The history of our times

The Danish prosecutor-general is charging a Kurdish TV station in Denmark under anti-terrorism laws.

Justice Minister Lars Barfoed (Cons) has decided to call for the indictment of the Denmark-based Roj-TV station for supporting terrorism, according to Prosecutor-General Jørgen Steen Sørensen in a news release.

Roj-TV and Mesopotamia Broadcast A/S METV are to be charged under Paragraph 114 of the Anti-terrorism Act which makes it an offence to further the activities of a person, group of people or association which either does or plans to commit acts of terrorism.

According to the prosecutor-general the indictment will include charges that the station has repeatedly broadcast programmes and interviews with PKK sympathisers and leaders as well as reports from fighting between Kurds and the Turkish authorities in order to ‘further the activities of the terrorist organisation PKK/Konga Gel’.

In the view of the prosecuting authorities, the form and content of several of the programmes and reports broadcast on Roj-TV have the character of propaganda activities in support of PKK, and that this propaganda activity is designed to further PKK’s activities,” Sørensen writes.

(Emphasis mine)

I know I am not going to say anything new here or suddenly come up with a novel explanation for the development of current events, but, but…. sometimes we fall into the easy temptation of looking at historical periods as “blobs”, reduce them to this or that salient event that, whereas it might have certainly defined the era, it didn’t exist in isolation. Instead, (when I can, at least), I prefer to look at historical eras from a micro perspective, look at the little events that might have been irrelevant at the time, or not deserving of too much attention. Usually, I see these micro events as some sort of historical synecdoche that can explain the bigger picture much better than a helicopter view of the entire period.

Right here, a mere 600 km from where I am typing this, a small, independent, rather unknown TV station is being prosecuted for spreading propaganda. Oh how could I not fall into the temptation (simplistic, I know) of asking how this is allowed to happen when Fox News broadcasts, freely and without any protests or hindrance a European wide channel? Sure, again, simplistic question, but sometimes, in this rather naive interrogation rests the entire explanation. Occam’s razor applied to current events. Since violence is not the answer (which it is not, I agree wholeheartedly with that) and instead, we should trust the power of rhetoric to win hearts and minds, what do we do when certain ideas are considered “too dangerous” to be broadcasted, when certain rhetoric is erased from the public? Allow me one more simplistic question, indulge me if you will: how did we (by we, I mean people living in Western Europe) allow the xenophobes and racists (again, the prophets of Fox News) to be “acceptable discourse”, but we ignore the fact that a TV station (managed by the same “brown, othered people” that the mainstream media keeps targeting) is shut down on the basis of “propaganda”?

I’ll grant you this: I’ll never be a good politician because I only have questions.

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