Sunday, April 02, 2023 | Ramadan 10, 1444 H
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Global media’s cashed-up carousel


Is bigotry and intolerance on the rise? Or have we just become more sensitive? Or are we being wrangled by the world’s media, yet again?

There certainly ‘appear’ to be rising tensions globally during the last year, whether in the realm of international politics and conflict, such as in the Ukraine, where again, it appears that one man’s obsession seeks a forlorn conclusion. Even in the spiritually enlightened realm of religion and faith, where a sense of tolerance, and a hope that its diversity, were becoming reconciled, in the wake of the pandemic, to matters of consideration and opinion.

Particularly loathsome rhetoric emerges daily, inspired by fascist and supremacist organisations that is both hurtful and unacceptable. Yet rather than seeking to expose the anarchy, the media sensationalises their deeds and their oratory. Yes, they label their invective as ‘disgusting,’ appalling,’ and so many other adjectives, but by giving them column inches the global media is sensationalising their words and deeds for only one reason... to create fear, because those in fear seek reassurance, and where... in the media of course. It’s a cashed-up carousel, a not-very-merry-go-round.

“We recognise,” writes Antonio Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations, “hate speech as an attack on tolerance, inclusion, diversity and the very essence of our human rights norms and principles.” Yet for some reason, even though it undermines the values, culture and traditions of our communities and societies, we allow it to simmer, no, to seethe, and nurture violence, conflict, pain, and suffering, erasing any truly held concept of either dignity, or respect. We must, somehow, convince those with grandiose political dreams, and whose means are through violence, that those dreams, political by nature, can only ever truly be successful... if achieved politically.

After all, if staying well, and alive is a common objective, and a common challenge, who needs conflict? People don’t! Stories, plays, poetry, and films... they need conflict, don’t they? They need the diversity and antagonism of light and dark, good, and bad, weak, and strong, love and hate, all part of a managed maelstrom of contrived conflict, of pain, of disappointment, of frustration, of plots that simply could not interest us without their plots, their schemes, and machinations. But these are all flights of fancy, concocted, orchestrated, devised, and designed to capture our imaginations...

They are a release valve, our escape, and here there are wounds and injuries that do not cause us pain, absences that do not hurt us, lost loves that we can bear, insults that run off us and are forgotten in an instant. Why even snow doesn’t limit us, rain doesn’t get us wet, the Sun doesn’t burn us, or the wind sting our faces. Why? Because literature and the arts are the place for pain. Not real life. We don’t need pain, agony, suffering, or torment... that’s why corporal punishment is no longer allowed in schools, because our societies, that is us... we... have decided suffering is not for people, but for fancy.

Whatever, or ‘whoever’ is to blame for any conflict, we need to be mature about its resolution, and have common responses to aggressors and aggression. They certainly go looking for trouble, and that very action, that philosophy of theirs, simply demonstrates that their problem, their fight, is with themselves. Bullies always get their comeuppance in the end, as history has shown us time and time again, but much of the reason they gain prominence in the first place is not because we give them an opportunity, but we give them a reason... our posturing may feel right, and may even be right, but if we can’t see that we are being manipulated into programmed responses, we have not evolved except technologically.

Are these only words... only idle musings? Well, I for one, believe that when we are faced with foes, challenges, or changes, we achieve our full potential, and our best results, when we take care of one thing at a time... the little things first, and yes, the big things will look after themselves.

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