Director, CBI, CGO Complex
New Delhi 110013.
Palestine, 6 billion people and second hand opinions
In the wake of the widespread support of the western intelligentsia for Palestine during the Gaza conflict (and the hatred for Israel and Jews), including statements by some famous Hollywood actors, such as Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz, one has to reflect on the how and why of such a fanatical support. Where is it that these enlightened personalities acquire their opinions? Are they really genuine? Do the fact that these pro-Palestine/anti Jewish sentiments repeat themselves all over the world, including in India, where Shah Rukh Khan or Sonakshi Sinha tweeted for Palestine, mean that they stand for truth? What is also striking is that anti-Semitism, an age-old pastime (did you know that the only country in the world where Jews were not persecuted is in India?) has taken a new politically correct form, which allows it to pretend it is not anti-Semitic.
Well, the first fact is that most of people go though life with second hand opinions, which they gather from their parents in the first place, then their teachers, their atavism, and later by what they read in newspapers.
The second truth is that the majority of human beings on this planet are followers – that is they follow what the others follow, who in turn are followers of others, and so on till the source. Fashion, whether, it is cloth-wise, or political-wise, is made by very few people, sometimes by one single person, or an institution. Every athlete today pumps his or her fist in the air while winning. But who remembers that the first man to do it, was tennis man Jimmy Connors in the early 80’s? One man yesterday, today a million men and women!
Madonna, was the first to show her bra in the early nineties, when till then the bra was covered and hidden. Today a billion women think it is hep to display part - or the whole of the bra. In 1943, Stalin, supreme leader of the Soviet Union cynically decided that it was politically convenient to ally with the Arab world. Communist ideologues began praising Islam and devising support slogans. In Europe it was first the French communists, led by some of their brightest stars – writers such as Paul Eluard, poets like Louis Aragon - who took up the cause and began defending the Arabs in newspapers and books. Today a million intellectuals all over the world, repeat these coined phrases, without understanding their implication. The British made it a point to deride, make fun and deny Hinduism, because it was their biggest enemy, the body which resisted most their colonization. Two centuries later, Indian intellectuals repeat blindly what heir erstwhile masters said, without understanding that it was meant to do harm.Buddha taught us that one has to experience FIRST, before accepting a dogma or a knowledge. But what’s amazing is that all these people who repeat blindly what one human being, or a country started, do it thinking it’s their own opinion. Not for an instant, do they analyze that they have no first hand experience to validate their belief or admit to themselves that they mouth a particular slogan because it’s politically fashionable or it is their parents’ or their teacher’s ideas. What is even more striking, is the conviction, sometimes the fanaticism, with which they parrot ideas which are not theirs and of that often have no logic. For instance, when Rahul Gandhi told the American ambassador (see Wikileaks) that Hindu ‘fundamentalism’, was more dangerous than the Islamic one, he stated something that every statistic, every historical data, denies. But he uttered it with such conviction! Where did he pick-up this second-hand knowledge? From his mother, who is born Italian, has a catholic view of India and Hindus, a vague Cambridge (fountain of Leftism in Britain) background?
WHO ARE THE GUILTY ONES? Well, journalists must share a greater part of the blame, for what is a good journalist? He is one who goes on the ground and letting go as much as possible of his or her own atavism, preconceived ideas, religion, background, tries to gather first hand experience of a situation, a war, a person to be interviewed, a country to be visited, so that his or her reader, who are far away and have no knowledge of the place, get a bit of truth, a whiff of an atmosphere, an understanding of a conflict, with proper statistics, background, balanced historical research.
But what has happened? Journalists have been one the biggest failures of the 20th and 21st century. As far as Palestine is concerned, if you watch the BBC, France 2 (or even the CNN) for example, you can only notice where their sympathy lie, though they cleverly conceal their dislike of Israel and support of the Arab cause in small phrases, a pause here, a silence there. It is symptomatic that many BBC and CNN star reporters & anchors have gone over to the Al Jazeera TV channel, owned by the ruling family of Qatar, which never hid their hard Sunni view of the world (remember too the Al Jazeera reporters who sided with the hardline Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and are now in jail). We have also seen in India how, instead of letting go of their preconceived ideas and atavism, most western correspondents have come down so hard on the majority of this country, one of the most tolerant people of this planet, the Hindus, always highlighting the plight of widows, the rare satis, or making it sound that every other woman is raped in India (whereas statistically there are double the amount of rapes in the USA). We witnessed too in Kashmir, Mark Tully and his peers constantly talking about the so-called abuses of the Indian army on the Muslims of the Valley, but never about the terrorized 400.000 Kashmiri Hindus who had to flee their ancestral homeland and become refugees in their own country. This too is a consequence of Stalin’s and his ideologues initiating the defense of Muslims 70 years ago. Today out of a million journalists, 97% are left leaning – and so are the major world newspapers such as the New York Times, which has made a pastime of bashing up Mr Narendra Modi.
Of course, western correspondents always write: ‘look Indian journalists themselves are saying it’… And it’s true, for In India, NDTV, accused of a 100 crore scam, pitched constantly for Sonia Gandhi and the Congress; and though one of its leading directors, Barkha Dutt, was caught red handed in an act of corruption in the Radia tapes, she continued as if nothing happened - and every politician, including of the BJP (bar Mr Modi), still loves to be interviewed by her. The leading newspaper of India, the Times of India, is just an echoer of its master’s Voice, the Times of London, and has even set the trend in India for paid journalism and cheapened its noble trade, by introducing a mix of Bollywood, gossip, sex, cricket, and very little news of substance. Journalism in India is a brilliant copycat OF THE WEST, with no originality of its own, no Indian-ness, no trying to dig a little bit in the ancient knowledge of India, which discovered so much and understood so much, to judge their own country. Instead it uses the western looking glass to often demean its culture and people. In that, it is also providing second hand opinions to more than a billion people, one sixth of humanity.
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