Wednesday, November 30, 2005

The Power of Propaganda

When I was stationed at Camp Lejune, I sang in the choir at the base chapel at Tarawa Terrace. I sang baritone with an older lady named Linda who had come to the US from Germany after WWII (she had a DEEP voice). She was at Camp Lejune because her husband had been a Major in the US Marines.

Linda invited me to eat with her and some old friends for Thanksgiving one year. After her friends had left, we sat down for some lengthy conversation. She told me of her time in Germany during WWII. Hitler is well known historically for his use of propaganda. Her tale was from the receiving end of the propaganda. She confessed a knowledge that it is wrong to be prejudiced against a people. Nevertheless, many years later Hitler's propaganda still influenced her emotionally.

What is often missed with the Palestinians (or Arabs in general) is the similarity to the Germans in their hatred for Jews and their ability to use the US media spin machine (aka propaganda). There is also a similarity in that most Palestinians are not maniacal hate-mongers. There are some Palestinian Christians and I have heard from US missionaries who have gone to them. However, even Christians can be fooled by propaganda. Most Palestinian Christians believe some of the lies that their leaders have told them about the Israelis. For example, when the Palestinians were kicked out of Jordan and settled on the west bank, Israel built good houses for them to live in. They were prevented from doing so by their leadership and told that the Jews were building shining neighborhoods for themselves while the Palestinians lived in squalor. Their leadership then called the US media and had them come and take pictures of the poor Palestinians.

The new Palestinian "Hitler" is just another in a long line of deceivers.

Propaganda works because it plays on the desires of those it is designed to influence. To combat propaganda, we must have a truth that transcends the bounds of this world. This is why it is normal for those who seek this truth to come under persecution. Those who wish to control through propaganda recognize that if their audience tests their claims against a higher standard their propaganda will be revealed for the lie it is and they will lose power. They often, therefore, use their propaganda to turn the foolish who believe them against the followers of truth.


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