The Daily Demarche
Tuesday, May 17, 2005
A Wanted Poster I'd Like to See (updated 5/18)
It would go something like this:

WANTED: The Newsweek Editorial Board
for 16 counts of wrongful death,
reckless endangerment, incitement to riot,
and slander.

Where is the responsibility and accountability of the press? I'm not talking censorship- I mean good old fashioned integrity.

According to ABC news:
The White House called on Newsweek magazine on Tuesday to help repair damage to the U.S. image in the Muslim world by its false report that U.S. interrogators at Guantanamo Bay desecrated the Koran.

I have a proposal. Newsweek can help to begin to repair the damage by producing a special issue detailing all of the U.S. development projects that have been completed in Iraq, Afghanistan and every other Muslim nation in the world. I want to see pictures of every school built, every hospital, charts detailing medical services provided and interviews with people freed from tyranny- just a glimpse of the good news- published in all of the major dialects of those regions. That would be a nice start. If the folks at Newsweek aren't sure what good news is they can refresh their memories at Good News Hound (mug tip to Kevin).

And fire the editors who approved that piece, putting sensationalism over fact and the safety of countless people. That would go a long way too.

Now, I have to go flush my Newsweek renewal notice down the toilet.

Begin Update- click the link below.

This post generated a lot of good comments and e-mail, most of it supportive of the idea, some of it less so, and some of it indicating that there is no use in even trying to repair the damage. What follows is the result if an exchange of e-mails between myself and Australian reader who lived in the U.S. for nearly two decades. He makes several good points, but the most teling to me is the disparity between the treatment of the leader of the group responsible for the Bali bombing, sentenced to 30 months, and the possible death penalty faced by an Austrialian girl for smuggling drugs into Indonesia. As usual with a guest post- we do not edit for content and do not necessarily agree with the post, but we find it interesting and think you might too.

The recent Newsweek debacle has got me thinking about the way the West interacts and behaves in its relations with the Islamic world. More and more it seems to me that the west has got its strategy wrong and we seem to be inadvertently following a policy of appeasement rather than confronting the real core of the issue. The real problem as I see it is that the Islamic world simply despises everything thing about the West, and simple acts of kindness and good actions are seen as a sign of weakness.

Reasonable people should be asking several questions that arise out of the Newsweek debacle. In addition to hanging Newsweek out to dry we should be asking: how is it possible a story which even if true (and it isn't) about throwing a book in a toilet bowl could cause the death of 17 people with hundreds wounded during anti- American riots in Islamic countries? What kind of a culture or religion could cause people to behave in this way? Quite frankly, I find the double standards and hypocrisy emanating from the Islamic world to be shocking in the extreme. Never a day goes by in which a Muslim Government paper is not publishing stories about Jews, plagiarized from Nazi writings.

Not too long ago, on a certain day: September 11, 2001 to be exact, 19 lowlifes professing to act for Allah and Islam crashed planes into buildings in American cities causing the death of 4,000 innocents. I can vividly recall that day, seeing Muslims dancing in the streets- happy this event had occurred. What I can't recall are any lynch mobs going after Muslims in America. I also can't recall influential Muslims anywhere apologising for lowlifes going into a pizza parlours in Israel blowing themselves up along with a score of Israeli kids, hoping to pick up 72 virgins for the effort.

I love the United States, and after living in the US for 18 years before returning home to Australia, I miss and love it even more. But as in Australia, I see our leaders making some terrible mistakes when dealing with Islamic countries. Even though both countries have conservative leaders who are attempting to do the right thing, I believe we are conducting relations with Islamic countries that resemble appeasement. The truth is Muslims don't like us, in fact theyvhate everything about us. Acts of kindness are, more often than not, not seen for what they are- a generosity of spirit to our fellow man- but rather they are interpreted as acts of weakness.

Australian relations with Indonesia are a case in point. The Bali bombing saw 98 decent, young Aussies charred to death. While the ring leader of the group responsible for the bombing (the dirt bag Bashir) will be out of jail in 2 1/2 years, Schapelle Corby, who was allegedly caught smuggling drugs into Bali is facing death by firing squad or life in prison if found guilty. I don't know enough to comment on whether Corby is guilty or innocent, but I do know something is drastically wrong here when a rat responsible for killing approximately 200 people and injuring many more gets a couple of years in the slammer while an Australian woman is facing possible death for drug trafficking.

No matter how much kindness we show Muslims, the assistance after the tsunami being a good example, we will never persuade them to like us.

Joe, in Australia
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dé·marche 1) A course of action; a maneuver. 2) A diplomatic representation or protest 3) A statement or protest addressed by citizens to public authorities.

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