As I sit down to write this, my background noise is filled with sentiments and outpourings for Barcelona. Rightly so. More lives lost and lives shattered, never to be the same as they once were or deserve to be.
Terrorism strikes at the very heart of another community and steals loved ones and futures.
The TV and radio stations clamber for the devastation. It is after all, big news which sadly equals big bucks. I don’t think those reporters or journalists would be so cold to calculate it in this fashion but it is no accident that they cover it around the clock until the story fizzles from our consciousness.
My social media reflects the tragedy and Catalan/Spanish flags adorn those who want to be supportive. They really feel the pain of those affected and in turn they empathise. We have memes appear, they are more usual now, with words we recognise but shouldn’t. The candle photograph is on repeat as I scroll. I skip past them all. I don’t need to read them, the differences are minimal, the sentiment the same.
We are all affected. Or, is it infected?
On Saturday, a terrorist used a car to plough into innocent people. He killed one and seriously injured many more. Yesterday in two separate attacks in Spain, the exact same thing happened. More lives were lost and more injured souls fight for their lives and will forever carry the scars.
So what is the difference? I can see none. I see them both as the acts they were intended to be. Terrorism.
So I Google “Spain terror attack”. There is page after page with the headlines of “Barcelona and Cambrils Terror Attacks”. It is uniform almost, the wording changing in the minutest form. I take from this that the story is clearly being well covered. No real facts are missing and the headlines have it captured perfectly. This is exactly what I expect. My social media is a reflection of this.
I then Google “USA terror attack” I have used the same general term that I have with the previous one. What comes up is surprising. I am faced with a litany of pages and headlines for terrorism in general, a few about the 9/11 attack. These continue to the second page where finally…..the two attacks in Spain are headlined? What happened to Charlottesville?
Finally, when I Google “Charlottesville terror attack” I find news of this. However, there is something striking from the headlines linked to this;
“Charlottesville Rally Turns Deadly” – NBC News
“Man charged with murder after driving into anti-far-right protestors” – The Guardian
“One killed as car ploughs into counter-protestors” – The Sun
“Scores injured, one dead as car ploughs into protestors” – NY Post
So from the headlines, this is not a terror attack, it is at best a murder at worst an accident as it is “the car” that has caused the death, not the driver.
This use of language may seem subtle to some. It is not to me and many more. Why is it still carrying on? Why are our world press organisations being allowed to use language to set a false tone?
Is it that they see only terrorism when it is a brown face? Is it that simple? Or is it that fear is selling? The rags that spout the hate and yet pay little or no tax have a readership that is solid, they seemed to have plugged the haemorrhaging of readers by stoking fear and promoting their bile.
This is a striking hypocrisy. Is it that all those that read and believe are blind to it? Do they choose not to see or is it the subtle use of language that is drawing them in?
I do not believe for a heartbeat that those who saw or heard about the Charlottesville attack were not sympathetic. A life lost, more injured, scarred and affected by terror. Where were the candles, the flags on the corner of the profile pics?
This goes far wider than these incidents on differing continents. Where are the flags, candles and banners for all of those affected by terror? Iraq, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Pakistan, Syria, Yemen, India, Somalia, Egypt and Libya – the top ten countries affected by terror, according to Forbes.
Is it ok when the USA and UK inflict terror? Are we justified in ignoring every other country and only mourning for those who may look a little more like us?
Both of these recent atrocities carried out in Spain and the US were terrorism. Both are attacks by right wing extremists whose brand of fascism may be a little different but that’s just branding, it is still fascism. The similarity is striking, yet our media don’t want that recognised. We should all be asking ourselves the reasons for this and demanding to know who it is that they are actually protecting from this information.
So……When is terror not terror? Why aren’t you asking that question?