Marwa Ali El Sherbini Shames US MediaBy Angsuman Chakraborty, Gaea News Network
Thursday, October 1, 2009
Marwa Ali El-Sherbini was an Egyptian pharmacist and handball player. She was killed in a courtroom in Dresden, Germany, by a neo-Nazi and racist against whom she had testified for previous xenophobic insults against her.Her death helped today to once again highlight the biased vision of Western Media.
Marwa Ali El-Sherbini fault was just wearing a headscarf, for which Alex W. had called her an “Islamist”, a “terrorist” and a “bitch” in a Dresden playground. Alex W. was charged with defamation, found guilty and fined 780 Euro. During the trial Alex W. claimed mitigating circumstances for the act of insulting El-Sherbini, suggesting that “people like her” were not real humans and therefore cannot be insulted. The Public Prosecutor successfully appealed the verdict to achieve a higher conviction due to the openly xenophobic character of the incident.
At the appeal hearing at the regional court, after El-Sherbini had testified, Alex W. strode across the courtroom and viciously attacked her with a knife and stabbed her at least 16 times. During the attack Alex W. was allegedly shouting “You don’t deserve to live!”. While trying to protect his wife, El-Sherbini’s husband Elwi Ali-Okaz was stabbed at least 16 times to the head, neck, upper body and arm.
Remember CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric? She had exposed US Presidential candidate Sarah Palin in a monumental interview in 2008 where along with lots of embarassing details it was also revealed that Mrs. Palain couldn’t even name a single newspaper or periodical she regularly kept up with and such a well read person was literally a step away from being the Vice President of the most powerful country in the world!.
Katie Couric is an an extremely accomplished journalist and the face of the western media to the rest of the world. She was interviewing Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, someone whom the Western Media loves to hate. In her much awaited interview Katie Couric raised the murder of Neda Aqa Soltan while discussing post-election violence in Iran. In turn Mahmoud Ahmadinejad showed her pictures of Marwa Ali El Sherbini and asked her if she recognized her. She failed to recognize her, which is a shame considering it is a major and recent news event. Ahmadinejad delivered the killing blow, “Well, you can’t be blamed for not knowing her.” Ahmadinejad claimed American politicians didn’t want her to know about that woman, while they had helped turn Neda Aqa Soltan into a focal issue to instigate world opposition against Iran.
I think it can be attributed to the typically biased outlook of the US media against certain countries of the world and pre-conceived notions it works with. I remember reading a copy of San Jose Mercury news in 1996 where Steve Jobs plan to buy a neighboring house was a news item whereas much important international news was completed ignored. US media typically focuses on US news only, however mundane. The only international news that interests it are the ones which tend to fuel its pre-conceived notions about the rest of the world.
Hamid Dabashi of CNN makes a very important observation:
The answer is in an endemic provincialism that still very much defines American journalism. There is often a fundamental analytic split between issues that have domestic importance, such as the conduct of the Iranian regime in handling the election protests, and those which Americans tend to view as purely foreign issues, such as the German courtroom killing.
Until we eliminate that split, in a shrunken world no longer divisible into domestic or foreign categories, we won’t see that world more clearly.
The enduring lesson for the professional journalist of the next generation is to not just be familiar with the internal affairs of a country whose head of state is being interviewed but also to have a comparative and trans-regional perspective to fend off diversionary tactics.
What do you think?
Tags: Katie Couric, Mahmoud ahmadinejad, Marwa Ali El-Sherbini, Neda Aqa Soltan