Speech Kills Afghan Gov.

New York Times and the Wall Street Journal covered the fatal death of Afghan Governor, Arsala Jamal, on October 15th.  New York Times writer, Azam Ahmed, published this piece on the incident: “Afghan Provincial Governor Killed in Mosque Attack.”  Wall Street Journal writer, Margherita Stancati, wrote, “Bomb Kills Governor in Afghanistan.”  Both articles have since been edited.  Additionally, I feel as though both articles are very well-written, but in need of certain changes.  The articles may not be newsworthy or coverage page worthy; however, the articles establish critical information and provide appropriate consideration to the deceased.

Bombings and overall violence is prevalent in the Middle East, maybe that’s a bit stereotypical of me, but that’s what many news outlets have exposed me to.  This particular bombing caught my eye because a government official was killed.  Afghan provincial governor, Arsala Jamal, died on Tuesday after an explosive device implanted in the microphone he was holding blew up.  WSJ states, “The attack at the Pul-e-Alam mosque in Logar had killed only the provincial governor, Arsala Jamal.”

Stancati’s WSJ article neglects to report whether this attack was random, religiously based, or an actual attack on the former governor.  I’m eventually led to believe that the attack was directed toward Jamal; however, it does not say for sure.  Also I think it would be very beneficial to include whether or not anyone one else was injured or not (the newly edited version includes that “15 other people were injured”).  Both articles could have slightly expanded its content.  While it’s crucial to report on the subject, the governor, both articles should also focus on the citizens.  The WSJ and NY Times could benefit from gaining witness testimonies, categorizing the aftermath of the mosque destruction, and quoting the provincial governor’s trusted confidants.  I understand that this story doesn’t hold as much relevance and importance as other stories; certainly the government shutdown has overshadowed many stories, but I think this article could have possibly been extended.

I appreciated the secureness and explanation in Ahmed’s NY Times article.  Ahmed states:

“Mosque attacks have been a bewildering, and frequent, strategy of the insurgents in Afghanistan, who proclaim Islamic law as the only just system. While mosques offer rare opportunities for people to approach leaders in a less-secure environment, such attacks in holy places often erode the credibility of insurgents with the local population.”

Also I liked Ahmed’s explanation of who Arsala Jamal really was and what he did for his community.  I found it interesting that NY Times decided to print that Jamal was a Canadian citizen.   In the very beginning it states: “Early reports suggested that the attack had killed only the governor, Arsala Jamal of Logar Province, who held both Afghan and Canadian citizenship (slightly altered from original text).” It makes it seem like it was more close to home and it makes me wonder why he decided to move overseas.


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