Disinformation; drown the fact in a sea of deception
Adi Keih College of Arts and Social Sciences
Today the world is producing food more than needed, yet many people are starved. Many peace agreements and talks are made and issues tabled, yet peace and genuine resolution are out of reach of many people. We are frequently lectured and deafened by Human rights but in reality the world has witnessed violations that never seen before in its existence. Information and knowledge are proliferating in this age than ever before, yet we’re actually getting dumber and dumber. The amount of information and knowledge at everyone's fingertips has lured us into a false sense of knowing. Like the numerous emergent viruses have threatened the wellbeing and existence of human kind, misinformation and disinformation flu have endangered human knowledge and consciousness. Misinformation and disinformation flu attacked first the mental faculty and then caused the inability to research, process, analyze and filter information. The disinformation flu transported by wind of false rushes to blur our vision, stirring up the dust of confusion and paralyzes the critical faculty of logic. It leaves the victims with something that vaguely resembles true, but in reality is a vile concoction of lies.
Misinformation and disinformation have been the subject of the theoretical research in information science and much have been said to define these two terms in isolation. Leaving aside the theoretical debate and discourse for information scientists but for us, we don’t need to distinguish misinformation and disinformation as both are inaccurate and misleading information that equally harm our ability to recognize the fact. Both involves in production and distribution of false, mistaken or misleading information to obstruct the truth. Therefore, we should equally understand and combat both misinformation and disinformation. Mistaken information could arise from poor research and misinterpretation or it could be an intentional attempt to mislead the public. To better understand the subject, retrieving the many intentional attempts to mislead international community about what really happened on Eritrea by ignoring many relevant facts is lively example. Ignoring basic, fundamental tenets of scientific reasoning and analysis, regional and international as well as humanitarian organizations forged corrupt and untrustworthy manufactured allegations against Eritrea. They intentionally mislead the public by suppressing the reliable data and upholding faulty and manufactured data which is nonsense to repeat it in this treatise. The recent farcical and ignominious news broadcasted by Aljazeera about Egyptian military presence in Sawa is a case to note.
The unjust sanctions were imposed on Eritrea only after relevant facts are systematically ignored and only after the long and careful efforts to deceive international community were effectively employed. The true facts and sound principles of Eritrea characterized by self-reliant development strategy coupled with peaceful, cooperative and noninterventionist foreign policy were overshadowed by manufactured and insidious information that connect Eritrea with terrorism and aggressive behavior. For the architects of disinformation it is easy to deceive “The bewildered mass.” They provided polluted information poisoned by lies, knowing that the hungry mass having no other option at its disposal can feed it indiscriminate. In this case the art of deception celebrated a vile victory that latter vanish in face of reality. The time has come when diligent observation and reflection bring to light things which in the past lie hidden. A wind of truth starts blowing in the blue sky to cast the dust of disinformation hovering over Eritrea. We must develop a critical thinking to identify the truth. While it is often said that going after winds of lies is unproductive and silence is the best response, we must constantly expose the duping and tricking information. In a time when societies are drowning in tsunamis of lies, we must recite the warning truth aloud to defend our fellow citizens.
The gallant Eritrean Defense Forces shading their pure blood are protecting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Eritrea. Our enemies frustrated and discouraged by the perseverance and diligence of our armed forces are now changing the battle front. Accordingly, ground warfare is replaced by psychological warfare. It’s time now to support our gallant armed forces that safeguard the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Eritrea, by shielding the sovereignty and mental integrity of Eritreans living inside and abroad. To this effect, I propose to establish a task force of Eritrean Intellectuals Defense Force (EIDF) whose mission is to defend the sovereignty and mental integrity of Eritreans. We shouldn’t allow our enemies to define our terms. We must be able to expose the truth. Our enemies are long engaged in manufacturing and selling distorted information and building a bridge that connects their language and the imaginary image they constructed about Eritrea. Therefore we should tell the truth when the lies ends. We must combat disinformation flu that is being spread against us.
It's better to become uninformed and an honest ignorant than infected by the spreading falsehood to become misinformed. The point of the incessant disinformation lunged toward Eritrea isn't only to deceive or push an agenda. It is to exhaust our critical thinking and to annihilate truth, Eritrea’s “regime of truth.” In arithmetic, two half makes one whole. But in case of truth two half-truths don't make one whole truth. The purpose of the many fragmented and half-truths and conflicting news and rumors were not to inform the public or introduce Eritrea to wider audience. It was systematically calculated and produced to mislead the public. The purpose of the distorted news manufactured by Aljazeera and other news agencies about Eritrea is to use Noam Chomsky’s phrase “to create uninformed consumers making irrational choices.”
