So, nutjob President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad will be delivering Channel 4′s alternative Christmas message and a whole bunch of people are upset. So far so predictable.
I don’t burn a candle for Ahmedinejad – he is clearly a tyrant and a racist. But there’s two fronts on which I find arguments against this C4 stunt a bit hypocritical.
1) The first is this threat that Channel 4′s funding should be cut or curtailed because of this. BBC News reports:
Conservative MP Mark Pritchard, a member of the all-party media group, said: “Channel Four has given a platform to a man who wants to annihilate Israel and continues to persecute Christians at Christmas time. “This raises serious questions about whether Channel 4 should receive an increased public subsidy for their programmes.”
Criticise Channel 4 all you like, but I find it fundamentally undemocratic that a broadcaster should be threatened financially for doing things the majority don’t like.
I thought these people wanted free speech? After all, MA isn’t saying anything racially inflammatory this time. Should I be burning my license fee in protest everytime the BBC invite Nick Griffin on television?
2) Then there’s this hypocritical relationship with the legitimacy of state power. I find it amusing that people are criticising Iran (rightly) for persecuting gays, women and making threatening noises against Israel, but the same people say little about Israel’s continuing occupation of
Israel Palestine and the current dire circumstances the Israeli govt has imposed on Gaza. The thinking here is that Israel has more leeway because its protecting itself against terrorist organisations so it can get away with killing innocent civilians.
Richard Falk was detained at the airport and denied entry to Israel on December 13, when he arrived in Tel Aviv. The American professor of international law was traveling to the West Bank and Gaza, to fulfill his mandate as the United Nations Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories to investigate the human rights conditions affecting the civilian population. His most urgent task includes monitoring the rising humanitarian crisis facing the 1.5 million Palestinians, of whom half are children, living in the besieged Gaza Strip.
And then there’s this report from ynetnews:
The shortage of fuel in the Gaza Strip has prompted locals to start using old fashioned heating devices, such as the primus and stone stoves as an alternative for heating their homes. As a result, the Palestinians have reported a sharp increase in burn injuries. According to a Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) report, 16 Palestinians were hospitalized after burning themselves on such stoves. Three people, added the report, have died.
To his credit at least Peter Tatchell is consistent – constantly criticising Israeli and Iranian action. But there’s people who are not only silent over Israel’s actions compared to Iran’s actions, but they also justify Israeli action on the basis that a government should be allowed to act against non-state organisations without impunity to protect itself.
In this case, different governments are being judged by different standards simply because people support one cause and not the other. Harry’s Place, for example, is praising Peter Tatchell’s criticism this time but is curiously silent when Tatchell does the same against Israel.
If Ahmedinejad is to be condemned, then the same should apply to George Bush, no? Isn’t Bush responsible for more deaths (regardless of his intention) of innocent people? How are we measuring who is good and who is bad?
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