Photo Courtesy: Daily Express (one time, academic, non-profit use)
An Islamist fanatic yesterday drove his van, and ran over eight innocent people to death, in broad daylight in Manhattan. It happened close to where terrorists blew up Twin Towers on September 11, 2001, and killed thousands of men and women.
Sometimes, we are so stunned by violence and terror that it freezes us. We don’t want to function. We don’t want to wake up from bed. Worse, we don’t want to think. Yet, thinking is the most precious, God-given power we have when something like this happens.
One month ago, a white terrorist man used his weapons of mass destruction (WMD), and killed 58 innocent people in Las Vegas. But American media neither called him a terrorist, nor was there any serious discussion on the dark-age gun violence across this country. Big politicians, particularly those supporting Trump and National Rifle Association (NRA), asked us not to “politicize” on the genocide. Now, after the New York terror, their rhetoric has changed 180 degrees.
When in June of 2015, Dylan Roof, a 21-year-old, self-proclaimed white supremacist killed nine innocent black worshipers in a South Carolina church, media neither emphasized on his white supremacist rhetoric, or his use of the gun to kill. They hardly mentioned that he worshiped Hitler, and repeatedly said he believed whites were superior race, and that blacks deserved to die.
Yesterday, here in New York where we live, Sayfullo Habibullaevic Saipov, the suspected Islamic terrorist with a possible ISIS connection chanted “Allahu Akbar,” and ran over eight innocent people with his truck. And it is getting explosive media coverage everywhere. Trump is talking about sending the perpetrator to Guantanamo Bay, and talking about much more repressive measures to “deal with terrorism” his way.
I have no problems to condemn this gruesome violence, or with the way media is covering the act of violence 24/7. But then, there is a serious problem built in the way big media and big politicians cover, exclude or undermine other acts of terror. It creates more hate against Muslims and the religion of Islam per se, even though that hate is politically motivated by the people in power — to divert attention from other critical issues relating to our lives. Look at the way Trump is capitalizing today on the NYC violence. And he has his Fox TV, his New York Post, and his Alt-Right, and his racist radio talk show hosts on his side.
Most people — whether American, Indian, or European — don’t have the awareness, information, or analysis to understand this serious dichotomy and double standards in media coverage, or the way populist politicians such as America’s Trump or India’s Modi capitalize on such barbaric acts of violence, and create more division, hate, repression, or war. And they exploit on this very deep ignorance and political illiteracy.
Since 9/11/2001, when we saw the Twin Towers blow up right in front of our eyes, the world has become a very different place. I call it the Era of Post Reason. The 1%, their corporations, politicians, and media have successfully managed to make sure we the 99% do not use our reasoning power anymore. They have made us push back into a time when ordinary people fought against each other, hated each other, and bit off food from each other’s hands.
Unless we come up with a viable strategy to come together, and actively engage ourselves into thinking, reasoning, and analyzing — to realize who are doing the violence and war, why they are doing it, and how they are making the world a more violent, divided, hateful place — only to the benefit of the extremely rich and powerful people at the top, it is a lose-lose situation for all of us.
I hope we reflect on the causes of terror, violence, repression, and war, and bring ourselves back to the time, when reasoning was a normal, natural, intelligent human way of life.
Brooklyn, New York