Friday, July 15

"... of Pakistani descent"

Does it bother anyone that the men accused of the London bombings - all of whom are British natives - are consistently referred to using the qualifier "of Pakistani descent"?

Was Timothy McVeigh ever referred to as "a US native of [insert Irish or whatever anglo ethnicity here] descent"? Of course not. Yet even NPR consistently seems to be downplaying the fact that the men in London were all British natives and instead highlighting their ethnicity.

The real story here is the parallel between McVeigh - a home-grown zealot turned terrorist - and these men from Leeds - home-grown zealots turned terrorists. Instead the news coverage all appears to be reporters desperately trying to make the as-yet-unsubstantiated links to al Qaeda. Here we have a striking similarity to the worst act of terrorism committed on US soil prior to 9/11 and the London bombings and nobody seems to be paying attention.

Shame on you, reporters and editors, for deliberately choosing to publish stories that downplay the fact that this was an act of domestic terrorism and instead highlighting the ethnicity of the suspects. You're feeding the very racism and xenophobia that is part of the problem. These men were born and raised in England. They were British, dammit! Quit trying to blame the Pakistani people - they have enough troubles as it is. Quit spinning the story in a way that is guaranteed to do even more damage to the Muslim communities throughout the western world.

8 comments:

  1. No, as liberal as I may be it's fairly relevant. When Swedish Lutherans start bombing subways we may want to steer clear of stereotypes but until then; if the shoe fits...

    Plus it's nice to hear about all of our "allies" people.

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  2. Why is it relevant? Born and raised in Leeds != Pakistani terrorist. The first is a more accurate descriotion of the suspects, yet the second is what the news media insists on reporting. This terrible crime has more in common with Oklahoma City than it does with 9/11. So why try to force the square peg in a round hole and try to liken it to 9/11?

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  3. Nope - but trying to hide their origin - that I would find much more offensive.

    Why is it relevent? Because the profile continues to strengthen. Why even mention the religion they are associated with? Why even mention a group they might be associated with. Some people rather live in ignorance - yet your safety is somewhat assured by those that live with intelligence.

    The terrorists bombing in London has nothing in likeness to OK City. Now whose trying to fit a square peg into a round hole? Unbelievable.

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  4. I'm not referring to hiding their origin. Their origin is British. They were born there. They're not Pakistani, they're English. Unless your family is Native American, your family came from somewhere else but nobody refers to you as the nationality of your immigrant forebears. No, you're an American.

    Native-born citizen kills a bunch of fellow citizens with a bomb in an act of domestic terrorism. Sounds like Oklahoma City to me.

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  5. From the coverage I've been hearing there are strong Al-Qaeda links. If not for that I think you're spot on, but when you throw Al-Qaeda in there I believe it becomes relevant to the story.

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  6. From what I've seen, it bears a superficial resemblance to other al Qaeda activities, but no evidence has yet been found. Or if it has, it hasn't been released to the media. Regardless, whether or not it is connected with al Qaeda or not is really secondary to my point. I find it much more relevant that the suspects were British and that they were attacking their fellow British citizens. They aren't foreigners who came into the country with the intention to do it harm - as it was with 9/11. They were native-born citizens attacking their own country - like Oklahoma City.

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  7. I think an important factor to note is that London has had a HUGE Pakistani population for decades now. So to keep noting his ethnic background would be akin to a south Texas newspaper continually reporting that someone was "of Mexican descent." Which they might do, if Latino people were bombing Western countries, because when something terrible happens we want to find someone to blame. The reality is that the ethnicity of those accused should not be relevant unless he was a Pakistani national. There has been no proven link between Pakistan and al Kaeda - remember - Pakistan is SUPPOSEDLY our ally.

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  8. I see where you are going but when the IRA was bombing London they werent looking for Polish Jews, they were looking for Irish Catholics; does this mean all Irish Catholics are in the IRA of course not. However if you have a bunch of Pakastani guys with backpacks on entering a train that just exploded it's a pretty safe conclution to jump to.

    But less than race or origin I would say you look at religion. Again, when Lutherans and Atheist start blowing themselves up to kill innocent civillians, then things will change until then...

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