One has to wonder about the formula Western Media is following when disaster strike. The media loves to present itself as all knowing and bringing you the facts and the real story, they repeat this constantly as if to re-enforce the fact that the public is ignorant and the so called or pseudo experts parading on the news will explain it all. What is sad is how they invariably get it wrong. Then you have the report of who died and who was injured, it is always the same nationalities, Americans, British, others are mention in passing. In Canada our news service will mention last if any Canadians were injured or died, if you listen to the French news they will only mention casualties from Quebec, the rest don’t matter. Then the Media will tell us that this or that Head of State or Government reacted to the news, usually with the same platitudes, thoughts and prayers, yeah sure.
The Media will always stir up hate against, in this case, immigrants, Muslims, and try to dress up the story as if all this could be settled if only these little people were more reasonable and not so sub-human in their behaviour. The sub-text of the news stories, they are all ingrates and no good and we did everything for them. There will be broad generalizations and gross exaggerations. One example, a group of Canadian students were travelling in the general area but a few hundred kilometres away from the incidents, so they are safe, well yes they were no were near the incident. Again the sub-text is that nowhere is safe and we should all be very afraid, in other words do not get out of bed in the morning. In this sense Canadian Media outlets and no better than any other ones. They like the spin the story in order to play on the fears real or imagine of the masses.
What I find sad about these events is how they are only widely reported if they happen in a large Western City, Frankfurt, Paris, London, Brussels. In the last few weeks other attacks have occurred in Istanbul, Ankara, Yemen, Libya, however we did not hear about them or heard very little.
Why is that? Are these attacks less important because the people involved who died or were maimed are not like us? We were Charlie after the attack on Charlie Hebdo and everyone ran out to buy a copy of the paper. Then we were Paris and now we are Brussels. It is as if changing your FB icon makes it all fine, is there nothing more intellectually lazy and self satisfied in this FB trend, but then again a sign of our facile consumer society. What does that mean? Not much really and you do not have to think about it too much.
For those who are quick to blame, note that the authors of these attacks are not immigrants, they are born and bred in Belgium and in a strange twist two of them were brothers, had long violent criminal records and were known to the Police but had no links to terrorisms apparently, though one had been arrested by the Turkish Police some time ago for being on the Syrian border area and deported back to the Netherlands and detained until the Belgium Police said they did not know the fellow despite having his criminal record, a very embarrassing situation for the police authorities.
To say that the Belgium Police is incompetent is an understatement, in the last few years several major scandals have exposed a Justice system that is dysfunctional and unable to function properly, corrupt and full of nepotism. Belgium is an economically troubled European country despite being the seat of the European Union and deeply and bitterly divided between its two linguistic communities, it barely functions as a country and again recently saw paralysis in its government with no functioning Cabinet for over a year.
France traced back the terror cell to Belgium immediately after the Paris attacks but it still took four months to find and arrest the main instigator after he had slipped numerous times through police check points in France and in Belgium.
As for these criminals and terrorists, they all come from the same isolated, marginalized, poorly educated and violent suburbs of big cities which are breeding ground for criminality. European suburbs are not pretty, it’s a dumping ground for the poor. Living in ghettoes with little hope of ever integrating main stream society. Their names, religion, colour and background make them outcasts in a Europe that has never been very good at integrating anyone who is not Old Stock National. I saw this phenomenon in Greece, Italy, Turkey, France, Germany, Poland, Ukraine, etc…
Someone painted Europe as this Oasis of civilization and enlightenment, however this is largely a myth based on past history, the 20th century showed us through two world wars what horrors Europeans can visit on each other. With decolonizations in the 1960’s Europe has had large social problems trying to integrate former colonials who flocked to its shore after bloody wars of independence, Algeria (France), the Congo (Belgium), two name two more notorious episodes.
The recent debacle and still un-resolved refuge crisis from Syria and other parts, Afghanistan, Iraq and Sub-Saharan Africa is still un-going and far from resolved. Europe appears unable or unwilling to deal with any crisis. It is up to Canada to some extent to intervene with our limited means as a middle-power.
ISIS or ISIL will be defeated eventually and the threat is very present at this time, but the defeat will come only if European Police forces coordinate and work with other National Police Forces, implementing measures to diminish the threat and hiring intelligence Officers who actually have a background in counter terrorism and the required language skills, I know many do not have those skills, laziness and indifference is often the hallmark of many European police authorities. It is apparent that despite the attacks in Europe the threat has not been taken seriously despite the assurances of various politicians who failed to take the full measure of the crisis. So far Turkey has done more than most in Europe. Jordan has also shouldered a great deal of the Humanitarian crisis.
It was revealed last week that with the announcement by President Putin that Russia was pulling out of Syria and reducing its involvement, they had been bombing the Opposition forces to President Assad of Syria, while the USA has been bombing the regular Syrian Army in the hope of toppling President Assad. So who is bombing ISIS, no one, the reason being that Iran and Hezbollah are fighting ISIS and neither the USA or Russia would help because of political differences and the future of President Assad.
As for those criminals belonging to ISIS, they have no program, no political agenda, religion is just a prop but not much more. Yes, they have been able to recruit young naive people with little life experience and little knowledge of the world. The biggest problem is marginalized youth with little prospects and no future who will fall for totalitarian ideas giving them structure they do not have in their own family milieu. It is a complex problem and it needs careful study and not facile solutions we have seen lately that some politicians have been promoting in the hope of electoral success.
One solution to defeating radicalism is to make a place for every one in our Society. Leave no one behind and integrate people no matter where they come from, make them understand that they have something to contribute. The Canadian model has worked based on our own history and traditions, an example for Europe to follow perhaps if they are capable of it, though I doubt it. There will be more attacks of course and more hand wringing and half responses.