Saturday, June 23, 2007

Your reality, my reality

I watched the original 1978 Connections BBC series again. And, since I had watched it many times in the past and know it very well, I couldn't help noticing that there were places where several minutes were missing from the Spanish dubbed version I recorded when I was in Argentina. Things like drawings of human bodies, things like criticism to the church's attitudes back in the middle ages, gone and cut off for good.

Now, if I had not watched a different edition, I would have gone believing that Connections simply didn't have those parts. How would I have known any better?

But besides the fact that I find such censorship highly questionable, it just begs the question. What are we missing today? What kinds of stuff are being censored, or edited, or even fabricated in our modern existence? Because clearly, it is so easy to go with the official story when it has the correct national colors. But even though there is always a different default point of view depending on where you are, it seems to me that there is a pattern.

For example, in my country there was something called "The Conquest of the Desert". Let me summarize: send the army to round up and massacre all native population. Women, kids, men, no difference at all --- shot point blank one after the other, not even in battle, not even in a fight.

But in my school, one instructor got in trouble for pointing out that even before, what the Spanish did in the 1600s and 1700s was also a massacre. We just don't say it is because we are the descendents of the ones behind the trigger. Our cultures carry the bias of the ones before us, even those who are long gone.

The highest bill in Argentina carries a whitewashed illustration of the so-called conquest on its back.

Note the convenient omission of any of the dead. There are also some papers, a sword and some bay leaf branches --- sure sign of an honorable, lawful victory. The bill includes a quite positive bio of the president that organized the genocide. To top it off, it also says "Republic of Argentina in union and freedom". Gross.

This inherent bias pattern, invisible to us since we live in it, is what pervasively and silently filters and censors our lives in a self-sustaining manner. Therefore, it is not surprising at all to hear people come up with the most creative excuses to justify today's senseless killings. Hey, might as well censor the deaths too*.

Hopefully we will wake up a bit and stop doing this to ourselves.

* The "Iraqi" government outlawed cameras at car bombing sites.

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