We have been particularly sickened in recent weeks by the disproportionate and hypocritical media coverage given to the fate of the British hostage Ken Bigley in Iraq. As news finally broke of Bigley’s death, officials in Downing Street and the media were shedding crocodile tears, while BBC executives were sending emails to staff warning against “inappropriate or insensitive” content likely to offend a shocked public. No similar pleas are made for the many Iraqis killed every day at the hands of a brutal and predatory occupation that practises terrorism on a world scale; no long epitaphs are written; newspapers do not interview the families to find out whether they, too, were wonderful fathers, husbands or sons. The tens of thousands of Iraqis that have been killed since last March were shot down in the streets of their own towns and villages. They did not travel thousands of miles to earn a small fortune helping to prop up an illegal invasion and occupation, yet they are unnamed and uncounted by the world’s media.
The press has been totally silent over the nature of Ken’s work in Iraq, saying only that he was an engineer working for a company called Gulf Supplies and Commercial Services, but a US government website called FedBizOpps lists Gulf Supplies as having been awarded a contract for unspecified “life support services” to the US army corps of engineers. The atmosphere of media hysteria and the emotive language used has left little or no room for serious comment, but the truth is that the occupation is a crime against humanity and all those engaged in perpetuating and propping it up are war criminals. Why did the Iraqi resistance consider Bigley a legitimate target? Would we be expected to feel the same horror over the death of a single German engineer helping the Nazis in occupied France?
The Iraqi people have not only a right, but a duty to resist the invasion, occupation and looting of their country. For our part, we are perfectly sure that if the US and British authorities had been at all interested in saving Mr Bigley’s life, they could have done it quite easily by releasing the women held in their now notorious prison camps. As far as Anglo-American imperialism is concerned, however, Ken Bigley, along with well over a thousand US and British troops killed so far, is just one more piece of expendable cannon fodder in the drive for total domination of markets, raw materials and avenues of profitable investment. All those really saddened by his death should join the fight against imperialism, which creates and perpetuates the conditions in which thousands of innocents are killed daily through war and hunger.
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A reader in India has written to congratulate us on the first issue of the paper, and complimented us particularly on having included a section on culture. Due to the space given over to the second and final part of our analysis of the renegacy of the SLP and the need for a new party, we were not able to include a culture article in this issue. We agree, however, on the importance of culture as a weapon against imperialism and so we hope not to make this omission again. You can read our review of The Motorcycle Diaries on this website