Reprinted from Middle East Eye
Chapel Hill police claimed that the "ongoing dispute over parking may have led to a triple shooting." The media embraced the statement with little questioning
The murder of three American Muslims at a University of North Carolina condominium on Tuesday, 10 February, was no ordinary murder, nor is the criminal who killed them an ordinary thug. The context of the killings, the murder itself and the media and official responses to the horrific event is a testimony to everything that went wrong with our country since it unleashed it's long-drawn-out "war on terror," with its undeclared, but sometimes declared enemy, namely Islam and Muslims.
Horrific as it was, the killing of a husband and wife, Deah Shaddy Barakat, Yusor Abu-Salha and her sister, Razan Abu-Salha, by homegrown terrorist Craig Stephen Hicks, is the kind of violence that can only fit into a greater media and official narrative, which designates millions of innocent Muslims, in the US or across the world as enemies or potential terrorists.
Countless television hours and endless space in numerous media has been dedicated to vilify and demonize Muslims throughout recent years. Muslims' attempts to distance themselves from every militant grouping, ideology and tendency has done them no good. A Muslim is a terrorism suspect until proven innocent, especially if a bearded, brown man, or a headscarf-clad woman.
The end result of that dehumanization has been racism, racial profiling, extra-judicial killings and war. It was only a matter of time before that violence reached the nominally safe Muslim communities in the US itself.The skewed narrative
The episode of dehumanization is long, complex and protracted; also, quite clever, for it involves billion-dollar media outfits and Hollywood itself, which already has an awful track record regarding negative and stereotypical representation of Arabs and Muslims.
The outcome is a whole industry that is predicated on double standards and half-truths.
Imagine if a member of the Iraqi resistance, an Iraqi sniper, if you will, killed 164 US soldiers, who were armed to the teeth and present in his country as part of an invading force.
Imagine an Arab country financing a massive movie production detailing the story of that Iraqi sniper, portraying him as a hero, and US soldiers as savages.
How would US media, government and audiences react?
It would be an Arab-bashing fest. Few, if any, would dare rationalize his deed, suggesting perhaps that he was a man defending his own country. What would be emphasised thoroughly is the "savage nature" of the Arabs and their innate hate for America and its noble values. The whole Arab creed would be brutalized, those who made the movie, and those who celebrated the heroics of the sniper.
An American Sniper, however, is not a fictitious illustration of a point, but a bloody reality, itself a representation of the killing of millions of Arabs and Muslims in America's wars.
Even relatively muted criticism of the evil deed of Chris Kyle -- the hero of the reality-turned movie, The American Sniper, who made 164 confirmed "kills" during his four tours in Iraq because they were "savages" who deserved to die -- were shut out by a massive outcry from media and members of society. American killers are heroes, regardless of what they do or stand for.
The enthusiasm for more military interventions and such heroics as that of Kyle, however vile, means that supposed "moral awakening" inspired by the advent of President Barack Obama rarely registered in the collective psyche of the nation. While there is ample evidence that Americans are "tired" of war, that very war fatigue should not be conflated with a departure of the type of dialectics that rationalized war in the first place.
In fact, while the cheerleaders for war might change political camps, ideology or even religious philosophy, ultimately, they are the same breed of people: a mostly white, male-dominated and chauvinistic tribe of well-funded politicians and media pundits, with an unquenchable thirst for "intervention."