The following is an archived copy of a message sent to a Discussion List run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
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Thanks for the people who took the time to express their concerns about what I post here, its far better for such criticisms to be expressed and then dicussed. I think they can be divided into two part; tone and content. 1) Content Dealing with content first, Colin I would take you criticisms a little more seriously if you had taken the trouble to read the original article. In the original article it describes precisely what happened to the (imaginary) grave site, it was buried, exposed by flood and then the villagers were forced to bury it again with shovels. Therefore I find your comment "although revolting to engage in a process of coolly wondering about this: if you shoot pleading people in the head at a sandy place, it seems to me that the sand will gradually blow over their bodies, forming dunes of the sort in the photograph.", somewhat emotive and imaginative but not really relating to the article in question. Looking at the photo it is very difficult to conceive of any flooding in that area, or of the site being anything other than undisturbed desert. "Let us suppose, though, that this is not the case, and that the photo is concocted. Is this relevant? If someone is asked to strike a pose for a camera, that does not in any way alter the truth of the accompanying story." The answer to this is fairly obvious, most likely yes it would alter the truth of story fundamentally. It doesnt seem such an extraordinary thing to expect a journalist who is investigating a mass graves of "thousands" to actually find some evidence that there is in fact a mass grave. It is obvious there is none. Nor has there been any subsequent investigation or exhumation of this site, extraordinary for a site containing "thousands". Yet, throughout the article we are told about 'standing on the graves', how 'everybody needs to see this' - see what, a sand dune? The old British priniciple of habeas corpus should apply to journalism as much as the law. To take an another example, I doubt that few on this list would argue that this story from the Daily Telegraph (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/politics/3297771.stm) fulling backing up the 45 minute claim is simply fabrication for political gain. If it is acceptable to accuse the media of fabrication in regards to WMDs, why is it not acceptable in terms of discussing atrocity stories, which are so much more emotive and manipulative of public opinion? Are they in some way sancrosanct? In other words in terms of content I think it is utterly appropriate to raise questions and frankly I wonder greatly that anyone can doubt that this story is not vastly overrated propaganda, even if, unlikely, contained a slight grain of truth. 2) Tone, Clearly no one wants to adopt a sneering tone and if that is the impression its unfortunate. Usually my mood in these stories wavers between suppressed fury and resigned amusement. My guess is the best response to the barrage of lies and absurd propaganda that assaults us from every side is simply laughter and point out their po-faced absurdities. After all it soon comes obvious that all these journalists, UN experts, commentators seriously pontificating on TV, the talking heads are nothing more than a motely collection of buffoons, clowns, liars, and mountebanks. And hopefully soon the laughter will rise to such a level that not all the commission of inquiries and newspapers and reports will be able to drown. But perhaps i am too optimistic. 3) Feeling unclean My advice is to do what I do, I only read about 25-20% of posts here. If getting individual emails just delete the ones from me, or if reading on the web dont click on the links that are from me. That way your moral and spiritual cleanliness will remain intact and those who are interested in taking a sceptical view of what is been poured out by the media in Iraq will still be able to read them. I find some of the bollocksy mass grave stories make me feel a bit unclean sometime too. Yours with soapsuds. Tom Young ____________________________________________________________ Get advanced SPAM filtering on Webmail or POP Mail ... Get Lycos Mail! http://login.mail.lycos.com/r/referral?aid=27005 _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss To contact the list manager, email email@example.com All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk