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The War Nerd February 20, 2003
Algeria: The Psychos Will Inherit the Earth
By Gary Brecher Browse author Email

Some wars make it onto the TV news, and some don't. It's got nothing to do with how bloody or big they are. There are lots of pissant little "wars" that get more press than they deserve. Like Northern Ireland. In 25 years of fighting, you know how many people got killed? 3,100. That works out to 125 people per year. Per YEAR! That's not as much as a three-day weekend in Detroit. But just look at how much press those few Irish killings got. Every time a little bomb went off or one of the local drunks got popped on St. Patrick's day it was all over the news. So by now everybody thinks Northern Ireland is this big, bad "trouble spot" when the truth is you'd probably have to jump in front of a bus to get hurt there. Going into a Fresno 7-ll after midnight is about a thousand times more dangerous.

Then there are the big, bloody wars that never get on TV at all. Like Algeria. When was the last time you saw a live report from Algeria on the news? 100,000 people got killed there in the last ten years. Maybe more, up to 170,000. Nobody's sure. And the killings were really sick too: slit throats, people burnt alive, mass rapes and various farm tools used in nasty ways. Real Khmer Rouge stuff, killing people with hoes to save bullets and make it as slow and bloody as possible.

You'd think the tv news types would like that. But they never show anything from Algeria. I've been wondering why that is, and I've come up with three reasons.

First, it's too real. Too dangerous. TV reporters are chickenshit. You could see how scared they were during the Gulf War even though everybody with any sense knew Saddam's shitty army couldn't beat an egg, let alone America. So these CNN stars love going on location to places like Northern Ireland, where they can wear bulletproof vests and look brave without any real chance they'll get hurt. But they won't go anywhere near Algeria, because the war there is for real. The Algerian Islamic crazies kill every journalist they catch. Allah don't like reporters. Wolf Blitzer's not going to risk his overpaid hide in a place like that.

Second, the people getting killed in Algeria are Arabs. And the fact is nobody likes Arabs. Yeah, Dubya has to go around saying we love Arabs to death but that's just politicians talking. Nobody really cares when they hear another few Palestinians got blasted in some West-Bank hellhole. And they care even less when it's Arabs in Algeria.

The funny thing is a lot of Algerians aren't Arabs at all. They're Berbers who have their own languge and don't like Arabs either. The Islamic throat-slitters hate the Berbers because Berbers like to drink wine and make music and generally have a good time. The Berbers actually sound like pretty decent people who just picked the wrong place to live, like the Kurds. They might've been OK if they hadn't been overrun by Arabs force-feeding their dumb-ass religion.

When you think about it, a lot of pretty interesting countries got swamped by the Arabs. Take the Egyptians, who had the coolest gods of anybody -- the one with the jackal's head, the sun-god, the sacred crocodiles. Or the Persians -- when you read about the Greeks' best battles like Marathon and Salamis, they're always against the Persians. The Persian army was like this giant zoo of tribal fighters under the Shah marching around on horses and camels, with every weapon in the world from slingers to heavy cavalry. Then the Arabs come screaming in out of the desert smashing up the statues of the Gods, burning and outlawing everything they can think of, and what have the Egyptians and the Persians and the Berbers got now? No music, no statues, no booze, women not allowed out on the street. What a fucking waste. Sounds a lot like my life, in fact. No wonder it gets me depressed.

The third reason nobody hears about Algeria is that there's no moral to the story, and news types can't handle a story with no angle. Algeria is just a bloody mess with no good guys, no happy ending, no "lessons" for anybody, and so many different bad guys that it makes no sense to outsiders.

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Gary Brecher
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