Omar Barghouti, the Guardian and “Post-Normal” Journalism

A guest post by Geary

Anyone who has visited the Guardian’s ‘Comment is Free’ site over the last couple of days will have been greeted slap-bang in the middle of the page by a video message from Omar Barghouti, looking as well-tailored and manicured as any Arab dictator’s favourite son. Omar’s message, taking time off from his doctorate at Tel Aviv University, was how persecuted he was by the Apartheid-State-of-Israel (perhaps they actually make him attend early morning lectures or produce the odd chapter form time to time; cruel and unusual indeed).

His message too was the importance of bringing down the Apartheid-State-of-Israel by all means possible. And in true Kitchenerean fashion he stresses how everyone can play their part. While he and his comrades will do all they can to bring international pressure (“international” being Syria, Iran, Hamas and the International Solidarity Movement goons presumably), you and I can do our bit by engaging in, and encouraging, boycotts, divestments, and sanctions against Israel and Israeli goods. I presume that means not buying them.

It is, therefore a truly heroic sacrifice on Omar’s part to – as he must – read Israeli books, listen to Israeli lecturers, eat Israeli food, breathe the rank apartheid Israeli air, while in his heart boycotting sanctioning and divesting it all.

(Alternatively he might in reality be a secret agent of the Israeli Hasbara, paid to bring ridicule on the BDS movement by the fatuousness of his message.)

As for the Guardian, one wonders. With the Middle East in flames from Tripoli through Tunis, Egypt, Syria, Yemen to Bahrain, our truly focussed organ of the press resolutely reminds us that the real problem in the region is the Apartheid-State-of-Israel.

In the philosophy of science there is current anxiety over the growth of what is being called “post-normal science”. That is science which, instead of the time-honoured scientific method of hypothesis-testing through experiment and observation, relies on theory-building and computer modelling to prove the theory.

Similarly, perhaps the Guardian is inventing a parallel form of “post-normal journalism”. Instead of concentrating on what is happening in the real world, it relies more on prejudice-building and publishing pieces to “prove” the prejudice. Hardly the “Guardian” of journalistic virtues then.

Indeed, whereas a normal whore only entices, stokes and then satisfies her clients’ pet desires, here we have an e-whore which entices, stokes and then assuages her readers’ pet hate.

What would the Tartian do if the Palestinian leaders were ever to get together and make peace? Would she then ply an honest pen or find a new pet hate to revive her flagging advertising revenue? Post-normal whoring, too.

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