Lessons to be learnt

Events over the last few weeks gave insight into the mass media. Basically, they are whores… and not to the truth or news.
Immediately after the Iranian election, the American television news media began to portray the election results as fraudulent… with their only proof being the demonstrators in the streets.
I could not find any other news on the television except for the anti-Ahmadinejad demonstrators… this was moreso on CNN. All the sanctimonious talking heads were decrying fraud, proof withheld.
Obama tried to do the right thing by keeping a distance, but even his words when he uttered them showed his American tendency to pass judgement. But while he tried to remain act fair, the media were acting as proxies for the state department… stoking fires so as to topple a foreign head of state. Should I say ‘déjà vu all over again’?
I have no idea if the election was stolen or not and without proof, I would not make such a claim. At the same time, without proof, I can’t state that it was free and fair either. The western world has taken a side and though I don’t know if they ‘interfered’, I can clearly see why the Iranians are claiming such.
I won’t rehash history too much but the Americans and British did overthrow a legitimately elected Iranian prime minister Mohammad Mossadegh in 1953, did install and support the brutal and repressive regime of the shah Reva Pavlevi, did train the brutal Savak police, did arm, train and supply Saddam Hussein’s invasion and war with Iran, did ‘accidentally’ shoot down an Iranian airline (1988). How many Americans do you think would think ‘accident’, if Iran shot down an American passenger plane?
Furthermore, the United States has a long history of this type of interference. Vietnam and Chile come immediately to mind, but for a more recent reference we can add Venezuela.
As for the Iranians demonstrating… I can figure they are breaking the law. I don’t know the Iranian law governing protests and demonstrations, but I know that even in the US, there are laws governing such. You need a permit and you need to stay on the sidewalk.
If demonstrators here were doing the same thing, many would be arrested. The ‘right’ to protest does not overrule the law of the country, so arguing that the Iranian police arresting protesters and breaking up of demonstrations were signs of repression, is a non-starter for me.
But back to the news media. I have to wonder the motives of the major television networks during the Iran demonstrations. We were getting 24/7 coverage with little left for ‘other news’. And the commentators were one-sided in their opinions. It was almost if the networks, particularly CNN, was taking orders from Hillary Clinton herself.
CNN appeared to be trying to whip the local populace into some position. I’m willing to bet that if one took a poll before the CNN coverage, a great majority of CNN viewers cared very little about the Iranian elections.
We still have an economic crisis and many home-grown sub-crises for us to worry so much about Ahmadinejad. Yet nothing else was aired. Until…
***
Michael Jackson died. And all of a sudden Iran couldn’t get air-time. So much for the importance of selling democracy and freedom overseas.
This clearly is another lesson to be learned. Your cause is only important until a superstars dies or is caught in a scandal. The Iranian demonstrators whose spirits were bolstered by the media support they were getting, must be greatly deflated. They moved from top of the charts to nothing in a matter of seconds.
For all we know, the revolutionary guards might have massacred and jailed thousands of anti-Ahmadinejad supporters and we frankly wouldn’t know about it, or care.
The important thing is dear Michael died. Boohoohoo. Hey, don’t get me wrong. I like MJ, always liked his music, think he is the best entertainer ever. My first romantic episode had a Jackson 5 soundtrack … ABC, 123, do-reh-me.
I have his music, frequently watched his videos and movies, was sometimes caught up when the media set out to massacre him, and defended him at times. But frankly it creeps me out when people on Facebook substitute their pictures for him.
This shows the penchant for banality, that many of us don’t have lives of our own and so try to live something through association with someone else’s greatness.
I like Michael, but I don’t love him. I save love for family members and those who can love me back. Michael didn’t know of our existence except as masses of crowds and numbers buying his music. He did love us, because we foolishly poured god-like adoration on him… though we also reveled in his little mishaps. Such is the mindlessness of crowdthink.
Jackson was a brilliant character but also very flawed. He is not someone that I idolize and want my children to be admire too much (too late for that however). His genius at entertainment was counterbalanced with far too many episodes of whackiness. And his addiction to plastic surgery and changing his appearance… gross.
No one can tell me that Michael loved black peeps except in an overall kind of way, as part of his market. All his distinctive black features were surgically removed and replaced with caucasoid features.
And to follow this up, his main friends and even his so-called children were white. If I’m proud of my race, I try to perpetuate it. Not excise it.
Now the next year is going to be dominated by Michael Jackson moments. And we can’t wait til the struggle for his fortune or misfortune begins. So much for anything else.
***
Spent a little time in Jamaica, but in the light of Michael’s passing, that seems so unimportant… but still.
Not much has fundamentally changed. With the new rounds of burdens placed on the Jamaican people from the last budget, people are still resilient. Life still goes on… especially for those who know little about Michael Jackson’s passing. There are more important things in their lives… survival for example.
Had a few days down on the north coast and know there is worse to come for Jamaica. Bauxite revenues are down and tourism revenues will remain close to stagnant for some time. Granted we are just entering the summer period, but I don’t see much happening. The beaches were deserts. Outside of the locals, little life seen.
On the streets, everyman was a hustler, vendor, cd/dvd seller, tour guide, companion, taxi-driver…. Wait a minute. Wasn’t that the exact same thing I said about Kingston some weeks ago?
The Jamaican worker class is being devastated by the economy. When I left, the IMF was high on the agenda… another round of our begging.
Yet we remain strong in spirit and generosity. I bought phone credits at Digicel and came up $10.00 short. Not only did the cashier forgive the shortfall (“Wen yuh pass back”), but some dude, without me asking, without even eye contact, just gave me $20.00. Granted, J$20.00 isn’t a lot of money, but I was a stranger and he didn’t even hesitate or wait for me to thank him profusely.
Jamaica… a paradox wrapped in an enigma, boxed in mystery, tied with a ribbon of contradictions. Man, I love the country of my birth.

One thought on “Lessons to be learnt

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *