Tuesday, January 26, 2010


When will the Times of Swaziland stop insulting the intelligence of its readers over al-Qaeda terrorist threats in the kingdom?

The Times and its companion newspapers have been running articles designed to raise the level of fear among Swazis that they are in immediate threat from ‘Asians’ or ‘Muslims’ who are secretly in Swaziland plotting destruction.

The latest episode in this fantasy comes in the Times today (26 January 2010). The newspaper reports that the Muslim cleric Sheikh Abdullah el-Faisal has been in Swaziland ‘recruiting young men who would act as suicide bombers during the FIFA Football World Cup to be hosted by South Africa in June’.

These so-called ‘suicide bombers’ are, the Times tells us, ‘Muslim extremists who would cause terror at the upcoming world showpiece’.

And what’s the Times’ evidence for this? It copied the story down from the City Press newspaper in South Africa.

And where did the City Press get the story? It copied it down from the Sunday Standard newspaper in Botswana.

Do the remember the Standard? Obviously the journalists at the Times don’t. The Standard is the newspaper that in early 2009 told us that al Qaeda terrorists may be in Swaziland disguised as secondhand car salesmen.

They weren’t and they aren’t.

The Standard went further and reported that al Qaeda terrorists were infiltrating Botswana and 10 nations across the world, ‘Brazil, Namibia, South Africa, Malaysia, Venezuela, Bolivia, Lesotho, Mauritius, Swaziland, and Trinidad and Tobago’.

Nonsense. But the Swaziland journalists fell for it (that time it was mainly the Swazi Observer).

Still the Swazi journalists don’t stop and think. They are going great damage to ‘Asians’ and ‘Muslims’ by spreading a fear that they may be terrorists.

They are also playing into the hands of the repressive regime led by King Mswati III, sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch. Every time the media raise fear it gives the anti-democratic supporters of the king the excuse to clamp down on legitimate dissent in the kingdom.

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