By Fatima Shahnaz
The circulation of a video inciting hate-crimes against the Muslim minority by the BJP in the UP elections recently is merely the tip of the iceberg symptomatic of a 'globalized' High Tech culture of violence While rejected by the 'supremos' of the BJP as a 'freak incident,' this video is the sort of weapon that has infiltrated the culture of violence through mass marketing, perverting society and exposing the criminal fringe in
politics. The BJP video should be scrutinized as part of a larger lethal trend today, which is the mass-marketing of terrorism through modern information technology. Terrorists are not merely being recruited among children and adolescents, but are being pre-programmed as mass killers through high tech methods of remote control in which they virtually received para-military style training to be killers through videos and computer games, in which the BJP video should be included because of the vast outreach such imagery of violent hate-crimes has in the population. The unwary masses, like children, are being pre-programmed by terrorist techniques for socially aberrant behaviour.
Terrorism for sale
The role of the media in disseminating this culture of violence through televised movies, the Internet or 'reality' shows simulating gruesome murders and sexual deviance make the media itself a tool of the psychological corruption of civil society. This is why and how terrorism, through CDs such as the scandalous one by BJP members have now become as endemic to the Indian culture as to American society with its permissive attitude to violence. Questions pertaining to national security should be addressed following the banned BJP video, or the Blackburg campus killings: Are Indians being trained in high tech methods of terrorism infiltrating the collective subconscious through the videos, thus reviving the Ugly American? The U.S. government's complicity in training soldiers with video simulators to be mass-killers is now part of mainstream military intelligence programming.
Dark side of the IT revolution
The dire consequences of Information Technology, the side-effects of some facets of the IT revolution, indicate an insidious backlash; they have been utilized in forms of conditioning that dehumanize both the viewer, and the target of the killer games available on global markets. The video games and certain computer programs (some as popular among children as Nintendo and Pokeman) while seemingly innocuous, are part of the new economy that applies the traditional gun-culture to the most sophisticated and expedient forms of modern warfare and intelligence technology. Microsoft's 'Counterstrike' was a favorite game played by the South Korean student, Sung-Hui Cho, before he went on a carnage spree killing 32 students at the Virginia Engineering college. But the cover-up by the mass-media for the financial interests, and the role of the American government itself in developing video games for military training, is even more alarming than a berserk student. To summarize the mass-murders at Virginia Tech as symptomatic of the gun-lobby run amok in the U.S.A. is to ignore the far more dangerous issues underlying the motivations that drove Cho to commit them. What should be examined is the root-cause of the new violence gripping the younger generations. A Florida attorney, Jack Thompson, posted the following statement on the Washington Post's website on April 17, after the campus killings: "Several Korean youths who knew Cho Suing Hui from his high school days said he was a fan of violent video games, particularly Counterstrike, a hugely popular online game published by Microsoft, in which players join terrorism or
counter-terorrism groups and try to shoot each other using all types of guns." But no sooner had the story appeared, it was removed from the website, excising the video-angle as "not important enough."
Ironically, the BJP video instigating mass-murder through hate-speech and anti-Islamic propaganda and the Virginia shooting spree by Cho before turning the gun on himself, all occurred within approximately the same time-frame. While the two are not related, there is nonetheless a common denominator of the imagery of violence, the vocabulary of hate, depicted in the BJP video that is precisely what happened at Virginia Tech during Cho's rampage using two guns and showering over a hundred bullets on fellow students.
A whole new generation is being programmed for violence, psychologically conditioned to commit acts of mass-murder of the sort that took place in the
Gujarati 'ethnic cleansing' of the Muslim minority by Hindu terrorists, or Virginia. Even more disconcerting is how law enforcement agencies, the police themselves charged with the security of civil society, have turned on the public inflicting unfettered violence of a kind never before known. Ostensibly, this is under the new training and programming techniques they have received through simulated action. The video simulators currently in usage in military training techniques, intelligence and police work have radically transformed the traditional ways through which armies or soldiers learned to fight. Today, with the internet and video revolution, soldiers or police rarely learn to shoot at targets; they shoot at images of human beings, receiving points for shooting as fast and as many humans as possible. The distance from the target, the enemy, on a screen not merely dehumanizes the target, but also emotionally desensitizes the killer, so people can unconscionably be killed in droves, with expedient speed. Cho was a pre-programmed killer on the loose, conditioned by the killer videos.
Multi-billion dollar video market
The video and computer games that are a multi-billion dollar market for children today are mass-murder simulators. The Virginia Tech killer on the Blackburg campus, like the previous two murderous students at the Columbine High School in Littleton, Ohio, was raised on 'automatic pilot' by the video simulators. The link between America's military aggression in Iraq, with over a hundred thousand civilians already killed, and the drug of video-trained soldiers underscores the new militarism prevalent in U.S. policies. The war-games, or killer games, were specifically designed to create Frankensteins, turning young monsters on the loose as killing machines. The U.S. government not only developed the advanced video games to train soldiers to overcome the fear of killing, but these games were then marketed to the general public and youth. One can only speculate on how many more killer kids, killer cops, or sociopathic political parties inducing mass-murder through High Tech videos are being spewed out in the billion-dollar mass-market.
Fatima Shahnaz is a social activist based in Hyderabad. She has a PhD from the Sorbonne University, Paris