Martyrdom’s Mass Media Manipulation
The mass media plays an enormous role on every single aspect of society today, in every single modern culture in the world. In “Media and Martyrdom” by Faisal Devji, the author goes into great detail as to how the Islamic world, and especially Jihadists, utilize the mass media to their advantage. The jihad is defined as a series of global effects that have assumed a universality of their own.
This is exhibited throughout all of the jihadist social order. Perhaps the most important way in which the jihad assumes its universality is through the mass media.The jihadist extremists use the availability of mass media coverage as an advantage in allowing them to really their ideals and messages, of which are usually aggressive and violent. The role of mass media in the jihad goes further than mere influence. Due in large part to the past and continued usage of mass media, the jihad has created media themes, images, visuals, and stereotypes. For most Islamic people, and a majority of the modern world, the jihad site is experienced visually, as a landscape initially made available by way of the international media, and then redacted in conversation, posters, art, literature, and many other mediums.Not only do landscapes of the jihad receive more airtime than any other object identified with Islam, but they also attract the world’s attention in unprecedented ways precisely because they are identified with Islam. In other words, jihadists are utilizing, manipulating, and controlling the coverage they receive through the international mass media. This is precisely how they effectively manage their world representation. For jihadists, martyrdom achieves absolutely zero meaning unless their actions are being witnessed in the mass media.This is obvious by the fact that martyr’s constantly leave behind videotapes after they carry out attacks, or even record the attack with intent to distribute their message through the channels of mass media. The sequence of events depicted in the videos is entirely scripted, and even include acts that are hardly an acceptable public spectacle for any traditional Muslim. A great example of such actions is the jihadist kissing his wife goodbye on camera. This is an inherently western occurrence that is simply against Muslim values.But as with all issues, there are always two different sides. The jihadist’s viewing the same exact coverage in the media has a totally different point of view. As jihadists watch mass media coverage of their actions, it is being compared to a soccer match or any other “televised spectacle” for the extremists. It is like they are cheering for their favorite team, rooting for the destruction and chaos that they hope to see transpire. I personally wholeheartedly agree with the author, and his analysis of how the Jihadists utilize mass media to their advantage.As with all news coverage in the mass media, the best place to get your information to report is directly from the source. And in this case, the source is intentionally controlling and manipulating the flow of information to the rest of the world to their advantage. I feel that the author obviously sees this, as a major problem for mass media, as do I, but unfortunately there is very little that can be done to prohibit Jihadist using mass media a tool. As the author states, martyrdom achieves meaning only by being witnessed in the mass media.The author’s argument is very well supported throughout the article. Constant relevant information is introduced throughout the article to maintain the author’s point. Pertinent and well-thought examples are also brought in to back up the author’s stance on issues. One paradigm that is made by the author is the fact that jihadists watching the same exact coverage on television look at it as a televised spectacle, similar to an American watching a playoff-sporting event. This is my favorite example that the author uses throughout the article to portray his message.Overall, I enjoyed the content that the author used to support the various arguments introduced in the article. As I briefly addressed earlier, there are two different positions that can be taken when reading and analyzing this article. The view of the Jihadist, and the view of the rest of the world are completely opposite when dissecting the work. The two views come from two basic camps of thought, that of the pro-jihadist, and that of the anti-jihadist. Depending on where you stand on the subject you will attract towards the camp of thought that is more comfortable for your ideals.For me though, and most other people engaged in the issue, except for the jihadists themselves of course, the position advocated by the author is the dominant one throughout the world today. It really is unfortunate that the entire world has to be subjected to the radical ideologies that the jihadists distribute. The only method to eradicate jihadist views and influences in mass media is to simply not show anything related to the matter. By doing so, their message will be harder to spread and as a result, less entangled in the mass media, which is for the better for the world as a whole.