Thursday, September 01, 2005

BBC Baffled By Beslan

It’s one year on since the events at Beslan, but if you didn’t already know the full story, the Beeb won’t enlighten you. Here’s the sole reference to what happened:

Bells rang to mark the exact moment armed militants demanding an end to the Chechen war entered the building and took all those inside

Three canards in one sentence ? Is that some kind of record ?

Yessssss, I know the Beeb is a binge Kool Aid drinker, but they’ve got to be kidding. You can babble all you want about one man’s terrorist being another man’s freedom fighter, but if people who take kids hostage then slaughter them aren’t terrorists, then language has no meaning.

Similarly, what’s with the ‘demanding an end to the Chechen war’ ? Killing lots of people seems like a funny way to promote pacifism. This is what happens when moral equivalence goes wild. True, providing the terrorists get exactly what they want, they won’t resort to violence, but of whom could this not be said ? Under the BBC’s definition rapists, muggers and bank robbers could all claim to be demanding an end to violence.

But then what do they want ? The BBC heavily implies that they are concerned solely with Chechnya, but are they really ? For a start, the terrorists are hardly exclusively Chechen. Equally, this is no campaign of national liberation. True, they claim the right to rule Chechnya, but only as part of a significantly larger region they also lay claim to. Furthermore, these people are not motivated by a desire to let the people in this region choose their own path. On the contrary, they seek to impose an Islamic fundamentalist regime on the region. There’s no hint at this in the report.

What we do get is accusations, first against the schools director:

There were minor skirmishes at the scene, as some angry relatives of the victims tried to prevent the former director of the school from entering the schoolyard.
She was held hostage too, but some in Beslan accuse her of failing to protect their children.

Then against the ‘authorities’

The sense of loss here is as sharp as ever - but there is anger too, directed at the Russian authorities, the BBC's Sarah Rainsford in Beslan says.
People in the town are still looking for answers and talking of a cover-up, our correspondent says.
They want to know how so many gunmen made it to their school in the first place, and why officials refused to negotiate.

And even against Vlad himself:

[Susanna Dudiyeva] earlier told reporters that President Vladimir Putin was unwelcome during the mourning ceremonies "since he is responsible for what happened in Beslan".

But criticism of the terrorists ? Condemnation of the ideology that led them to commit their crimes ? Calls for action against the enemy ? Apparently not. . Beslan must be the most PC place in the world – outside the BBC newsrooms. After all, this is the BBC’s worldview in a nutshell. It’s a new twist on the ’social workers’ joke. You can imagine two BBC journalists coming across some badly-beaten guy lying in the street and saying to themselves ‘How terrible! We’ve got to make sure that the guy who allowed this to happen is brought to justice’. That’s why we have extensive coverage of the complaints against a government struggling to deal with savages, with nary a word of criticism of the animals themselves. After all, you wouldn’t want to criticise Islamic terrorists – the little darlings may do something violent.

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