Escape patterns

I woke up in a hotel room in London, checked my phone that had somehow shifted the time (one hour forward or back) and switched on the BBC to watch empty, repetitive reporting of the mass murder of 38 foreign tourists - mostly British - on a beach in Tunisia by a 23 year-old, high on cocaine, associated with Islamic State.

Reminding me of a critique of the sole focus on the escape of (white) foreigners at the end of the movie adaptation of Christopher Koch's extraordinary 1978 novel about journalism, and journalists (and Australia in its essence) The Year of Living Dangerously, the BBC coverage only had one angle: the exodus of British tourists.

There were no interviews with Tunisians, or experts; only live crosses to journalists waiting at the airports in the country's north. Now, this may reflect budget cuts, rather than anything more complex, but I was struck my the emptiness of it all. Since then, UK newspapers have covered the stories of bravery and loss, the arbitrary nature of the violence.

And it is a violence that leaves you floundering, as I am here in a way, when confronted by the idea of losing three generations of one family on a low-cost beach holiday: and yes, the location is crucial in terms of the IS propaganda effect, just as it was with the Islamist attack at Bali in 2002 where 202 were killed.

Very few journalists referred to the massacre of at least 145 civilians in Syria's Kobani by IS on the same day as the Tunisian atrocity.

But I wonder why I find the need to include that as note-worthy or important, while IS is extending its reach to the West Bank and progressively taking control of Iraq's major cities. There is something unspeakable, outside of our capacity to respond in all of this.