27 march 2016, terrorism seriously misspelt

An excellent piece in the guardian by ex-times editor simon jenkins, who I credit; as people retweet, so I am reblogging. It's about brussels, and his basic point is don't worry so much about the bombs, worry about our reaction to them. The 24/7 blanket mass media coverage, the hysteria and the security crackdown are all, he argues, exactly what the terrorists want, providing fabulous free publicity, instilling fear and acting as an excellent recruiter to their cause. A guy in a 2nd floor flat with some good logistical skills scored a great success: "I converted a squalid psychopathological act into a warrior-evoking, population-terrifying, policy-changing event. I sent a continent into shock. Famous politicians dropped everything to shower me with cliches. Crowned heads deluged me with glorious odium. I measure my success in column inches and television hours, in ballooning security budgets, butchered liberties, amended laws and - my ultimate goal - muslims persecuted and recruited to our cause." He echoes my early piece on paris (14 november 2015: paris to paris, a heavily-edited story of 2015), saying these things "happen almost daily on the streets of baghdad, aleppo and damascus. Western missiles and isis bombs kill more innocents in a week than die in europe in a year. The difference is the media response. A dead muslim is an unlucky mutt in the wrong place at the wrong time. A dead european is front-page news." Having lived through such times in tel aviv, with bombs on buses going off daily, you do come through the other side. However, the blanket horror now flashed across every media screen of "panic, threat, menace and terror" make things worse and harder. It is that media response which fuels all else. Yet what is an all-consuming mass media, which didn't yet exist in 1994, to do ? If the tv screen didn't cover it in that way, internet alternatives would and that's where audience would migrate to. Newspapers have long-competed on the most screaming headline; now we are on the ethereal equivalent. Reviewing the tightening security measures that encourage us to tell on our fellow citizens, jenkins concludes rather chillingly that "england is becoming old east germany". It is easy to discount such exaggerations. Its harder when you're a ten-year old the school notifies the police about, who quiz your family at their house and examine their computers, because you (or your spellcheck) misspelt "terraced" as "terrorist" house. The fear is we are lobsters in the pot with the waters heating up around us, and for most the warmth is quite reassuring.