Written by: Benito Vergotine
This does sound very odd does it not? Decode. What on earth does this mean? Well it’s a loose term to indicate what we must do as consumers of media. For me we simply can’t trust what is being reported to us. Too much is at stake and far too many have vested interests in us believing what THEY want us too – whoever THEY are.
Allow me to disclaim and state that this is not a political analysis but rather my perception following a recent conversation I had on THT with Dr Andre Thomashausen from UNISA. As I listen to the news on my morning school run, I find myself becoming concerned that Russia’s continued isolation may further embitter and erode any chance at lasting peace. This is no justification for invading a sovereign state; that is a breach of International Law and Russia must be held to account.
Read more: Going gently into that good night
Time will tell on this one but history is littered with examples of leaders and nations who were made an example of with disastrous consequences. We are in this situation, partly, because The West lauded over the Russians in their post World War II negotiations and reneged on their promises around the role of NATO and it’s expansion.
Putin didn’t do himself any favours either by fiddling with the Russian constitution to allow him a longer term in office. The democratic world noticed and was appalled. This according to Dr Andre Thomashausen was a significant turning point in the souring of relations between Russia and America. What happened then in Crimea simply hardened attitudes and the approach from America, in particular. I get the sense that the knives were already out for Putin and a platform was needed to punish him for going against democratic ideals. How dare Putin tamper with a document like the Constitution. It’s sacrilege.
Fast forward to December 2021 when Russia dutifully tried to raise concerns around perceived security threats, which the Western World saw as an opportunity to punish Russia for being undemocratic. Ukraine is merely a useful pawn to drive home the Wests’ distrust of Putin. Tragically we see the consequences of this Machiavellian approach – from both sides – with a looming humanitarian crisis. How long must innocent people continue to suffer poor leadership?
Where does this leave us as media consumers? Simply put – in the midst of a PR war. They say the first casualty of war is the truth. How does one remain objective in the face of this onslaught of lies and hypocrisy? All sides are culpable to varying degrees as they try to promote their view as just and right! If we presume that nothing is ever as it seems then we must remain vigilant and not become complacent on consuming what we see and read.
I can’t see an immediate solution to this problem but we can help ourselves by consuming as much as we can. Hopefully this will widen our perspective and somewhere we will be able to find an understanding of context we can appreciate. I agree it’s far from perfect, but life never is. One thing seems clear…this conflict is not black and white and when heroes and villains are intertwined, we must ensure we don’t fall into the trap of becoming political fodder for someone else’s agenda.