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Friday, February 25, 2011


Governments killing peaceful protesters

The press is full of claims by the Italian Ambassador that 1,000 people (or "as many as 1000") have been (or "may have been") killed in Libya, although the Ambassador has apparently admitted that those numbers are "based on rumors," i.e., not really worthy of being reported (yet they continue to be reported, every single time the subject of people being killed in Libya comes up). That isn't to defend the killing of peaceful protesters by any means, and it is unquestionable that that is happening in Libya, though the extent of it is unfortunately polluted by the media's willingness to report rumors when our "enemies" are involved.

It's a different story with our "friends." Today, the Iraqi government, a creation of the the U.S., killed 15 peaceful protesters in that country. Although you can find many news organizations with articles about that online, we'll see how many, if any, actually make it into print tomorrow. As far as the broadcast media, so far as I've monitored not a word about that has appeared.

And if there's silence on that subject, how much more so on another country where yet another peaceful protester was killed today and many more injured - Israel. The dead person in that case was a three-year-old baby girl, which ought to make that story even more newsworthy, which, to the Western corporate media, means that much more reason to keep it quiet. Incidentally, that death comes just four days after a two-year-old baby boy was injured in the same East Jerusalem area. For that incident, with the passage of several days, we can say with certainty that it was accompanied with complete and utter silence by the Western media.

I'm in the middle of reading The Punishment of Gaza by Gideon Levy, a book I can highly recommend. One of its strengths is precisely in the personalization of Israeli war crimes - naming names and introducing us to the Palestinians, including many children, who have been killed by the Israeli military. That kind of personalization occurs routinely in the Western media when American or Israeli victims are involved, but rarely if ever when Palestinian victims are involved.

Update: The following day (today as I write this), my local paper (the San Jose Mercury News) managed to get the Iraq killings in one sentence of a "News in Brief" section, although they neutrally attributed the deaths to "clashes" between the government and protesters, with no clue that all the deaths were protesters. As for the death in East Jerusalem, nary a word.

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