On another blog, I found some commentary on a recent TIME magazine cover that I thought was interesting. The title of the article was “What Happens If We Leave Afghanistan?” referencing Afghan women who leave and return to the Taliban.
What I liked about this commentary was while it touched upon the disgusting and despicable practices that take place, it also serves as a subtle and devious type of propoganda to further establish the Middle East and said part of the world, as ‘other than American’ – perpetuating a self-proclaimed superiority and defining Western society as one thing – progressive and civilized (amongst other things) while further establishing that part of the globe as savage and backward. She references Edward Said (whom I really admired and respected) and his work, particularly “Orientalism”. I have to say, she was spot on. Propaganda is such a powerful tool, and seen in respectable news outlets like TIME magazine, and major news papers/magazines, its easy to overlook the bias, and underlying agenda that permeates through much of what is written.
There is no doubt that what is happening needs to be addressed and stopped, but more context is necessary and subtleties in the title and the writing can create a huge difference in the readers experience – like the fact that (as Anna Clover, the writer of the blog mentions), it’s not “What will happen if America leaves Afghanistan”, but rather something that has continued to occur DESPITE 10 years of occupation – all while the US and Britain were supposedly helping the Afghan people.
Anyway the blog entry is worth a read, and if you haven’t read any of Edward Said’s work, it’s pretty darn brilliant. 🙂