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When We Mourn the Passing of Prince But Not 500 Migrants, We Have to Ask: Have We Lost All Sense of Perspective?


When We Mourn the Passing of Prince But Not 500 Migrants, We Have to Ask: Have We Lost All Sense of Perspective?

Robert Fisk

Has something gone adrift within the moral compass of our ‘news’ reporting? In the past week, 64 Afghans have been killed in the largest bomb to have exploded in Kabul in 15 years. At least 340 were wounded. The Taliban set off their explosives at the very wall of the ‘elite’ security force – watch out for that word ‘elite’ – which was supposed to protect the capital. Whole families were annihilated. No autopsies for them. Local television showed an entire family – a mother and father and three children blown to pieces in a millisecond – while the city’s ambulance service reported tha


"It is, of course, a lie – as flagrant and potentially as bloody as the infamous weapons of mass destruction we claimed were in Iraq in 2003. "

If I am the only poster who is bothered by the above frame, then commentators are FAR more brainwashed than they realized.

Just who was the WE that insisted on the WMD in Iraq? It sure as shit wasn’t the millions who protested the onset of this deadly debacle.

Scott Ritter and Hans Blitz proved there were NO weapons of mass destruction there; but as U.K’s “Downing Street Memos” exposed, the CASE was being FIXED for war. And that means that Colin Powell (a respected symbol of the U.S. Military Brand) and Condi Rice and others LIED over and over again (to the American people) to make a case for war where none legitimately existed.

When high-placed people make a FELONIOUS case for war and LIE to the American people while simultaneously turning any challenge to War Fever into a veritable sin punishable by absolute silence and shunning by mainstream forces, then it’s 100% disingenuous to stigmatize the great, amorphous ocean of WE (the people) with those acts that were devilishly devised and implemented by a richly empowered FEW.


“We” may be an ill-advised rhetorical device, but it is a rhetorical device nonetheless. Robert Fisk uses it knowing that he himself did not believe for one minute that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. We antiwar people often say things like “We should stop bombing (fill in the target country du jour),” meaning not “we” but only the country of which I am a citizen.

A lot of our anger springs from the fact that when a country is presumed to be a democracy, its actions are attributed to the country as a whole, and many of us (“we”) know that to be false.


If this were fifty years ago I might agree. Now six hands control virtually all media. The Bernie media blackout is only the most recent and most obvious manifestation. Without a daily counterbalance of views and opinions our national will is subverted and manipulated until it is far more out of balance than it should be.


I understand the idea that by using ‘we’ there is a sense of identification and almost advocacy for whatever position or action is being discussed. One might almost think the language is intended to encourage that kind of thinking. But surely Robert Fisk is not one of those who has gone along with TPTB’s war plans as he has been outspoken against the West’s war-mongering for many, many years. That would suggest that the charge of disingenuous is overly harsh with respect to the motive/s of this particular author.

If the pronoun, ‘they’ is substituted, can there be a risk of possibly making it seem as if we, on the outside, could do nothing to change the situation? After all, not being a part of it, are we less willing to ask whether we could have done more or done differently" and by extension, can it inhibit our thinking about whether we can do something about it now?

Would it encourage people to be more defensive? How should we talk to/with those who have identified with their government’s side? Does this conflation of self with government excuse them from culpability?

I worry that if if it is seen in this Manichean way, the people who view themselves as being part of that ‘we,’ are those who identify with their governments. Is it possible that our language may merely make them double down on that identification?

I suspect it is true, but I’d be interested to know if any studies have been done that verify the use of ‘we,’ when referring to a nation, helps to reinforce that sense of identity with the acts of the nation. I’d also like to know if there is a lessening of that identity with the use of the ‘they.’ I think it may but I can also think that this could force people to choose sides and by so doing, reinforce their current position. I just don’t know.

I appreciate the need to assist individuals in breaking from identifying with the worse aspects of their nation’s acts but is this pronoun change effective, is it the best way, or could it be counter-productive for some? How many would have to change their pronouns for it to be meaningful? Is it effective as a means of liberating thought for only those who make the change themselves or do you envision it as having an effect on the readers/listeners as well as the writers/speakers, and to what extent?

I’d appreciate it if you have some further clarification on this.
It’s 2:15 in the am here sand I probably shouldn’t have started this so late. I apologize if this is less than fully coherent but I am interested in better understanding your position.


