Tuesday, August 07, 2012

'White supremacist', 'insane gunman' or 'Temple shooter' but why not Terrorist: Media must de-link religion with Terror, see all abominable acts alike

Either it's firing on Sikhs in the Gurdwara near Milwaukee or the last month's killings in a theatre in Colorado, both the incidents in United States, caused outrage, but as soon as identity of the shooter was known, a new word was coined to describe him.

In both cases, the shooters were White Americans. Just like the killing in Anders Breivik in Norway when he shot dead 77 persons. What is similar is that in all the cases, there was initial hysteria on TV channels and usage of words like, 'terror attack can't be ruled out'.

But as soon as the identity of the perpetrator was known, new expressions were coined for them. Breivik, who had a large cache of arms and ammunition and went on a firing spree, was later arrested and follow up stories described him as 'Madman' or 'Insane', more often, as 'Delusional Shooter'.

Media should stop playing with words: Coining new terms for Terror!

This is perhaps because of his association with right-wing and his ideas against immigration. Then came the incident in Colorado. James Holmes who had kept explosives in his Denver house, and who launched an attack in the theatre that was screening Batman movie, killed 12 persons & wounded many others.

Holmes, 24, who doing a research in neuro-science, and then quit his PhD, was called 'massacre man', 'mass murderer' and 'shooting suspect' once his identity was ascertained. Won't people feel that there are double standards in dubbing a person as terrorist?

If he is a Muslim, he is one, but if he is not, then he is either a Fundamentalist [Extremist] or simple Criminal [Gunman, shooter], even if he is driven by an ideology. The latest incident at the Gurudwara in Wisconsin (USA) again proves the point.

This time the man identified is former US Army vet, Wade Michael Page, 40, who has been accused of killing six persons and wounding many others at the 'Sikh temple' in Oak Creek, has got another label. He is being termed as 'White supremacist'. Others dubbed him as 'Temple killer'.

Mass killings are always Terrorism: Why use softer terms or new labels?

This happens in India as well. When an incident occurs, the immediate reports say, 'Cops don't rule out terror angle'.

Aren't deaths same or does the magnitude of crime change when identity of the perpetrator is established.

In Assam, Goa, Karnataka and incidents in certain other places, we have seen that initially they were termed as terror strikes but when names like groups like Abhinav Bharat, ULFA, Sanatan Sanstha, NDFB, Black Widow came up, the words were 'wanted for blast' or 'extremist action. The 'T' word was missing now.

Governments and media fail to understand that use of word 'Terror' creates a scare. This is what the enmies of humanity want. Shouldn't we get rid of it and stop scare? Every incident of crime should be condemned but shouldn't there be similar criteria. Words and terminologies surely have impact.

We have heard the adage, 'Show me the Face and I'll show you the rule'. Is it now, 'Tell me the person's identity and we will dub him terrorist or a gunman'?. Should every incident be seen from the same prism, forever!

Just like Islamists, lunatics are found in other faiths also

There are lunatics and fanatics in all religions. We, often hear, that Islamists are driven by an agenda. But so did Breivik, who had strong right-wing connections, particularly with fundamentalist Christians. And Wade Michael Page is now being reported as a neo-Nazi. They too have their agendas.

My sole appeal is that all terrorist activities should be treated as terrorism. Or if they have to be reported as crimes, then they should all be termed as crimes. As words and jargons change with a perpetrator's religion, it caused prejudices in society, fuels racial hatred and these biases percolate down, staying in minds for long.

Muslims feel that they get bad press and just because of section of media, feel that lot people in the world are iased against them. This is a continuous cycle. Media must get out of it now. Time to de-link religion with terrorism. It is in the best interests of the people.

For stories on this subject on this blog in the past CLICK HERE