Bits and bobs

Random thoughts about random things by a random person

Passive propaganda?

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OK… this rant has been coming for a long time. It’s been on my mind a LOT in the past year and I’ve avoided writing it because it’s such a negative topic and it galls me that it should even be an issue today. Yet it is, and from what I’m seeing posted on my Facebook wall, it’s becoming more of an issue and, as such, I think I really need to get this out of my system before I bust.

The issue? Racism. Particularly that expressed against Muslims and Islam.

People keep posting things on Facebook about how evil Islam is and those Muslims… well, taking over, they are!! And, according to one article, it’s happening all over the world! The great Muslim conspiracy.

Sound familiar? It should. It’s what the Jews were doing, don’t you remember? No, maybe you don’t because you, like me, were either too young or not born yet and we weren’t subjected to that propaganda. We heard about it third hand. Well, in case your knowledge of the Holocaust is somewhat lacking, the Nazis used propaganda to “educate” the public as to the dangers of the Jewish element. They were the cause of everything that was going wrong and if they weren’t stopped…well, if you thought the present was bad, wait till you see the future. Without getting too much into the psychology of propaganda, these messages played into the fears of the people. Things weren’t great economically. People needed someone/something to blame and Hitler’s paranoia provided the perfect scapegoat – the Jews. And, sadly, many of the people bought into it. (Not all, as we know, but many.)

When I was younger, I did not understand how that could work. Even now, when I understand propaganda – what it is and how strong an impact it can have on people – I still find it difficult to truly grasp. But now I find that I’m seeing it in action. Right now. In this day and age, we are witnessing it.

I can’t believe I’m seeing it. I can’t believe who is posting it. I can’t believe that it’s seen as OK. I just deleted one person from my Facebook because there’ve been a couple of things he’s posted that are more than objectionable to me. I’ve tried not to do that because I figure it’s my duty to be the voice that speaks out against it. But I couldn’t do it any more. My blood pressure just rockets whenever I see that stuff. I had posted my comment but then just couldn’t bear to keep him because I know that stuff will just keep coming. So perhaps I’ve failed in that one.

I have several Muslim friends and have worked with several. 9-11 changed their lives forever. Travelling carries with it additional stress and burden for them. If they are on Facebook, they probably see some of the same things I see. It’s got to be so hard on them to have their beliefs and very lives categorized as these media categorize them. I can only imagine how they feel should their religion ever come up in conversation.

The radical fundamentalists who are the proponents of the acts of terrorism are NOT regular, every day Muslims. They are the minority in Islam. Islam itself does NOT promote acts of terrorism. They have bastardized it and are using it for their own control-driven aspirations.

Please, please, please do not lump all Muslims in with them.

For that matter, do not lump ANY group of people into one mold. I’ve met annoying, obnoxious, rude, mean, pleasant, happy, kind, generous people in all races, cultures, countries. Are there people who fit the stereotypes? Yup. I’ve met those, too. But the moment we start applying the stereotypes to everyone in that group, the closer we are coming to creating the environment where, within a few short steps, it becomes OK to kill 6,000,000 people.

It’s like the boiling frog story (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boiling_frog): If someone walked up to us today and said, “Hey, we should kill all the Muslims. They’re really creating havoc, you know.” We’d absolutely rebel against that! That’s horrible! No way!! But… with enough messages that sound plausible, and with the evidence of the Taliban and 9-11, gradually what we accept as being OK to do to/with Muslims will change. From some of the posts I’ve seen on Facebook, it appears, tragically, that some people have already arrived there.

I sure hope that in 50 years people aren’t looking back at us and wondering how on earth WE allowed such a thing to happen…

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