Can we make the concept of liberating countries via military aggression outdated?
The war in Ukraine has suddenly started everyone talking about the Russian propaganda machine – for very good reasons.
For some, this might have been the first time when the role of media in warmongering was brought to their attention – but can it be extended to noticing it in the Western media?
Naturally, it’s easier to think propaganda is something “the others” do. The “bad countries”. “Regimes”. It’s easier to see state-owned media in Russia as advancing Russia’s agenda than to apply the same logic to, for example, the BBC. And it’s definitely easier not to notice warmongering in our own countries than to actively point to it and engage in potentially uncomfortable conversations.
On a psychological level, I think a lot of this stems from a very simple desire to hold onto dichotomies (“good” vs “evil”, “liberation” vs “military occupation”) and to see ourselves as being heroes rather than villains of our own lives. But on a collective/political level, holding onto these dichotomies – and rosy glasses – can mean missing out on what’s right in front of us.
I saw this post on Twitter that I thought captures so well how warmongering can seemingly slip into the mainstream media if we’re not careful. And only if we realise that it can come from countries whose political systems we don’t call “regimes”:
My comment here is simple: if we think it is only RT and not the Western media that is engaging in war propaganda, try replacing all the names of countries in this post with “Ukraine” and see how it sounds.
And if “Russian bombs make Ukraine stronger” makes you uncomfortable but “American bombs make Iraq stronger” doesn’t, this is where you can find space for reflection.
Now, the question is: will we see a further opening in people’s curiosity toward how consent for wars gets manufactured?
Will we agree now that bombs, destruction, and killings don’t liberate people?
Or will we continue distinguishing between what those bombs do to white and non-white populations?
I surely hope for the former.
Find my episode on political education below:
Subscribe to my articles below or check out and subscribe to my free newsletter on Substack!
Massacre in Jenin: The World Continues to Look Away as Israeli Forces Murder Palestinians in a Refugee Camp
As Israeli forces raid Jenin and murder nine Palestinians – making it ten in a day – will we see any international condemnation? And what’s the role of the media here?Continue reading
To ask what good happened in any year might sound like a controversial question. Yet we have to train ourselves to notice – and to celebrate – the victories for human rights throughout the world. This is what I do in my episode as look at 2022 and identify what good happened in the UK/Palestine,…Continue reading
On January 8, 2023, Brazil suffered yet another form of attack on democracy. What was it exactly? How does it compare to the January 6 insurrection in the US? And how is the country moving forward with president Lula ahead?Continue reading
When it comes to your political education, how do you decide what sources to trust? What are your criteria to choose what you consume and what source to give more importance to? In my episode, I present my own criteria but, more importantly, encourage you to define your own.Continue reading
How does a county fall from the podium of democracy? And is it always a sudden fall? When it’s not something sudden and obvious, like a military coup, but a gradual process, it can be more difficult to spot, point a finger to, and name. So what does it entail?Continue reading