This is an example of why people hate the media:
Analysis: Sri Lanka church bombings stoke far-right anger in the West https://t.co/seWuJwgzwG
— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) April 22, 2019
The story begins:
Sunday’s bombings in Sri Lanka marked the country’s deadliest violence in a decade, leaving 290 dead and more than 500 injured. But the attacks, which targeted a religious minority in a predominantly Buddhist country, also resonated abroad — especially in Europe.
To some, it was further proof that Christians in many parts of the world are under attack. Several churches were targeted in Sunday’s bombing attacks, along with hotels and a banquet hall. At one Catholic church in Negombo, more than 100 people were killed. The attack took place on Easter, one of the most important dates on the Christian calendar.
To “some”?! Yeah, well, you know, once again, some people did something, and now the Bible-beaters are all upset. More:
“My thoughts are once again with the persecuted Christians around the world,” Marine Le Pen, president of France’s far-right National Rally party, wrote in a tweet on Monday. Those who died on Sunday were “targeted for their faith,” she added.
Le Pen, like some other European far-right leaders, had initially offered only vague condolences to victims of the bombings on Sunday. However, after Sri Lankan officials blamed a local Muslim militant group, National Thowheed Jamaath, for the attack on Monday, European far-right groups and activists began to describe the attacks in specifically religious terms.
Oh good, so I guess now decent progressive people can officially quit caring about the murdered Christians, because far-right activists describe an attack by Muslims that targeted the Christians because they are Christian “in specifically religious terms.” How else would the Post describe the attacks targeting Catholic churches, and believed to have been carried out by Muslim suicide bombers, if not in “specifically religious” terms?
Conservatives have a meme to describe the habit the mainstream media have of framing stories about liberal mistakes or misdeeds as an occasion for right-wing politicos to take advantage: “Republicans Pounce”. This Post story about the Muslim mass murder is an especially ghastly version of same.
In fairness, I think it’s legitimate to point out that far-right political leaders are reacting to this massacre by seeking political advantage. That’s an interesting news story. But some things are true even if the far-right says so. If you aren’t angry that Muslim terrorists blew up churches full of Christians at Easter Sunday worship, then you’re the problem, not the right-wing European politicians who speak out.
Three leading Democratic politicians — Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and Julian Castro — tweeted out sympathy for the dead yesterday, but called them “Easter worshippers” instead of Christians. That ticked off some commentators on the right. Honestly, there are more important things to get angry over, and I really don’t think “Easter worshippers” was meant in a derogatory way. But it really is interesting how hard it is for so many of these liberals to say the word “Christian” or “Jesus.” Watch this 2010 clip in which Nancy Pelosi struggles to refer to Jesus without saying the J-word. It’s just weird. Democrats didn’t used to have this problem. I’m sure liberal commenters here will explain that it’s Republicans’ fault.
Look, it is possible to be angry about this Islamist slaughter of Christians, and to recognize that Muslim attacks on innocent Christians are not one-off events, while at the same time acknowledging that most Muslims in no way approve of this crime, and not blaming all Muslims for it. It’s honest, isn’t it?
A liberal friend of mine was lamenting recently that the left has gotten so good at policing its own thoughts, and never letting itself notice things that contradict its narrative, that it is often being shocked by events in the real world. When things like the Sri Lanka attacks happen, the first thing that many American and British journalists think is, “Oh dear, this is going to cause a spike in Islamophobia.” They cannot imagine sympathizing with Christians. They really can’t. Yes, these dead Sri Lankans may be Catholics living on the other side of the world, and sure, they may have roots in their country going back to the 16th century (or earlier), but deep down, when many journalists imagine these people, they see them wearing MAGA hats, and carrying around invisible knapsacks full of privilege.
Not all liberals, though, and not all journalists. My friend Chris Arnade, who is not a religious believer, tweeted in response to the Post tweet:
I am on the left, I am in the West, and I am also pretty fucking angry at the disgusting wackos who slaughtered over 200 people, many of them while simply attending church.
— Chris Arnade (@Chris_arnade) April 22, 2019
If media outlets like the Washington Post make it seem like a right wing thing, or a far-right wing thing, to notice — and to get angry about the fact — that Muslim terrorists blew hundreds of Christians to bits while they were in church on the holiest day of the Christian year — then the Post is doing the work of radicalizing people to the far right.
The lights are going out on the most basic of journalistic instincts: Who, what, when, where, why. All are subordinate to the Narrative – or Official Lie. All day yesterday and into today, if you had glanced at the telly, switched on the radio or surfed the big news sites of the Internet, you would have thought the Tamil Tigers were back “with a vengeance”, as The Economist put it – even though with one exception (the 1990 police massacre) the death toll was higher than any individual attack the Tigers had ever pulled off.
Meanwhile, back in that fast shrinking space known as the real world, from the very first hours the headline of this story was completely straightforward:
Islamic Suicide Bombers Slaughter Three Hundred on Easter Morning
But apparently that can no longer be said.
UPDATE: Here is why it’s important not to blame all Muslims for these attacks. From Bloomberg:
For members of Sri Lanka’s Muslim community, it’s no surprise that local jihadist group National Thowheed Jamath is being blamed for deadly bombings that killed nearly 300 people on Easter Sunday.
Hilmy Ahamed, vice president of the Muslim Council of Sri Lanka, said he warned military intelligence officials about the group and its leaders about three years ago. On Monday afternoon, Sri Lanka’s government said National Thowheed Jamath was responsible for six suicide bombings at Christian churches and luxury hotels.
“Targeting the non-Muslim community is something they encourage — they say you have to kill them in the name of religion,” Ahamed said in a phone interview from Colombo on Monday. “I personally have gone and handed over all the documents three years ago, giving names and details of all these people. They have sat on it. That’s the tragedy.”
Let me point out here as well something that a Jewish friend said to me back in 2002, when she was working in counterintelligence. She told me that some of the very best sources on Islamic extremists were Muslims. They cannot speak out publicly, she said, because their lives would be in danger — yes, here in America. But they regularly give information to authorities. My Jewish friend warned me not to assume that because there is relative public silence from the US Muslim community on these matters, that Muslims are not talking.