Calling Evil by its Name

It took a wave of attacks on non-Israeli targets, but the international editor of Australia’s The Age (Melbourne’s largest paper) finally understands that the media’s blanket refusal to call Islamic terror “terror” is simply absurd:

The bombing of the Red Cross headquarters in Baghdad exposes yet again the absurdity of attempts to portray the wave of violence in Iraq as other than a vicious and calculated campaign of terror. The International Committee of the Red Cross is one of the world’s most respected international aid agencies. In anyone’s language, this was an unconscionable act of terror…

So why are some of the world’s media still walking on eggshells, groping for euphemisms such as “organised resistance” as if attempting somehow to legitimise these bleakest of atrocities?

The author himself, Tony Parkinson, knows precisely why:

The terms of the debate are by now familiar: “One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.” In the Middle East, this has become code language for extending a blanket exemption to Palestinian extremists who target Israeli civilians on school buses, at seaside cafes, shopping malls or nightclubs…This is the conflict at the heart of the definitional dispute. But for how much longer can these semantics go on?

Indeed, Mr. Parkinson, for how much longer? We’ve been asking this for years now — and your paper has fallen right in step with the others in refusing to refer to Palestinians who blow up Israeli civilians as terrorists. In the pages of The Age, a Hamas leader with blood on his hands is a “militant” (6/26/03 “Targeted Killings Take Their Toll”) and Hamas itself simply an “Islamist movement” (6/17/03: “Mideast Peace Hope Left Alive”).

While the fact that Parkinson is finally willing to address this issue head-on is commendable, it’s highly disturbing that it only merits attention when the terror victims are not Israeli.

Comments to: tparkinson@theage.com.au

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