Our special edition of the New Internationalist magazine – Sierra Leone rebuilds post-Ebola – is something of a journalistic experiment. It’s the product of a collaboration with a remarkable group of Sierra Leonean citizen reporters. Trained by media advocates On Our Radar, they give us a privileged insight into the aftershocks of Ebola in this corner of West Africa.
Now that media coverage has died down following the tragic loss of life at the Ain Amenas natural gas complex in Algeria, it’s a good time to reflect on the way in which the story has been relayed to us by the mainstream media. In essence we’ve been given a picture like this:
• Good hard-working men and women from around the world have been slogging away in harsh conditions deep in the Sahara, helping to secure the world’s energy reserves at the natural gas complex in Algeria.
• Despite the best efforts of all nations participating in the global war on terror, the attempt to contain militants linked to al-Qaida had failed. A group of terrorists was able to storm the Ain Amenas gas complex and take a large number of hostages.
• In order to stop the terrorists from escaping and disappearing into the Sahara, Algerian forces attacked the gas complex, resulting in the death of more than 30 hostages and at least 20 militants.
• The US has had its hands tied in combating the rise of extremist militants in the region because few nations have been prepared to admit US forces onto their soil because of fears of loss of sovereignty.
But is there more to the story? Heartbreaking experience shows that we need to have our hypocrisy antennae fully extended and tuned whenever the war on terror is involved.