This Week in Perspective: Defining Terror

Published October 6th, 2017 - 04:00 GMT
People run from the Route 91 Harvest country music festival after apparent gun fire was heard in Las Vegas (AFP)
People run from the Route 91 Harvest country music festival after apparent gun fire was heard in Las Vegas (AFP)

News tells the stories of people, but that can sometimes be muddled with big headlines, dramatized coverage, and an endless flood of hashtag reactions. By putting the week’s news in perspective, we plan to share with our readers how we select stories and the approach we take to challenge mainstream narratives.

by Salim Essaid, Deputy News Editor

Horror swept across the globe as people witnessed the death count of Sunday's Las Vegas massacre rise from 20, to 30, to 59 human lives stolen with over 500 injured. An unfathomable display of violence that was hoped never to take place, yet again, after last year’s Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando.

The Las Vegas massacre suddenly became the deadliest ever to take place in modern U.S. history.


People running away from gunfire at the Route 91 Harvest country music festival where gunmen Stephen Paddock barricaded himself in a hotel room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Hotel with 23 firearms before shooting 59 people dead and injuring 527 (AFP)

This deliberate act of random mass murder meant to instill fear in Americans struck an all too familiar chord in the Middle East as well. As ISIS inspired attacks plague the U.S., Europe, and predominantly Arab countries in the supposed name of Islam, it generated big reactions from social media users in the region.

Many Middle Easterners were reminded of the quick to judge attitudes placed upon them for being Arab or Muslim, so Al Bawaba decided to delve in and bring this conversation to the surface - at the same time challenging assumptions by explaining why the Vegas shooter is not officially a terrorist.

Fans of the Lebanese group Mashrou Leila show a rainbow flag at the concert in Cairo, Egypt, Sept. 22, 2017 (AFP)

Also at a music concert but in Egypt, another display of mass fear mongering took place after a single rainbow flag was raised from the crowd as the Lebanese band Mashrou Leila performed in Cairo. The result, Egypt’s worst government crackdown in almost two decades on the LGBTI community with at least 33 arrests, forced anal examinations, and others fleeing for fear of persecution as a nation wide investigation was called to sweep the country.

On a larger scale the exchange of taunting words between U.S. President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un threatens the possibility of future nuclear attacks, but it was the hidden exchange between North Korea and Egypt that surprised people as president El-Sisi was caught buying grenades from North Korea and then denied it in Al Bawaba’s most read article of the week.

Yet turmoil can sometimes bring rise to new beginnings. After the vote of an Iraqi Kurdistan there appears to be a glimmer of hope for Kurds who want a country to call their own. Al Bawaba identifies which countries are playing the lead roles and their motives in shaping the future of the maybe new nation in A Tale of Two Kurdistans: The Nation that Never was.

In the more tumultuous digital landscape of tweets, snaps, and likes, Middle Eastern millennials are leaving Facebook to their parents as they take on quicker and more transient media such as Snapchat and Instagram. The Middle East is so over Facebook shows how social media trends in the region are changing and what the next Arab Spring could look like if there is one in the future.

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