Archive - Jul 7, 2005


So today Tony Blair said this, referring to the attacks in London:

"We know that these people act in the name of Islam but we also know that the vast and overwhelming majority of Muslims here and abroad are decent and law-abiding people who abhor those who do this every bit as much as we do," he added.

I think he probably means well with this statement. He's trying to defuse acts of vigilantism against Muslims in England in retaliation for the bombings. However, I think if he questioned some basic assumptions and language, he might be more successful. If you look closely at the words he uses, you'll notice how, probably unconciously, he sets up a polarity between "Muslims" and "we." Shouldn't he be including the Muslims in the "we", if he really wants to instill a sense of togetherness and good will? they are a "decent people" who "abhor those who do this" as much as "we do." Why not say something more like "The vast majority of Muslims here stand today together with other Britons in a deep condemnation of this atrocity, apparently committed in the name of Islam by a small, extremist Muslim minority." Or something like that. Why all the "we"s and "those"es?

London Attack Flickr Photo Pool

There's a photo pool on Flickr for photos from the London bomb attacks today. A pool is a place where a group of flickr users can all post photos on a certain subject. This pool makes me realize that Flickr, and/or its users, need to be utilized by the independent media movement. There are now about 200 photos on the pool, which is more than I've been able to find on the UK indymedia site. Admittedly a lot of them are screen grabs of mainstream television coverage, but this is still helpful.

In other related news about news, I just heard that Canadian TV is making a much smaller deal out of this than CNN is. I don't even want to look at CNN, mush less Fox. But this makes total sense. Of course the pro-Bush, pro-fear media here would be pumping this up as big as it can be, as further proof of the importance of a the War on Terror, a futher justification for an increase in security and stripping away more civil rights.

Of course what has happened in London is horrible, and I know people who live there and I am truly worried and sad for them, and for everyone there. But let's step back and look at the the fact that casualties at least so far are much less than the Madrid attack and of course hugely less than 9/11. (Right now mainstream media that i've seen is only reporting 2 or 3 confirmed deaths, though UK IMC is saying 20 or more, citing the BBC but I don't see any BBC report online that says that.) It's a coordinated attack, it's in a major financial center, and it's during the G8, so that's why it's getting so much attention. But the G8, the World Bank and the IMF make very coordinated attacks on poor countries all the time that cause many many more deaths. Not deaths with flashy explosions, but deaths by starvation and disease.

I hope I don't sound callous or insane - I condemn these attacks, but they're going to keep happening unless the rich countries stop stomping on the poor. And it's only going to get worse. And since they're going to keep happening, I just wish that the terrorists would use some intelligent and convincing articulations of their position (or I wish they had a more intelligent position), when they claim responsiblity. The Al Queda announcement for this one is full of religious bullshit that just makes them sound like the insane fanatics that they are. But what if a terrorist attack was accompanied by a really rational anti-capitalist, anti-neoliberal analysis? What if Osama Bin-laden was more like Subcommandante Marcos?