Tuesday 10 June 2014
How the West’s Media Twisted the Taliban Video
Hameed Abdul Karim
There was something strange, something amiss you might say, about Taliban’s video showing the release of U.S. Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl. And that was the superimposition of the words ‘Don’ Come Back to Afghanistan Again’ which appeared once while Sgt. Bergdahl was seated in the back of the pickup truck and then again when the Blackhawk gunship is in the air bringing to mind the words ‘Hi Yo Silver Away!’ the Lone Ranger utters as he gallops away into sunset after accomplishing his many missions for the good of mankind.
A Wall Street Journal (WSJ) video clip, CBS and CNN gave this video the full works with an additional twist that included the words ‘Taliban Propaganda Video’ thus feeding on the misinformation already drilled into the minds of the ‘zombified’ viewer.
So what was odd about it all? Well, for one thing the spelling is perfect except the word ‘Don’’ for ‘Don’t’ which suggests, beyond doubt, the spelling mistake was deliberate, seeing that every other word was spelt perfectly.
And another thing didn’t quite jell all that well. The scene was tranquil and there seemed to be no hostility between the Taliban fighters (‘terrorists’ if you hear the report from the Western media) and Sgt. Bergdahl. Neither was there any antagonism between the Taliban and the US military personnel who had come to pick up the U.S prisoner of war. What we saw, on the contrary, was an air of camaraderie between the U.S military personnel and the Taliban. There were handshakes all around and you saw hands waving good bye from both sides as the Blackhawk gunship took off.
Before that there was a scene that created some sort of confusion. Here was Sgt. Bergdahl seated in the back seat of a pickup truck appearing none the worse for the five years in Taliban captivity. You would have expected to see a weak and worn out man in chains and an orange jumpsuit like the prisoners we see in Barack bin Obama’s Guantanamo Bay. But instead what we saw was a healthy man, much at ease with his captors and appearing like he was reluctant to leave Afghanistan. There was a touch of emotion as he wiped a tear from his eye and a Taliban ‘terrorist’ reassuring him with a pat on the shoulder like as if saying ‘don’t worry everything’s gonna be alright’.
And then suddenly, out of the blues, these rather rude words ‘Don’ Come Back to Afghanistan Again’ with the anchors telling us, in angry tones, the guy who’s consoling Sgt. Bergdahl in Pashtu is actually warning him ‘if you come back you will not leave alive’. But the body language of both the Taliban guy and Sgt. Bergdahl suggests that the words exchanged were anything but hostile. The two appeared more like friends being saddened at being separated from each other.
The Taliban may be terrorists, freedom fighters, militants or insurgents depending on which channel you are tuned into or which paper you are reading. But at the end of the day, they are Afghans at heart and one tradition among Afghans is their legendary hospitality to all and sundry as vividly portrayed by Yvonne Ridley in her book ‘In the Hands of the Taliban’. She herself was a prisoner of the Taliban.
All this got the better of me and I hit the net trying to get the original Taliban tape but not being computer savvy I came a cropper. So I searched for the stuff on Aljazeera. It was there but it was taking its time to download. I the hit RT (Russia Today) and there it was straight from the Taliban themselves. And I watched with crossed fingers….and I watched…. and lo and behold the words ‘Don’ Come Back to Afghanistan Again’ were not there! This was the same video from the Taliban …but unadulterated. Aha…so the West’s media took us for another ride with their twists, tweaks and slants. It was they who had superimposed those words on the video and making the viewers believe it were the Taliban. Goebbels could have learned a lesson or two from the Czars of the West’s corporate media, that for sure. What a shame it is that local channels both private and state carried the adulterated video version provided by the West’s media! Please don’t expect a correction or an apology.
But should we be surprised? This is how the West ‘Hollywoodises’ its news. After all the nexus between Hollywood and the U.S military machine, the Pentagon, is too well known, and there is no necessity to elaborate on this unholy alliance.
In the meantime it looks like Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl is riding into a storm as he heads home. He’s being accused of sorts of things and if Edward Snowden’s plight is anything to go by, the poor sergeant is going to be in hot water soon. That’s going to be another story.