan’s inability to rid themselves of the Taliban plague.

First and foremost Pakistan is a large country with exceptionally complicated politics, history and geography, containing countless ethnic and religious groups and subgroups. The difficult terrain combined with the complicated allegiances and political instability that such diversity creates produces a perfect petri dish for the growth and multiplication of Taliban terrorists as well as a countless number of place for them to hide and operate out of. The rules of engagement with organisations like the Taliban are not based on conventional warfare, even to my untrained eye it becomes obvious that the Taliban operate a strike and retreat tactics, hiding amongst the population and exploiting every opportunity to cause the maximum amount of damage. No government in the world would be able to fully eradicate such a threat while the fundamental belief that fuels it exists.

My second objection is to the implication that the West is doing a better job when in fact Britain and America have done no better in eliminating the Taliban threat from Afghanistan, and worse they have only fueled and spread that threat further into Pakistan, Iran, Iraq and and Africa. If we are so much better at policing, and our armies are so much better at doing their job why is it that we are incapable of even maintaining decent patrols around our own military basis in these countries and we are losing more and more army personnel every day to suicide bombers and roadside bombs?  What right does it give us to judge a government such as Pakistan when we have achieved nothing but the fueling of hate in our feeble attempts to eradicate terrorism. 

Finally, if the Western world has such superiority on policing and crime management why is it that countries such as Spain and Ireland continue to live in fear and suffer from their own home grown terrorist threats? Do we not on a daily basis turn on our TVs, open our news websites [no one reads papers any more] and see nothing but murder, rape, mayhem and devastation within our own societies. How dare we assume that because we are richer we are more successful in anything? The only thing the West has any true success in is the continued and malicious exploitation of the weaker nations in the world for our own advancement.  

I would like to finish on the following point, one that I have made several times to several people this week.The news, especially the news do not reflect ordinary everyday life, they document and report on extraordinary occurrences that stand out because of their usually shocking and violent nature. Furthermore broadcasters such as Channel 4 gain popularity and success because of the sensationalization of the stories they portray through their news services; they do not give us facts, they give us a point of view on an event that has taken place based on the political leaning of the producers and owners of the TV station. While it is entertaining to watch Jon Snow tell the Prime Minister off over his old person’s railcard, it is wrong and morally questionable to gauge the success or failure of a nation’s infrastructure, be it political, educational, police or otherwise on a single occurrence, or even on a chain of occurrences. I am not saying that Pakistan has a perfect police force and that this was a freak accident on the contrary they have a long way to go, but it is not up to us to judge their success or failures, it is up to the Pakistani citizens and voters. Attacks of this sort happen daily in Pakistan, people die at a frightening rate, yet somehow we only hear about this one case because the girl was already extremely popular due to her courage and ambition.

My thoughts go out to her in the hope that she will recover quickly and be able to return to her family and ambitions. My thoughts also go out to the countless number of ignorant fools who believe they are better than her country men just because they were born in the West and are “protected” by our police force.