Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Objectivity of truth

Orwell writes in the Tribune on Feb 4, 1944 in his column "As I please":

...Up to a fairly recent date, the major events recorded in the history books probably happened. It is probably true that the battle of Hastings was fought in 1066, that Columbus discovered America, that Henry VIII had six wives, and so on. A certain degree of truthfulness was possible so long as it was admitted that a fact may be true even if you don't like it. Even as late as the last war it was possible for the Encyclopedia Britannica, for instance, to compile its articles on the various campaigns partly from German sources. Some of the facts — the casualty figures, for instance — were regarded as neutral and in substance accepted by everybody. No such thing would be possible now. A Nazi and a non-Nazi version of the present war would have no resemblance to one another, and which of them finally gets into the history books will be decided not by evidential methods but on the battlefield.....
My admiration knows no bounds when it comes to Orwell's insights. Take the recent Israel-Palestine conflict which has produced gems like Pallywood or the "Al-Dura murder":

Or our very own "Godhra riots", one version of truth is vastly different from another. Orwell says later in the same essay:
The really frightening thing about totalitarianism is not that it commits ‘atrocities’ but that it attacks the concept of objective truth; it claims to control the past as well as the future.
A totalitarian regime doing this is not surprising, but a whole bunch of cronies running the media, doctoring the truth to protect their life-long investments into a hollow ideology is catastrophic.

"We are not the sole owners, but custodians of the liberties we enjoy today . We have inherited these liberties which were won by bitter struggles of our predecessors and it is our duty to safeguard them for our successors."[1]

For the past few years(decades?) we have grown complacent and turned into that fat behemoth that is crushed under its own weight. It is high time we cast away our apathy and learn to shoulder our responsibilities.

[1] I cannot recollect who said this

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