Friday, May 24, 2013

Woolwich: Terrrorists Behead Soldier with Machetes? The Power of Narrative.

"Soldier beheaded by two terrorists, citing Allah, in London machete attack" Except that photos show the two killers armed not with machetes, but long kitchen knives and cleavers.

Ingrid Loyau-Kennett, who admirably went to try and help the victim, reported: "I went over to the body where there was a lady sitting there and she said he was dead. She had comforted him by putting something under his back and a jacket over his head. I took his pulse and there was none. I couldn't see the man's face but I could see no evidence that suggested someone had tried to cut off his head."

The murderers, surrounded by unarmed civilians, made no effort to harm them, but waited for armed police to arrive. When they did, they attacked them and were shot down.

In my opinion either deliberate targeting of or recklessly indiscriminate attacks on civilians is one of the essential characteristics of terrorism.

Today, some news sources are still reporting the attack as a beheading.

We are predisposed to fit Islamist attacks into familiar narratives, such as: they are clearly terrorists who want to behead us with their scimitar-like weapons.

When confronted with an atrocity that doesn't fit that pattern, we need to report the truth.

1 comment:

The European Historical Combat Guild said...

True.... but really was is new reporting but gossip through mass media? The higher ideals of journalism are to be celebrated but the highs it has reached at some points is generally outweighed by the kind of thing we saw here.

It was interesting to me that as someone who doesn't read news papers or watch a lot of TV, and having been at work all day, I only learnt of the killing because of people in the US posting on Facebook...