Thursday, July 05, 2007

just exciting television

Was watching the TV coverage of two doctors arrested in connection with the Glasgow blasts and who are suspected of ties with Al-Qaeda. Saeed Naqvi, a journalist, had an interesting comment ...

Two characters of Indian origin are arrested (one in Britain and one in Australia) and suspected of ties with Al-Qaeda. Note suspected and not charged. Making a huge issue about it and pointing a finger at the 150 million Muslim community makes only exciting/sensational television and does not help the issue. If anything it only adds a sense of injustice in the minds of the entire community and the reaction to this injustice cannot be guaranteed to be rational! So by making exciting television about such news, the media is actually not helping the real cause.

I think he is spot-on.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

I am not so sure he is "spot on".

Read this article by KPS Gill for instance :

http://outlookindia.com/full.asp?fodname=20070710&fname=kpsgill&sid=1

-Ramesh

Purushottam said...

I was referring to his point that the media should be careful about making a huge fuss even before anything gets some clarity. The media might think that they are doing great reporting, but in fact by making very general statements they might be actually harming the cause.
-----------
I find KPS Gills's discourse narrow on atleast three points ...
1. He keeps mentioning Islamic terrorism, while completely skipping other forms of fundamentalist activities/religious organizations.
2. He does not say anything about the state, which is many aspects is banking on violence as means for its "ends" and can viewed as a terrorist organization in several cases.
3. While I may not agree with Osama's violent means? But the what are the reasons for these terrorist actions? are they just lunatics or is it more closely tied to foreign and state policies. I think there is where most of the complexity lies, which he never mentions.

The other stuff about waking up and agreeing that there are Indian terrorists ... I am not sure what is the point---anyone could be influenced by those means and take that path, what is special about India?

Anonymous said...

"1. He keeps mentioning Islamic terrorism, while completely skipping other forms of fundamentalist activities/religious organizations."

Islamic terrorism is undoubtedly one of the biggest scourges in the world today in general and India in particular. Tell me which other fundamentalist group runs openly declares jihad against "kafirs", organizes terrorist training camps, actively recruits people through religious indoctrination at madrasas, uses suicide bombers to kill innocent civilians? So much so that the people around the world are beginning to equate Islam with terrorism. These acts by terrorists are bringing bad name to the whole muslim community. I think it is definitely very important to acknowledge the existence of this menace and discuss ways to contain it in India and anywhere else in the world. To that extent, I certainly agree with KPS Gill.

"2. He does not say anything about the state, which is many aspects is banking on violence as means for its ends and can viewed as a terrorist organization in several cases.
3. While I may not agree with Osama's violent means? But the what are the reasons for these terrorist actions? are they just lunatics or is it more closely tied to foreign and state policies. I think there is where most of the complexity lies, which he never mentions."

yes, u are right. the problem definitely has political roots and one should look at ways to solve it by peaceful, political means too. At the same time, I believe we should also condemn Islamic terrorism in no uncertain terms. After all, there have been many political problems in the past, and not everyone has tried to solve it by terrorizing and victimizing inncoent civilians. One can look at the example of India's own freedom struggle as an inspiration for peaceful political struggles.


"The other stuff about waking up and agreeing that there are Indian terrorists ... I am not sure what is the point---anyone could be influenced by those means and take that path, what is special about India? "

It is special for India because we are shy of admitting that there are terror networks active in India due to the fear of antagonizng the minority community. Breaking the backbone of these networks is as important as solving the problems through political negotiations.

-Ramesh

Purushottam said...

no doubt, i agree that terrorism as a big issue of concern has to contained and stopped from spreading---but if use of state force is seen as the only means i am afraid things will go nowhere.

"So much so that the people around the world are beginning to equate Islam with terrorism."
That is exactly my point! I think the media has played a major role in making that (flawed) conclusion---while largely ignoring the causes for it and other forms of "terrorism".
e.g.: folks from the NBA were on 37 day hunger-strike in Bhopal to protest the incomplete & inadequate rehab in the narmada valley where the narmada waters are flooding even the rehab centers. No official met them or issued any statement. Do you view the situation in the valley as state-sponsored terrorism? With very high probability the displaced and affected people do, but the media and several others don't.

No doubt the terrorists fighting for the muslim "cause" are the most radical and have to be contained, but the limiting the argument/discussion/action to them as the entire set and use of force as the only means, in my opinion is a seriously narrow effort.

about, using peaceful process, yes that is a way, but sadly Gandhian ways seem to falling on deaf ears and we need a serious rehaul of his ideas for anything to work. (look prev. para on nba). maybe the idea of "satyagraha" needs updated for todays needs.
but meanwhile people out of serious desperation may resort to violence and be branded as "terrorists".

"It is special for India because we are shy of admitting that there are terror..."
Who is this "we"?
The India govt. routinely blames islamic outfits for violence in J&K, it has banned SIMI. No?