April 10, 2010

Open Letter to NPR's Morning Edition

Yesterday, I was shocked to hear Morning Editions' reporter talking about the current military situation in Afghanistan using the phrase "an area infested with the Taliban". The use of the word "infested" is extremely problematic because no matter what you think about the Taliban, they are human beings and the people who live in that area are human beings. When an area is "infested" with rats, it is okay to annihilate them. But when you use the language on humans, you are using words that are unacceptable and dangerous.

When the incredible movie, Hotel Rwanda came out, one of the major points it made was how the language used on the hate radio created an atmosphere where it was acceptable to murder the Tutsis.

When I saw this movie I was moved to write:

Underlying the tension and drama of the film was the omnipresent talk radio, which effectively used demagoguery to incite the Hutus into believing that the Tutsis and moderate Hutus were the enemy. And once the slaughter began, the broadcasters coordinated the hunt for people that had escaped the initial rout. Using terminology that dehumanized their victims (“you can smell the cockroaches”) and building a case that the Tutsis deserved their fate, hate radio created an environment that inflamed the anger of the Hutus who had long felt oppressed under the colonial era.

Dehumanizing other people is wrong even when they are our enemies and even when they do horrific acts. They are still human beings and thus part of our human family and when we forget this, it reflects badly on the state of our society and the state of our individual souls.

I expect better of NPR.

Posted by Mary at April 10, 2010 05:52 PM | Media | Technorati links |
Comments

Sara at Orcinus has a great April 6th post in which she connects the dots, showing how much danger our democracy is in from right-wing secessionist seditionists, kind of like what happened just prior to the Civil War.

Today, though, Republican operatives are using computer technology to map out in communities (and states) those places and people that are deemed loyal to their right-wing (often theocratic) "vision" for our liberal democracy, separating these from other places and people who don't meet the right-wing litmus test.

And then one throws in the right-wing's hate-talk radio dominance in America, and one can foresee something like Ruwanda happening in the United States of America, with right-wing's demonization of President Obama and all Democrats leading to even more killings than have already happened.

And this month might be what the right-wingers have been waiting for, especially with the call for an armed march on Washington. I just read that the recently-arrested Hutaree militia members were planning to start their armed conflict (Civil War) against our democracy at the same time in April. Coincidence?

The seditious right-wingers have been compiling their "hit lists," including using computer graphics to target "their enemies" with cross-hairs. When the right-wingers finally snap, they'll make the Hutus look like a bunch of amateurs. Hopefully, our law enforcement will be up to the task, with law officers honoring their sworn oath to uphold and defend the U.S. Constitution and the laws of our country, just as the North defended against the dissolution of our democracy by the secessionist seditionists in the South. Similarities? There are plenty. We'll see if our democratic lines are overrun by these right-wingers and the slaughtering begins.

On the other hand, I believe our liberal democracy is much stronger than the crazed right-wingers think.

Posted by: The Oracle at April 10, 2010 07:55 PM

I just read that the recently-arrested Hutaree militia members were planning to start their armed conflict (Civil War) against our democracy at the same time in April. Coincidence?

Posted by: ClubPenguinCheats at April 17, 2010 09:17 PM

t's time to talk to the Taliban. Treating them like monsters was never a good idea yet it seemed to be a key policy during the Bush era. It is important that we now try and understand their problems and work with them or we will never effect a proper withdrawal. I couldn't agree more with the fact that such language dehumanizes people which can be seen in the recent video published by wikileaks. Using words such as infested just means that soldiers will think less before pulling the trigger resulting in more civilian deaths and, consequently, more recruits for the Taliban. Let's deal with Afghanistan in a pragmatic and sensible way.

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Posted by: Fabio at April 19, 2010 04:55 AM