Tolerance levels


The Atlantic has a great article about Kenneth Jarecke’s horrifying dead Iraqi photo (not that one above, the burnt one), and how the US media refused to publish it because it failed to fit the sanitised narrative of the first Gulf War.

The story in itself is pretty interesting, but so are the comparisons with Asian media. In China, you can witness something is either the exact same phenomenon or an completely opposite one, depending on your point of view. Explanation:

China’s national broadcaster, CCTV, santises images on its international news channel, but not its domestic one. During the Urumqi riots in 2009, it was actually possible to flick between CCTV 9 (the English language service) with its safe-for-Western-consumption pictures of shouting demonstrators, and CCTV 13 (the Chinese language service) which featured blood, fighting and police beatings.

There are several possible reasonings behind this editorial decision:

1. Western audiences are just more sensitive about violence. Japanese anime for kids regularly have the violence levels toned down when they are dubbed for foreign markets, and it’s a commercial decision rather than a political one.

2. The vast majority of non-minority Chinese oppose Uighur nationalism, and would be quite pleased to see them getting a beat-down.

3. It offers a handy reminder to the masses of what will happen to them if they get too bolshy.

I have no idea which of these is the correct explanation, if it is not a mixture of all three. Answers on a postcard please.


Seems legit

Jilbab ArtIt’s from a ‘peasant art competition’ held in Xinjiang on the theme of why the niqab sucks.

No, seriously.

Actually, within a central Asian context its less weird than it sounds. Governments throughout the ‘Stans are trying everything short of dealing with their citizens’ economic grievances to persuade them to turn away from radical Islam. This is about par for the course.

But here’s the thing. Check out the artists’ work. Go on. Follow the link. Far be it from me to introduce a note of cynicism into the proceedings, but you don’t have to be a Berenson to suspect that at most two or three individuals were involved in this thing…

Which probably means that some mid-level civil servant got a grant to organise a secularism outreach initiative, spent the money on booze and hookers, and got his kids to do a dozen niqab pictures – exactly the sort of half-arsed, corrupt behaviour that’s been behind the shift to radical Islam from the beginning.

Still, I did learn that the Chinese for niqab is “jilibafufu”, so there’s that. Now to work it into my conversation…