From Miley Cyrus’s controversial performance at the MTV Video Music Awards, to the worrying prospect of the use of chemical weapons in Syria, a lot has been covered in the past few weeks by the mainstream media. Nevertheless, significant stories that deserve equal attention, or at least some form of acknowledgment, have been flying under the radar.
Below is list of 4 newsworthy events that the likes of CNN and MSNBC failed to cover in the last few days.
1. The civil strife in Northern Nigeria
In the village of Demba in the Borno state of North-East Nigeria, 35 people were killed by suspected militants. The BBC reported that their throats were slit, allegedly by the terrorist outfit Boko Haram.
The group, whose name translates literally into “Western education is sinful,” is suspected of carrying out a number of attacks over the past couple of months. They have focused their attacks on Christians and other minorities, creating a very tense situation between Muslim and Christian populations in the northern regions of the country. Recently they have adapted a new tactic in which Muslims suspected of cooperating with security forces also face the prospect of death.
2. The Naxalite insurgency in India
Over the past few years, a brewing and steadily growing insurgency in the northern parts of India has challenged the Indian government. Most recently, an attack on Indian National Congress leaders this past May killed over 20 people, and was was one of the worst attacks ever carried out by the rebels. The fight against the Naxalite insurgency is set to become one of the longest ordeals in the history of post-independence India.
The Naxalite population happens to be one of the most impoverished groups in all of India. Arundathi Roy, an ardent supporter of the Naxalite cause, has termed the situation “a theatre that needs an audience.” Furthermore, she adds, “But inside the forests there is no audience. When a thousand police come and surround the forest village in the middle of the night, what are they to do? How are the hungry to go on a hunger strike? How are the people with no money to boycott taxes or foreign goods or do consumer boycotts?”
3. The plight of the Rohingya Muslims
The obscured case of the Rohingya Muslims came to forefront last summer when a vicious cycle of violence between Buddhists and the Muslims took place in Myanmar. The Muslims' villages were destroyed and burned, leaving thousands stranded in refugee camps. Ever since, their cry for justice has fallen on deaf ears.
Last week, fresh violence erupted in an area of Saigang where shops and houses owned and resided in by the Rohingya community were burned on the charge that a member of their community had raped a Buddhist women. Religious leader and monk Wirathu, who has been famous for his dangerous rhetoric against the small Muslim population in the country, posted the following message on his Facebook page after the incident:
“Kalars are troublemakers. When a kalar is there, the problem will be there. If every time kalar made trouble and people response in violent ways, both Buddhists and Buddhism will be harmed.”
"Kalar" is a derogatory term for Muslims, which the likes of Wirathu openly use to demean the Muslim community. The reaction of Myanmar's democratic government has been meek to say the least, and their silence has been condemned by many human-rights organizations who seek immediate action.
4. Anthony Weiner's “terrorist” quip
Perhaps this one isn’t so necessary to include. Nonetheless, I was left peeved for hours after hearing about it
New York City mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner’s sexting obsession caught the imagination and attention of many in the U.S. for the past few weeks, which has led him to take a dive in the polls. Nevertheless, another comment of his conveniently was swept under the rug. Continuing his pattern of inherent, robotic support of the Israeli state, he said, “Israel is a democracy in an oasis of terrorist states and terrorist organizations.”
Now I understand pandering to the Israeli lobby is a routine endeavour for American politicians, but I couldn’t shake the fact that calling all other states terrorist states was not only derogatory, but showed how little value he seems to prescribe to the hundreds of thousands of Arabs who inhabit the city he hopes to represent.
This comment alone should have sunk his candidacy, but his second round of explicit sexting antics made the headlines loud and clear, proving to be the final nail in his political coffin. Unfortunately the demonization of a vibrant New York community as a result of his hurtful comments just does not cut it for the likes of mainstream media outlets.