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5 Canadians killed in Afghanistan; 4 Soldiers and Michelle Lang of the Calgary Herald

Debater
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Debater
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"Five Canadians were killed in Afghanistan on Wednesday — four soldiers and a Calgary reporter.

Brig.-Gen. Daniel Ménard said one Canadian civilian was also wounded in the attack.

The journalist was identified as Michelle Lang, who worked for the Calgary Herald.

Lang, who was 34, grew up in Vancouver and was a well-respected health reporter for the Herald, winning a National Newspaper Award in 2008 for best beat reporting. She had also worked in Regina and Moose Jaw."


N.Beltov
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That's the first "embedded" Canadian journalist killed in Afghanistan. How many more will be killed before the Ottawa regime (whatever its political "flavour") decides to take their occupation troops out of there?


SparkyOne
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N.Beltov wrote:

How many more will be killed before the Ottawa regime (whatever its political "flavour") decides to take their occupation troops out of there?

Probably when people stop asking the same exact question (How many more, when will it end?!) and actually do something about it.

 

What to do is the question.

N.Beltov what can people like you and me do to end the occupation?


Unionist
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Too bad someone forgot to explain some history to Michelle Lang before she went there. She might have decided to go report on a country where the people invited her in without guns pointed at their heads.

SparkyOne, there is no need for you or N.Beltov to do anything. The Afghan people are in the process of ending the occupation, as their ancestors have done before them. They don't need our help (although I'm sure it would be appreciated). Just wait and see.


Wilf Day
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Unionist wrote:
Too bad someone forgot to explain some history to Michelle Lang before she went there. She might have decided to go report on a country where the people invited her in without guns pointed at their heads.

I have to disagree strongly. Michelle Lang was a working journalist, not an advocate. She went where the story was happening.

Michelle Lang, with a whole life to live, gave her life so that the story could be told.

“I'm not here to rewrite what the public affairs people tell me,” she said. “It seems like the real stories are out in the field.” The most honourable death.

Graeme Smith:

Quote:
Why bother? Sometimes you ask yourself that question with a note of bitterness. All the best information in the world has not stopped Kandahar from slipping further into chaos. You cannot pretend that journalists have solved any of the problems in southern Afghanistan. Still, you are optimistic by nature. You hope that better understanding of the war will somehow help the situation.


Unionist
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I appreciate your viewpoint, Wilf, but mine is different. If a Russian journalist embedded with invading Soviet troops were killed by Hungarian resistance fighters in 1956, or Czechs in 1968, or a Japanese journalist accompanying his troops into China in the 1930s, I would have felt exactly the same. I have no way of judging their individual views or motivations, nor do I particularly care. They enter a war zone under the protection of the invaders and with a mission to glorify the invasion, which they individually fulfill more or less well. If they take on a role (say) of supporting the insurgents, they will be gone in two seconds flat. To think otherwise is to suffer from acute näiveté.

This death is no more honourable than that of a Tim Horton's employee in Kandahar who is killed through collateral damage. The difference, if any, is the level of service and disinformation rendered to the "mission" by a captive journalist than by a humble worker just doing their job.

Now, had she been killed while visiting the insurgents, at their invitation, to get their side of the story, I would have wept at the irony and injustice of the situation.

ETA: For those who would like to judge for themselves whether Ms. Lang told "the real stories ... out in the field" rather than "rewrite what the public affairs people tell me", as she is quoted by Wilf as saying, please have a look at her blog:

Afghanistan Dispatches

... and judge for yourselves.


Debater
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N.Beltov wrote:

That's the first "embedded" Canadian journalist killed in Afghanistan. How many more will be killed before the Ottawa regime (whatever its political "flavour") decides to take their occupation troops out of there?

I wonder that too.  We shouldn't be in Afghanistan.  I wish the mission had come to an end in 2009 like it was supposed to and was not extended to 2011.  So many Canadians have now died unnecessarily as a result of the mission being extended.


