Never did I imagine that writing this piece would take days. Trained to be careful with words I have tried to be so here. Journalists I respect read newspapers, listen to radio, watch television news, are active on social media and take stands on issues. They are also well read on many issues and continue to read. Conviction and well-argued positions stand the test of time.
Terrorists trained in Pakistan attacked India recently killing security personnel in Pulwama, Kashmir. Global terrorist and Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) chief Masood Azhar who operates from Pakistan in full view of the world masterminded this attack as he has many others. India avenged the killings with aerial attacks on Balakote in Pakistan. Self -respecting countries do this. Period.
I am calling out the arrogance and the ignorance of influential Anglo-Saxon media, in particular the Washington Post, CNN, The New York Times, The Guardian and The Economist (calling them the media permanent five of their masters) and their extensions in India for the appalling reporting and editorials on the terrorist attacks in Pulwama. Their mealy-mouthed bits on Balakote and their business as usual dismissal of India shows them up for who they are.
These are respected media organisations in the sphere they have chosen to be. Their extensions in India are baggage handlers. Outsourcing has benefits, but it also has a brutal downside and their combined reporting of events in India over the few weeks has exposed them all.
This is their current doublespeak. There’s a pattern and an algorithm to it and that partly explains why it took me time to re-confirm a decades-old trend to write this piece. Attacks on the US the United Kingdom (UK) become geo-strategic. Attacks on India are regional. Patriotism in India is Hindu zealots. Patriotism in the US and UK is cute – you know, people get emotional when it comes to their countries. The only intelligent people in India are those who speak English. Indian intelligence agencies cannot be trusted and there is no organisation worth its name for national security. The CIA is gold standard and stop complaining about the wig. This is “we” the enlightened who will continue telling “you” the natives what you must think and do especially when it comes to protecting your borders.
The outsourcer and the outsourced work in concert and feign ignorance. They go to the same markets and ponds fishing for information and they look down on Indians who cannot speak their English. English is a link, not a barometer. Culture and genuine conflict teaches you this. What the Anglo Saxon media misses is respect for diversity and difference and the simple fact that respect demands respect. There are standard operating procedures in any market. Remember barter?
I know journalists have to fight for column inches in their newsrooms. When Pulwama happened, there was hardly any news in the Anglo Saxon p5. Balakot probably stunned them because India used air power, but it was more important to watch Michael Cohen tell stories to the American Congress. Then the bogey of nuclear weapons started and “restraint” was the word of the moment. War is not an option for anybody.
I am revolted that Indian politicians, especially in India’s opposition, are asking our armed forces to prove their mettle. I find it galling that this media punditry to get a headline is raised to the level of securing a national border. This is warfare and there are vested interests in the Anglo-Saxon media defending the vast military-industrial and trade complex. The same applies to Russia and China, but they play an altogether different game. It’s called deep dive. War is not warfare and I am not even sure senior reporters in these organisations understand the difference.
As I write, there is intense military activity in the Indian border with Pakistan. I trust the Indian armed forces do their job and I learn from defence experts. I follow a few because I want to learn, not double guess. To do that, you require vast experience and domain knowledge.
In all the years I have known western news organisations, I have rarely if ever seen a person of colour head it in India. I now know why – they have Indian media houses to do the local heavy lifting that includes propaganda. Living between India and Switzerland and availing of time zones, technology helps me track where the run-India-down campaign originates in the media. It is within kilometre in New Delhi, superbly stamped by someone as the Khan Market consensus. This is an upscale market in Delhi also notorious for selling fakes.
When you have no conviction or domain knowledge you cannot tell the difference between fact and fiction, fake or genuine and you are part of a herd. I call them G 37 – same place, same people and same arguments forty years later looking for relevance.
My view is this. Pakistan is a failed state that continues to fail itself. They do not need trade because terror is their automatic teller machine (ATM). The country is an asset under management (AUM) for large military-industrial complexes that stretch from China to the United States (US). They also service countries in the region shopping for terrorists.
And here’s a story. In May 1998, when India became a nuclear power three diplomats visited me at my press office at the UN’s European headquarters in Geneva. The only one who asked me why India needed a nuclear weapon was a diplomat from the UK. I told him India has a long border with China, a nuclear weapon state, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) does not protect our country and India’s defence is in secure Indian hands with Indians. In return I asked him why the UN P5 (US, UK, France, China and Russia) scattered cities in Asia, Middle East and Africa with land mines that killed and maimed innocent people. India uses them only to secure its borders. Read people, read. Pakistan tested shortly afterwards. The diplomat was silent.
Yes. I am Indian and I am a patriot. I believe in India. I am deeply invested in my country across sectors. I will and have called out every government that does not speak to the India of here and now. I respect intelligent opposition. I am proud to be part of the Indian media, one of the world’s freest. My responsibility includes protecting the handlers’ freedom but I am not blind.
To the Anglo-Saxon media and their extensions in India I say this. I saw you spin that bogey of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD), pedalled by Washington and London to bomb Iraq. I saw you report from the comfort and security of the Intercontinental Hotel in Sarajevo during the Bosnian war when you claimed to be on the ground.
Here’s a thought for people not connected with the media in India. Get yourself news alerts. Watch the pattern. Draw your own conclusions. The world’s largest democracy is our drawing board. Something has changed in India. Nothing has changed in India. Only the over 830 million Indians who will vote in the world’s largest democratic exercise can soon decide. If Indians do not trust the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, they will vote him out. I trust my country.
(The views and opinions expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author. The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article needn't reflect the views of Republic TV/ Republic World/ ARG Outlier Media Pvt. Ltd.)