Memes, picture messages and other viral content are popular on the Internet because of the fun they sometimes bring. But at other times, they can also be used for misinformation and propaganda. And the trouble is, people often don’t question them when they should.
More than ever, the Right-Wing (or perhaps right-wing may not be entirely accurate; let’s just call them…) violence-mongers are aggressively using the Internet to spread misinformation and spread fear and violence. The most common targets of misinformation are Muslims. For example, fake videos and messages claim that sharia law has been declared in certain no-go zone in the U.S. and Europe. That viral picture of a supposed Daesh/ISIL flag in Germany was nothing more than a Muslim rally in 2012; no Daesh involved. Yet the fears have received resurgence with the recent reports of sexual assault in Germany over the New Year. The German police at this time claim that many of the assaults are by people of foreign origin, but other Germans also caution that it should never be a reason to warmonger against Muslims.
Because many people don’t bother to question the memes and similar messages, they help spread the misinformation and are made to live in fear. Such people are not only helping spread the environment of fear, but they may also display the behavior that terrorists want: to continue living in fear and in paranoia of even their neighbors. These memes and posts are troublesome not only for being based on some misinformation, but they make life harder for people in general.
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Let us look at one for analysis:
What’s wrong with this? Everything. It implies having a Christian message, but it is actually anti-Christian.
First, it claims that if angels are armed, then humans should be armed. Wrong. In Christian doctrine, angels fight demons in another realm. But that’s their battle, in their own dimension. We human Christians fight the wiles of the devil by resisting temptation, not by hurting other people.
Also, it goes against the words of Jesus Christ in which he discourages violence: “put away your sword, for he who takes up the sword will perish by it.”
Next, tolerance and understanding are part of the second great commandment, “love your fellow man as you love yourself.” In other words, you do fight evil with tolerance and understanding! Saying we should kill or threaten other people with guns instead of using tolerance and understanding is the opposite of true Christian teaching. Thus, this meme shows how certain vested interests created a twisted message that takes advantage of undiscerning minds.
This meme only wants to help sell guns by playing on the fears of potential customers. It implies that other people around you who are different from you are threats to your security. So you should arm yourself and be prepared to kill those other people. Sadly, that killing is likely to happen whether they threaten you or not. While I do accept that people should be allowed to have some weapons for self-defense, those who share the memes above tend to share another thing; that aside from Muslims, gays are implied to be the people you have to shoot. I suspect people with disabilities (e.g. autism) are also targeted. In other words, the people you should peacefully respect have become scapegoated as “threats.”
Perhaps these memes are spread by people believing the ridiculous claims that the Rothschild family owns the world, Agenda 21 is a plan to exterminate people to reduce populations, all wars are fake and just shows the Illuminati are creating, 9/11 was done by Americans rather than terrorists, and more. Seriously, I’d say the people who believe in these unproven theories don’t know what they’re doing.
It is unfortunate that the recent assaults in Germany are blamed on refugees and Muslims, and thus anti-Muslim sentiments are strengthening. Never mind that German authorities are saying even locals are probably part of the assaults. While care in taking in refugees is appropriate, saying immediately that refugees are to blame and that attacking or harming them is justified is an unthinking assumption driven by hatred.
To me, the Muslim problem is more like, only certain groups, like the Salafist and Wahhabist Muslim sect, are the ones promoting violence around the world. There are many other Muslims not agreeing with it. Yet the fake videos and memes being spread try to convince you that all Muslims are violent. This is probably for raising support for military action and for invasion of Muslim countries. Companies will jump in on this lobby, and will want to grab the oil fields seized (isn’t that what happened in Iraq?). That will make the military-industrial complex of the U.S. and related industries and countries happy.
If you’re wondering, what about the left-wing, Benign0 has already written good articles about political correctness that address that. But for me, the violence-mongerers are more serious, as they are deliberately spreading fake messages and promoting violence. They themselves might even act violently. Clearly, a propaganda machine is behind them and it only wants more war to happen. We must be careful and should always check fact-checking and debunking sites, such as Snopes and Skeptoid. Otherwise, we will only be gullible and play into the mind-control schemes of the vested interests that drive today’s politics.
I believe, as my cohorts here do, that what Filipinos embrace as their culture is what actually pulls the country down. And those who seem to be anti-dictators, who may also believe themselves to be “heroes,” are the real dictators.