If you are turning on the television to a news station, there is no doubt that they will be talking about the attacks on Mumbai that began yesterday and continue today. You will also hear that these attacks were highly organized and well planned out, Americans were targeted, and Al-Qaeda may be involved although a group called the Deccan Mujhideen is taking responsibility. Along with this you will also feel mass hysteria as the world melts into chaos, seemingly from these attacks. What you won’t hear about are the actual reasons behind such attacks or deeper reasons of concern in the world.
There is no question whether or not these attacks are brazen and horrific with regard to the atrocities it has brought to civilians and undoubtedly the future of dissident work, as governments around the world will use the attack as reason to crack down on their populations as has been done many times before. Those concerned with creating a more free and just world in no way support such acts, which will undoubtedly work against any movement to bring about peace and a better world.
Yet, it is interesting to note the media’s conjuring up of mass hysteria. I was at the airport in Cincinatti when I first heard the news, and more than once overheard people proclaiming that the world had gone crazy. It is interesting because although this is a serious attack to note and denounce, there is no mention of other attacks that kill many more civilians that the media supports and claims to be in defense of United States’ freedom. The current major occupations in Afghanistan and Iraq, which together have killed well over a million civilians, is an example. The media is not hysterical when attacks from the United States obliterates whole towns, cities, and countries. You may also hear that Mumbai was "taken over by the terrorists" as CNN reported, which is a total exaggeration. One is left wondering – if a takeover of a building is considered taking over a city – what the hell do you call U.S. military occupation in Iraq and Afghanistan?
The reasons behind such attacks are always well known to be political or economic, as policy experts in the U.S. continue to point out regarding the Middle East (see the Middle East Policy Council). The increased presence of the United States in the east is the major cause behind such an attack, which is why they focused on westerners. Increased resenement of the United States has grown recently in India from such events as the Nuclear Pact, the food crisis brought upon by many United States corporations such as Monsanto, and the financial crisis (enhanced by the U.S. treasury aka the IMF) which has hit India very hard as bailouts continue to happen there, weakening much of the population financially and leaving more hungry, homeless, and in poverty, as is happening here in the United States. It must be understood that the growing resentment toward imperialism from the U.S. and the West, is happening not just in brazen attacks such as the one in Mumbai, but more successfully from groups such as the Naxalites, which is a marxist group in India that just reached political party status in May and has been growing because of its platform that includes decreasing United States influence. There is an environmental movement near the Himalayas that are coming out against market-based solutions to Climate Change as "green" hydro-power projects continues to destroy villages, communities, and lives. There are also many other movements happening such as the global justice movement that made its showcase appearance in the region when shutting down the Doha WTO negotiations in 2007.
It is important not to be disillusioned from the media’s one sided position on atrocities in the world. If only there was such a sense of urgency when reporting the occupations and military interventions of the United States, the public could be much more informed, active, and urgent in stopping such atrocities. Yet, we should always remember that the mass media are speakers of power and privelege and the news they present should always be questioned and put into a global and historical perspective.