This week is another where headlines are rife with what can only be seen as intentional inaccuracies. The repetition and spread of which (despite repeated correction) can only be interpreted as disturbing.
- At the University of California, Berkeley, rioting brought fires and an end to a planned talk at the once celebrated free speech campus. The riots started as a protest over a Libertarian provocateur speaker, Milo Yiannopoulos. Before the speaking engagement for which he was invited¹ begun, the event quickly descended into political violence¹ as individuals, property and businesses¹ were targeted by the rioters¹. During the event, a female supporter of the speaker was pepper sprayed¹ by ‘protesters’ while giving an interview¹ to local media.
Reports continually refer to Yiannopoulos as a “far right¹” speaker, with opponents often citing sexism (largely due to his opposition to feminism¹) and racism (in part due to a college grant¹ organized to help white males, a demographic with otherwise limited scholarship programs) as confirmation of his position. At the same time, most reports of this riot¹ are being called “protests” by a majority of media outlets. The damage¹, lawlessness and riot police¹ speak for themselves as to whether this and other¹ recent events¹ have been correctly recorded. Others simply blame masked elements¹ within a protest for violence.
Photos of the morning after, courtesy of an anonymous American.
- When Donald Trump signed an executive order¹ temporarily banning non-status holders of 7 countries¹ from entry to the US pending a review of the vetting procedure, chaos erupted. Some was brought about by a misunderstanding of the order. But the lion’s share was brought about by media outlets carelessly¹ reporting through suggestive¹ headlines¹ that this was a ban based entirely on religion¹, despite information¹ to the contrary¹. It did not matter that there were non-muslim minorities in these countries, the focus was entirely how unfair, unethical and illegal the order was -Or at least how it sounded based on certain reports¹ (and even some fraudulent emotional¹ reports¹).
Initially there was confusion in the implementation of the order and individuals with US legal status were temporarily detained or denied entry into the US. However, the order has since been clarified¹, and status holders¹ are allowed¹ to enter the country. Most of the countries under the ban were chosen by the Obama administration¹ for strict vetting and other restrictions.
- Turkey has been visited by both Angela Merkel and UK Prime Minister Theresa May for separate reasons. Theresa May¹ went there to discuss a defense deal and sure up trade¹ in the wake of recent developments regarding Brexit, and Angela Merkel¹ went to discuss Syria and for Turkey to uphold freedom of opinion¹. However, Germany’s current record on freedom of opinion seems somewhat one sided. With some being arrested for expressing the wrong opinions¹ or ‘hate posts¹‘ while others untouched for implying Trump¹ should be murdered¹.
The UK and the EU seem to be together in ignoring issues raised by a partnership with Turkey. As we covered here previously, Erdogan has cracked down on opposition and moved to increase his power in Turkey. Despite the purges¹, potential acts of aggression against other EU countries¹, the moves towards what can easily be seen as a totalitarian state and the imprisoning of Kurds and elected officials¹, it seems some governments would rather speak out against an issue than act.
- In the EU, the week has seen Chinese¹ people attacked by North Africans¹ in France (an ongoing¹ issue). It has also seen yet more raids¹ on homes and mosques¹ in Germany¹ to stop terrorist attacks while arresting an asylum seeker¹ believed to be involved in a previous attack¹, the EU has set its sights on what it sees as real threat: The new US¹ president¹. The EU parliament is already against the potential US¹ ambassador¹ as he views the bloc as akin to the Soviet Union¹.
The EU may indeed be in trouble. Not just from outside¹, but also from within as Eurosceptic parties¹ continue to grow (and the elements within the parliament who work against¹ their own agreements). With Brexit¹ and conflicting¹ reports¹ of the UK having to pay fantastic sums to leave the EU, the blocs image has further been damaged. Perhaps the greatest damage though comes from the EU itself.
This has been week 5.