2017 is here. Be assured of at least two things – lies will continue however much we wish to theorise that we are living in post-truth times. And in spite of the lies, there is also much positive news around – largely unreported by our mainline news/media outlet. We have a choice. We can become willing victims/colluders or worshippers of mainline media and other mechanisms geared at controlling or manipulating our minds. Or we can resist by seeking out both the unreported news and the good stories around.
Gary Younge in his 2016 James Cameron Lecture (“Democratic Imbalance: Who decides What’s News”) has this insight for us:
“The fact that sections of the public don’t want to know about certain kinds of repetitive suffering does not make the fact that the media does not report on it less problematic. First it is, to some degree, a self-fulfilling prophecy. By failing to report child hunger consistently we cease to think about it and come to accept it as an unfortunate, intractable fact of life. Since it’s unlikely to be reported it’s less likely to be discussed. The less we talk about children starving the less we talk about why they starve and what we might do to feed them and the less public pressure there is on politicians to address starvation. Indeed, this is where the issue of democratic imbalance is most keen. For how can we expect legislative action about issues that are not discussed or which are only discussed in certain ways.”
Yes – so who and how do we decide what is news? I have no answer, except that I tend to be judicious about my reading sources and pay close attention to news that are not reported. As a taster, just consider the following unreported news (not in our mainline media and assorted from a variety of links) during 2016. You may wish to add to this list.
- The Guatemala political crisis in which a number of high-profile politicians were charged on for lowering taxes and duties on imports in exchange for payments.
- India’s trade blockade launched against Nepal which forced Nepal to introduce fuel rationing, and seeing its economy grind to a halt.
- The injustice of climate change impact on Bangladesh – a country producing less than 0.3% of the emissions that impact rising global temperatures, and looks set to continue to be one of the worst affected countries with survival at stake.
- The Nicaraguan Canal Project funded by the secretive Chinese billionaire (Wang Jing) and aimed at connecting east and west is causing many in that country anxiety as this project will effectively change one million acres of rain forest.
- SE Asia Palm Oil Production which has so far destroyed millions of acres of forest with no indication of letting up as the global demand for the product is driving expansion.
- Lebanon is on the brink of implosion and a civil war. Once considered a stable Middle East country, the influx of millions of Syrian Refugees (with over half a million school-age children) is putting great pressure on the social fabric of a nation which will only continue to feed sectarianism.
- Women Activist Groups offer a global paradigm shift towards Social justice. Across the globe from Indigenous women to undocumented workers, women are in the forefront highlighting the intersections of capitalism, poverty, violence, environmental destruction and erosion of human rights.
- Corporate exploitation of the global refugee (humanitarian cover-up) crisis is underreported in the popular and corporate press, and often subject to distorted pro-business coverage. And guess what: private equity groups across Europe see a new investment opportunity (growth potential given the volume) in the management of camps and services for refugees.
- The alarming and ‘deep state’ (Mike Lofgren) of plutocratic control: What is scary about these manipulators is not how they are hidden but how they exist in plain viewing. They are defense contractors, multinational corporations, anover-indulging wealthy elite (worth trillions of pounds in tax-exempt off-shore haves). These are the Lords of our elected officials.
- Europe’s MEP’s voted in favour of new laws to end unfair supermarket trading practices, leading to overproduction and waste. European Parliament is also proposing binding legislation to halve food waste in Europe by 2030.
And here are some snippets of the positive developments in 2016: India turned on the world’s largest solar power plant – spanning 10 sq km – in the state of Tamil Nadu; an HIV cure may be a step closer after a trial cleared the virus in a British man; Italy became the last large Western country to recognise same-sex unions; China installed 20 gigawatts of solar in the first half of 2016; volunteers in India planted 50m trees in 24 hours; life expectancy in Africa has increased by 9.4 years since 2000, it was announced this year; the amount of money it would take to eliminate extreme poverty is now lower than the annual foreign aid spend
Can Herod’s plea to those wise nerds from the East: to tell him where he can find the infant king, so that he may go and worship him (we know what he really means!), serve as warning to the way we approach 2017? Beware of the mind and body stealers! Be wary of the many gods bidding for our allegiance! Beware of unbridled capitalism bent on turning our best intentions into a moneymaking venture!
© jagessar January 2017