Saturday, April 27, 2002

Under the Guise of Media Coverage of Terrorism

The Center for Indic Studies from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth held a briefing of sorts yesterday at the National Press Club. The premise of the talk was supposed to be Fair and Balanced coverage of terrorism in South Asia by the media. Unfortunatley, the recurring theme of many of the panelists, three of whom, really had no business discussing the media, was more an indictment of Pakistan and Muslims, rather than actual coverage of terrorism in the media. One of the panelists, Dr. Rita Frenchman, who is a medical doctor and a member of the AAPI governing body, spewed total rhetoric and propaganda in her 5 minute address. It seems that many expatirate Indian Hindu's and especially those that are Gujarati are oblivious to the fact that India is a secular country, encompassing all types of religions. Terror attacks on India are not attacks against only Hindu's, indeed Muslims, Sikhs, Jains, and Christians have all been victims of terror. At one point, Professor Romesh Diwan from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute spoke of ethnic cleansing in Pakistan during partition by comparing the numbers of Hindu's and Christians in Pakistan before and after Partition. Professer Diwan seemed oblivous to the notion that as partition forced Hindu's and many Christians to flee Pakistan for India, many Muslms fled India for Pakistan. I think he left that bit out of his logic. Despite some good remarks from Selig Harrison, who I have had as a professor during my undergrad years at GW, and Ambassador Dennis Kux, who has recently (I think 2001) published his book entitled The United States and Pakistan, 1947-2000 : Disenchanted Allies, the briefing and panelists were a disappointment and almost scary. I thank god, that all South-Asians and South-Asian Americans aren't so one-sided. Fair and Balanced was the premise, and I hope both the media, and the South Asian community can pick up some of this quality.


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