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June 20, 2005

The Media's Selective Criticisms

Imagine if hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were killed during and after the Gaza withdrawal.

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, a Senior Researcher at the Foreign Policy Centre, describes this hypothetical situation to contrast the media's (and the world's) "inaction and complicity" regarding grave abuses in Srebrenica and across Africa with its zealous criticism of Israeli security measures.

She writes in the June 20 Independent:

Imagine this scene. As diehard settlers in Gaza are made to hand over Palestinian lands in August, we see an explosion of violence which leads eventually to the deaths of 200,000 Palestinians. Europe sits by and wrings its hands. The Israeli government makes promises which it has no intention of keeping because it tacitly backs the settlers. Arabs slothfully try to arrange some vague Middle East conferences. Muslim activists argue the massacres are not easy to interpret, that the situation is mired in complexity. The killings carry on.

Couldn't ever happen of course. The world would not tolerate such bloodshed; there would rightly be an international outcry. Plays and books would be written on the horrors; sombre, heartbreaking reports would appear on our screens. Israel would never be forgiven.

Soon it is the 10th anniversary of the gruesome slaughter of Muslim men and boys in Srebrenica by Serb nationalists in a area where the UN was meant to be keeping them safe. ...The victims were sacrificed and Europe let it happen.

This horror did more to turn young Muslims away from the West than any other. They took up arms and joined militant organisations. ...

So where are the greatest number of Muslims being killed today? In Sudan, a country predominantly Muslim and run by an Islamicist government. This is the place where 200,000 plus really have been killed... .

We are doing nothing at all to stop this tyranny. Just as we failed to do when Rwanda was bleeding to death. Just as we avert our eyes from the Congo where millions of black people have perished and more are added each day. They are only Africans, used to barbarisms. Not our problem. When a pathetic few refugees from Darfur flee to Britain, we violate their rights officially, as if the refugee convention is last week's newspaper. Human rights bodies in the UK report that we are sending back asylum-seekers, to Sudan, where torture is so commonplace they joke about it.

Posted by at June 20, 2005 10:46 AM