Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Worthy and unworthy victims

Photo on the left: Jon Benet Ramsay, blue-eyed, blonde-haired former child beauty queen who was murdered ten years ago after being sexually assaulted

Photo on the right: Abeer Qasim Hamza al-Janabi, who was raped, shot dead, and burned by American soldiers (who also murdered Abeer's mother, father, and little sister) in March, 2006

Only one of the young victims above is considered newsworthy by American cable news networks. Guess which.

Juan Cole:
The message US cable news is sending by this privileging of some such stories over others of a similar nature is that some lives are worth more than others, and some people are "us" whereas other people are "Other" and therefore lesser. Indeed, it is precisely this subtle message sent by American media that authorized so much taking of innocent Iraqi life in the first place. British officers have repeatedly complained that too many of those serving in the US military in Iraq view Iraqis as subhuman (one used the term Untermeschen). Where did they get that idea?

For more on how it works, read here.

Speaking of subhumans and T-shirts (see previous post), apparently there is a T-shirt available in PX stores that says "Who's your Baghdaddy?" in English and Arabic. Popular with the troops, private contractors, pajamas media bloggers (see comment #24), the little green footballs crowd...Do you suppose JetBlue and JFK security officials would have insisted that a traveler wearing such a shirt remove it before flying?

Or how about shirts carrying some of the bilingual slogans mentioned here?


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