Even though we are starved of true information we shouldn’t be tempted to satisfy our hunger by swallowing everything. The poisoned and polluted information have two equally terrible mental effects: the one is emptying of the mind; and the other is clogging and poisoning the mind. The disinformation flu is now causing large numbers of easily preventable deaths. Meticulous and patient observation, inward looking, weighing and questioning of information are some of proven vaccines or antibiotics that prevent disinformation flu. Until all such kind of antibiotics develops within every citizen, concerned bodies shouldn’t petrify to update and inform the public.
For many years after the second Ethiopian invasion (1997_?), Eritrea has become subject to demonization largely through distortion and manipulation of facts. Strangely, the reality has been stolen from us and replaced with guilt inducing lies. Ethiopia succeeded for a while in hiding the most important fact about the so called boundary conflict which in fact is an Ethiopian war against Eritrea in Eritrea. In June 1998 president Issaias Afewerki, in his statement to AU, dismissed Ethiopian accusations and explained that “Ethiopian’s shrill and offensive language is designed to drown the fact in a sea of accusations”. There's no equivalency between what has been said and the reality of Eritrea. There is no single Eritrean soldier that crossed the international frontier at any point. It was Ethiopian not Eritrean troops that crossed the border of another, sovereign country including to Eritrea and Somalia, in breach of the principles of international law. It was Ethiopia that blatantly rejected agreed principles and court decisions of the boundary commission and still occupied Eritrean territory. However, as it was said “A lie told often enough becomes the truth” Eritrea was reprimanded several times while the guilty Ethiopia was praised. Therefore we must prove the other fact that “Repetition does not transform a lie into a truth.”
Lies often times paralyze the mental strength and intellectual muscle of humans that can only be doctored by mental gymnastics. We live in an age full of information yet fully deprived of accurate information. Selection and filtration of information is required for our mental health. We live in strange ages of flooding information and passive consumption where people that dares to tell the truth are called crazy and fool.
New information technologies are making it easier for people to create and disseminate information that is intended to deceive. Internet as a medium and vehicle of information offer not only trusted and up-to-date information but also those that hold delusions and deceptions. Therefore, it is imperative to develop techniques to distinguishing information from disinformation. Internet has described by some as “a blessing and curse, because it's a gateway to an endless plethora of information”. Many kind of persons visited internet some go to show their true cleverness and others to manifest their hidden silliness. Therefore we should not swallow the unexamined information displayed on the web.
Correction of disinformation would have a considerable effect in Promotion of the national interest of Eritrea through understanding, informing and influencing international community. Combating disinformation means inducing and reinforcing the true image of Eritrea and forge foreign attitudes favorable to our terms. Since disinformation has a more potentially damaging effect than ignorance, debunking the deceitful myth is important. In this battle teachers have greater role by giving students an opportunity to foster critical thinking, encouraging students to skeptically assess empirical evidence and draw valid conclusions from the evidence. PFDJ as broad based national front and mass political organization has a lot to do in filling the gap and fixing the wrong. People are waiting for resurrection of monthly magazine “Hdri” and the monthly leaflet that provides readers with national, regional and international events happened in every month. The ministry of information also has to introduce programs that include talks and debates on important and timely events occurred in Eritrea and outside.
Protect our individual and collective socio psychological aspect from being defiled by lies and distortions requires a comprehensive effort. We must shelter the mind of our citizens from disinformation flu that is ravaging the mind of millions. Let’s construct a mental fortress against lies, distortion, manipulation, mind control, psychological warfare and brainwashing. The Holly scripture have a word of wisdom saying “but test everything; hold fast what is good” (1thess 5;21). And continue to add “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1john 4;1). The Holly Quran also advised readers to distinguish truth from falsehood: “And do not mix truth with falsehood, and do not conceal the truth while you know” (2; 42). For truth to triumph over falsehood we mustn’t silently keep the truth. So far, we the people and government of Eritrea have foiled military invasion, economic collusion and political conspiracy intended to undermine our sovereignty. But we didn’t perform well in combating against distorted information. We must propagate and hurl the truth against any falsehood fabricated against the reality of Eritrea. In order to protect ourselves from the rampant disinformation flu we must be prudent, cognizant and seekers of not pleasing but accurate information.