Saturday, 1 November 2014

Western Origins of Isis - John Pilger Nails It

I don't have anything to add to this awesome article. Which was quite a shock to my ego. Rich in historical context - and with a deep understanding of how traumatised nations behave - John Pilger is a master journalist and this article puts Isis not only in the context of Iraq's history, but it also makes vaild comparrisions with the histories of other countries that have been destroyed by the US and turned to radicalism. 

This is why i write my little blog of rants in the first place. The separation of History and Journalism into two separate disciplines makes about as much sense as separating Ecology from Biology. If this were to happen, Ecological surveys of unmapped areas of the jungle would read like this; "theres these winged creatures with pointy faces flying through the air everywhere, and there's these green things growing out of the ground. Given that the winged things fly above the green things we think these 'birds' are actually scared of landing on these 'trees', our guess is that they would probably be eaten by them"

Yet these childishly detached observations - the product of an Ecologist who knows nothing of Zoology, Biology or Natural History - fit perfectly with the ramblings of every BBC journo who is catapulted into a conflict in the Middle East without any knowledge of the history of the region. More than that, they require a broader understanding of many different areas of history so as to be able to make informed comparisons and spot vaild patterns. This point is made pretty well be the fact that nearly every regime in the world that is more brutal or authoritarian than ours is automatically compared to Nazi Germany because that's the only bloody thing these people learnt about history before they left high school. Next time the West is lining someone up for attack, just count how many people make the Hilter comparrison.

There are no exact laws of history and politics, but there are many firm patterns that can point a commentator in the right direction, as is true with many of the non 'pure' sciences like Ecology. Just because something cannot be precisely measured in numbers does not mean that studying it is irrelevant, yet modern Journo's run around the world reporting back everything they 'see with their eyes' whilst totally failing to add context. "Aaaahhh, they're all shooting at each other! Probably religion or something. Maybe their dictator is like Hitler! Yes, that's it. And these people are clearly the goodies because, although they are burning that man alive, he supports the dictator and dictators are the baddies. Right, got it. Roll the camera."

Journalism without context is worse than no journalism at all because it creates the impression of a totally unpredictable world where evil regimes and Hilter-monsters just rise out of nowhere - like some supernatural force that must be suppressed by the righteous. It scares the crap out of people, gets them waving flags and patting their sons on the back on their way to go off and be slaughtered in some pointless war.

Anyway, non of this applies to old school Journalist John Pilger. Here is his article which answers everything you need to know about the rise of Isis.

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