Iwill never forget those history lessons we had at school, especially when they covered World War II. I left school in 1974, but the message was still the same, we can never allow another World War II and the horrors it brought, not to just Jewish people but homosexuals and communists. In fact anyone that didn’t fit the in the criteria of the ‘Perfect Race’ was disposed of and exterminated.
I can remember the propaganda that was delivered by Lord Haw Haw as he spoke those words “Germany calling” as we sat in class listening to his broadcasts.
Each and everyone of us was taught the horrors of World War II and even today in the modern new era we still are influenced by propaganda. Speeches, ideas and media designed to make us think in one certain direction and designed to detract us from the truth.
In amongst the propaganda, the lies and the spin, lies the truth and we each have a moral duty to seek the truth and dismiss the propaganda and the lies and the spin.
Propaganda, lies and spin does nothing but create a mob mentality. A mob that are thinking collectively and not individually along with creating a fear of speaking out and stating how wrong things are.
I had always thought, I was a strong person, who could easily see through manipulation and propaganda. No-one was ever going to pull the wool over my eyes. I was too smart for that wasn’t I?
Oh how wrong could I be? Terribly wrong, to be honest, and I learnt that I wasn’t as strong-minded as I had previously thought. I learnt that even the most strongest of minds can easily be lulled into a false sense of security, psychologically moulded and influenced into what others want you to believe.
I listened and I believed the organized dissemination of information, coming from Portugal about the parents of a missing child. I believed that the articles that were emanating from the Portuguese press were true and factual, to the point I closed my eyes to the truth.
But did I see it for what it was at the time, propaganda in the form of media manipulation and brainwashing?
No the psychological powers of propaganda should never be underestimated and it is so easy to get suckered into thinking things that are not true. It is so easy to fall victim of a highly motivated propaganda campaign. And do you know what the most scary part is? You are suckered in before you know it and before you realise it. You are effectively brainwashed into thinking major conspiracies, government cover-ups and seedy sordid details that need to be covered up, at all costs.
Little did I think that a missing child, who should be at the centre of everyone’s attention, could be lost once again in the propaganda war that was to ensue between certain people who were spreading the word of a convicted ex-detective against the word of the parents of that said missing child.
Today, I watched a documentary film about an experiment that allegedly took place in a classroom back in 1967 in the USA. The film called, The Wave, released in 1981, was powerful, and it all stemmed from one girl’s question in a classroom asking her teacher how people can sit back and do nothing when there is so much death going on around them?
One of the most powerful statements I have ever heard, about people saying nothing, was the statement attributed to Pastor Martin Niemöller when he stated:
First they came for the communists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.
Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak out for me.
I found the film, compelling, powerful and rather scary of how easy it could be to influence a group of people and to mould them into something that they had previously found abhorrent.
Through discipline, creating a community and an ideology where everyone believed the same and were equal, even those that were not part of in crowd previously found themselves becoming important and respected and needed within this community.
But the most scary part to me, was not what this group was turning into, but what the teacher was turning into. How his experiment was starting to get out of hand because of the power it gave him. Luckily those around him and the School made him realise the folly of his experiment and how dangerous it was becoming.
But propaganda and brainwashing played an awful part in what happened, propaganda can and will make you see things that are not true. Propaganda in its extremes can influence you into thinking as a collective rather than as an individual. The more people you can influence with a propaganda campaign, especially through media manipulation, the greater success it has.
To the person who gave me the links to that film, thank you, I have never seen it before and I found it very enlightening and it made me think of those history lessons and thinking how I wished this film had been made to show at my school. Because it sure as hell explained why and how people would sit back and say nothing out of fear.