Tasmanian Times

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

Bronwyn Williams

‘Prof Robert Jensen: ‘There Clearly Is No Decent Human Future Possible in Capitalism”

*Pic: Image from AlJazeera HERE

First published August 21

Mohsen Abdelmoumen: How do you explain the silence of Western media and governments regarding the massacre of the people of Yemen by the coalition led by Saudi Arabia, the strategic ally of the US?

Prof. Robert Jensen: I am not an expert on the war in Yemen, but it is clear that the Saudi-led coalition has used tactics that have caused widespread civilian suffering. The US media have not completely avoided the story but also have not focused on those humanitarian disasters in the same way they would if the forces responsible were US enemies. This is a longstanding pattern, what Ed Herman and Noam Chomsky called the distinction between “worthy” and “unworthy” victims, depending on who is doing the killing. It’s one way we see that an allegedly “objective” US news media tends to fall in line behind US foreign policy.

In your view, is not the alternative press shaping a way of seeing the world differently?

The terms “alternative press” or “independent media” were once used to describe journalism that rejected the corporate-commercial media’s claim of neutrality and challenged the fundamental systems of power in the United States—capitalism, imperialism, white supremacy, patriarchy. The media landscape in the 21st century is different, with both mass media and social media produced from a variety of ideological perspectives, and so there are many more “alternatives” to the corporate-commercial media, including more on the reactionary right. Another complicating factor: some of what is called press or media make no attempt to do original fact-based reporting and are merely a channel for advocacy and opinion.

I would use the term “alternative press” to describe journalism that does not pretend to be neutral but does original reporting to try to produce accurate accounts of events and issues; does not rely primarily on commercial advertising for funding; and is focused on challenging not only specific politicians and parties but foundational systems of power.

Is that alternative press shaping a new way of seeing the world? I would avoid being too media-centric. Yes, mass media and social media influence how people understand the world, but the underlying political frameworks have been developed over time by political and social movements. My fear is that by focusing too much on media, we too easily overlook the need for traditional political and community organizing to build effective movements. In other words, media are a necessary but certainly not sufficient element for social change.

Do not you think that Donald Trump and his hostile policy to some countries like Iran and Russia, constitutes a danger for peace in the world?

In general, powerful states are a threat to peace, and the more powerful the state the greater the potential threat.The Iranian government, for example, is a threat to its own people and it pursues what Iranian leaders believe are Iranian interests in the Middle East, which adds to the violence. But the United States has a much longer and more disruptive record in the Middle East and is responsible for incredible destruction and suffering there since the end of World War II …

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3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Leonard Colquhoun

    November 26, 2018 at 1:39 pm

    Conflicts like the current one in Yemen will not be alleviated until the various Arab / Muslim ID-group conflicts in the Middle East become tenth-order local issues, and until poverty, education, equality before their law, women’s rights and respect for individuals-as-individuals become first-order priorities.

    Then there’s ‘our’ accepting responsibility for these conflicts being mainly ‘our’ fault, one of the silliest and most moronic theories about ‘our’ socio-political appropriation of ‘their’ troubles. This implies that non-western nations cannot own their own problems. (Mind you, a version of such a it’s-all-whoever’s-fault-and-not-ours works very nicely when used repeatedly by tyrannical, corrupt and murderous Middle Eastern regimes to gull their subjects with the it’s-all-the-Zionists’-fault. Who’d’ve thought that, say, 12 million Jews could have so much control over 1,200 million Muslims! And them with all those billions of petro-dollars, too!)

    BTW, the map shows, for those who know, that the western green region on the Red Sea coast and the mainly red areas along the Arabian Sea coast previously comprise two separate nations.

  2. Joanna Pinkiewicz

    August 20, 2018 at 4:44 pm

    Thank you, Mohsen for this interview. I always appreciate Robert Jensen’s analysis of politics and social issues.

    The situation in the Middle East is tragic. Naomi Klein’s book “The Shock Doctrine” comes to mind where she describes the West’s and the US desire to erase cultures of the Middle East .. Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Syria and Yemen. The strategy she describes is “shock and awe” as well as erasure to blank slate “tabula rasa”.

    We are witnessing, I believe, a cultural genocide for the benefit of propping up the US.

    To speak against it is hard through lack of information, and we can easily be painted as radical or sympathisers of terrorists or dictators. Control of information about the conflicts makes the citizens of US, Australia, etc. unable to criticise and be effective in developing an “alternative” to “official” narrative.

    Dispossessed people are often lost people. Cultures can recover from conflict if people remain in the place where they are from, but weakening a country by creating or inflaming tribal conflicts, sponsoring trafficking or arms and bombing infrastructure, is pure evil.

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