2204Playing With Words In Iraq
- May 1, 2004Al Jazeera Under US Occupation?
Al Jazeera Deletes Captured U.S. Soldier's Comments
Rumours that Al Jazeera has fallen under American occupation were
fuelled the other day when the satellite TV broadcast images of a
captured US soldier in Iraq.
During the first broadcasts, captive Keith Maupin said he'd come to
Iraq to liberate it, but actually hadn't wanted to come at all, that
he was married and had a 10-year-old daughter.
The exclusive report was snapped up by the world's media, including
the TV's troubled, english language website and duly reported.
Palestinian Ahmad Sheikh, who has somehow fallen on his feet and into
the job of the Arabic TV chief editor, appears to have been called by
his US masters and told to edit the PoW's inflammatory comments.
That evening, Sheikh, known in Jazeera circles as the Armchair
Jihadi, telephoned the english newsroom and, without bothering to ask
for any supervising editor, instructed Jordanian journalist Natasha
Twal to pull the soldier's comments from the news items. He then
ordered the Arabic website to do the same. The next Al Jazeera
television broadcast had also deleted Maupin's personal comments
which the White House found so offensive.
As a result, everyone else was quoting the original Al Jazeera report
in full, while Ahmad Sheikh had gagged and censored his own team,
even though the soldier's comments were already aired and public
knowledge! Rivals, BBC online produced a more substantial article
than both of Al Jazeera's websites did based on the original Al
Still George W Bush and his chickenhawks can always take comfort from
the fact they have a friend in Al Jazeera they can rely on - well
done Ahmad Sheikh.
This is the same man, you will remember, who sacked sisters Yvonne
Ridley and Shaista Aziz when he headed the english website because
their exclusive news stories upset the Americans and Israelis.
Aah, now the reasons for his promotion are becoming clear.
Upside Down In Fallujah:
Our Americans are the "foreign fighters" who were not invited to
Fallujah or Iraq
The American media and military are upside down in Fallujah.
04/28/04: "ICH" Today, in what was called "a defensive action", the
American troops attacked hospitals, ambulances, schools and homes in
the center of Fallujah. This is just another twisting of the language
to make attack seem like defense, aggression and occupation to sound
like peace and freedom; our media has gone along, unquestioningly,
with thislike tame parrots. But this is no different than what has
been going on since America entered Iraq. Alfred Korzybski, the
famous general semanticist would turn over in his grave if he could
hear this abuse of language by our American military and media.
General Kimmit and Dan Senor keep talking about "insurgents"
and "foreign fighters" trying to intimidate the people of Fallujah.
Actually, they are upside down, Our Americans are the "foreign
fighters" who were not invited to Fallujah or Iraq and it is America
who is trying to "capture" the city, to "destroy the fighters", most
of whom are Fallujahans. And, as General Kimmit said again today, "We
intend to send in patrols, but we will observe this cease fire
truce." He also sends in Apaches who attack groups of Iraqis from the
sky, with no apparent justification. But, of course, this is not
breaking the truceat least none of our correspondents report it that
way, even though their cameramen show the Apaches firing into
Fallujah and buildings going up in smoke.
Who does General Kimmit think he's kiddingactually, most of the
American media I guess, because they are the only ones in the world
who don't understand that to send in patrols is to antagonize the
people of Fallujah and this behavior is meant to intimidate the
people as well. So, the Fallujhans fire at the hostile patrols who
have not been invited into their city. And, to the American media,
this is hostility and it's the fault of the Fallujhans, who our media
correspondents say, "Are breaking the cease fire."
Unfortunately, so much of the picture of this war that our media is
giving us is upside down, and the vocabulary has been twisted words
so that they are also upside down.
Let's take for example the aforementioned "foreign fighters." It
implies, nay, it states that the Iraqis are the foreigners and the
Americans are the natives.
Let's look at "insurgents." It's as if the Iraqis are not allowed to
defend their homes and cities, that we have the right to declare what
is normal and is the law, and those who happen to be the indigenous
people are now, "the insurgents."
We have Apaches, F16s, and various missiles we use that destroy
homes, women, children, schools, hospitals and yet we call those who
stand up to stop us from destroying their homes, their families and
their culture, "terrorists." Once again, they have turned the
language upside down on its head; of course, our media assists
Kimmit, Rumsfeld, Senor and Bush by never questioning them about how
they have done this semantic mislabeling.
Of course, some of the old Kissinger terms are thrown in at
times, "'We're going to pacify this city," which means, we're going
in to kill those who oppose us, and maybe do some "collateral damage"
(meaning many civilians will probably be killed in the process). Our
weapons are "surgical", and "precise",which means they may hit within
50 to 100 yards of their targetwe heard that in the first Iraq war,
then later found out that over 60% of our missiles missed the targets
by hundreds of yards or even miles.
Why should we expect this war to be any different, or the lies to be
Anyone who opposes us is "a radical," and must be done away with. If
I were an Iraqi I would fight back if someone came in and tried to
take over our countrywouldn't you?
Of course you would. Then why is it that our media, politicians and
military can't seem to understand this.
Ah, I'm getting dizzy from all this Alice in Wonderland use of
language I'm sure you are as well. Unfortunately, while our American
leaders and our generals are abusing the language, thousands of
Iraqis are being killed, and their nation plundered.
As one Iraqi professor put it, "The Americans are the new Mongols
they want to conquer the world. But, eventually, we drove the Mongols
outeven though it took some time to do it." I hope our leaders,
media and generals heard that; but even if they did, I doubt they'd
fully understand what it really means. The Iraqis know who the
foreigners are, who the terrorists areand so does much of the world;
it will just take time for Americans to wake up and understand how
upside down their world view actually is.
Sam Hamod is a former advisor to the U.S. State Department; editor of
3rd World News; and former Director of The Islamic Center of
Washington, DC; he may be reached at shamod@...
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