Rabat - The answer is, of course, going to depend on which side of the line one is standing and whether their concern is to conceal or to reveal and disclose. When, for instance, the Secretary of State of the United States, a General of the army that takes itself to be the most moral in the world, shows the United Nations Security Council he was addressing a vial pretending it contained the evidence of the guilt of Iraq, it is war he wanted. Not only does he not hesitate to tell a blatant lie to have his war, but he makes sure he has the media with him and that they they have no other option.
Rabat – The answer is, of course, going to depend on which side of the line one is standing and whether their concern is to conceal or to reveal and disclose. When, for instance, the Secretary of State of the United States, a General of the army that takes itself to be the most moral in the world, shows the United Nations Security Council he was addressing a vial pretending it contained the evidence of the guilt of Iraq, it is war he wanted. Not only does he not hesitate to tell a blatant lie to have his war, but he makes sure he has the media with him and that they they have no other option.
Without winking, looking everyone straight in the eye, he was building an argument to justify a global war against a country he and the media knew was innocent. The media bought the lie and ensured the widest dissemination to it. When years later the lie had been demonstrated over and over and the General Secretary of State had to admit he had told a falsehood, the media did not make it news. They took the complaint that he had been deceived by his secret services for cash. They, just like he, explained they had no reason to challenge the accusations nor the legitimacy and good intentions of whoever had lied first. Exceptions were few and far between!
One would have guessed that since that day and regardless of whether he was earnest or not, very few, if any, would ever believe either an American official or media, especially when they are talking about war. One would have expected the popular wisdom “once bitten, twice shy” to end up gaining worth among people! This, however, is a naive underestimation of the power of mainstream media.
It seems that the more a political system relies for its economic survival on being at war with other nations and for its own sustainability on the suppression of freedoms and liberties, the less likely it can resist the temptation of manipulation communication strategies to justify the continuous investments and preparations for further engagements and hostilities even when there are no signs of threat to its security looming ahead.
While, for example, one may understand why the USA had built a ring of deadly weapons around former USSR and is currently building one around the Russian Federation, they will find explanations neither to why she has done the same with China nor why she has kept it secret. One wonders why mainstream US media has not been as interested in the defensive schemes against communist China, the largest Asian country, as it has always been in those against Russia. Likewise, one would have more difficulties understanding why so much law enforcement violence against minorities has been occulted for so long and has only recently become news.
In fact, the USA is choking China with a chain of military bases and an armada of more submarines than anyone can imagine. Thousands of miles away of her own frontiers and very close to China, the USA has placed scores of military bases and an armada of more submarines all aiming their thousands of their mass destruction engines at China less than four hundred miles away from its major industrial base. China, it has to be said, has only four military bases outside her national territory none of which presents the least threat to the USA! Why does the USA continue to build up striking power against a country with no belligerent intentions? If this is not provocation, let mainstream media explain what it is now that social and alternative media have revealed it.
Most Americans are not aware of these facts. Neither their politicians, many of whom are closely related to the arms industry, nor their mainstream media, many of which have for long become complacent and corrupt, ever entertain them about these facts. Citizens are hardly ever allowed the time to think. They are maintained busy shopping, working hard to pay loans and make ends meet when they are not watching or talking about reality shows, popular sports, debilitating talkshows, soap operas and commercials and getting fat and cancer on junk food and soft drinks. Everything is done to prevent them asking and trying to find answers to such questions as “why should the USA have so many military bases in the Middle East, in Africa, in Asia and in South America? What is the real function of these bases? Whose interests are they really serving? What kind of outposts are American citizens supporting with their tax money and the lives of their boys and girls? How come their governments find money to fund military bases but not health care and education services? What is it that makes their governments want to police the whole world and who is paying for that and who is getting rich doing it? What makes a President of their country deserve to be shot at with shoes in foreign countries?
The verdict of researchers and academics is irrevocable. Mainstream politics has espoused occult finance and the arms’ industry and media has taken sides with both and has thus become an accomplice of shady politicians and of dubious financial centers. Both are guilty not only of maintaining the population in complete haze about how decisions are made and what vested interests the policies of their governments serve, but of making hardworking, law abiding and God loving individuals play the role of the villain in it all. Facts are concealed from the people unless they are trivialities, events are not covered unless they are miscellaneous, no sound alternative analyses are presented of issues that count, their brightest scholars and intellectuals are kept away of public debate and the voices of incompetent characters are broadcast around the clock. When headlines are not mere lies and happen to address critical issues, they are either so complex and ambiguous no one understands their real scope or are bundles of explosive emotions inciting hate and violence.
Signs of hope are, however, coming from everywhere. Major media warehouses are going bankrupt losing their audiences in many circles to social media and to independent satellite radio and TV channels blooming all over the world. Alternative sources of information, essentially social media, that got loose of the control of the mighty financial centers that held them tightly are providing citizens with wider ranges of choice, more diversity, more intelligent debate, more responsible discussions and authentic opportunities to be heard. In fact, innovative approaches such as crowd funding and new information technologies are empowering citizens and social media. They are also creating a devastating competition to the traditional corruption crippled media.
The direct control of politics of media has proved its limitations during the “Arab Spring,” the Podemos movement, the Hong Kong sit-ins and other such community-based political actions. People, especially younger generations, discovered new channels with new points of view, new editorial lines, new levels of language and new margins of freedom of expression. Social media have shown their practically unlimited resources in shortcutting mainstream media in bringing updates directly from where the news is made by those very ones who make it around the clock. New heroes are created, new social and political values are addressed and promoted and political alternatives no one dared think about are treated as matter of fact necessities. While, however, these new media have contributed to the fall of dictatorships, they have also been instrumental in achieving gruesome schemes of extremist groups. The notion that the world has become a village is taking a painful meaning as terrorism is broadcasting over frontiers and recruiting for its criminal actions from inside the homes of societies that thought they were immune to radicalization.
In Morocco, social media played a critical role in the last two elections giving a clear advantage to those who have understood their power and learnt to use them. Not only have they sidelined official communication warehouses but they have neutralized those who stayed behind and stuck to traditional strategies. In more recent days, they have mobilized thousands of teacher trainees and parents against two governmental decrees and are currently gathering momentum against what is presented as undue privileges granted to Ministers and Parliament Members. The privileges are expected to be dropped shortly. They have also been proved to be the major medium of the radicalization of youth and of the spread of obscurantist ideologies that threaten the stability of the country. Counter strategies and resources to implement them are yet to be invented and identified.
The seeds of a new breed of communication are sown. Pictures, interviews and footage from battlefields, demonstrations, sites of social turmoil, parliament benches with members dozing or engrossed in video games or exchanging tough language, scenes of terrorist crimes and of torture of war prisoners, cases of bribery or abuse by law enforcement officers on minority citizens or minors which mainstream media would not have circulated are taken by and circulated in real time on smart phones and tablets. Besides such leaks which are circulated widely on social media and open up previously closed circles to the public at large, the voices of individuals banned for different reasons from mainstream media are carried and conveyed in interviews, conferences and texts through homemade websites and personal blogs. Like any other technology, however, social media and the alternatives it provides to dominant mainstream monopolies can go any direction those who can control it want to take it. No value judgments are made here.
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