The real War
Nobody pays enough attention to the little black box that is inevitably there in every living room, bedroom, coffee shop, restaurant, etc. Everybody stares at it for hours and hours, perceiving all the information it sends to their little minds to absorb. Hypnotized, we never think about the effect this little box has on us, and don’t realize how addicted we’ve become to this “brainwash”.
In modern life, an ordinary man wakes up every morning, washes his face, brushes his teeth, drinks a cup of coffee, has a little breakfast while getting brainwashed, with the daily paper or even his iPad in his hands, or the television across the kitchen. He is certainly not to blame, for he only needs to be updated about the current political, economical and social situation all over the world, and there are only two explanations to the everlasting critical situation in these domains: either the media is deliberately spreading out only the negative news or the news is actually only bad.
In the first case scenario, the media would be a political weapon, a “chief ideological weapon”, brainwashing people into believing that there really is an economical or political crisis and that only the State would be able to pull them out of their misery, there are many examples in that respect, notably the events of 9/11, giving the United States of America an alibi to invade Iraq to prevent further terrorist actions and seize the weapons of mass destruction that are putting the lives of millions of American citizens at stake: “The media is the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that’s power, because they control the minds of the masses.” – Malcolm X.
In the second case scenario, politics would be an important weapon for the media itself, giving the people a reason to be concerned about the situation they are living in, a reason to be afraid of the extent of the crisis, a crisis that would make the media’s role primordial, in such a way that every person on the globe would always have to be connected to his Smartphone, his laptop, or any other device that keeps him updated on the news: a total control of all the information sent to an individual, either by news (telling you what to fear and hate), commercials and fashion (telling you what to buy), or television programs (telling you how to think), etc. It’s a simple equation, really, whoever controls the media, controls the mind, and whoever controls the mind controls the world. If we follow this logic, the inevitable mistake would be to think that the people who are ruling the world we live in are actually the superpowers that we constantly hear about in the media.
The effect of the media on the public opinion in Lebanon is not equivalent to its effect on the public opinion in more established countries, such as the United States of America, England and many others.
The more established countries claim to be proper democracies, even though the invariability of the media in these countries is outrageous, in fact “Any dictator would admire the uniformity and obedience of the U.S. media” (Noam Chomsky), the media is clearly expressing the ideology of a determined group of society: the wealthy capitalists, who control not only the media companies and therefore all the information the “free citizen” gets, but also the banks, the judges, the politicians who are only there to give this “free citizen” the idea that he has freedom of choice which he doesn’t, and own the biggest corporations, who only want to get wealthier and wealthier, and the only way to do so is with total control of the mind; they cannot afford to take a chance and allow the citizens to be well informed, to be well educated, to have critical thinking, because as George Carlin very wisely said: “the owners of this country know the truth: it’s called ‘the American dream’ cause you have to be asleep to believe it”. (The USA)
In less established countries such as Lebanon, where there are laws to protect the freedom of the press, laws that protect the people from the press are greatly needed: the media companies in this really small country of ours work day in and day out to tear its people further apart, and the divergence in religious and political beliefs these companies emphasis on is becoming more and more dangerous, and is threatening the survival of our beloved country, all to serve foreign agendas that wouldn’t do any good for the people.
On the 19th of October 2012, an explosion rocked the streets of Beirut taking the lives of many innocent people, wounding many more, an explosion that appeared to have targeted Brigadier General Wissam al-Hasan, chief of the Intelligence Bureau of the Internal Security Forces, this first attack in the Lebanese capital since 2008 is a very unfortunate event that clearly has for sole purpose to ignite a strife in the country. And how did the media react? They reacted in a disgraceful yet predictable way, jumping into conclusions just four hours after the explosion and not only accusing a party or another of the assassination but condemning them for the dangerous crime (it’s a crime against the interior security of the state, and is considered as an act of terrorism according to the article 314 of the Lebanese Criminal Code, the three materialistic conditions that constitute this crime are met: it is an act aimed to create a state of alarm, that has been committed with explosions, and likely to create a danger for the public). And yet, notwithstanding the seriousness of the crime, here is what some television companies announced that day, in the introduction of their news, a relatively recent phenomenon, which is mainly destined to guide the viewers’ thinking in a certain direction before the “objective” news broadcasting starts:
[…] “القتلة هم انفسهم هوياتهم باتت معروفة وبصماتهم باتت مكشوفة، انهم القتلة الذين استدفوا الرئيس الشهيد رفيق الحريري وشهداء الاستقلال الثاني” […]
[…] ”وكانت أيادي الإجرام نفسها استهدفت المقدم سمير شحادة لكنه نجا يومها باعجوبة. يمكن لمن وزع الحلوى لحظة استشهاد جبران ونحر الخراف باستشهاد بشير وسكر باستشهاد رفيق وهلل لمن اغتالهم قبلهم وبعدهم، أن يقيم الاحتفال بنيله من وسام الحسن. لكن على اللبنانيين الذين وضعوا وسام الحسن في موقع الخصومة، أن يذرفوا الدمع بغزارة على استشهاده “ […]
[…] “فالمكان الذي استهدف فيه واستشهد فيه لا يبعد سوى عشرات الأمتار عن المرآب الذي سلمت فيه عبوات سماحة.”[…]
The war of the media at its best, a far cry from legal procedures, and once again, it’s taking place on Lebanese soil.