Sunday, 26 November 2017

ARGENTINA PIONEERED FAKE NEWS

It was Luis Labraña, a member of the Montonero organization, while exiled in Holland, who launched the number 30,000 regarding the disappeared persons in Argentina's Dirty War. He did it so the Mothers and Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo would receive subsidies from European countries. 

The number went around the world and garnered around U$D 780 million from Holland, the UK and others, plus it showered attention to the cause of the disappeared. 

It also sold a lot of clicks.

"THE CONFESSION - I invented all that about the 30,000 disappeared 
so the Mothers of Plaza de Mayo would receive subsidies." Luis Labraña. 

Today Labraña acknowledges the number was vastly overblown. The official number of disappeared stands at: 6,348.


When I read the news these days, I do so with skepticism. How much is fact? How much is point of view? Journalist Peter Gzowski warned in the early eighties that fact and opinion were getting mixed up.

Take the recent reports about Poland's Independence Day celebrations. What I understood is that thousands of right wing fanatics marched against immigration and refugees ...

I discussed it with Piotr Szafransky, a writer living in Poland. He pointed out that millions did celebrate Independence Day, while some 60,000 converged on Warsaw, and marched for an agenda all their own.

It seems to me that our media's eye is narrow; devoid of perspective. 

When the reader is kept guessing, when we realize we were under-informed or manipulated, we become skeptical, and eventually lose interest.





Thursday, 9 November 2017

OPEN DEBATE -- THE ANTIDOTE TO EXTREMISM

The clashes on campus continue. Free speech isn't free any longer, and students are at each others' throats.

One man is calling for open speech about extremism. 

Norwegian Bjorn Ihler is a survivor of the Utoya island attack where Anders Breivik killed 77 people in 2011. Ihler jumped in the lake and saved his life.

Ihler spoke to the BBC about Breivik. "This was a guy who grew up in the same city as me, we had similar backgrounds, we attended similar schools, but he saw the world in a completely different way."

Ihler dedicates his life to help people avoid falling over the edge like Breivik. His idea is to discuss extremist views with students, and today he is part of an initiative called Extremely Together, with the Kofi Annan foundation, the One Young World and the European Commission. (kofiannanfoundation.org)

Ihler's blog is: storyforpeace.com



Extremely Together group visits schools and promotes open debate. Photo BBC


That's what I call "fighting back". 

The real battle is in the mind. If we can talk young people out of an extremist mindset, such as that of Breivik, Kelley, and Paddock; if we promote open debate, we are fighting terrorism.