The BBC’s film ‘Madness in the Desert: Paris to Dakar’ is a fine example of how to make a pig’s ear out of a silk purse….a race that has all the adventure, drama and excitement that any film maker could ask for turns out to be a dreary, dull and tedious affair in the hands of the BBC.
One thing though that did catch my attention was this phrase from the introduction:
‘How the West took on the continent of Africa and lost.’
That simple phrase captures in one telling comment the BBC’s world view. It encapsulates everything that drives how the BBC presents the world to its viewers and the pleasure it takes in seeing ‘The West’ ‘defeated’.
The BBC uses ‘The West’ in much the same way as anti-Semites use ‘The Jews’…it is a term loaded with negative, pejorative meanings and references.
For the BBC ‘The West’ is a Society that is guilty for existing, guilty for being successful, guilty for being progressive, inventive and productive.
The BBC likes nothing better than to see what it calls ‘The West’ apparently humiliated and defeated by less sophisticated, backward societies much as George Galloway gloried in the brave Iraqi rebel rabble waving only their AK47s in the face of Allied tanks and jets encouraging them to kill British soldiers:
‘These poor Iraqis — ragged people, with their sandals, with their Kalashnikovs, with the lightest and most basic of weapons are writing the names of their cities and towns in the stars, with 145 military operations every day, which has made the country ungovernable by the people who occupy it.’
Such a way of looking at the world and ‘The West’ colours how the BBC reports just about every major political, social or cultural event from immigration, Islam, Europe, the British Empire, climate change and the economy…and of course Israel.
‘The West’ is essentially at heart bad, exploiting, oppressing and harming the rest of the World…both the population and the environment.…whilst ‘The Rest’ are either noble savages or brave, admirable peasants grinding out an existence in the face of not just a harsh natural environment but also rapacious Western businesses and governments.
But it raises a couple of questions….what exactly is ‘The West’ and is it really ‘bad’?
Is ‘The West’ a physical place, or a cultural, scientific, industrial depository, is it more an idea, a philosophy than a place or a people…that is, is it more somewhere that values and upholds intangibles such as Liberty, freedom of speech, a particular legal structure, mass education and Democracy?
Is there any such place as ‘The West’ because in reality isn’t such a creature the result of a long period of amalgamating ideas, science, culture and political thought from around the world from every culture? Such a coalescence may have reached a tipping point in Europe but such ideas and industries that resulted soon spread around the world so much so that it must be almost impossible to define what ‘The West’ is in any meaningful way…unless you are the BBC and use it in a pejorative fashion to mean any country with a white population.
Look at the Dakar Race.….I have never once looked at that and thought there goes ‘The West’. For the BBC it represents everything it believes the West does…an industrialised, inhuman machine riding roughshod over the lives of hapless native cultures.
But most of the vehicles are probably Japanese or even Korean, running on fuel and oils produced by Middle Eastern countries, riding on tyres made from Far Eastern rubber…competitors themselves come from every country around the world.
Is Japan ‘The West’, or Korea, or Taiwan or China, or Brazil, as they adopt the same industrial and economic policies and slowly move towards political and social ideologies that might be termed ‘enlightened’?
‘The West’ means one thing for the BBC…an Anglo-Saxon, white male using military, industrial, or economic power to exploit and control other Peoples. There is no upside to having ‘the West’ move into town in the simplistic ideology of the BBC.
Perhaps the BBC might like to reflect on the Rawandans, Black on Black, slaughtering each other with machetes, knives, clubs and fire.
Or Islam…for one thousand years it has condemned the lands and Peoples it conquered and colonised to a cultural and scientific Dark Ages.…a desert not just of sand but of ideas and technological progress.
The British Empire brought Democracy and the Railway, two civilising features that allow any society to develop and prosper with the rule of law and a transport system to faciliate industry.
Hurrah for ‘The West’.
Simon Jenkins in the Guardian thinks we might be better served by people who had a clearer idea of what British, and world, history was and how it effects us now:
The BBC would not then be able to peddle its propaganda quite so easily to a knowledgeable and more sceptical audience.