The Charleston shooting that hit the headlines a short while ago put the spotlight on the White supremicist terrorist, Dylann Roof, that except 'extremism', 'terror' and 'radicalisation' were not words used to describe the biggotted and hateful individual, for whom we were then expected to show sympathy. On the other hand, whenever anyone of a non-White, and especially Muslim background is reported as carrying out such atrocities, a different picture is painted by the mass media. Their portrayal of the recent shooting in Tunisia painfully highlights their hypocrisy in handling such incidents. Here is my analysis of where the mass media, and the governments who point the finger away from themselves when talking about radicalisation, have got it wrong. - Yamin Zakaria
Two gunmen in two different parts of world carried out near-identical attacks on defenceless civilians with machine guns. Both were cowardly acts, massacring people who were caught by surprise. Neither in a church, nor on a beach would you expect that kind of attack. Can we draw any other parallels between the two incidents? Both also have an underlying political motive, and that is where the similarities stop.
In the US incident, the motive has been clarified by Dylann Roof’sadmission and the materials found in his home. It was racial hatred towards non-Whites; the perceived threat from the African-American community was acutely felt by this White, European American. He needs reminding that only the Native Americans are true Americans. They do not need extra adjectives to remind them of their origin. What the mainstream media omitted, the online media picked upon - the label of ‘terrorism’, because the violent act was politically motivated. Keeping in line with reports of similar incidents from non-White communities, it should have been described as ‘White American Terrorism’. Instead the perpetrator was presented as a lone individual committing a crime in isolation. Had Dylann been Mohammed, it would certainly have been described as Islamic terrorism, instantly hitting the headlines of all major news outlets, even before the facts had been identified, just like in the aftermath of the Oklahoma bombing.
In the case of the Tunisian gunman, there is an absence of evidence, so one can only speculate. Since he turned on the British and European holiday-makers, his motive was most likely related to the Anglo-US invasions, and the suffering and chaos that it has brought about. Yet, Tunisia was the birth place of the Arab Spring, where democracy was supposedly being nurtured with free elections.
Taking it as fact that he must have been an Islamist terrorist, the mainstream media asked who radicalised this hip-hop-dancing Tunisian man. This was despite the lack of a long beard; and the absence of any literature his home that could indicate his political or religious inclination.
The Post-mortem results show that he had consumed cocaine; certainly he is no Jihadi-Salafi from the current self-proclaimed Islamic State. The investigation continues to find ‘evidence’ of radicalisation and even the most tenuous connection is enough to make the case that those Islamist militants in neighbouring Libya had somehow brainwashed him. In other words, the verdict has been declared, and the related evidence WILL be found.
The real truth behind self-radicalisation is that it comes from within, and the causes lie outside the domain of the individual. When he sees the images on Television, the process of radicalisation begins. It has little to do with the apolitical sermons of the Imams in the Mosques. Even if we blame the sermons or the lectures of radical preachers, they are just conveying those images on television through their words.
The British government should stop pretending that, somehow, they are innocent victims, who have made no contribution towards this horrendous massacre on the beach in Tunisia. Yes, the holiday makers were innocent, just like the children in Gaza, who are killed every day by weapons made in the UK and the US, and the 500,000 children in Iraq, killed through the criminal sanctions. Likewise, we must remember the innocent children killed by drones in Pakistan; and there are numerous other examples. If you want security for your civilians then do not violate the security of other civilians, otherwise you will experience a backlash, and when you strike out in response, further retaliation will follow. You have created a cycle of violence.
There is no major governmental concern, or any mobilisation of armed forces against potential, future threats emanating from the far right White supremacists. This is because, we are told, they are a small minority that poses no risk to the dominant White American society, and the same applies to their cousins in Europe. But surely their narrative must be challenged? The media has not failed to report that since Dylann Roof’s apparently isolated act of racially motivated terror, a number of Black churches has been burnt down, and yet these actions, somehow, do not get linked with terror or radicalisation.
In contrast, a British military response to the incident in Tunisia looks imminent, which will no doubt insight more frustrated individuals. As strange as it seems, the Western governments continue to be afraid of increasing radicalisation amongst the Muslim youth, while the fact remains that only when they, as the world’s most powerful military entities, can choose to break this cycle of violence, leading to the demise of any associated self-radicalisation.
Published on 03/7/2015