More than a terrorist?

Sunday, 29th July 2007 at 0:22 UTC 1 comment

Well, it goes without saying, though I shall say it anyway, that I find the actions of the 7/7 bombers to be horrifying. But I think its still possible to misrepresent them, especially if you’re the media and being lazy.  This seems to have been the case with Look North on Friday night.

 The piece on the show in question was basically a reshowing of parts of an interview given by the wife of the mastermind, Mohammed Sidique Kahn, if I have the name right. Anyhow, there was this really telling bit towards the end of the piece where the reporter from the BBC talked about said terrorists day-job: working with kids as some kind of teaching assistant (yes, I know, I should have written this yesterday when I remembered the details better, but I can remember the crucial bit, OK).

At this point the aim was obviously to create some kind of contrast. However, when they cut to the images of said suicide bomber giving his video presentation about how we had forced him to destroy us (itself an interesting video) the reporter chose to say “but this was the real —“.  Real? In what way is this more real than the person who was working with the kids in West Yorkshire a few seconds ago. People are far more complex than that: they’re not just one thing or another, no matter how good or bad that one thing might be,

This really winds me up, this total polarization, especially when the widow of the man is going to such lengths to point out that he had mixed up intentions, something which is quite logical. We can presume he genuinely thought that the world would be a better place to live if he succeeded, even if it seems horrifying that anyone would think anything good could come out of blowing up three tubes and a bus. This is a man who’s life experiences, including those he had at work, along with the input of some fairly twisted religious ‘leaders’, have led him to the conclusions which manifested themselves on the fateful day in question.

So my point is essentially this, yes this man is a suicide bomber, and a leading one at that, but to imply that his role in that is more his real life than those things which he did the rest of his time is to isolate the actions from the contributory experiences which informed it, and to create an image of someone which is totally evil, totally focused on destruction and with no aims, no matter how misguided, of making the world a better place. I do wish the media could manage to convey a slightly less simplified message, it really isn’t good to go round venerating and vilifying like this.


Entry filed under: News.

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Neil T.  |  Sunday, 29th July 2007 at 9:20 UTC

    Of course you’re right, but sensationalism sells. Even at the BBC.


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