Lies and spin at the heart of UK media coverage of terrorist violence at home and abroad.
It took the death of 22 people in the Manchester terror attack to remind us that spin, lies and greed are still embedded in domestic and foreign affairs.
The established consensus in the UK and worldwide is that the duty of a government is to protect its people. That convention has to be encouraged. The media should act as watchdog to ensure that the truth reaches a wider audience.
According to John Pilger, “The alleged suicide bomber, Salman Abedi, was part of an extremist group, the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, that thrived in Manchester and was cultivated and used by MI5 for more than 20 years.”
Lifting the lid on the Manchester attack in his article entitled ‘Terror in Britain: what did the Prime Minister know?’ published on 31st May 2017 at johnpilger.com
Pilger explained how information in the UK is being ‘suppressed to protect the secrets of British foreign policy’:
“The overthrow of Gaddafi, who controlled Africa’s largest oil reserves, had been long planned in Washington and London. According to French intelligence, the LIFG made several assassination attempts on Gaddafi in the 1990s – bank-rolled by British intelligence. In March 2011, France, Britain and the US seized the opportunity of a “humanitarian intervention” and attacked Libya. They were joined by Nato under cover of a UN resolution to “protect civilians”. Pilger.
John Pilger is a London-based award-winning Australian investigative journalist and political activist.
The world of violence at a glance
According to a recent report by the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva, ‘Violence causes more than 1.6 million deaths worldwide every year. Violence is one of the leading causes of death in all parts of the world for persons ages 15 to 44.’
The deep-rooted greed and incompetence of African leaders and the downfall of a continent
Brief case study: Cameroon and Congo
Corruption, greed and selfishness typify African leaders who keep power at any price.
It may be argued that Western leaders are the manipulators behind the shameful show African nations and people have been displaying to the world for decades by killing each other, plunging their continent into a bloodbath of tribalism and endless wars.
But there is a different view. The good news, one might argue, is that colonisation has given enough basic tools to any nation in the world to be able to work hard and prosper. But the sad news is that, often generations down the line, African leaders are still waiting to be spoon-fed by others.
Outbreaks of violence in the North West and South West African Regions
The crisis in Cameroon’s English-speaking regions was reported to have turned violent on 22nd September 2017.
Cameroon’s current difficulties stem back to its pre-independence history when it was shaped by combining a region that was colonised by the British with the larger region run by the French.
Cameroon is blessed with one of the Amazonian-like rainforests but, ironically, as of September, in some regions of the country, school children are allegedly sitting on bare floors due to a lack of wooden benches in their classrooms. Not just enough wooden benches to sit on: there is also an absence of teachers due to an alleged salaries arrears for the academic year 2015-2016.
Meanwhile, a recent analysis of logging companies conducted by global timber.org showed that Cameroon’s timber and wood exports have surged since the early 1990s. The country is Africa’s largest exporter of tropical hardwood to the European Union, most of which is sawn timber destined for Italy and Spain.
According to global timber.org, the ruling elite are mostly the timber companies’ owners:
‘Foreign subcontractors log on behalf of some Cameroonian are concessionaires and the friends and family of Cameroon’s ruler have business links with a number of foreign logging companies.’
Cause of violence
Broadly speaking, it is believed that Cameroon is corrupt to the bone and people are fed up with the established government.
Once ranked 34th in the list of most corrupted countries in Africa by Transparency International, it is believed that tension around the Anglophone issue in Cameroon has never been so intense.
Speaking about the current Anglophone crisis and its death toll, the Cameroonian presidential press office responded to The Bridge Magazine on Friday 13th October 2017 with the pithy statement: “Dialogue remains President Paul Biya’s Credo”.
With elections looming next year, some believe it could be electoral promises.
It is believed that warmongers craving to sell arms, to divide and conquer, were repeatedly predicting news of a civil war and bloodbath in Cameroon for the upcoming 2018 presidential election, if President Biya was to be re-elected.
As to whether or not this will happen, broadly speaking, despite the current political turmoil, Cameroonians are fighting to maintain a socio-political balance in their country. Equally, they still demonstrate a high regard for their country, by raising awareness among each other in a bid to prevent warmongers turning Cameroon into a war zone.
Cameroon’s recent history suggests it is unlikely to turn into a bloodbath any time soon. It is, at heart, a rather peaceful country, having witnessed no wars in more than 45 years since it gained independence. It hardly conforms with the African stereotype of war and famine.
The relatively placid attitude of politicians in Cameroon towards domestic issues perhaps stems in part from their educational and academic backgrounds. According to a recent profile of the country published by the BBC, Cameroon has one of the highest literacy rates in Africa; while two-thirds of the nation’s ministers and members of parliament have PhDs, mostly gained from Western universities.
A recent World Bank Indicator estimates the literacy rate of the overall population of Cameroon as 83. 3 %.
According to the World Bank, the literacy rate is the percentage of people who can, with understanding, read and write a short, simple statement on their everyday life.
It is believed that such broad academic grounding has helped Cameroonian politicians embrace the trends of elections and examine the meaning of democracy with a more critical and mature approach than elected representatives in other countries.
In Congo, violence and mass murder has become a norm since the Belgian King Leopold enslaved millions in the 19th century.
As iPhones become one of the ubiquitous personal equipments of modern Western life, we must be minded that a malignant war continues to spread in the Eastern Congo over the exploitation of coltan, the rare earth mineral that powers our iPhones.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) had an estimated $24 trillion in untapped mineral deposits, including the world’s largest reserves of coltan and significant quantities of the world’s cobalt.
According to Celine Moyroud and John Katunga from the Agency International for Development (USAID), and the governments of Sweden and Switzerland:
‘At the height of the war, the conflict developed an international character …coltan is among the strategic minerals found in Congo and forms the basis of a high-tech global commodity chain. With more than 85% of global coltan reserves located in Congo, a number of analysts have argued that international demand for the metal has become one of the driving forces behind the continuous war in DRC.’
It is no surprise that the ore mines are located in the bloodiest areas of Eastern Congo. The mines can then be easily controlled by warmongers whose in regional brutalities can be airbrushed in the mainstream media. So, as mineral trafficking goes smoothly, the media can then use spin and propaganda to deflect accusations of dictatorship away from the murderous regimes they support in order to make profit.
As a result, UK Government home and foreign policy have done more harm than good for people around the world since the last decade.
The moral question is: should the world stand by and see so many defenceless fellow human beings in Africa being exploited, brutalised and even killed for the sake of our iPhones?
How do we prevent violence in UK and abroad?
There needs to be a Government will to pursue policies that reduce civilian deaths worldwide. Politicians have to rethink their national defence and foreign policy priorities.
Global economic institutions and international trade agreements should be revised. This could certainly alleviate deep-rooted corruption in former European colonies as well as global poverty and death tolls.
There are no riches as nourishing as a clear conscience. Human beings should be what we value most. Not our popularity, not the success of our political party or religious belief, not the success of our business, not our wealth, but our fellow human beings. Human beings are the most precious resource of the planet.
Technological ingenuity and acquisitive spirit of invention are qualities that quickly become draconian and inhumane if not tempered by wisdom and compassion to help us operate more judicious choices.