Saddam as the rallying point
Mainstream Newspapers in Kerala put tabloids to shame in covering the
execution of former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein! Malayalam newspapers used banner headlines*
and blow-ups on the front page to tell the story. In
that process, they forgot history.
This is perhaps the latest example of the media forgetting their
gate-keeping functions, succumbing to market pressures. They were
apparently trying to be politically correct. The pro-Saddam reporting
also had an element of communal appeasement.
Almost all political parties in the State were critical of the hanging
of Saddam. The communists projected him as an anti-imperialist.
However, they forget that Saddam had purged Iraq of communists with
active assistance from the United States. The list of atrocities committed by
Saddam is long.
The way Saddam attacked Kuwait was not much different from the American
attack on Iraq. Both the attacks had no justification. Both were
mounted with an eye on the oil wealth. Many Keralites had to flee
Kuwait when Kuwait was attacked. Many lost properties and received
reparations from Iraq through the United Nations.
All this is being forgotten when Saddam is being projected as the
rallying point against American imperialism and interventionism. A
striking factor is newspapers across the spectrum have come out with
similar coverage. It is not unknown that they sometimes take a cue from
the television channels, which also ran continuous coverage of the
hanging throughout the day. Still, one may wonder whether
the newspapers were mirroring the popular opinion among the Malayalees.
What is not to be forgotten here is that the American newspapers also
did a similar thing when they drummed up support for the Iraq war on
false premises. Whether the newspapers in both cases were reflecting
public opinion or creating the public opinion is like asking whether
egg or chicken came first. The bigger issue is that they were
selectively suppressing facts to suit their opinions.
Also see: The Crumbling
of the Fourth Estate
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* The headlines read: 'Defeating Death', 'Human Sacrifice',
'Martyr', 'No! He won't Die', 'the World Mourned, Saddam!', They Killed
(him)' and 'Bye Saddam'.
Note: This write-up is not to argue that Saddam got a fair trial or that death sentences are acceptable.
Comments from "Raj" <abraham_rajesh(at)yahoo.com>
Your piece on the reporting of Saddam execution by Malayalam media
points to your ignorance and lack of understanding of ground
realities. Yes, Mallu media took a pro-Saddam stand in reporting his
execution. There are definite reasons for that. First, the US has no
right to don the role of International Court of Justice.
Second, if anyone is to be hanged on account of his war crimes, it is
none other than those in the American administration who aided him.
Saddam did lion majority of the crimes under the tacit support of the
US. Why going for such insinuations like communal appeasment to suggest that the Mallu media took such a stand to placate the Muslims in Kerala? ....