Patterns of violence and disinformation in conflict zones

Patterns of violence and disinformation in conflict zones

By Zaboor Ahmad

The underpinnings of a state in all conflict prone regions are inherently based on violence even if there is democracy that is totally liked to regular elections. State sponsored violence is inherently not only a crime, but also morally repugnant and reprehensible. But the camouflage for such violence is provided by what is termed as a ‘siege mentality’, of being surrounded by enemies on all sides. The killings and assassinations by definition exclude procedure established by law in establishing innocence or otherwise of an accused, as well in applying an appropriate sentence if guilt is established. The assassin in effect acts as prosecution, judge and jury. Killings do not signify only death followed by wailing, but they entail a cataclysmic doing away of hopes and dreams. That is how colonial immoral powers have ruled throughout the world. It results in forfeiting of the right to live and also making people politically sterile to challenge the construction of a state-calibrated narrative.
The intentional killing of people in places like Jallianwala Bagh, Machil or Pathribal are mediated by an intent of malice. Also, reprehensible immoral methods of torture are also used, which are meant to break the will to resist. Then lies as a narrative are put out, as disinformation is a modern weapon of slaughter. People in colonies are often filled with frozen rage, which sometimes needs a spark to explode spontaneously while at other times it needs leaders. People will be out on streets, the fallout is an uproar followed by violence, radicalising more and more people. And even if the government is under strain to order inquiries, justice will elude people for decades. That is how the system works.
If the government suffers or is put on the back foot, TV news networks owned by a capitalist elite being bankrolled by the advertisement industry will be quick to beam breaking news, followed by interviews of the ‘outraged class’ and sections of society, followed by government statements promising retaliation.
Media barons having vertical and horizontal links with the elite class will present the reports of the strong party, while putting the views of the oppressed in cold storage, or else report a distorted version of the story to support the narrative of the oppressor. By this overemphasis on the ‘suffering of the strong’ and downplaying the killing of the weak, the impression is manufactured that the weak are engendering violence and are the cause of conflict.
Britain, while ruling over India, crossed its historical and civilisational lines of decency by unleashing violence to maximize the control on resources. For the powerful and status quo states, people are never a real issue. And the larger population, fed on false, biased and wrong information, distances itself from the death and destruction caused by the war machinery.

—The writer is a lecturer in political science

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