A man stands accused of killing and eating another man in Germany, with the full consent and encouragement from the victim. This entire episode was video taped. It may be seen as an exceptional and bizarre incident, but it does also pose a question about the notion of “freedom”. Since “freedom” lacks precise definition(s) and generally extends to all areas of life, there is no reason as to why it should not include the right (“freedom”) of the individual to take his own life. It has become the norm in “enlightened” and “free” societies for women to have the right to abort their fetus on the flimsiest ground(s), simply because she almost has the absolute right (“freedom”) over her body. Therefore, it is her prerogative to decide the fate of a defenseless child, and hence by greater reasoning she should have the right to take her own life. By this same principle along with the newly founded standard of “equal opportunity”, this same “privilege” must be granted to the male gender. What possible argument can be posed by those who brag about “freedom” against those who wish to take their own life by mutual consent or otherwise?
No doubt, many would dismiss this particular incident of Cannibalism in Germany, by classifying it as an isolated case. There are exceptions in almost all areas of life vis-Ã -vis the accepted norm. This in turn raises the point, what is an exception and what is a norm. Based on statistics, we may formulate the opinion that these types of incidences (Cannibalism, Serial Killings and Pedophile) are exceptions rather than the norm. However, another view may be that why such exceptional incidences are predominantly found within the more ‘developed’ and ‘enlightened’ “free” nations? Do such incidences occur in the same proportion in highly populated poorer countries like India, China, Indonesia and Bangladesh? Therefore taking a wider view by including the rest of the world demonstrates that, Cannibals, Pedophiles and Serial Killers are an inherent part of “free” societies regardless of its magnitude.
In reality the questions of norms and exception are not simply matters of statistics, but often shaped by the manner in which it is projected by the mass media. This is often determined by the underlying political, ideological, material and other motives, rather then the claimed objectivity and sincerity of the Journalists. Listed below are some of the means by which the mass media manipulate the event(s) as either an exception(s) or a norm(s).
When the predominantly Catholic – IRA (Irish Republican Army), fighting for the freedom of Northern Ireland from largely Protestant Britain, they (the IRA) were just terrorists. Not Catholic Terrorists. Similarly, when the Jews were terrorising the British and the Arabs prior to the establishment of ‘Israel’, they too were also just terrorists and not Jewish Terrorists. Only the adherents were blamed, rather than implicitly condemning the entire religion by associating the word “Jewish” or “Catholic”. These ‘etiquettes’ are rarely, if ever, adhered to when the scenario involves Muslims. Thus the struggle against imperial aggression (predominantly by the US and Israel) is termed as “Islamic Terrorism”. It is no longer just terrorism. Further, every act is denied its political context. Thus Islam is tainted as being inherently violent. Hence, a Palestinian or an Iraqi resisting the occupation of their country is doing so, not because he feels occupied, dispossessed, and subjugated but simply the hope of acquiring “72 virgins in paradise”. If this were really the case then such behavior would have been exhibited through out the history of Islam across all Muslim communities. The armies of the US, Europe and Israel are usurping Muslims lands and resources with their Cluster bombs, JDAMS and Cruise missiles, but yet these are portrayed as ‘peaceful missions’. This is far from the truth, if we scrutinize the history and policies of these nations (US, Israel and Europe) we will find, that it is THEY that are acting in the norm with their oppressive neo-colonisation agenda.
Any crimes taking place within the “free” societies, no matter how numerous will always be tainted in complete isolation (exception) to the actual system in place. Thus, serial killers in general are not portrayed as “Capitalist Serial killers”, pedophiles are not “Capitalist Pedophiles” and the murderers of children are not the victims of “Capitalist Society” but are all isolated victims. The laws in foreign societies, e.g. The Islamic World are often demonised, even though similar laws may also be present within Western societies. Capital punishment is an example of this duplicity, in Saudi Arabia it is a barbaric “Islamic Penal Code”, but within the US, Capital punishment: – is simply Capital punishment. The intoxication of imperial and racist arrogance produces such overt, shameful, and hypocritical double standards.
