Now how about a minute's solemn silence for the dead in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan...
So we've done 9/11, but don't hold your breath for the equivalent wall-to-wall coverage on the Afghan war, with poignant stories of parents, husbands and children who have been killed.
By Lindsey German
For me, the low point of the coverage about the attacks on the twin towers on 9/11 was the extensive oxygen of publicity allowed to Tony Blair. Interviewed at length on the Today programme, quoted in a number of national newspapers, he used the anniversary to justify his illegal war on Iraq and to encourage future attacks on Iran in particular.
It was particularly disgusting that he should use the natural sympathy felt for those who had lost loved ones on that day to preach further war like a demented First World War padre. In this he was joined by all the warmongers, who ignored the far greater amounts of death and destruction wrought by the wars justified as revenge for the original act.
I await with interest the memorial services for those killed in the war on Afghanistan. That war, launched ten years ago, killed an estimated 20,000 Afghans in its first two months, according to a UN report. Tens of thousands more have died since then, alongside a million dead in Iraq.
Somehow, I don’t see past and present US presidents observing solemn minutes’ silences. I guess we won’t have poignant stories of parents, husbands, and children, lost as a result of the attack. I’m pretty sure there won’t be wall-to-wall coverage for two weeks on every aspect of the Afghan war.
So the anniversary of 9/11 is portrayed as a terrible tragedy to the American people as a whole -- caused by ‘fanatics’, ‘extremists’, ‘people who hate our way of life’ (all of whom happen to be Muslims of course). But there is no equivalent discourse for Afghans or Iraqis, whose wars are really brought upon them by evil people within their midst, never by a ‘US military machine’ whose ‘imperial designs’ lead them to ‘hate Muslims’.
Even worse, these bloody wars bringing in their wake death, injury, refugees displaced for years, rising levels of violence and insecurity, fear, corruption, warlords, torture, imprisonment, are just not talked about most of the time.
The media gets its message across sometimes as much by what isn’t said as what is made explicit. The ignoring of the wars while highlighting 9/11 makes that point very strongly. And ignoring the wars in the media leads many people to think that they aren’t really happening, or will be over soon.
I guess the attacks in Kabul today by the Taliban are meant to counter this view, and that may be why they are happening two days after 9/11. Attacks on Nato headquarters and the US embassy send one simple message: the war is continuing and the occupiers are not winning it. They are not even succeeding in handing over control to their Afghan counterparts.
One eyewitness in Kabul told the BBC: "There is no security at all in Kabul. This is the safest area, and if we are not safe here, then we are not safe anywhere in Afghanistan. "
The failure of the war on terror is the real story of the last ten years and should be shouted from the rooftops. Coverage of 9/11 was designed to hide that fact, not highlight it. But reality will keep breaking through.
We will be there.
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