When Propaganda Represents Governance In Nigeria
It was George Orwell who was credited as saying that the most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history. And, in [Undated 1948 "Democratic Party" speech], John F. Kennedy reportedly said that no matter how big the lie; repeat it often enough and the masses will regard it as truth.
To my understanding, there are too many propagandas that are being used in the Nigeria's democracy and, they are christened governance. The country is not in actual sense in a war that it can be said that it is propagating the theory of Winston Churchill, which is: In wartime, truth is so precious that she should always be attended by a bodyguard of lies.
I think the greatest threat to governance in Nigeria is the bombardment of rightist propaganda depicting lies as honest, praiseworthy, and nationalistic. Like one Criss Jami would say, I have noticed that in our government the leaders misplace pity for compassion, flattery for love, propaganda for knowledge, tension for peace, gossip for news, and auto-tune for singing. These are the popular cultures everywhere today: One group citing hatred against the other, and a person citing hatred against the other, just like that.
It is not certain in our country who would represent these persons that Aldous Huxley mentioned and had used hyper note to explain: It is possible to argue that the really influential book is not that which converts ten millions of casual readers, but rather that which converts the very few who, at any given moment, succeed in seizing power. Marx and Sorel have been influential in the modern world, not so much because they were best-sellers (Sorel in particular was not at all a widely read author), but because among their few readers were two men, called respectively Lenin and Mussolini.
All there are in this country are people with stereotyped mindset to outwit, outsmart and outdo the other fellow for the greedy reason of politics. Jarod Kintz warns against such conspiracy of fake and fake theorists and explorers who make name through bogus claims, saying, conspiracy theorists like to claim NASA's moon landing was faked. Well of course it was! But the biggest conspiracy of all is the Columbus landed in the new world in the late 15th century. There is no new world. It simply doesn't exist. And Amerigo Vespucci? He was a character out of Walt Disney's diary.
As if Adolf Hitler was addressing the Nigerian democratic government of today when he said that but the most brilliant propagandist technique will yield no success unless one fundamental principle is borne in mind constantly and with unflagging attention. It must confine itself to a few points and repeat them over and over. Here, as so often in this world, persistence is the first and most important requirement for success.
This is not the case with Nigeria leaders. They are of the view that propaganda yields success and without it a government cannot run. Today, many of the citizens do not trust the government owing to the too many discovered brazen lies and rude behaviours of the leaders. The citizens see every comment by the leaders as lies, because the politicians first started using lies in their promises to the citizens in place of truth. It is a monstrous regiment, indeed!
Terry Pratchett in 'Monstrous Regiment' admonishes thus: Anyway, why would you trust anything written down? She certainly didn't trust "Mothers of Borogravia!" and that was from the government. And if you couldn't trust the government, who could you trust? Very nearly everyone, come to think of it...
I'm yet to see any correlation between the Nigerian leaders with the much touted principles of democracy. As if he was referring to Nigerian leaders, but however be said to be a metaphor of what Nigeria represents today, Henry A. Wallace said that the obvious types of American fascists are dealt with on the air and in the press.
Wallace continued, these demagogues and stooges are fronts for others. Dangerous as these people may be, they are not so significant as thousands of other people who have never been mentioned. The American fascist would prefer not to use violence. His method is to poison the channels of public information.
Hear Wallace again, with a fascist the problem is never how best to present the truth to the public but how best to use the news to deceive the public into giving the fascist and his group more money or more power.
The sad side of the conspiracy theory in Nigeria is that even the so-called elites are barefacedly liars. Hear this in 'Media Control: The Spectacular Achievements of Propaganda' by Noam Chomsky who warns against such people: State propaganda, when supported by the educated classes and when no deviation is permitted from it, can have a big effect. It was a lesson learned by Hitler and many others, and it has been pursued to this day.
In 'A Farewell to Arms',Ernest Hemingway weeps that we did not say anything, we were always embarrassed by the words sacred, glorious, and sacrifice and the expression in vain; we had heard them, sometimes standing in the rain almost out of earshot, so that only the shouted words came through, and had read them on proclamations that were slapped up by billposters over other proclamations, now for a long time, and we had seen nothing sacred, and the things that were glorious had no glory and the sacrifices were like the stock yards at Chicago if nothing was done with the meat except to buy it.
Unlike the views of John F. Kennedy, Chrystine Oksana however gives us hope in 'Safe Passage to Healing: A Guide for Survivors of Ritual Abuse' and devises methods through which we can surmount.
Oksana says, violators cannot live with the truth: survivors cannot live without it. There are those who still, once again, are poised to invalidate and deny us. If we don't assert our truth, it may again be relegated to fantasy. But the truth won't go away. It will keep surfacing until it is recognized.
Truth will outlast any campaigns mounted against it, no matter how mighty, clever, or long. It is invincible. It's only a matter of which generation is willing to face it and, in so doing, protect future generations from ritual abuse.
And I ask where that generation is in Nigeria.
Odimegwu Onwumere, a Poet/Writer, writes from Rivers State.
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