Saturday, July 30, 2011

Weekend Reading- Lid off on Brainwashed Norway Terrorist

Neelam Mathews- Posting a dispatch from Travel Impact Newswire.

The views expressed are by the author are not those of Aerospace Diary. 

In yet another eye-opening research paper, a senior lecturer at the Victoria University in Wellington, New Zealand, has highlighted how the global public fear of Islam/Muslims gives the military-industrial complex a chance to reap billions. Published in the July 2011 edition of “Islamic and Civilisational Renewal,” the journal of the Malaysia-based International Institute of Advanced Islamic studies, (published by Pluto Journals, abstract available here) the paper by Senior Lecturer Arthur Buehler, School of Art History, Classics and Religious Studies, is entitled “Islamophobia: A Projection of the West’s Dark Side.”
As academic papers are sent for approval months in advance, the timing of its publication is a pure coincidence in relation to the 22/7 attacks in Norway by a white supremacist terrorist. But it has broken new ground in helping to understand the xenophobic and pro-Zionist motivations of the killer. In just under 6,000 words, the paper is refreshing plain-language expose of the monstrous years-long brainwashing campaign that snapped the mind of the Norwegian terrorist.
The fact that it has been written by an American lecturer in a non-Islamic country gives its arguments considerable weight. Many of its key points have been repeatedly made by academics in the Islamic world but always dismissed by Western commentators as “conspiracy theories”. Indeed, Dr Buehler’s paper emphatically complements the claim made in the Council of American Islamic Relations (CAIR) report about the role of the “fear factor” in driving Islamophobia in the U.S.
For the travel & tourism industry, it leaves much food for thought. As this editor has stressed in numerous articles, speeches and lectures, the industry is paying both the price and costs of global geopolitical conflicts. As if dealing with the artificial barriers between peoples is not bad enough, the travel industry is also having to spend billions to buy obsolete junk security equipment from the same companies selling their wares to the militaries.
From Antagonism to Phobia
In his paper, Dr Buehler recaps a quick history of Christian-Islamic relations, including the role of the Crusades and subsequent attempts over the years to portray the Prophet Muhammad as a “heretic”. But he notes that the relationship moved from antagonism to phobia only after World War II, “when the mass media’s glowing admiration for the newly formed nation-state of Israel contributed to renewing a relatively dormant Western antagonism toward Islam and Muslims.
Says the paper, “For the first few decades after 1948, mass media representation typically did not communicate negative images of the ‘Arab other’. Instead, Israelis were constantly being portrayed as heroes. By implication, in the black and white mass-media world of text and sound bites, the Arabs implicitly became the villains. Because of a relentless media reinforcement of these stereotypes over the years, and more explicit anti-Arab mass media representation beginning in the 1970s, most Westerners now automatically conflate Arabs with Muslims and assume that Muslims are the ‘bad guys’.
“Positive worldwide mass-media presentation of Israel in the West has been a major factor in Israel’s economic survival. If public opinion in the West were to turn against the Israelis and sympathise with the Palestinians, for example, the US administration would have a much more difficult time sending billions of dollars in annual subsidies to Israel. One major function of mass media in the modern world is to ‘manufacture consent’ so that people will acquiesce to government policies. At the same time, conflicts in the world are headline news and the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict has provided the mass media with a disproportionate number of headlines. Whether unwittingly or by design, the mass media has been involved in subtly reactivating and reinforcing a long-standing antagonism between the West and the Islamic world.”
Then, the paper notes, the Soviet Union and the expanding Communist empire also “had been a very convenient enemy to justify bloated defence budgets.”
“With the looming fear of a ‘Communist menace’, the US administration was able to legitimise its increasing control of the population through government surveillance of the citizenry. It also created a demand for huge defence expenditures to support an interventionist foreign policy. US Senator Arthur Vandenberg summarised this principle when he said that for President Truman to get popular support he would have to “scare the hell out of the country”. With a recognized public enemy, the government could get public backing for any military action. As Samuel Huntington said to government officials, you have “to create the misimpression that it is the Soviet Union that you are fighting”.
“Without a Communist enemy it would have been much more difficult to justify such expenditures. The United States does not necessarily need an enemy but it is convenient for generating fear, which in turn supports a foreign policy of military intervention. This facilitates large government allocations or funds for defence spending which generates defence contracts worth hundreds of billions of dollars of revenue for the military-industrial complex. Enemies are lucrative.
“There are cogent arguments and considerable evidence for needing enemies psycho-culturally. In a study before the 9/11 event, it was concluded that “the psychological dynamics that lead to transference [of the Soviet enemy to another enemy] might involve more interaction with actual conditions in the international environment to spark the phenomenon” (italics in original). If this is true then it leaves a marvellous opportunity for the media to fill in the ‘enemy gap’.”
Cold War