The mass media has even attempted to attribute crimes to Islamic values and teachings by associating the word “Islam” and/or “Muslims”. Even though such crimes are diametrically opposed to its (Islam) teachings. As an example, crimes committed against women, be it in the form of a demanding marriage dowry from the brides family, senseless beating of a wife by the husband, the throwing of acid in the faces of women, are ALL complete abominations of Islamic values and teachings. Recently in the UK a man murdered his liberal – minded daughter for allegedly not preserving her chastity, he was first projected as a Muslim, then as a Muslim Kurd. Note: generally, the title ‘Muslim’ is almost never attributed to the Kurds (who are overwhelmingly Muslim) by the Western media. In the context of Iraq and Turkey, the! Kurds are described ethnically devoid of their religious identity. Therefore, such dishonesty is astonishing considering the context of such crimes, which take place within a secular society, devoid of Islamic laws and values. These types of crimes are also found in many non-Islamic societies at a similar level, if not greater.
b) Manipulation of figures
The statistics are hidden if it is unfavourable to the society. Thus, giving the impression that unpleasant occurrences are still an exception rather then the norm. The epidemic rise in divorce rates, broken families, crime rates, illegitimate children, single parent families are issues, which are discussed in isolation. Similarly, the civilian casualties in Afghanistan, Iraq and Palestine are down played whilst we never tire of hearing about “the 3000 victims” of the World Trade Centre (a figure which incidentally is being constantly revised; –” downwards). The ‘Principle’ being established is that the loss of any Western lives is totally unacceptable. On the contrary, the victims of US/Israeli policy –” a figure that more often than not is very much larger in magnitude, is almost relegated to insignificance. Then comes the other ‘trick! of the trade’;- percentages. A convenient tool to hide the actual scale of the crime. As many of the proponents of the war on terrorism are arguing that the percentage of those killed in Iraq and Afghanistan is very low, when compared to previous wars in those countries. There is of course a great deal of difference between 5% of 500, or 5000. It seems that Western victims are portrayed as ‘stories’; the dead of others (non-Western) are viewed merely as statistics.
c) Distortion of facts (History)
At present an impression is being created that the Islamic world is inherently violent. Whilst the West is naturally peaceful (with its huge arsenal of lethal weapons and its economic and military expansionism, that has replaced hundreds of years of direct colonialism!). Note: The two bloodiest wars in the 20th century started in Europe, not the Middle East. Historically, genocide was a key feature of Western conquest (see Aborigines, Native Americans etc.). Certain questions beg to be answered: Who has set the track record for creating and dropping nuclear weapons on civilians? Who has the track record for bombing civilians with chemical and biological weapons? Who has the track record for profiteering from the sale of lethal weapons, knowing that these horrendous weapons were being used primarily on civilians (Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, being a prime example)? No such track record exists within 1500 years of Islamic civilisation. Yet it is the Islamic world that is somehow exceptionally ‘violent’. Another case in being is the recent ‘craze’ of branding Muslims as “anti-Semites”. This has reached epidemic proportions. It should be asked, was it Arabs that built the Gas Chambers, or instigated the Spanish Inquisition, or the Pogroms? On the contrary, Jews lived in tranquillity along side Muslims/Arabs for centuries. Franklin Graham (son of Billy), also an evangelist, wants Arabs and Muslims to accept the “right of the Jews over Palestine” (sic.). Firstly, why should the Muslims accept the verdict of another religion? Secondly, isn’t it ironic that whilst the US/Europe lectures the Islamic world on separating religion (read Islam) from politics, Yet ‘religion’ (here, read Christianity/Judaism) is used as the basis of supporting the claim of legitimacy for ‘Israel’? Lastly, if any other country based its legitimacy on religious texts, as have the Jews these claims would have been derided at best.
Hence, by association or manipulation of the figures or pure distortion of the facts the mass media has altered the norm to an exception and vice versa. This is perpetrated against those whom it wishes to demonise, whilst favouring those whom it wishes to protect in line with preserving their interests.