Tuesday, 11 January 2011

all things are not equal

just a few links to put today. i'll start off with this one from paul krugman, on the arizona shootings:

The Department of Homeland Security reached the same conclusion: in April 2009 an internal report warned that right-wing extremism was on the rise, with a growing potential for violence.

Conservatives denounced that report. But there has, in fact, been a rising tide of threats and vandalism aimed at elected officials....

It’s important to be clear here about the nature of our sickness. It’s not a general lack of “civility,” the favorite term of pundits who want to wish away fundamental policy disagreements. Politeness may be a virtue, but there’s a big difference between bad manners and calls, explicit or implicit, for violence; insults aren’t the same as incitement....

And it’s the saturation of our political discourse — and especially our airwaves — with eliminationist rhetoric that lies behind the rising tide of violence.

Where’s that toxic rhetoric coming from? Let’s not make a false pretense of balance: it’s coming, overwhelmingly, from the right. It’s hard to imagine a Democratic member of Congress urging constituents to be “armed and dangerous” without being ostracized; but Representative Michele Bachmann, who did just that, is a rising star in the G.O.P.

And there’s a huge contrast in the media. Listen to Rachel Maddow or Keith Olbermann, and you’ll hear a lot of caustic remarks and mockery aimed at Republicans. But you won’t hear jokes about shooting government officials or beheading a journalist at The Washington Post. Listen to Glenn Beck or Bill O’Reilly, and you will.

i'd really recommend reading the whole thing. for those who might still be under the misapprehension that "both sides are just as bad", i'd also recommend this and this.

keeping to the same topic, it's frustrating the way mental illness is being linked to violence. i agree with QoT on this one, and also found this roundup of links raising this issue.

on a more positive topic, and just to show that world isn't completely going to hell in a handbasket, there was this news from egypt:

Egypt’s majority Muslim population stuck to its word Thursday night. What had been a promise of solidarity to the weary Coptic community, was honoured, when thousands of Muslims showed up at Coptic Christmas eve mass services in churches around the country and at candle light vigils held outside.

From the well-known to the unknown, Muslims had offered their bodies as “human shields” for last night’s mass, making a pledge to collectively fight the threat of Islamic militants and towards an Egypt free from sectarian strife.

In the days following the brutal attack on Saints Church in Alexandria, which left 21 dead on New Year’ eve, solidarity between Muslims and Copts has seen an unprecedented peak. Millions of Egyptians changed their Facebook profile pictures to the image of a cross within a crescent – the symbol of an “Egypt for All”. Around the city, banners went up calling for unity, and depicting mosques and churches, crosses and crescents, together as one.

i think this is what it comes down to. when you replace hate-filled rhetoric with positive messages of people working together & supporting each other, the world can only become a better place. if only we could get media organisations & personalities, and political figures to move in that direction. maybe recent events in america might cause some of these people to reassess their behaviour, but things aren't looking too hopeful just yet. just like in egypt, it's not until we see massive public pressure pushing for something better that there will ever be change.

ETA: i just had to share this comment over at shakesville:

Europol's statistics of terrorist attacks in Europe 2006-2009:
Total number: 1770
Right Wing Ethno-Nationalist and Separatist: 1596 (90.17%)
Left Wing: 106 (5.99%)
Islamic: 6 (0.34%)
Other/Not Specified: 62 (3.50%)

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