George Graham

Turn Down the Volume



Islamophobia3Viewing the TV news these days, you might feel as if you’re watching “Scary Movie III.”

Belgium declares a state of emergency at the highest level and pleads with the public not to tweet about any police moves they observe… France is still in a state of emergency as anti-terrorist raids continue… In Mali, 19 people are killed in a terrorist raid on a luxury hotel…

Meanwhile, the President of the United States feels obliged to tell ISIS that it cannot strike a mortal blow against his country.

I never for a moment thought ISIS could strike a mortal blow against America but I suppose the President’s message was necessary to calm the hysteria reflected in the media.

Or is it the media that is creating the hysteria?

Terrorism is not new. Throughout my entire life crazies have been blowing up their surroundings and slaughtering innocent bystanders for one cause or another.

What’s new is the amount of publicity these creeps get from their atrocities. And that’s just what they’re after. The more publicity terrorists get the more terrorism there will be.

Of course, the Nine-Eleven catastrophe was one of a kind. The death toll was in the thousands and the iconic World Trade Center was entirely demolished. But that was a perfect storm. The way the twin towers were constructed contributed to a collapse I’m sure the terrorists could not have predicted.

Is that what changed the world? And is the world changed forever?

It seems so. It has been 10 days since the nightmare in Paris, and cable news channels are still breathlessly exploiting it.

Yes, it was news. Big news. Beautiful, romantic Paris, the global symbol of joie de vivre, defiled by monsters in the name of religion.

What could be more evocative than that?

But in the name of common decency, tone it down, guys. We’ve seen enough of the endless live-action loops, the videos that you warn us might be troubling to watch yet show us anyway.

Enough of loud-mouth fear mongers urging us to bar the door against those fearsome Syrian widows and orphans. Enough of demagogues who want to build a Wall of China around America.

Enough of “homeland security” experts urging us not to be afraid but to be sure and report any suspicious behavior by our neighbors.

Islamophobia already is raging. Some American politicians want to ban Muslims altogether. Others want to tag them or put them in a database or an internment camp or wherever. Mosques are being vandalized.

America spends billions – perhaps trillions – on the CIA, the FBI, the armed forces, the various kinds of police and whatever covert agencies there may be that we are not told about. I’m sure these pros are doing their best to protect us.

They can’t keep us completely safe, of course. But cowering in terror and eyeing each other with suspicion isn’t going to keep us completely safe either.

Click for President Obama’s speech.

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About the author


I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for