Thursday, July 30, 2009

Nastiness Inspired by Israel

Robert Mackey at the New York Times tells a troubling story about what he calls India's Wall of Death.

Well, sort of. Actually he tells a rambling tale that starts with Indian women who have joined the Border Security Force. Since most of us have never heard of the BSF, he helpfully sends us to a recruiting film they've posted on You-Tube, while smirking about its resemblance to Bollywood films. I assume such a film fits into a context its intended Indian audience recognize, and which the rest of us don't, so perhaps the smirk is unwarranted. The article then wanders on to tell how violent the BSF is - even their own website says so - and then it brings various people who tell that the violence is unjustified and wanton. Since they say so it must be true, apparently, because Mackey wastes no time on any attempt to figure out what's really going on. You might be interested to hear that while he cites a statistic from the BSF website about 4,814 people they've killed in 19 years, and sets this up so we think they were mostly innocent villagers, he fails to cite the number from the same webpage whereby 1,375 BSF men have also died. I guess the innocent villagers were armed and shot back. Or perhaps sometimes shot first. It's hard to know if you parachute into the story from the stratosphere and immedately begin pontificating.

The BSF link, by the way, is here. Mackey forgot to add it.

Having introduced us to an organization we'd never heard of, poked fun at its self image by choosing one item divorced from any context, convinced us it's an outfit of bloodthirsty gunslingers which routinely kills villagers, he then embeds a British Channel 4 film to prove the whole thing. If there are pictures in a film, it must be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

Finally, having convinced us this is an ugly story, he informs us the Indian fence was inspired by Israel, and he helpfully recommends we read what he calls a "fascinating article" published by an Indian we know nothing about in a UAE newspaper. UAE, in case you don't know and he doesn't tell, is United Arab Emirates. Just the place to learn about Israel. So I read the fascinating article. The author knows about India, though I have no way of telling how acceptable his analysis is; he certainly knows nothing about Israel beyond a clischee here and there.

Parting shot: If Israel hadn't inspired the Indians, none of this would be happening, we're led to understand. Of course, the fact that lots of people are dying along the Indian fence, while the Israeli one has played a demonstrable role in saving thousands of lives goes unmentioned. (Yes, over the years four or five people have also died along it, but they weren't villagers tending their fields). The source for this nasty allegation? Jonathan Rugman, at Channel 4. Except that even as he makes this unsubstantiated claim, he also demonstrates how false it is, by noting that the Indians began constructing their fence in 2000. The Israelis began constructing theirs, I remind you, in 2002. Perhaps they were inspired by the Indians?

Top notch journalism, 2009.


Anonymous said...

Unbelievable, India is a sovereign, independent Democracy as Israel is as well.
To compare a BSF video with Bollywood is totally out of question...and show only the same lack in information as it usually does when media is reporting against Israel and it's fight against terrorism.
I see in the article indeed the same negating tenor I recognize in the international shouts to stop Jewish settlements and afterwards absolutely peace will come over the Middle East.
Instead NYT could have been reflected why it could happen that Taliban was considered "moderate" and why one gave the the Swat valley to terrorize the people down there.
How this kind of terrorism is dangerous for India too!
Furthermore why nobody recognized the constantly and imminent danger of Taliban terror that also has risen the danger of Taliban terror in Afghanistan a lot again.
India should be considered an important partner in defence of terror as Israel should be considered as well.
I wonder what might come next considering this article...Obama perhaps will demand that India will surrender Kashmir to Pakistan finally and the entire peace will take place in this region as well?



Anonymous said...

if you have the right kind of mind then that Israel built its fence only two years after the Indians doesn't make a point at all

- a warped brain will then pronto come up with the idea that the Israelis inspired/directed the Indians to build their fence first so they could gather experience from it before they build their own superior fence
- the Indians as the Israeli guinea pig -

... and if you consider this idea absurd here is the real world example for it ...
when Naomi Klein was pitching her "Shock Doctrine" book she told the world (in Haaretz?) that Israel didn't want peace with the Palestinians because then it would lose its guinea pigs (she used that word, if I remember correctly) without whom it couldn't develop and consequently sell to the world its superior security devices.
There is no limit to the hatching and spewing of nutty ideas if you are sufficiently malevolently inclined.

As to fences I think it is a truth universally acknowledged that good fences make good neighbours (at least they have the potential ..)

A. Jay Adler said...

Re: fences and neighbors; of course, Frost was being ironic. But they make for less dangerous enemies.

Ibrahim Ibn Yusuf said...

The NYT has corrected the story according to your complaints. Good work! (Credit where is good for the gander... or something like that.)

Yaacov said...

Yup Ibrahim. I sent them a link to my blogpost, and they took notice. I've tried that in the past with the Guardian, but it's never worked. So as you say, credit to the NYT. Now, if I'm really lucky, maybe Mr. Mackey will even think twice next time before telling things as they aren't.

Soccer Dad said...

If it's anyplace else fences are considered helpful or perhaps even noble. When Israel does it, it's criminal.

Ibrahim Ibn Yusuf said...

I meant credit to YOU, Yaacov.

I've tried that in the past with the Guardian, but it's never worked.

Do you think if I complain to the Jerusalem Post about this gross inaccuracy they will correct it and apologize?