This week the Australian Government announced that they were imposing travel bans from Iran and South Korea. Italy, on the other hand, was only having “enhanced screening” inflicted. Even at that time, Italy’s cases exceeded Iran’s and their death rate exceeded South Korea’s.
In the late ‘70s, my family up and moved to Indonesia. Friends and relatives were apprehensive. The political climate in Indonesia at that time was pretty unstable. There was a general feeling that moving to Indonesia was dangerous and unwise. Interestingly, a year or two later, my family planned a holiday in London. No concern was expressed by friends or relatives and yet, the night after we arrived, the IRA blew up the car of a British MP in a targeted attack.
In some UK tabloids this week, a story has been reported about a man being shot in North Korea for crossing the border into China and then failing to self isolate when he returned (as is apparently the law). As I suspect is the case with most Australians, I know very little about North Korea. But what is the basis for this story?
Our media follows a particular narrative that, for whatever reason, the powers that be want us to be fed. I’m not saying it’s all bullshit. I’m just saying that the same story can be told many different ways, depending on your angle. I know a man of Eastern European origins who reads Russian Media and Western media and he says they are polar opposites on any stories about Russia. Of course Russian media is likely to be biased… but who’s to say the Western Media isn’t? Probably the truth lies somewhere in the middle.
Perhaps you have heard on the news recently a bit of an uproar about the book “Dark Emu” by Bruce Pascoe. It reveals that the narrative white people have been fed about the Aboriginal people is that of a truth which has been sifted through and selectively revealed.
By my reckoning, imposing travel bans on Iran and South Korea is pretty racist if the same treatment isn’t also applied to Italy. But because of the narrative we are fed on a daily basis, it is barely questioned. Indeed, if P wasn’t such an avid watcher of the COVID19 virus, perhaps I wouldn’t have known just how bad things are in Italy and I wouldn’t have questioned it either.
Western media colours our view of other countries / political regimes / peoples. Everything we read/hear/watch is edited to fit some narrative. Maybe the narrative is simply to make us feel better about ourselves and our governments. Even if that’s true, it troubles me. With the evolving polarity of social media, the last thing we need is pre-massaged truths in our regular media.