The Art of Manipulation

A few days ago, a homemade bomb partially detonated at London’s Parson Green station, which injured 29 people. Britain’s Prime Minster, Theresa May, raised the terror lever threat to critical.

The novelty of these occurrences has worn off. The consequences, however, are growing.

There’s an obvious rift between Islam and world. It’s not only white nationalist extremists across North America and Europe. There’s a rift between Islam and the perceived epitome of Islam: Saudi Arabia. In May 2017, Donald Trump visited Saudi Arabia, where he was showered with gifts and given an exuberant sword dance. If the Saudi Kingdom respected their Islamic beliefs, why would they invite Trump, a man who defamed Islam throughout his presidential campaign (count how many times he’s uttered, “radical Islamic terrorism”), proposed American Muslims wear ID and announced a ‘Muslim ban’? Because it’s not about religion. It’s about money and power.

 
 

The media has a way with deception and it’s no secret negative human emotions are often entertained. Regarding the recent London bombing, take in this sentence: Isis last night claimed responsibility for the attack, in a common tactic in the wake of Western terror attacks. This fear-inducing sentence appears frequently in the media. And fear is powerful. It has the capacity to hold your attention and lower higher cognitive thinking. It makes you want to be protected and look at unfamiliar things (immigrants, refugees, Muslims, people of colour) cautiously. Consequently, groups like the Alt-Right, neo-Nazis and the KKK gain traction. It’s an art of manipulation.

Reality is, Isis is committing attacks left, right and centre. Though horrible, the West hasn’t seen the harsher reality of it. Countries like Libya, Iraq and Syria have seen more terrorist attacks than any other country in the world. The countries are in ruins due to terror attacks from Isis and Western intervention. Point is, this isn’t about Islam vs the West like how the above sentence, or the general media, portrays it. This isn’t about Muslims vs Christians, Muslims vs Jews or Muslims vs Buddhists. It’s not about religion. Religion, however, is the perfect scapegoat to further political agendas. Middle East conflicts are often characterized as Sunni vs Shia or Muslim vs Christian and never as resource-hungry Western nations. And some fail to realize the blatant hypocrisy right before their eyes. The media doesn’t cry outrage when Western countries invade, bomb and murder civilians in Muslims-majority countries. Republicans don’t cry outrage when their president accepts gifts and dances joyously with Saudi Arabian men. The only Muslims not worth bombing, are the rich Muslims, amirite?

 
 

Look at the media’s new victim in focus: the Rohingya people. They’re brown, poor and Muslim, so their torture, rape, bloodshed and oppression continues while majority of the world looks on. But why is the media putting their finger on it only now? The Rohingya people have been systematically persecuted for decades by the Burmese government. It’s apparent the media gains and quickly loses interest and, thus, so do we, as we’re moved onto the next issue that’s imposed on us. It was the Palestinians in 2014. The Syrians in 2015 and somewhere in between 2016 and now, Yemen went under attack. These conflicts have been going on for years. Strangely enough, I don’t hear about the Palestinians anymore.

The media is deceptive. It's often the product of politicians and corporations—essentially, the wealthy and elite. It focuses our attention and emotions on certain issues, while other matters go unnoticed. It turns ordinary matters, that have existed for years, problematic. It can shift the people of a nation against each other. It’s a weapon used to subtly sway human thought and create like-minded masses. And it’s easier to gain support from the masses when they're scared, threatened and angry.