Prince, as it would be with a McCartney, Dylan or Joni, touched millions of souls in a positive, healing way on a virtually daily basis over the course of many decades. It is for this that he is celebrated and mourned and rightly so.


We’ve never had a sense of perspective!!! I’ve been around for a long time and never have I heard any mourning going on for any Refugee and those who are being Displaced. The Media has always put those with economic status such as a celebrities and politicians above the rest…

However, when you have countries disrupting the norm of life in other countries and not making sure that the invading country has a plan to take care of the vaccum that is going to occur. There’s a problem!!!

These Gov.'s don’t think before they act and that is part of the problem.

Ex: Afghanistan, that goes back to the 1980’s when Reagan was in office. There was also a politician from Texas who was behind it all. But, Reagan took the credit for the Soviets exiting Afghanistan. But, it created a vaccum, because Reagan didn’t send anyone to help put the country back together after the Soviets left.

If you ask me, we should never had been involved in Afghanistan from the beginning, meaning the 1980’s. Ohh, btw, it was a House Rep by the name of Charlie Wilson® Texas. That created that problem which led to Bin Ladin and 9/11


Thank you Hillary


Perhaps mourning isn’t as important as preventing more tragedies. Can we prevent more millions being killed in the Middle East and elsewhere? The death of 500 migrants is indeed more grievous than the death of Prince, but should the world allow further destruction of nations that have led to massive migrations in Europe and elsewhere? And what about nations that possess enough nuclear weapons to destroy the world many times over? What are “we” going to do with the trillions of dollars that are being proposed to make nuclear weapons and nuclear wars more likely? Such wars would kill not merely hundreds, or thousands, or even a few million, but hundreds of millions, perhaps even billions of people around the world. Yet that doesn’t seem to interest a massive worldwide ban the bomb movement. And in New York, the candidate most likely to plunge the world into more wars and Armageddon itself is set, with the connivance of the 1% and their MSM, to become the next POTUS. Unless every concerned American understand the gravity of the situation and turn out in massive numbers to support Bernie Sanders.


Bravo, Tom Johnson, for setting SR straight! I, too, remember very clearly how many of my so called, “fellow American” co-workers and colleagues felt when it came to the pursuit and subsequent murder of Saddam Hussein. And I also remember those stupid yellow ribbons everywhere. Most people just blindly believe without ever stopping to ask “if” there’s even a modicum of truth to the story. I experience this phenomenon daily. But I don’t grant them the same benefit of the doubt as SR. Frankly, I think they’re lazy and uninterested in pursuing any truth that might shine a light back on their complicity in the issue.

Regarding Mr. Fisk’s point, I, too, wondered why there wasn’t much media coverage mourning the 500 human beings who drowned. “Our” priorities when it comes to “news” are unforgivably misguided and screwed up. Chris Hedges is right; we’re obsessed with “celebrity” culture.

Learning of those 500 human beings who drowned should make us all ask ourselves what more we can be doing to make this world a better place. I’m sure a small number of people did dig deeper into their humanity and reflect on what it is they are or are not doing to be of service. I know I did and fell very short in terms of my own contributions to the betterment of the world. But I sure didn’t reflect on any of those questions or probing after hearing of Prince’s death. And don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against Prince. I enjoyed his music. But honestly? I haven’t thought of him in over twenty years.

The sadness and sorrow that permeates every realm of life on Earth today seems overwhelming. And while I don’t comment on this site or others much anymore, I do check in daily to read the articles that speak to my passions. And I always enjoy reading your comments.


50 years ago was 1966. Many nuances were still allowed in all forms of media.


Fisk refers to the media as our culture’s public voice…the we. Not the public… The media coverage. That is his point not the ridiculous argument about using the word we. Without it you can never refer to the nation and say something like we won WW2. Most of us weren’t even born yet but we can say we if we are Americans. Enough of this dumbing down nonsense! You would have to be mentally challenged to think that saying we when referring to the nation or a group meant you literally.

