Fear was always a powerful weapon. Fear is a basic instinct helping to protect firstly ourselves then our family and friends. For millennium a group of people have been using ‘fear’ as a tool to manipulate and change the world narrative. It doesn’t matter if the fear they are telling us is real or not.
I have been observing how the one type of fear, the imaginary, had been used by governs to keep them in power or avoid criticisms for their policies or excess. They choose an ‘outsider enemy’, one people don’t know much about, one the news is always pointing as vicious and dangerous. The society of the seventieth century used the idea people who had a different skin colour should be treated differently. Firstly, because they had a culture very different from the dominant power, second because if you say a human is inferior until the point, they became merchandise nobody will care how they live, are treated or concern about their necessities.
Many people know about the African slave trade that ended in the ninetieth century. What few people know it is in the 21st century, slavery still happening. India is the number one country in the number of slaves in this century, with 8 million people. But, not only India, China, Russia, US, UK and other western countries still having subhuman conditions for human beings like you and me. They are still existing ‘scientists’ and people of knowledge justifying and even trying to prove the existence of superiority from one ethnic over others. You had seen this argument used during the Second World War by the Nazi government.
However, if you look around you, this kind of dehumanisation, the one who uses our fear of the different and unknown is used today in countries like US, UK, Hungry and Poland, to make their citizen agree with rules and policies they usually don’t agree. Immigrants became the new flag for politicians thirsty to make their way more comfortable and straightforward. Instilling fear, distrust, blaming them for any problem the social system is suffering, putting it over the immigrant flag has been useful. Most people fear immigrants, even those who live in other countries as immigrants themselves, see ‘immigrant’ as a pejorative and lousy word, something that cares a macula. How they square this on their minds? If they are living in another country, what they are? Simple, create a word for that, ‘ex-pat’ is a creation of a culture that see themselves as superior, enlightened, entitled.
Not only ‘immigrant’ is used as a flag for disseminated fear and prejudices. Entire countries have been used right now as an excuse for bad governance, inequality increasing, and how a pandemic has been managed. It’s a natural point to a country and says it their fault, not that I chose the wrong scientific approach, not that I want to save the economy over the lives of people who, from my point of view, are a burden to the economy. No. The government will not say that. They point their finger far from them, to distant lands from where we, during centuries, were fed with fairy tales, misguided information, and recently with an intense news campaign.
Many of those countries had authoritarian regimes. It is far accessible to some governments using it as a weapon to change de discourse and blame their incompetence and inefficiency to them. They are not only using it to change the conversation; they are inciting hatred in their citizens to make any future policy, even the hardest and inhuman, look like an attempted for protecting the country and their people. “The Chinese Virus” used by Trump; or the “Our math is better than their maths”; or “The virus was made in a laboratory” are all attempts governments are making to instil fear and create a new narrative. We are accepting that as fearful people we are.
Sharing conspiracy theories on social media or supporting the government right to demonise a country only because their government is authoritarian seems more a symptom of a society that had forgotten the reason. Putting facts in a box and throwing it in the sea, refusing to accept the mistakes, policies, and choices they and the government had made searching out of their borders for who to blame. In saying to the public the “others” are the villains, other consequences are left aside. One is when you transform a country in a villain, sure you will give more fuel to their government grip more power. After all, the authoritarian government need to protect their citizens (see the similarities here). We should help to pave a path for the authoritarian country to build a more open, democratic society, instead, we are helping to turn it more and more authoritarian.
It’s said Albert Einstein believed in a global government, where borders, flags, anthems are forgotten mixing our cultural identity over a unified flag, the Earth flag. I do believe in that, even knowing that is probably a utopia, like equality, respect to human life, and people open their eyes to see the truth written in our DNA. We are all the same, we came from the same place – the material massive stars and galaxy formation throw to space – and we are going to the same place – to the same universal elements that created life.