A series of events occurred soon after the ‘Communist threat” disappeared, Dr Buehler writes. First, the word ” Islamophobia” appeared in print in 1991. Second, in 1993 Samuel Huntington conceptually sought to re-create the ‘original cold war’, between the West and lslam/Muslims by positing the inevitable civilisational clash between Islam and the West.
In 1992, Irving Kristol, the founder of Encounter, proclaims, “Now that the other ‘Cold War’ is over, the real Cold War has begun.” …. The events of 9/11 appeared to be a self-fulfilling prophecy of Huntington’s assumption of an inevitable conflict between the West and Islam. Soon after 9/11, Islamophobia had become an epidemic. The worldwide obsession with (Muslim) terrorists developed as quickly as the escalation of an unwarranted fear, that is, a phobia, against Muslims.
“The mass media, if not a contributing factor to Islamophobia, is surely the vector that communicates the phobia. Although technically the mass media is quite diverse, overall there are some common characteristics. By depicting horrific scenes from all over the world, it is an ideal means to instill fear in large populations, especially in countries where the average household watches television eight hours a day.”
The paper quotes Dr Michael Sells, a Professor of Islamic History and Literature at the Divinity School of the University of Chicago, as poignantly summing up the effects of mass media manipulation:
“Images of Taliban students sitting above the written text of the Qur’an allegedly ‘studying the Qur’an’ (when actually they are studying intense political indoctrination) or of Bin Laden surrounded by Arabic script and Islamic symbols, are shown repeatedly by the media, interspliced with pictures of the planes flying into the Towers or other horrors, and with the human suffering of the victims and their relatives and survivors. Once that image-association is made, all the pontifications about how all Muslims are not Taliban are as effective as pontifications on the dangers of cigarette smoking after someone has ingested thousands of images of smokers as Marlboro man, Sexy man, Sophisticated Woman, Liberated Woman. Once someone has seen the image association of mass-killer (Saddam, Bin Laden), Islamic symbols (written Qur’an, Muslims praying, sounds of the call to prayer) and atrocity (towers burning and collapsing, relatives of victims in anguish), it becomes extraordinarily difficult, however much one tries, to hear and listen to the voices of the vast world of Islam beyond such fanaticism.”
Dr Buehler goes on, “The globalised mass media, financed and controlled by vested interests, contributes directly to Islamophobia, capitalising on conflicts in the Islamic world to spread negative images and fear of Muslims. The kind of hate speech directed against Islam and Muslims would never be tolerated if it were focused against any other religious group. The Western mass media effectively legitimise islamophobic attitudes in the name of ‘free speech’.”
Labelling of Islam
In addition, he writes, “an almost exclusive mass-media focus has been placed on what has come to be labelled as political, militant and fundamentalist Islam…Instead of isolating political, economic and military reasons for actions, the mass media portrays all events involving Muslims as religiously motivated behaviour. Violence perpetrated in the name of religion, in Israel, India, the United States, or Sri Lanka, for example, is rarely if ever associated with adherents of that religion. One hardly ever reads about Hindu, Buddhist, Jewish, and Christian terrorists in the world.”
By contrast, the paper cites the examples of home-grown killers in the U.S. Does anyone know what is Dylan Klebold’s religion? Eric Rudolph’s? Theodore Kaczynski’s? Seung-Hui Cho’s? Klebold is one of the two Columbine shooters [in Colorado], Rudolph the Atlanta Olympics bomber [in Georgia], Kaczynski the Unabomber [in Montana], and Cho the perpetrator of the Virginia Tech massacre [in Virginia].
“You likely don’t know what religion each killer practiced because even at the height of their media coverage reporters and commentators didn’t tell. It never seemed that important. What is Nidal Hasan’s (who killed 13 U.S. servicemen in Fort Hood) religion? This is the sort of question on which high test scores are made. Unlike his peers in the peculiar American community of disgruntled gunmen, Hasan’s religion seems monumentally important. It no more explains his atrocious deed than the (unknown) religions of the other shooters explain theirs, but it does inform an extant belief in the United States that Islam is a rigid progenitor of violence. Any violent action undertaken by somebody identified as Muslim, then, becomes the responsibility of the religion and its 1.3 billion [probably closer to 1.57 billion] followers.”
Dr Buehler goes on, “To make matters worse, Islam is perceived as a global threat to Western civilisation and its values. Medieval descriptions of Islam, for example, as the ‘religion of the sword’, the Prophet as a violent person, and Islam as an inherently violent religion, are being recycled into contemporary mass media discourse. Islam is portrayed as a code of belief and action that is irrational, anti-modern, and rigid. This is the so-called ‘clash of civilisations’.
“One would think that the amount of reliable information written on the Islamic world and the ease of meeting Muslims in the West in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries would have dispelled such ignorance (it has to a certain extent). But it is difficult for a non-specialist to differentiate reliable information about Islam/Muslims from the flood of misinformation that has been published since 2001 in the West. Islamophobia has become a chronic disease, one reinforced by the mass media, religious groups, and other interest groups who benefit, directly or indirectly, from the propagation of fear.”
Editor’s Note: The full version of the paper is well worth reading. Arthur Buehler can be contacted here.

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