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Commentary on the present and future of culture, politics, economics, and social values................... "At any given instant/All solids dissolve, no wheels revolve,/And facts have no endurance." W.H. Auden.

Friday, December 31, 2004

Tsunami Deaths

Have you noticed how the media feature the death of Western and US tourists in the tsunami disaster while shuffling off the deaths of indigenous peoples with a few estimates of numbers? Britain's Guardian has a commentary on this point:

The tsunami struck resorts where westerners were on holiday. For
the western media, it was clear that their lives have a different order of
importance from those that have died in thousands, but have no known biography,
and, apparently, no intelligible tongue in which to express their feelings. This
is not to diminish the trauma of loss of life, whether of tourist or fisherman.
But when we distinguish between "locals" who have died and westerners, "locals"
all too easily becomes a euphemism for what were once referred to as natives.
Whatever tourism's merits, it risks reinforcing the imperial
sensibility
.


Here the point is that the media perpetuate imperialist stereotypes by inferring that Western lives are more important the those of Third Worlders. It is a form of the old assumption that Weterners are superior.

Though the media have become global, they persist in being Western in outlook.

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