N.Beltov
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Unionist wrote:
SparkyOne, there is no need for you or N.Beltov to do anything. The Afghan people are in the process of ending the occupation, as their ancestors have done before them. They don't need our help (although I'm sure it would be appreciated). Just wait and see.

There's plenty Canadians can do. They can participate in any and all anti-war activities designed to pressure the Canadian regime (oops - I mean "our" government) to pull their troops out of Afghanistan immediately. They can help build the strength of anti-war organizations in general. They can humiliate any and every Canadian MP who supports the continuing NATO occupation (ISAF cover, notwithstanding) any way they can, especially by working to defeat them at the polls, whenever that comes, and so on. The role of American opponents to the atrocities in Viet Nam was a significant contribution to the eventual withdrawal from that country. Why should Canada be any different?


Debater
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Why should Canada be any different?  Well, unfortunately as someone said on the prorogation thread, Canadians are passive and docile by nature and are not normally willing to stand up and take an aggressive position on an issue.

Hopefully though the mounting number of casualties will continue to raise public opposition to the war.


Lou Arab
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Unionist wrote:

Too bad someone forgot to explain some history to Michelle Lang before she went there. She might have decided to go report on a country where the people invited her in without guns pointed at their heads.

Wow, that is really callous and uncalled for Unionist. 

I see someone killed while on the job, at far too young an age, and you practically lecture her and imply she had it coming.

If my country goes to war, especially if I don't support that action, I want a few reporters to over there to cover things.  Others in this thread suggested she was an 'embedded' journalist, I see no evidence of that.

I think every death in Afganastan is tragic.  Sure, a journalists death will get more attention than that of an Afgan civillian, and sure that's not fair.  But it doesn't mean we should dance on the grave of any of the casualties.


Jingles
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I want a few reporters to over there to cover things.  Others in this thread suggested she was an 'embedded' journalist, I see no evidence of that.

Of course she was embedded. She died in an LAV, for chrissakes. You don't get much more embedded than that.

As the idiot reporter for the CBC said (paraphrased) "she was covering the Canadian troops as they went on a routine patrol, protecting villages and making the area safe". Uh huh. That's what they're doing.

Her job was the same as that idiot CBC reporter (although "idiot" and "CBC reporter" are synonyms): to glorify the occupation, to sugarcoat the brutality, and to "catapult the propaganda" as a great man once said.

She served at the pleasure of Her Majesty's Canadian Forces and Stephen Harper. Too bad she gave her life for him.


N.Beltov
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Lou Arab wrote:
If my country goes to war, especially if I don't support that action, I want a few reporters to over there to cover things.  Others in this thread suggested she was an 'embedded' journalist, I see no evidence of that.

 

Well, here's some evidence maybe ...

 

Is that Michelle Lang saying "Cheese" for the camera?

 

Five dead in Kandahar, eight CIA operatives killed in Khost, ... and so it goes.

 


Lou Arab
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Jingles wrote:

Too bad she gave her life for him.

Do you really think that?  I don't get the sense you are genuine, but perhaps I'm wrong. 

I just can't imagine you would cop that attitude if you met Michelle Lang's family.  This is someone who was doing a job.  She was a worker, and she was killed working.  I find the callousness of this thread very hard to take.

And as for the photo posted by N. Beltov - are you suggesting that if someone wears protective gear in a war zone, they get what's coming to them?


N.Beltov
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Lou - I was showing that this journalist was embedded in every sense of the word. Protected by the occupying military, etc.

Anyway, let me just add that I beg to differ as well; these are not tragic but senseless deaths. They could have been prevented if these people, who should not have been there, were not there. Period. ON the contrary side, tragedy has aspects of the unavoidable. Like our owns deaths - all of which are inevitable (eventually). This award winning reporter - expert on health issues if you please - may have had a passport to further journalistic kudos and awards by putting herself in harm's way, but why go to an occupied country in the first place? And who convinced her that this was a good idea?


Jingles
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Quote:
Retired Gen. Rick Hillier, former Chief of Defence Staff, hails the bravery of Michelle Lang as “golden and rare.”

