Unhealthy democracy

The woman gang-raped in Colorado Springs, the one beaten to death in California, and the wife beheaded in New York have stories that need to be told

Warning: graphic content. The first paragraph is a partial truth. The remainder will be fact-based opinion. If you are a victim of a sexual assault or domestic violence, please read no further. Thank you.

The news of an unimaginable crime first entered the regional media market of Colorado Springs, Colorado, via their hometown paper, The Gazette. The time stamp is August 14. A 53-year-old black American female breaks up an early morning fight between five young white American men. Wishing to expand her modest role as a peacemaker, she enters an apartment and accepts a glass of lemonade. Before losing consciousness, she hears remarks of a racist nature. One of the men exposes himself to her. It is followed by a brutal gang rape. Police arresting the five suspects describe the sexual assault as “rare” and “horrific”. Doctors attending the woman used the words “blunt force trauma” when describing the severity of her internal injuries. Lt Howard Black, who heads the Police Department’s Special Victims Unit, notes that the severity of the attack makes it rare in his city. He also notes the injuries as potentially life threatening. “We don’t see these types of assaults typically in Colorado Springs.” Senators are clamouring to chair a hastily assembled Congressional hearing. This news has been discussed by every major news outlet and the story has market saturation. The National Organisation for Women is taking an organic lead in discussing this case. Date-rape drugs are being discussed by morning radio hosts. Rape trauma advocates are lining up to speak. Citizens in Colorado Springs are in a state of shock. These things should not happen in the US.

Now, take the above story and change it to read, ‘Five Iraqi Immigrants Arrested for the Gang Rape of a 53-year-old American Woman’. The story is true. The main suspect is Hasim Ramadon. He is a 22-year-old married man who was sponsored by our troops in Iraq and lauded as an adolescent hero. Hasim Ramadon was assisted by my community, feted on US soil and featured on Oprah Winfrey. Eight years later, he and four companions perpetrate an act of extreme violence against a woman. She remembers the anti-west hatred as she recovers from her injuries. She lacks memory retrieval of the attack due to being drugged.

There has been a virtual news embargo regarding this crime. It has been a blip on the regional news radar and non-news elsewhere. Conservative television host Bill O’Reilly covered it in his August 21 ‘Daily Briefing’. But across the eastern seaboard, along the west coast, and from the heartland to the deep south, the story is buried and ignored by mainstream media. Why?

In California, a Muslim woman is beaten to death in her home. The media runs with a story of Islamophobia, stating that a hate-filled note was found next to her corpse. When investigators determine the note is part of a false flag operation and the murder weapon is a tire iron from the family garage, the news quickly disappears. The husband and underage daughter quietly leave the US to return the body of the deceased to Iraq. Police and the FBI decline further comment.

A Muslim immigrant takes a pair of scissors to his two-year-old daughter and commits a crime of female genital mutilation. This modern horror is scarcely noted by mainstream media. In New York, Muzzammil Hassan, the founder of Bridges TV, an English-language cable programme for American Muslims, beheads his wife. CNN covers the story, but it quickly became colder than the headless corpse as far as major media outlet coverage was concerned.

Don’t believe there is a deliberate news embargo? Then merely consider how much press was devoted to the unsubstantiated account of Tawana Brawley in 1987. A grand jury concluded there was not sufficient evidence to sustain her claim that she had been raped, beaten and stuffed into a trashcan by her white tormentors. In the aftermath of the findings, this emboldened liar continued to sustain an intense national media storm.

In Colorado Springs, a 53-year-old American woman continues to recover from her injuries. A news embargo is in effect.

Healthy democracy is dependent on a free press that openly examines potentially volatile issues with an eye cast toward the greater good. A free press makes the tough calls so that reasonable dialogue moves toward policy considerations. This requires a risk-benefit paradigm. In discussing incidents such as what happened in Colorado Springs, there is a definite risk of an anti-Muslim, and more broadly, an anti-immigrant backlash. But opening the door to careful investigative reporting brings issues forward in a healthy manner. All voices are raised, the polarised views can be marginalized, and the best of the culled voices speak with one American Voice. This includes Muslim voices.

Danger is incurred when major media markets embargo news that risks inflaming anti-immigrant flanks. Bloggers move into the vacuum to create a vortex of thought. Premiere sausage-makers take these little morsels of meat and deliver them to their camps. There is more harm than good when we do not entertain a national dialogue on such important issues.

Perhaps positing three questions will bring a bit of clarity. 1. Is there a heightened risk factor when male immigrants arrive from regions where both conflict and culture support a high socio-metric of violence against women? 2. How can we determine if a potential immigrant is incapable of psychological debridement of post-colonial, anti-west sentiment? 3. Can culture shock and inability to assimilate into a vastly different society create an inaccurate reinterpretation of broad social signals received from within the host society?

The woman gang-raped in Colorado Springs, the one beaten to death in California, and the wife beheaded in New York have stories that need to be told. The tragedy perpetrated on a little girl is the story of an immigrant father and his belief. Beneficial societal changes are born on the wings of a free and responsible national press corps. News embargo? Damaging.


Read more: http://www.gazette.com/articles/police-143192-assault-five.html#ixzz259rY648v



















The writer is a freelance journalist and can be reached at tammyswof@msn.com