Terrorist or Freedom Fighter

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Essay EL&C Cause and Effect Emma van der Maas ICV1A

Terrorist or freedom fighter

Terrorists are evil and want only to destroy and terrorise the western society. They all have beards and see the Quran as their holy mean to convey this awful jihad (holy war). They have their ways and beliefs to justify their terrorist actions and they do not care about the people they hurt or kill. Or do they? Is the ‘western world’ not forgetting that we for centuries have excluded these people from honest deals on their oil and other trades that made us wealthy and them suffer? Are we not forgetting that maybe a terrorist in this country is a freedom fighter in the next? The first and foremost cause of these terrorist attacks lie in the fact that these suicide attackers have no future. They almost always have lost friends and family and are in search of some form of justice. One can say; ‘how can this be a two sided story, are they not doing just the thing that was done to them?’. This one might be right but than again, who of us western people, living in peace really knows what it is like living without any future prospects.

What an interesting question would be, is this: what exactly is the reason we only see our side of the truth about terrorists portrayed in the media instead of also receiving information about the other side? Somebody who has a opinion and even a theory about this, is Vladimir Propp. He is famous for his research about how media its narratives are structured. He is convinced that all media is structured in a fairy-tale kind of way. Not to portray the actual truth but a good and simple story for its readers.

How does Vladimir Propp his theory relate to current media narrative structure and how does this influence the public to think short-sighted and prejudiced about minorities in society and create lack of understanding of alienation, discrimination and the background of terrorists.

This essay will describe how this theory by Vladimir Propp relates to media narrative structures, and how this structure only provides the public with an one-sided truth. This particular media structure will be applied to terrorism and how the western world portrays terrorism and terrorists in the media and if this indeed is comprehensive enough to be called and seen by the public as the ‘truth’. In addition to this, the text will describe the influence media nowadays has on the public.

In order to further investigate how media narrative is structured in such a way that it can actually influences people to think a certain way, we must first look at Vladimir Propp his theory of narrative. People (the public) do not want to hear the complex truth, they want a fairy tale and that is exactly what media nowadays provides. Some media excluded of course. For example Al Jazeera tries to give the two-sided version of the truth about terrorist attacks. The fairytale narratives always consist of a few fairy tale characters. There is the villain ( bad guy ), the hero ( the good guy), the donor who provides an object for the hero to use, the helper who aids the hero the father who rewards the hero, the dispatcher who sends the hero on his way, the princess who needs rescuing and of course the false hero. Especially this ‘false hero’ in media narratives satisfies the need people have to ‘feel’ like their reading an expert piece on the subject. The princess, can be any sad or lonely person on this planet who is in need of help. No matter if the hero (e.g. Bush) really helped the princess (e.g. the Iraqi people) this is not the important point of the story, the story is Bush is a hero and he helps the Iraqi people by catching the bad guy (Osama Bin Laden). As long as people get this version and not the ugly truth, they have no idea their window on the world is limited to only a fairy tale. Provided by the newspapers they read or the television they watch. Just like Propp (1986) so many years ago already pointed...
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