Sunday, August 10

How informed are we, really?

I woke up yesterday morning and had a peek at the news on my computer, as I do every morning. I was surprised to find a story about Georgia and Russia on the brink of war. This morning I wake up to find Russia has taken control of South Ossetia. Overnight!

WTF?

Ok I admit that since I left LSE I haven't been keeping up on geopolitics but I traced the story back through BBC archives and its been going on for some time - Russia issuing South Ossetians with Russian passports so they can use military force to 'protect Russian citizens' and Georgia being accused of ethnic cleansing in the villages...and all the while, Georgia on the brink of NATO membership. Oh and by the way...one of those bombs just happened to fall near the pipeline. yes. oil of course.

I read the news and I can't help smelling the stink of media spin. Each party has its spin doctors. Whose allegations are true? Who is right and who is wrong? Well, probably everyone involved. But I realise that I will never ever know.

And I wonder - there must be Britons, Americans, Canadians who have been to this province in the last few years and seen for themselves whatever is going on. There were people in Burma, people in the Dominican Republic in the late 1970s. How come their voices aren't heard anymore? I knew more about the DR in the 1970s as a member of a Catholic youth group than I know, as a concerned and educated person on international development about South and Central Asia.

Information is coloured. And in the modern day of media enterprise, truth is an antiquated notion.

I knew about the DR because of a social movement - 'Young Life.' Yes, social movements have their own bias but international social movements are important in a world of big business media and the enterprise of government.

At this moment, there are deep discussions about regulation of the internet. The internet has been and could continue to be a vehicle for truly democratic dissemination of information and the engine of social movements.

Americans, when you vote...Britons, Canadians, Belgians, Japanese...make sure you consider whether you want governments to continue their encroachment on this last 'semi' free speech arena.

And, I'd like to know whats really going on in South Ossetia and what has REALLY happened to those busloads of children reportedly being sent out of the region. These are the things that really matter. Where are those kids now? Are they alive and well? Who is taking care of them? And for what purpose?

How informed are we, really?

26 comments:

foam said...

ugh ..
man..
i've so been ignoring the bigger geopolitical picture lately..
it's been decades since i haven't wondered about the truth, accuracy of the news that i am actually hearing.
kind of pitiful, really....
this is a great post..
and i hope all is well with you.

wallycrawler said...

It's all about "Da Oil"!

Controlling this oil deposit well control the oil market in da future. It's the largest oil field in the world.

At lest it is now. In five or ten years the African oil fields will open up. They will surpass anything in da world. The Chinese have their hands in Darfur in the Sudan. The US in Somalia...
The companies are dividing it up as we speak!

They're also killing millions of the real land owners. Both counrties make "The Killing Feilds" in Cambodia look like a walk in da park!

Claire said...

Scary times indeed. I remember reading a lot about Ossetia a few years back, but what's going on now is just insane. As for media spin...a sad fact of our world. Thank heavens for the internet and a (reasonably) wide press.

Cxx

/t. said...

nobody
tells me anything

¤ ¤ ¤

/t.

Indigo said...

Indigo Incarnates

I hope Atlanta doesn't fall to the ruskies, har har.

Oh, wait... it's the OTHER Georgia. ;)

Little Lamb said...

The government does what it wants to regardless of what we want. They don't care about us, all they want is that big fat pay checkl

Congress is taking a 5 week vacation. HA! I'd love that time off!

While they're away, I think we should fire them and vote new ones in and cut their salary to match our own and same with benefits and take away whatever benefits our present congress has.

Ur-spo said...

apart from all the valuable issues you raise up -
I haven't been visiting blogs in a few days (weeks?) and was pleased to see you posting again.

Indigo said...

halo incarnates

have missed pink. nice friend.

Serena Joy said...

I wouldn't be surprised if it boils down to one word: O-I-L. The politicos can deny it 'til they turn blue, but that's what many of the conflicts going on in the world today are centered around.

The Lone Beader said...

That is a lot of food for thought!

foam said...

just a hello from me .. :)

The Phosgene Kid said...

I knew we weren't done with those Ruskie bastards yet. China, you're next!

Middle Ditch said...

How informed are we? Badly.

As soon as interest wanes, woosh, over the press gang goes to something that pays.

I take everything with a large pinch of salt these days

boneman said...

well, it certainly caught me by surprise, because I was born in Georgia.
Albany, Georgia, to be esact!

I notice Bush junior is rattling his sabre,.....oooo
I'll bet if it was Texas, he'de have been a bit more adamnant.
(yeah...I know. I just like to spell it like that when the person is stupid stubborn.

I'm adamnant about it, actually.

Zen Wizard said...

Well, I have learned more about
Georgia in the last week than I ever dreamed about knowing about it, so I will have to profess that I was not very informed.

But probably the CIA et al.--who are professionals at this--got hit with a curveball, also.

For instance, the Realpolitik would have been a lot better if someone could have talked them out of the NATO move--as a practical matter.

Parenthetically, Russia bombed the only NON-Russian pipeline from the Caspian Sea.

boneman said...

OK, that was almost callous of me.

The thing is, as far as governments go?
We are no longer in control.
Not in the US, not in Russia, not even in England.

The net a democratic connection?
Not treally.
It's more a case of open anarchy, but, in this case, it's OK.
Only for one thing....
governments can also stop the net from communication (like China has done) and we're back to square one.

It seems that the bigger and stronger governments are, no matter what they call justice or equality, the easier it is to subvert the system altogether.

Ruela said...

reminds me that song

"who needs information..."


by Roger Waters.





kiss.

The Phosgene Kid said...

Part of my job was helping create plans to kill Ruskies - lots of Ruskies. I've mellowed some since.

boneman said...

actually, right now, I'm thinking I might not be as informed as I wish I was....

boneman said...

y'know...infinitesmal's blog is pink.
Are you two sisters?

/t. said...

hope
yr havin
a gr8t summer!

<3 2 th pinkie :)

¤ ¤ ¤

/t.

goatman said...

I am always amazed at how uninformed I am when stuff like this pops up. Guess I need to expand out even further than Link TV to get the skinny. Its a cinch that the commercial networks aren't up to the task.
Is it any surprise that a pipe line is involved?

Sometimes Saintly Nick said...

Everything in the media has its own spin. I have to remember that the news no longer has anything to do with journalism; rather, the news is entertainment.

Now, dear Pink, I must figure out what’s going on in my mind. For some unknown reason I had it fixed that you had given up blogging long ago. I had even removed your blog from my Bloglines. Well, I’ve put it back and hope to see a new post on it.

As Alex says, “OK?”

The Phosgene Kid said...

Time for the US to quit sticking our nose in other's affairs. Send aid in time of need, offer a friendly hand, don't favor one nation over another, conduct commerce, but beyond that butt out.

Carla said...

Yep, I often wonder how much we really know. What are the spins? It's all very disconcerting.

boneman said...

time warp.

OK, over at Lil Lamb's place, she reminded me of something, and I forgot, and you came back anyway...

dang.You really are Canadian, aren't you?