A day before the French attacks, two bombers had killed 43 people and wounded 239 more in the Lebanese capital in an alleged ISIS assault. But on Friday, after largely glossing over the Lebanese tragedy, Western cameras enthusiastically panned away, focusing exclusively on France.
Many of the world’s monuments illuminated with France’s tricolored flag, displaying an act of solidarity with the ruptured citizens of France.
The Lebanese flag however, was not afforded the same treatment.
Strong criticism was levelled at what some saw as strikingly uneven coverage of the two assaults.
Professor Jolene Stein Kotse, associate Professor of Political Science, at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University spoke to Cii Radio about the different political and global reactions to the Paris vis-à-vis Beirut onslaught.
“ One will find especially within media houses, that a Western type of view dictates what is consumed and what is not consumed, in terms of important news,” Professor Stein said.
It comes as no surprise that President Barack Obama’s precept that the offensive by ISIS was an attempt to attack humanity and to terrorise innocent civilians, emerged as captions in media, she stated.
“Politics is very much perception…we structure our political cognisance very much according to our experience,” Professor Stein prudently disclosed.
The most misleading word in public commentary is the term radicalisation.
In the wake of the atrocities in Paris, radicalisation is again cast as the central issue.
Professor Stein depicted social ills such as deprivation, marginalisation unemployment, and corrupt government as a mixture of a brewing pot of radicalisation.
Subsequential to the above, Professor Stein gave priority to the fact that “radical groups are always able to capitalize on a sense of marginalization.’’
Inequality and marginalisation underpin rise of violent insurgency by groups.
Professor Stein intimated that radicalisation is present in all societies –Europe, USA, Africa, Asia and we see it in South Africa with the advent of populist politics of Julius Malema. We should be careful not to associate political radicalisation with one group only, she accentuated.
“Politics is perception, and perception is politics.”
There is no certain answer as to what type of circumstances an individual would have to come from to be indoctrinated into a radical organisation, Professor Stein phrased.
A cardinal example would be the Paris perpetrator who actually grew up in France, in a relatively peaceful society, not subjected to any form of armed conflict or apparent military intervention.
Isis cannot be killed, another group will form, radicalisation will continue, Professor Stein said, in efforts to articulate the unceasing existence of radicalisation.
“But for as long as this cycle continues, it creates a recruitment pool of angry people, to join radical organisations.”
“A state will do what a state needs to do in order to survive.”
The notion that the state puts national human rights violations at the forefront as a pose to national interests may in itself be idealistic. However we need to collectively unite against a government that actively works to marginalize portions of the population for their own interest.
Deepening oppression and political exclusion amongst communities,combined with poverty and discrimination do present an increasingly dynamic threat to national and international stability.
“There is a thought out there that Western thought, Western ideology constitutes a form of psychological and ideological domination.”
An exemplary event that transpired from a marginalized African agenda was the attacks on Kenya that received very little media coverage Professor Stein unravelled.
The recent attack at Garissa University College campus in eastern Kenya once again focused international attention on the country’s vulnerability to Al-Shabaab which inadvertently is a form of Western preference and influence.
The creation of democracy, stability and peaceful society are culminated differently in all parts of the world. This, Professor Stein expounded is a response from Western scholars who are of the mind that Western experience is not necessarily universal.
In a globalised world, in which no nation’s security is independent of their region, or of the wider international community, the opinions of the majority of the world can no longer be neglected.
Accordingly, it is in the interest of humanity to show strong commitment and political will, in vectoring the losses of the people of Africa, she insisted.