[Reader-list] The smell of war
ravis at sarai.net
Mon Oct 8 17:35:44 IST 2001
Finally, the bombs have fallen on Afghanistan.
Everyone knew this was coming and when the bombing actually began, there
was a surreal sense of a madness we are falling into I cannot think of any
country in the region that will remain unaffected. As the multibillion
dollar planes (one B-2 bomber costs 2 billion to build) and missiles drop
their deadly cargo on Afghanistan, daily life in South Asia is fraught with
In Delhi police are everywhere, with more roadblocks, more security checks
of ordinary people (or, anyone with a beard). The security state has been
formalised. Today the Delhi policy took out a large advertisement in the
newspapers effectively banning all demonstrations without police permission.
The media, particularly the television channels are an interesting case to
watch during times of crisis. There have been many emails on this list on
the CNN footage during the crisis, but it will be interesting to look at
our own version of the media empires.
Take the main English television news channel the Murdoch-owned Star. This
channel stood out for its shrill support to the regime during the Kargil
war and the Pokhran bomb blast. After September 11th, the channel feted
the views of the political/cultural elite, which is aggressively
anti-Pakistan and pro-US, only to revert to a confused, resignation of the
new scenario (where Pakistan is now a front-line state with the US).
But wait. Once the anti war demonstrations pick up, you shall see
yesterday's liberal television hosts aggressively attacking dissent,
skimming over the massive repression going on in the country under the
pretext of the ban on SIMI.
During times of crisis the division between the media empires and the
regime evaporate, the 'national' interest takes charge.
As I write, a friend tells me that three student activists were arrested in
Delhi for distributing anti-war leaflets.
Remember, Bush promised a long and painful war.
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