No, watching ISIS videos does NOT make you complicit in its terrorism

3:59 pm - February 5th 2015

by Sunny Hundal    

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If you watch ISIS’s videos you are complicit in its terrorism, says Nesrine Malik at the Guardian.

Sorry, but this is ludicrous for various reasons. I have watched a fair amount of ISIS videos, unapologetically, and here are several reasons to do so.

1) To study what ISIS are doing and understand symbolism of what they’re saying. ISIS videos are carefully constructed pieces of propaganda. If you want to defeat your enemy then you have to know them. This isn’t just a military war but one of ideology, which makes it even more important to understand that ideology and its weaknesses. It also helps when you’re debating with ‘at risk‘ people to counter ISIS propaganda.

2) For work. Someone has to accurately report this shit, no? Someone has to study the video to see what else it reveals, and whether its actually a fake or not. The fact that ISIS have burnt alive a Jordanian pilot is news, whether people like it or not. So someone has to accurately report it, and others will use to build a better picture of ISIS capabilities and people.

3) Most importantly, I don’t want sanitised and tightly controlled images from national news, I want to see gory details and make up my own mind. I want others to have that opportunity to do so too. War is awful and people need to know this.

For too long we’ve had coverage of news events and war from the perspective of news organisations that are are OK with showing sanitised videos released by governments, but don’t want to show pics or videos of atrocities from their own side. YouTube has changed all that and I welcome it. I don’t want to be told by others what I should or should not be watching re: war or conflict. And I certainly do not want the government stepping in and criminalising people for watching videos of external conflicts.

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About the author
Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
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Story Filed Under: Blog ,Civil liberties ,Terrorism

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Reader comments

Very well said Sunny. This needs to be said and said loudly and repeatedly it seems at the moment.

Trust the hand-wringing left to come out with such nonsense. It’s a habit of mind that they seem to have where they wish to prohibit everyone from hearing or seeing or thinking about anything that the hand-wringers disagree with. I interpret this as a deep-seated fear of being “contaminated” by anything that runs counter to their own dogmas. Typical soviet-style kneejerk reactionism, turning everything into a thought crime. Suzanne Moore is also peddling the see-no-evil-hear-no-evil-speak-no-evil let’s baby everyone along line apparently.

It’s also especially bad from the hand-wringing right-on left perspective because it exposes for the BS it is the mythology about how all the bad things in the world are done by white, male people.

Any sane person can not watch those sick ISIS videos for too long.

The world needs to know and see what a pack of barbaric, deluded, evil monster they are.

To be honest, I can now understand what Assad was warning the West about and why he would have wanted to use chemical weapons against such evil.

3. douglas clark

I think these videos will become counter prouctive pretty soon.

People I know have watched these as a sort of ‘rite of passage’.

A dare if you will. That they demonstrated to their peers that they could watch a beheading or whatever.

AFAIK, none have become persuaded of the ISIS case nor have become addicted to the horror.

Nor have any of them taken up knitting…..

We certainly need people like you to analyse these videos, for most it will not be viewed for these high moral purposes. It will be viewed for far more squalid bragging rights. At least in the testosterone dominated sector of our society.

I have the misfortune to have had to read Hitler’s Mein Kampf. (It was like reading a thousand Daily Mail editorials end to end.) I do not believe this made me complicit in the crimes of the Third Reich.

the mainstream media treat us like idiots by hiding the true horrors of war,many bbc journalists including frank gardner have watched these isis snuff videos in there line of why cant we,well yes we can.there are plenty of websites out there showing these isis snuff movies.why hide the true suffering and reality of war from the public,i say if they can and they still do show footage of the horrors of world war 2 in these documentarys on the tv in the uk why cant we see what is really going in iraq and syria real time in 2015.

A very good point…but in today’s right thinking,big brother world,
do you think that being right outdoes being popular?
Great post.
linked it

Very good idea!

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