Saturday, April 23, 2011

The News Is Not Enough

In the last 4 months, I followed the dynamics of war torn countries in Africa more than I normally would. This was largely due to my presence in the region and the effect these activities might have on my future location. Throughout this, one principal observation sounds out loud. The villains that are born from newsrooms may not necessarily be.

The logic is simple. If history is written by those who won the war, none can refuse the importance of mass media in correcting the direction of that history. Which is why coups generally involve capture of the State Media infrastructure as the immediate priority after the outgoing head of state himself.

Hence, when the breaking news from CNN or Fox talked about how Gaddafi was not broadcasting anti-Gadaffi protests in the state television, the world population, needless to say was stupid enough to not ask back why these democratic channels weren't broadcasting pro-Gaddafi protests. I hold no opinion on whether he was actually a bad man - No one person should be in power for so long anyway or treat civilians as he did.

But Facts are critical.

I certainly would cry foul at the ex-allies striking down on a foreign government, that so far, kept most western oil majors at bay from getting their paws at the reserves. Shouldn't a country solve it's own problems? Of course it should. Which is why foreign interference can be justified only by the portrayal of an absolute villain.

I would find out why the US hates Fidel Castro when he helped arm Guinea Bissau freedom force push the Portuguese colonists out.

I would find out why locals here in Africa say that Gaddafi funded most of the revolutions against tyrant leaders in West Africa and gives Oil at a subsidized rate to poor African countries rather than rich American buyers.

I would investigate the reason for Sarkozi's blood boiling for Libya and clearly not that of half the Libyan population itself that is standing by the current Government foreign policies.

I would question why Obama wants to save humanity in only Libya while Mugabe continues to fire away unabated.

Fundamentally, I suggest that you verify the history and context of an event that is on news. Not judge the event itself on television. Probably from a more democratic albeit academically unsound source of facts, The Wikipedia.