During and following a lecture on November 17, Rowan Williams, former Archbishop of Canterbury, spoke to the media’s dehumanization of ISIS:
Instead, journalists should ‘attempt to understand our enemies’, Dr Rowan Williams, now Master of Magdalene College Cambridge, said, giving the 2015 Orwell Lecture at University College London last night.
‘Somehow the obstinate attempt to make sense of those who are determined to make no sense of me is one of the things that divides civilisation from barbarism, faith from emptiness. You have to try.’
There are some exceptions, he says:
Dr Williams commended some media reaction to the recent killings in Paris and the ongoing Syrian crisis: ‘I’m interested that a number of media outlets have still wanted to hold back a little bit and say, “Hang on, we don’t just want to go down the route of saying there’s nothing to be said, there’s no imagining of the other to be done.’’ So it’s not all bad.’
He also said that it was still possible to go to war without ‘dehumanising the enemy’.
But the more mechanized and distant the war, the harder it was, he added.
‘Drones and distance warfare, modern warfare does pose a particular moral problem.’
Lapidomedia’s coverage of the lecture and discussion can be found here.