It's Time to Take Sides

Alan Marshall
We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor never the tormented.

I don’t know if it’s the fact we have had a son taken from us through violence or it’s just me getting older and less tolerant of stupidity but the news on television seems to revel in footage tantamount to the glorification of violence. Sometimes there’s a warning before a clip is shown but that just highlights the inappropriate placement of the coverage. It’s really an admission that we shouldn’t be screening this right now.

The news hour is bang in the middle of family viewing times and accessible to all ages.  Actually no-one needs to witness the depravity of drunk hooligans fighting on our streets or fight-clubs in prisons, or gratuitous violence anywhere in the world.                                                                           

We have to ask the question, do we or don’t we have a problem with violence in our society?

Heaven forbid we even have to think about the answer, but if it’s yes then our message needs to be consistent. Continuous playing of violent scenes on prime-time screens does not help. It does nothing to support those suffering through violence or to help cultural reform. It can be reported on without filling our heads with graphic images and perpetuating the problem.

The inherent nature and message of violence is fear, it is power and control.  In relationships, in our homes, in work places or on the streets. That’s why terrorism is so desperate to get video footage out to the world. It’s about creating terror and fear which is about dominance and power. When we watch it we’re subscribing to their depraved message. When we broadcast it we’re disseminating a corrupt and evil gospel.

Even calling it ‘terrorism’ or ‘acts of terror’ helps propagate the aims and the brand. Maybe it’s time to re-brand terrorism. Let’s rename their shame the same way we have aptly renamed a certain violent act as the ‘cowards punch’.

Acts of Cowardism instead of terrorism sounds about right, because that’s what it is. It may not have the same media appeal but it’s time to take sides. There is no middle ground when it comes to violence wherever it is practiced. And we can begin right here in our own backyard. We have an opportunity to make a difference; let’s get our message right, let’s get it consistent, and let’s take sides for good.


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