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Games expose media’s duplicity

YOU would think this is an explicit case of schadenfreude.

And you would assume India were some impoverished country in Africa.

The kinder tabloids have called them the “Commonfilth Games”.

Elsewhere they have been dubbed the “Shame Games”.

For sure, this year’s Commonwealth Games in India will be remembered more for the mess in the host country than anything else.

Yet it would be fitting to remember the gala — meant for mostly former British colonies — for the way it has exposed the Western media’s stereotypical absurdity.

The media have been behaving as if it’s a discovery that India is one of the grubbiest countries in the world.

We all knew that.

Why they suddenly thought all facilities for the games would be spick ‘n span boggles the mind.

Interestingly, no one had bothered to harp on about the health hazards the inhabitable conditions in India would pose to athletes and visitors until bridges and roofs started collapsing.

Now look back at this year’s football World Cup held in South Africa.

Even before South Africa had been named host of the football extravaganza, in typical fashion, some media were already foreseeing disaster.

Crime in the country is scandalous.

Tourists will be raped and killed.

The country is ravaged by HIV and Aids.

The transportation system in the country is dysfunctional.

The stadia might not be finished in time.

In short, South Africa is both not ready and unsuitable to host the world’s biggest sporting event.

So the world was warned.

The likes of Australia were then touted as alternative hosts of the tournament.

And the “cautious” ones started talking about bullet-proof vests for players and officials.

Granted, the crime and Aids stories about South Africa were not creations of the media.

But if anything, the negative publicity surrounding the World Cup in South Africa bordered on hypocrisy and stereotypes about Africans being a people who can’t organise anything.

When the tournament finally started, the English spoke about fearing snakes at their team’s training camp.

And when no one was robbed or shot dead or bitten by a snake, the Western media successfully turned their — and the world’s — attention to the vuvuzela.

Now they wanted to lecture Africans on how to enjoy the game in a civil manner.

Frankly speaking, that was clumsy and inept propaganda.

The media were not ashamed to play god while churning out hyperbolic and crass analogies based on surreal exaggerations.

Maybe, to their credit, they realised their folly and slithered into hibernation after South Africa delivered a largely incident-free, world-class tournament.

While they licked their wounds, they probably missed another golden opportunity to perpetuate their self-serving journalism.

By the time they woke up, their noses were stuffed with stench from the filthy toilets at the athletes’ village in New Delhi.

Lucky they have up to Thursday to enjoy the Indian hospitality.

They better enjoy it while it lasts because soon they will be back in their sparkling and unpolluted countries.


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