story Wednesday on a jihadist attack on a wedding party and other jihad
activity in Thailand,
Agence France Presse added a concluding paragraph that was typical of
mainstream media coverage of the Thai jihad and of jihad activity in general.
For while AP, Reuters, AFP and the rest never saw a piece of Palestinian
propaganda they didn’t like, they also never saw a jihad they couldn’t
AFP’s concluding paragraph blandly
placed all the blame for the conflict on the non-Muslim Thai government:
3,000 people have been killed since separatist unrest broke out in January 2004
in the south, which was an autonomous Malay Muslim sultanate until mainly
Buddhist Thailand annexed it in 1902, provoking decades of tension.
All was well, you see, until the
Buddhists of Thailand, motivated apparently only by rapacious imperialism,
annexed the poor autonomous Malay Muslim Sultanate. AFP does not mention, of
course, that the Malay Sultanate at that time was making war against the
Siamese during the war between Siam and Burma, and Thailand conquered it in
that context -- making it Thai by a right of conquest that has been universally
recognized throughout human history (except, of course, when it comes to Israel
and to any Muslim land that is conquered by non-Muslims).
Along with this come the media’s
allergy to the word “jihad,” and its frequent recourse to the passive voice
when discussing what the jihadists did. Sometimes inanimate objects act,
apparently of their own accord. For example, in a March story
on bombings in southern Thailand,
Reuters’ lead paragraph stated: “Bombs killed three men and wounded 21 people
in three separate attacks in Thailand’s
troubled Muslim far south, police said on Sunday.” Reuters gives no hint as to
who is doing the bombing and who are the victims – which in itself is a clear
indication that the bombers are not the government or pro-government
vigilantes, but jihadists.
The story continues in this vein.
Its second paragraph tells us that a bomb was hidden in the car, but with no
hint as to by whom. In paragraph 5 we learn that in the three southern
provinces, “2,500 people have been killed in gun and bomb attacks since a
separatist insurgency erupted in January 2004.” The separatist insurgency just
erupted, you see, like a volcano. It was an act of God, a force of nature. Here
again Reuters gives the reader no hint as to who the separatist insurgents are,
or who killed the overwhelming majority of those 2,500 people. In paragraph 6,
we learn how the “suspected militants” set off another bomb, but once again are
given no hint as to who these militants are.
Same thing in paragraph 7:
unidentified “insurgents” ambush the security forces. In paragraph 8, it’s
simply a “bomb,” a random, accidental object, that unaccountably wounded four
people. But also in that paragraph we learn that this is all taking place in
“the three far south provinces which formed an independent sultanate until
annexed by Thailand
a century ago.” Reuters and AFP are in step on this: the only background they
give suggests that Thailand
is entirely responsible for provoking the conflict, and should simply have left
the Malay Muslims alone.
Only in paragraph 10 of the
Reuters story are we finally told that “Buddhist monks” are among the chief
targets of the still-unidentified “militants” -- which should lead the informed
reader to identify them as Islamic jihadists and Sharia supremacists. But they
come to that identification with no help from Reuters.
In reality, the Thai jihadists are
uniquely brutal even by the standards of their jihadist brethren, and are
fighting to correct the outrage, as they see it, of non-Muslim rule over a
Muslim population in southern Thailand.
But the AFP and Reuters stories exemplify the kind of coverage that jihad
activity receives from the mainstream media as a matter of course. The
perpetrators of jihad violence are not identified, their ideology is never
discussed, and the conflicts they provoke are blamed on their victims. This kind
of coverage is of a piece with the U.S. government’s new see-no-jihad,
speak-no-jihad, hear-no-jihad policy: both appear to be based on wishful
thinking. Both seem to emanate from the idea that if we simply do not allow
ourselves to notice jihad activity, it will somehow fade away from neglect. If
we pretend that Islam is peaceful, violent Muslims will lay down their arms.
The price we will have to pay for these
fantasies could be very high.