Tuesday, April 7, 2015

No Ministry Of Truth? No Problem! The Case Of The Persecution Of Valentina Lisitsa.

In Ukraine, they know how to deal with problems like her.  They introduced the Ministry of Truth back in December in order to deal with the likes of Valentina Lisitsa.  Forgive me for linking to a Russian news outlet for information about this ministry of truth, but the reality is that very few Western media outlets covered it, and even the few who did, such as the Guardian, reported on it, while simultaneously trying to downplay it.  Strange thing this is, given that Reporters Without Borders also condemned this repressive move.  But I guess in the end, they (the journalists who condemned it) probably found out that their employers were willing to turn them into reporters without jobs if they insisted too much on reporting on this topic.  Thus, few articles made it into the Western Mainstream media, and that is probably why most consumers of Western media outlets still believe the often repeated line that Ukraine is fighting for freedom and Western values.

I may have taken issue with this line or argument before, but I will do so no longer, because as the case of Valentina Lisitsa proves, Ukraine is indeed fighting for Western values.  No, we do not have ministries of truth yet, but in the past year, it has become clear that we are able to do without, and yet still achieve the same goals, while still maintaining the appearance of a free media.

The mainstream media & governments align on unified message.

No one can say for sure what is the mechanism that keeps the entire Western media establishment in line on this particular topic.  To anyone who by some accident came to the conclusion that the dominant story-line is biased to say the least, I think it is obvious by now that there is a force that is making sure that media outlets, be they on the left or right, do publish articles that are predominantly supportive and non-critical of the Ukrainian government, and at the same time very hostile towards Russia, or even the ethnic Russian minority in Ukraine and elsewhere and on occasion even hostile to historical minority rights in the region in general, as is the case with this article from The Economist. This article borders on incitement to hatred, given that it portrays minority group aspirations for the same rights enjoyed elsewhere in similar situations, in order to help prevent their assimilation, as a tool of evil, therefore risks giving nationalist majorities in the region more ammunition.  Yet, such reporting on the situation in Ukraine has become a commonly accepted practice.

What is not acceptable is to mention the fact that the main cause of the civil war in Ukraine is in fact the extreme nationalistic nature of the new Kiev elite and their supporters.  Valentina Lisitsa brought to the attention of her online audience the fact that the current Ukrainian Prime Minister Yatseniuk, called ethnic Russians in the East sub-human.  For this, and other statements off stage, she is now being denied the right to perform on stage in Toronto.  The media is catching on to the story, but every mainstream media outlet which reported on this so far, has already picked a side, by calling Valentina's statements about the Ukraine government and its actions "controversial".  Mind you, if it were not for Valentina, we would not be talking today about Ukraine's prime minister engaging in hate speech against a minority.  Interestingly, no Western media outlet seems to have caught on to the controversial aspect of someone whose government we are called to support in the West, making such hate-filled statements against an ethnic minority.  Would Canadian society accept Prime Minister Stephen Harper, calling the French minority in Canada sub-human?  Perhaps not!  That is why reporting on Ukraine's prime minister making such statements is not convenient, because we are looking to support a government policy that is supportive of the current Ukraine government, to the extent that it apparently cannot be subject to criticism.

Most Western governments were largely silent when the day after Yanukovic was ousted, the new government made it its number one priority, the very next day to repeal minority language rights.  In an impressive display of public-private partnership, which in my view proves that both are the same entity, the Western media was silent as well.  I myself learned about it because I speak Hungarian and Romanian fluently and Hungary and Romania were in fact the only countries in the EU, which took an attitude against this, because there is a significant ethnic Hungarian and Romanian ethnic minority in Ukraine.

Same thing happened when the Odessa massacre occurred.  Despite this being one of the most horrific hate crimes to have been committed on the European continent in the twenty first century, there was very little condemnation on behalf of Western governments, only some statements in regards to regret of the loss of life.  And to date, no Western media outlet has picked up on the fact that this remains a horrific hate crime that has been committed recently and to date there is little evidence of the Ukrainian government doing anything to bring those responsible to justice, which should not surprise us, given that the most likely perpetrators were members of the Right-Sector extremist movement, who are also supporters of the current government.  Given that Ukraine's Prime Minister apparently considers ethnic Russians to be sub-human, we should not expect justice to be done, but should we not expect our Western media to report on the nature of this government that the Western world is supposed to give unconditional backing to?

Valentina also mentioned the death and suffering caused by the civil war in the East, which apparently is also a highly controversial matter.  I am sure it would not be seen as such, if she would have followed the lead of the Western elites and would have placed the blame on Vladimir Putin, instead of pointing out the chauvinistic nature of Ukraine's current government.  One would think that at least some relatively marginal voices would be allowed to present the other side of this story, but as Valentina's case shows us, even this much deviation is not tolerated.  The Expat Ukrainian-Canadian community must have been very pleasantly surprised to learn that their lobby to punish Valentina Lisitsa for daring to point out inconvenient facts for which the current Kiev government would have probably had her arrested, was greeted favorably.  The Western Elite cannot afford to drop the charade and have her put in prison as they would do in Ukraine.  But, we do have another effective tool of persecution.  We can silence those who we deem to be spreading inconvenient messages by simply labeling them as "controversial", thus apparently justifying their persecution.

I guess there is some element of truth in Western media mainstream reporting.  Ukraine is in fact moving towards western ideals, they just don't know how to do it in a more sophisticated and stealthy manner.  They are still at the stage of using more blunt tools, such as the ministry or truth.


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