The news that disappeared

When something dramatic happens, there are always some people looking for a conspiracy. I don’t find that unnatural at all concidering all the people and institutions with an agenda, and the fact that media often don’t relay the important or the correct news. I‘m not going to state that it is or isn’t a conspiracy tied to Charlie Hebdo, but ask the question what if (someone used this to create a diversion). These racist drawings seem to be useful if you want to move the public attention away from something. Knowing what that something is is tricky, but I have som suggestions.

When it comes to cartoons, I question how necessary it is to ridicule Muslims. These drawings and the one the Danish newspaper Jyllandsposten printed a few years ago, which Charlie Hebdo also printed later, were more racist than anything else. They reminded me a lot about drawings of African Americans during Jim Crow, and of Jews in the 1930s. I wonder how much new and needed knowledge about Islam this provided us with. What I have learned from this publication is that Charlie Hebdo and the people that like these insults are petty, bigoted, vicious and hostile towards all strangers. Not just because of these drawing, but this is not the first time.

I have criticised Norwegian media and in particular VG, one of the largest tabloid papers. In this case we can only describe it as ancient news, and I object to the fact that Norwegian media has chosen to disclose these drawings. They haven’t only shown these drawings, but they have expressed a remarkable admiration for the xenofobes of Charlie Hebdon. The evening before the next issue of Charlie Hebdon was published, VG had a review of the new frontpage. They like to roll the dice and gave this latest insult a 6. I wonder if the admiration had been just as strong if the insult was reversed (like making fun of the French or the Norwegians). Media has produced a lot of articles and inerviews from this story that wasn’t a story to begin with. I think Charlie Hebdo counted on some Muslims to respond. That’s what makes bullies tick. If they are ignored the whole point is lost, but the creators of these cartoons know very well how Muslims think.

G 8 leaders 2013
Some of the leaders in casual conversation at the G8 in 2013. They got a new opportunity to appear in a positive light after the Charlie Hebdo Massacre, but I guess it didn’t really go according to plan.
Wikimeda commons

When state leaders participated in a parade against terrorism and in support of freedom of speech a few days later, these state leaders got the opportunity for some positive exposure. Some were focused on the fact that Obama didn’t show up, but maybe that was just as well. Among those who did attend were  the Russian Foreign Minister, Saudi Arabia’s ambassador, the Prime Ministers of Turkey, Israel, Britain, the Federal Chancellor of Germany and President of France (+ the previous one). These have been very involved in combating freedom of expression, as well as “helping” countries like Iraq, Egypt, Syria and Libya. They clearly have great capacity for double standards, but media reluctantly reported this criticism in Norway. When VG ran this short article, they referred to a student and human rights activist named Daniel Wickham. He made a list of people to show the hypocrisy. These accusations started on social media. It’s almost like the paper didn’t want to appear critical and only reported on a student making these allegations. So they didn’t take any responsibility.

We are perhaps not talking about a conspiracy or agenda, but it is interesting to see what was reported just before the shots were fired in Paris. Mail Online was just one of many news outlets that wrote about allegations that implicated Prince Andrew. He was accused of having had sex with a minor. But this story may not be big enough alone.

The US has a lot of experience with shifting alliances. They support dictators and terrorist groups when this will promote their interests. Sometimes this works and sometimes it doesn’t. Most of these alliances end (such as the alliance with Saddam Hussein). There is another alliance right now that is shaky. There have been some discontent among the Syrian rebels because they are not getting heavy enough weapons from the United States. Meanwhile Russia is trying to negotiate with the opposition in Syria. They invited 28 prominent members of the Syrian opposition for talks in Moscow on January 26. The invitation was issued before Christmas and it was rejected on January 7 (same day as the Charlie Hebdon shootings).

The US has said that they will not cooperate with rebels who are terrorists, but it is difficult to distinguish them from each other. There are reports from Syria suggesting that many of the rebels aren’t much better than the regime. Many believe, for example, that the rebels used chemical weapons on civilians and tried to blame the enemy.

In another story Human rights organizations accuse Ukraine of using the “illegal” cluster bombs in densely populated areas. Some countries are playing with semantics when they say that this munition isn’t illegal as they haven’t ratified the Convention on Cluster Munition.

About the same time as the terrorist attack in Paris, Boko Haram killed 2,000 people in Nigeria. This was reported later, but didn’t get the same attention as the massacre in Paris.

If one wishes to draw attention away from something the economy is probably a good candidate from something you don’t want focus on. There are still people who believe that we are going to experience a significant decline in the world economy this year. It seems like there are more and more people beginning to think about life after the US dollar too. There are at least many sites that offer advice on what people should do if the US currency collapses. The news outlets also had some pretty dramatic headlines about the Russian economy before this happened, especially right before Christmas. It sounded so dramatic in fact that we were left to wonder if the Russian stability was endangered, especially as the oil price has taken a large fall. Suddenly that story vanished.

I don’t know if there is an agenda, or if media just have difficulties following several stories simultaneously. There are perhaps other stories than those I mentioned that are more relevant, but I think it is valid a point that some stories often disappear when media have an extreme focus on one. When this story has absolutely zero newsworthiness, one can wonder what is going on. If this was a conspiracy an operation like that would be called a red herring or a false flag. It is of course impossible to determine when that happens, but there is a general trend now that we need alternative news outlets because mainstream media isn’t doing serious journalism.

snowman
We had some sleet during Christmas, so my daughter made a sister for Olaf. To some Saudi clerics this is serious enough to issue a fatwa.

I don’t like these drawings that clearly are meant to do harm, but I do think its a good idea to make jokes, not least at the clergy. This case is suitable for just that. When Saudi Arabia got some snow recently someone thought it would be a good idea to make a snowman. That was illegal. This would have been a good alternative, Charlie Hebdo, and then you had probably received some Muslim support too. Best of all, you would not have spread hatred. Who knows, maybe that is the way to slowly change Islam? Surely it’s not the point to ridicule everything that is not French?

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