“The sometimes ‘normal mistrust’ between soldiers and reporters was usually quickly overcome when soldiers saw that accompanying reporters were taking the same risks as themselves to do their job,” Rick Hillier told me on Wednesday. “Those who reported on war and did it from the front lines, without which they could not get the story right, deserve a special place in our history.”

Note the part about the "right" story. That is, the story DND and Harper want to tell. She was a willing accomplice.

Again, her "job" was propagandist. Her activities were monitored and approved by DND. She was part of the occupation, and as such was a perfectly legitimate target for the resistance.

 

 


Wilf Day
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Jingles wrote:
She served at the pleasure of Her Majesty's Canadian Forces and Stephen Harper. Too bad she gave her life for him.

That is so grossly indecent to any journalist, or family member of a journalist, that I will not dignify it with a response. Totalitarian regimes consider journalists legitimate targets. Any babbler who does so deserves to be banned from babble.

N.Beltov wrote:
They could have been prevented if these people, who should not have been there, were not there.

If no Canadian journalists were our eyes and ears in war zones, what would we know about anything happening there? Nothing except CNN stories, and DND public affairs releases which may be well intentioned but don't claim objectivity.


N.Beltov
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Various Canadian governments have now sent 138 soliders, one diplomat, and one journalist to their deaths in Afghanistan.

Arrest the government already. Stop these senseless deaths.


Lou Arab
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Joined: Jul 25 2001

N. Beltov - you asked if she said "cheese" to the camera.  Your post (#14) implies she went to Afganastan seeking kudos and awards.

The impression given by your comments is that you think she had it coming.  You claim it's senseless (I agree) but you just had to qualify it, didn't you?  Would you make those comments to her parents or her fiance if you were to meet them this week?

Look, embedded or not, if there are no journalists in Afganastan, Canadians are at the total mercy of the Conservative government to tell us what's happening over there.  Journalists have a tough time figuring out how to report the war in a fair manner.  These are not black and white issues.  I know a number of reporters and they agonize over this stuff.

All I'm suggesting is that Michelle Lang was a decent person and a good reporter and she deserves better than the ill-concieved glee and insufferable smugness expressed here in reaction to her death.  You don't have to support the war, or even like Lang's stories, but show some basic human decency. 

I'm sure your parents raised you better.


Jingles
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Quote:
That is so grossly indecent to any journalist, or family member of a journalist, that I will not dignify it with a response. Totalitarian regimes consider journalists legitimate targets. Any babbler who does so deserves to be banned from babble.

Geez, I guess the death of a Most Worthy Victim really affects some people. Settle down, ffs.

Meanwhile....

Quote:
American-led troops were accused yesterday of dragging innocent children from their beds and shooting them during a night raid that left ten people dead.

I guess Ms. Long was busy that day being the eyes and ears of Canadians in war zones, reporting on how much the Troops support our Olympic hockey team, or how Tim Horton's is really, really tasty.


N.Beltov
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You're completely wrong Lou. In drawing attention to the stupidity and senselessness of Michelle Lang's death, I'm arguing that no more Canadians should be put in the same position as her ... whether they want to or not. We have more than enough information now, we don't need any more to prove the point that Canada's role in the NATO occupation should end.

I don't like to see dead Canadians and I want it to stop. Do you?


Frmrsldr
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N.Beltov wrote:

That's the first "embedded" Canadian journalist killed in Afghanistan. How many more will be killed before the Ottawa regime (whatever its political "flavour") decides to take their occupation troops out of there?

How many more will be killed before the mainstream Canadian media turn against the war.

This war would end pretty quickly if Canadian soldiers and the media publicly turned against it.


Frmrsldr
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SparkyOne wrote:

N.Beltov wrote:

How many more will be killed before the Ottawa regime (whatever its political "flavour") decides to take their occupation troops out of there?

Probably when people stop asking the same exact question (How many more, when will it end?!) and actually do something about it.

What to do is the question.

N.Beltov what can people like you and me do to end the occupation?

Raise a little hell. Protest! Protest! Protest!


