Media coverage of terror attacks
Sir, – Once again we are reminded of our vulnerability due to the latest terror attack in London. Once again we are bombarded on the airwaves, television screens and newspapers, The Irish Times included, with extensive coverage of the victims, the timeline of events and the perpetrator’s background and alleged motives. This is a quite understandable response in many respects.
However, like with previous terror attacks in France, Belgium and Germany the media coverage is striking in two aspects. First, its lack of analysis on the root causes of terrorism; and second, its extreme imbalance when compared to the coverage of terror attacks in those parts of the world in which the major world powers are the prime purveyors of terrorism.
Military air strikes, artillery bombardments, small weapon fire and suicide bombings throughout the Middle East, kill and maim men, women and children on a daily basis. These events, if reported at all, are now usually buried in small columns deep in the middle pages. We will never see the smiling faces or know the stories and ambitions of the women and children killed two weeks ago in a double suicide bombing at a wedding in a village near Tikrit in Iraq, or of the hundreds killed in Syria last week, of the many killed, and yet to be killed, under Donald Trump’s escalation of the Middle East wars or of the thousands killed under Barack Obama’s drone strikes. In the last example alone, 1,600 people were killed in over 1,000 strikes in Afghanistan last year, according to the US-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism .
Last week was the 14th anniversary of the disastrous US-led invasion of Iraq. Fourteen years later the Middle East and the wider region is a cauldron of violent instability, sectarian strife and open territory for perpetual and proxy warfare by imperial powers spurred on by the race to secure fossil fuel, competition for strategic gain and the odious needs of the industrial military complex.
Meanwhile, western governments and the mainstream media are in denial about why terror attacks have increased in western cities. It is time to heed the words of one US intellectual who noted that the best way to stop terrorism is to “stop participating in it”. All the victims of terrorism, wherever in the world, deserve no less. – Yours, etc,
Irish Anti-War Movement,
PO Box 9260,