Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Deny Everything

Nowadays, many countries, many organizations, and many political leaders deny every allegation that is targeting them. Though they take aspersions and insults very seriously all allegations are emphatically denied. When Varun Gandhi made a vitriolic and rabid speech against Muslims of India during the last Lok Sabha elections, Advani and et al of BJP denied everything. If there was a newspaper article giving snippets of his speech, they said it was all fabricated. When a video was shown depicting Varun making that hate speech, they said it was doctored. When multiple videos were shown, they said that there was a big master plan (‘saajish’) behind all this and they intend to find out very soon. Soon the accused, the Hindutva brigade, became the victims of a malicious campaign.

When someone suggested that LK Advani was aware of the Kandahar terrorist exchange, Advani denied everything. When his personal secretary eventually spilled the beans Advani denied it further.

Recently, there was a footage of Sri Lankan soldiers killing capture Tamil Tigers at point blank range. It was eventually denied by Sri Lankan government as a manufactured video by those who wanted to malign their genuine and humane efforts to reform and resettle Tamils. [The video is only for adults and you may not like what you see: Video.]

Ahmadinejad of Iran, Musharraf of Pakistan lie through their teeth, and deny almost every allegation, every report, and every piece of evidence which suggests their culpability. Almost every Indian politician, regardless of his party or creed eventually denies everything that he said in the previous meeting rubbishing the evidence as campaign of malice from the opposing parties. Indian authorities categorically deny everything when a report suggests it is has not been the best at protecting human rights of its citizens. It also denies blatantly any report that suggests India has very high number of AIDS patients.

Most mature countries and civilized societies ensure that such denials are not done ad nauseam. Eventually, someone has to take credit for what has happened. To ensure one does not deny something indefinitely these countries and societies make sure they don’t resort to fabrication, lying and cheating. This will allow them to question other countries and themselves when someone has to take the blame.

However, when one such country, which is considered a super power and which swaggers around as moral authority, resorts to hoodwinking, the whole credibility factor goes down the drain. The biggest lie of the second half of century was made by Bush Administration when Colin Powell walked to the center stage of UN and splashed pictures of Iraq showing movement of nuclear weapons and arsenal. That lie was used to wage a war against a population against their will, killing them, subjugating them, and throwing them into a brutal civil war. There were no nuclear weapons in Iraq, that’s what we found after the war.

When US can resort to such blatant fabrication, can’t we all do the same? And since any evidence can be fabricated, why not deny all evidence?

A day ago, India accused China of making incursions into India’s territory. Of course China denied everything. They said everything was a lie. There was no truth to these allegations they said. One Indian TV news channel reporting the news showed clips of movement of troops and helicopters. An average viewer would think that it was actual footage of Chinese incursions into India and would even assume that it is incontrovertible evidence. However, upon closer inspection you realize that in first footage the helicopters belong to Indian Army and in second footage they were actually American soldiers. Therefore, the whole video they were showing was spurious. I move to the next channel and here the video was very different. It showed tanks and armored cars moving in. Did Chinese come on foot, by helicopter or by tanks? I was not sure anymore. In the end I was not even sure if Chinese really came into Indian territories. And if we are trying to make a case by showing fake videos, we better be ready when Chinese deny everything. Even I would be one of those who would suspect such news in future.

It comes back to one’s credibility. If you create a society where everyone is faking it, you don’t know what is genuine. Like in a road side bazaar in a tourist place – you have no idea if it is fake or genuine, and hence you assume everything is a bauble.

That’s where we get our strength to deny everything. There is enough number of people ready to believe you when you deny everything because they know of an instance where evidence was fabricated. When media, governments, and political leaders, who we entrust with power and accountability, lie through their teeth you don’t know what is true and what is hoax anymore.

May be Sri Lankan soldiers were real nice to Tamil Tigers after all. May be there is no global warming after all. May be China never invaded India in 1962 after all. We can deny everything.

1 comment:

  1. I have experienced the same during the recent YSR helicopter accident. When the government said that YSR landed safely was taken to a govt guest house in the afternoon, the news channels were showing a video of YSR getting off of a helicopter. We assumed that YSR did land safely. I don't think the news channels do this on mislead people. They actually try to put something on screen and fill up their 24hr schedule by showing something. They should understand that they are misleading people.


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