Saturday, January 15, 2011

Washington Post Tunisian Coverage Racialized To Absurd Extent

It is hard to write in one blog entry how deeply flawed the recent Washington Post article on the Tunisian uprising is.

A good start might be to examine the bizarre aside where the authors of the article describe Tunisian's "instinctive hospitality", an odd overgeneralization for an ancient state comprised of ten million people (all ten million of whom, according to the Post, would likely instinctively, without thinking, show me a great deal of hospitality should I arrive in their homeland). This stereotype is almost comical in the larger context of an article about a country run by an autocrat for over twenty years, who was forced to flee after killing dozens of protesters (hardly hospitable of him, despite his "instinctive hospitality", no?).

The Post goes on to paint the entire region of Northern Africa as Muslim extremists with the cast-off description of this hundred million-plus populated area as "a region often unsettled by Islamist extremism". If North Africa, as a region, was "often unsettled" by Muslim extremism, we'd be seeing global terrorism at a magnitude of a hundred times what it is currently, W. Post. This overstatement is only made worse by the Post's assertion that Tunisia (again, ruled by a dictator for over twenty years) is a "haven of tolerance" in comparison to the rest of North Africa, according to this (hopefully?) hastily written Post article. If being ruled over by a dictator who imprisons dissidents and kills protesters for twenty years is a "haven of tolerance", I suppose the opinion of the Post regarding such other North African states as Morocco must be simply awful.

Later in the article, the authors describe a man who sets himself on fire to protest an alleged unfair government taking of his private property, then segues into the next paragraph with the opener "From there violence spread quickly...", without stopping to explain how setting *oneself* on fire is actually violence as traditionally understood, let alone "violence" that "spreads" in any way that Western media understands the term "spreading violence". If this were the case, The Post should categorize the sky high suicide rate of American G.I.s in the Iraq and Afghanistan theaters of war as "violence" that has "spread quickly" over the past ten years. One could not imagine such a categorization; suicide by Westerners is an act of desperation, yet somehow these same acts in Third World countries are categorized as acts of violence?

This is not to mention the description of the destruction of property owned by the family of dictator Ben Ali as "protest violence". One can be violent towards objects? This is capitalist philosophy run amok, but that is another entry altogether.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Why Is The Guardian Supporting A Coup In Ivory Coast Turmoil?

Why is The Guardian suggesting that a military coup is acceptable in the Ivory Coast due to its current post-election power struggle? Would this publication ever suggest that a military coup would be an acceptable answer to a political power struggle in a European state, such as the recent turmoil in Greece over government fiscal policy? It can safely be said that the answer historically has always been "no". How then can The Guardian suggest a military coup as a possible solution to turmoil in the Ivory Coast? The comment later in this article that Kenya had a peaceful recent election when both major candidates were from the same ethnic group conveniently overlooks the British government's historical role in playing ethnic groups against one another during the colonial period in Kenya. It is sad that European publications have a consistent track record of advocating political solutions for political problems in African countries that they would never suggest in response to political problems in European countries.