Lou Arab
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Joined: Jul 25 2001

N.Beltov wrote:

You're completely wrong Lou. In drawing attention to the stupidity and senselessness of Michelle Lang's death, I'm arguing that no more Canadians should be put in the same position as her ... whether they want to or not. We have more than enough information now, we don't need any more to prove the point that Canada's role in the NATO occupation should end.

I don't like to see dead Canadians and I want it to stop. Do you?

Damn right I want it to stop. 

And there is nothing wrong with drawing attention to the stupidity and senselessness of her death.

But that's not what you are doing.  You are practically celebrating her death and strongly implying she deserved it.  That is what I find hard to take.


Frmrsldr
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.


thorin_bane
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Bingo jingles...much like the pro war CBC as of late. It's all about pumping up the good news while putting a positive or simple skipping over the bad. When was there a story about how many school we have made or haven't? Or when a soldeir dies they only ever show the families that say "He was proud and so are we of what he was doing" Of course critical thought of murdering and or handing over civilians to be tortured couldn't possibly lead to more fresh recruits in a guerilla(sp) war that we will lose.

As far as the government is concerned, she is grist in the mill to help pump up why we have to stay or how evil they are or somesuch BS. Not to worry I am sure she will get a posthumas medal of courage. Not that it will do her much good. But boy those rose-coloured reports sure looked good at the time didn't they. Accolades for propoganda do you no good when you are dead. Brian Stewart has done some very good reporting orf trouble spots, but I don't believe he was in a military unit reporting. I miss Paul Workman.


Lou Arab
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It's late, I'm signing off.  I'll check in tomorrow when I get a chance.


Jingles
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Quote:
This war would end pretty quickly if Canadian soldiers and the media publicly turned against it.

That's just it. The media will never turn against it.

I challenge anyone to find just one Canadian mainstream media report that challenges the very legitimacy of the occupation. One measley story that tells what Afghaniis think after the LAVs leave the village. Just one report that doesn't go through DND and the PMO before it makes the paper.

Hell, find one reporter that even calls it an occupation.

 


N.Beltov
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Lou, you were a little off on the question of this reporters' embeddedness. I don't have a problem with that. God knows i'm off sometimes. Please don't mistake my mocking you for mocking the dead.


Frmrsldr
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Wilf Day wrote:

Unionist wrote:
Too bad someone forgot to explain some history to Michelle Lang before she went there. She might have decided to go report on a country where the people invited her in without guns pointed at their heads.

I have to disagree strongly. Michelle Lang was a working journalist, not an advocate. She went where the story was happening.

Michelle Lang, with a whole life to live, gave her life so that the story could be told.

“I'm not here to rewrite what the public affairs people tell me,” she said. “It seems like the real stories are out in the field.” The most honourable death.

etend that journalists have solved any of the problems in southern Afghanistan. Still, you are optimistic by nature. You hope that better understanding of the war will somehow help the situation.

What bullshit. She used to do local puff pieces. She probably went to Afghanistan out of career opportunism (it would look great on a resume and advance her career.)

She was embedded with the troops (unlike Graeme Smith). It was a case of a war porn infomercial puff piece not turning out the way her military handlers had hoped or expected.

Keep in mind that Tet turned one of the greatest journalists, Walter Kronkite against the Vietnam War.

As a soldier, the more I found out about what was really going on in Afghanistan, the more I turned against the war.


Frmrsldr
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Debater wrote:

N.Beltov wrote:

That's the first "embedded" Canadian journalist killed in Afghanistan. How many more will be killed before the Ottawa regime (whatever its political "flavour") decides to take their occupation troops out of there?

I wonder that too.  We shouldn't be in Afghanistan.  I wish the mission had come to an end in 2009 like it was supposed to and was not extended to 2011.  So many Canadians have now died unnecessarily as a result of the mission being extended.

You forget that originally Canada was to militarily disengage from Afghanistan in 2007. Harper introduced, not one, but two War Resolutions in the House that were passed by the Conservatives and the collaboration/connivance of the Liberals.


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