Freedom: The voice of silence. Illustration by Ricardo Campus
By Maira DeGois
Undoubtedly, the beginning of this year has been most unwelcome for media workers. Through the news, we saw events that made us think about the fate of humankind such as the Charlie Hedbo attack and the killing of the Japanese journalist, Kenji Goto and businessman, Haruna Yukawa. Although the cause of these events were vastly different, both have a common point: extremism and intolerance.
On Saturday, not only was Japan in mourning, but many nations expressed sorrow. The 47-year-old Japanese journalist, Kenji Goto, was another victim who died in the name of democracy. Goto was seized in Syria by Islamic State (ISIL), trying to rescue Haruna Yukawa. The New York Times published the statement of the Prime Minister Shinzo Abe which shows his state of shock. He said, “[Japan] will cooperate with the international community and make the terrorists pay the price.” How would this be possible if it seems that the state is increasingly losing its control?
To find a possible answer, we must understand that some changes have occurred over the years. Some intellectuals would say that the world has entered a new phase in which the state cannot play a central role in controlling political violence. Economic globalization can also have an influence on the loss of the authority of state. Perhaps we do not need to go that far, but if we look at what has happened to these people, many of which are journalists, maybe this theory has a point. Nowadays, we can see that the state rarely negotiates with other countries to release hostages in war time, as happened decades ago. However, it has to deal with militias that use extreme violence as mean of coercion.
It seems that the Islamic militants want to give a message beyond the act of killing: to portray themselves as powerful and godlike. It seems like an endless world war in which we cannot stop. We see on the screen people losing their lives due to extremism of belief, faith or religion. However, to make the “terrorists” pay the price, as stated by Prime Minister of Japan, Shinzō Abe, could generate more problems than solutions.
We feel under threat, we see every day the rising menace of intolerance. It would be interesting to know about our future: if we will be more disturbed by the attacks of terrorism or if we will prefer being apathetic in front of our TVs.