So, the media picked up on an incident that happened the other day and are, in a sense, making things worse by exaggerating the facts…in some cases reporting rumors as fact, which give the rumors validation.
I was not going to write about this…I actually had a nice post prepared about Lent…could have won me a Pulitzer…but alas, some reporters are seeking Pulitzers as well, so please allow me to clear up a few things. First off, there were no reports of Qurans in flames…there were no Afghani citizens who reached and pulled out half burnt copies, singeing their own fingers in the process. The nation is not aflame. Violence has not erupted everywhere. There have been no shots fired where I am (we didn’t even get to use the fire hoses).
Here is what did happen: There were some religious materials that had been removed from a nearby detention facility. They were in a bin and on their way to the burn center. Right now the contents of the bin and how they wound up on the way to the burn center are being investigated. Whether or not there was one or were multiple Qurans is not known. But the report that a Quran may have been on its way to be burned was enough to get people upset.
There are a few demonstrations. The biggest one is outside the base where it happened, but that is a good bit away from us. The demonstrations in Kabul have been relatively small and they have been peaceful. Reports of burning tires and effigies (in one story) are greatly exaggerated. Honestly, they burn tires here when they are not demonstrating. Heck, they burn all their trash and waste. “Smoke” is an actual weather condition here.
It is true that some of the bases have been closed, that’s nothing more than a pre-caution. To be honest, it’s a minor inconvenience. It is unfortunate that the media picks up on rumors and reports them as facts. It has caused some unnecessary worry for a lot of people. Please understand, I am not trying to sound glib, or play down any danger. I am only trying to clear up some misconceptions that the media have taken to spread.
In their defense, the situation is developing and many facts get lost in the shuffle as people rush to get information out. Rumors are repeated, picked up, spread, repeated some more and soon everyone thinks they are facts. So, please take what you read and see on TV with a grain of salt. There are facts buried in the story, but there are many, many rumors piled on top.