That said … The media did respond in the way Mr. Fisk speaks to. A refugee child whose body was found washed up on a beach evoked a huge storm of soul searching and compassion all across the world’s media. However, the refugees and the dying didn’t end there. Nor will they end with the loss of these unfortunate 500 souls. It is a false comparison that an entertainer’s death is weighed against those others. That is the reality. The refugees should be saved but the governments have prevented that. What are people to do then? The media reported the story and it wasn’t dismissed either but what more should have been done? The governments are responsible and rather than a purple lighting of the Empire State Building for Prince, a more fitting tribute would be a response by the governments to alleviate the desperate plight that causes people to risk their lives in such a manner. The media keeps that story in the public’s eye and that is how it should be. The lives of the refugees matter but they wouldn’t seem to matter unless the media reports them.

Let Prince receive his tribute of purple lights in recognition of the music he created for the world that so many people share. Let the pictures in the media of the overcrowded boats and the pitiable story of lost lives condemn the governments that permit it. The media stories that force governments to address the refugee issue are more of a tribute to the refugees than would be some symbolic colored lights on a building.


Thank you Robert. And as a Prince fan.


I’m normally in agreement with Fisk on most things, but he honestly pissed me off by using Prince’s death to make a point. There are some of us who pay attention, grieve, and speak out about violence all over the world wherever it happens, but that doesn’t mean we can’t mourn the passing of a man who touched the lives of so many people in a positive way. I grew up listening to and loving Prince and losing feels like I lost someone I knew personally - it hurts and the wounds are still raw. So with that said, fuck you Robert Fisk and keep Prince’s name out of your fucking mouth.


In fairness to Fisk, he was talking about the media not about everybody.


Hello again…

Yes, I will be voting for Bernie! Though honestly, and please hear what I’m about to say not as an attack on Bernie himself, but rather at the larger system itself. I’m not optimistic that much can change if the root of the problem is not addressed. And that “root” is our global hegemony which has many, many feeder roots attached to it. That reach is much larger and broader than what one man can take on alone. I’ve been down this road before. I guess I’m just afraid to get too hopeful.

Regarding my garden, you have a great memory!!! Yes, a “tree-cutter gone wild” still haunts this property. But what I always re-learn from my garden and the surrounding forests is there is no such thing as an empty niche in nature. Many of the other plants and flowers, the ones that for years were over-shadowed and held back by the taller trees, were suddenly released into the light. Now they are thriving and wild and reaching for the sky. It’s not necessarily how I would have designed it, but that’s okay. The songbirds, the butterflies and all the other wild creatures who share this place and whose lives depend on shade, shelter and food have re-colonized the area. Life goes on.

I will end with this: while I mentioned the sorrow and sadness that permeates our daily lives, the one thing that consistently serves as a salve for the soul is nature. And by nature I simply mean my garden, or your tomatoes, or the Great Horned Owls who live in the forest across the street and who begin their serenade to one another every night at the gloaming. Their calls have become a sort of lullaby for me; first the male’s five hoo-hoo-hoo-hoo-hoo’s and then the female’s. How I wish those fleeing war and all that horrible instability could live in safety and peace and fall quietly asleep to their own equivalent of the Great Horned Owls calling to one another:-)

Have fun with your tomatoes!!! If you get any tomato horn worms, do an experiment and bring them inside along with some tomato leaf foliage and let the hornworm caterpillar metamorphose into a five spotted hawk moth. It’s really cool to observe. Or not. Just a thought:-)

My best to you Tom!


Phew, what a relief! I thought I might have had at least the tiniest amount of some responsibility for the refugees and the mess in Afghanistan, but now, thanks to you, I know I don’t so I can sit back, open a beer, and do nothing knowing I am a powerless individual and have no resposnbility for anything that goes on in the world at all. Thank you!


yes, tryanny puts and end to nuance . . . . someone once said, but can’t recall who.


Fisk has been frisked and found more than wanting, lame stream media lies a 'flaunting, no invaders died, just another psyop photo-op on the Cabal side, while the sheople get taken for another ride, all smiling in rubber dinghies, into your sovereign country they deviously slide, the destruction and death of the European clear upon the ever rising hidden hand tide.


We had reason to associate with the deceased migrants for the first time after they tragically lost their lives in a mishap somewhere in the Mediterranean.

My mother passed on September 30th of 2015.

The explosions that were created in my brain by music when I was developing have made me what I am today. The current antics of the media machine that brought me Prince’s music further symbolizes his loss today, which I feel viscerally.

The cheap correlation created here by Mr. Fisk is beneath him.