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editorial - september 2002


right after september 11 last year, a senior anchor at american network abc was fired for suggesting that maybe the US military's bombing of unseen victims was cowardly - mind you he wasn't excusing or condoning the september 11 attacks, but he was fired anyway.

it's curious that there is a so-called war on terror going on right now, presumably in defence of freedom, or so the increasingly ludicrous descriptions coming from george w. bush would have you believe.

and yet anyone who has the temerity to question this war is silenced.

robert fisk from the UK newspaper the independent has been subject to a barrage of hate mail since his perceptive observations about september 11 and its aftermath. of course, eight years of honest middle east reporting on the actions of israel and its allies hasn't exactly endeared mr fisk to the pro-zionist lobby. but post september 11 the attacks have been more vitriolic - to the extent that a very public figure, actor john malkovich, made a very public statement last june about wanting to shoot the journalist, as well as a scottish MP who has often questioned israel's treatment of the palestinians.

as body shop founder anita roddick says, maybe malkovich isn't really acting when he plays deranged and dangerous men in films.

speaking of deranged and dangerous things, if you thought that no one would be stupid enough to try drugs (the illegal type) in a city-state where such activity can incur hanging, think again. substance abuse while not exactly thriving does in fact exist in singapore - joanne lim tells us more here.

still on the deranged and dangerous, i am personally more afraid of the living than the dead. or at least, some living things, like venomous jellyfish, david beckham's hairstyle, dick cheney, and (now) john malkovich. but other people fear the dead rather than (or as well as) the living. some - apart from that annoying kid in sixth sense - have even seen dead people, as suhara bte mohd yusof finds out here.

also in this issue, jonathan kang discovers the vespa through its long and tumultuous affair with pop culture. it's not dangerous - not even remotely so, unless driven by a four year old. or someone who's legally blind. or the type of people who tell cops they're not under the alcofluence of incohol. i'm tempted to add "or john malkovich" here, but i think you've had enough of that. check out jon's report here.

lastly, on the off chance that you haven't noticed, this edition comes out in september - a month that marks the anniversary of the september 11 attacks in new york city.

and as american troops continue the war that is supposedly in defence of freedom, the american media are in full swing of "this patriotic orgy that the White House keeps whipping up" (in the words of fear and loathing in las vegas author, hunter s. thomson).

but it's no wonder. after all, they have airtime and column inches to fill and they've been explicitly denied access to covering the american military's activity in afghanistan. "with utter silence" - that's how veteran US broadcaster describes the response of the white house to press requests for access to american troop activity, in an interview with the australian broadcasting corporation.

some freedom.