Every Friday near Pioneer Square you will find a Women in Black demonstration against the occupation of Palestine by Israel. What you'll never find in the next day's bOregonian or on that night's Channel "X" news or hear on the drive-home radio news is a story about this event. The tiniest tid-bit of government-spun propaganda about "terrorism", "security", or "protecting freedom" will be front page above-the-fold in the daily corporate rag or narrated earnestly by some blow-dried paperdoll on the boob-tube, but you won't hear a word about what real people think about it. Corporate media presents itself as balanced, objective and factual, but this stance is a cold conceit. "The fourth estate" is a telling label; these lie-mongering institutions are part and parcel of the powers-that-be, distinguished only by the method of oppression they employ. Laws and pepperspray are for governments and the police; disinformation is the media's big gun, and they use it well.
Why is it not "news" that dissent is expressed publicly on the street on a regular basis? Why do the Women in Black deserve no mention? Because they are not stuffing the pockets of the media owners, and because their message runs contrary to the worldview of the ruling establishment, of which the media owners are members. We live in a culture that is increasingly controlled through fear and as far as I'm concerned, it's news every time anyone stands up bravely in this climate. That's why it's so great to see Women in Black there every Friday, and that's why it's news every time they're there.
Every time the Women in Black gather they interact with people walking by during the busy lunch hour. Sometimes the interactions are heated or brief, other times they'll go on and on. Either way, it is obvious that people are hungry for such interactions, which they're not getting it by reading the paper, watching tv, or listening to the radio. The views espoused by the people who choose to stop and talk with the Women in Black are not always the "mainstream" views, either. The Palestinian conflict brings up a lot of emotions and is not easily shortened to a soundbite. The nuances that emerge in people's thinking through these conversations betray the inaccuracy of the corporate media's portrayal of opinion.
Fortunately, people are standing up and sharing information in a variety of ways outside the corporate media. This woman is a recently retired teacher who taught history at West Lynn High School. She brought the truth into her classroom, sometimes incurring the anger of parents. Today she was sharing a piece of curriculum she used. It is comprised of eleven quotations and asks the student to indicate the source of each. The choices given for sources are "The Old Testament", "The New Testament" and "The Quran". She said that most students would fill in Old or New Testament for nearly every every quotation because they sounded "Christian". Afterwards, she would tell them that every quotation was from the Quran. Students were quite surprised.
What a wonderful tactic to use; academically sound but truth-telling nonetheless. It is in these little ways, on our jobs, with our friends, and on the streets with strangers, that we can fight the corporate media's lies and get the real facts out there. Of course there's indymedia, too, where a story like a Women in Black demo is "news". So get out there, stretch, report what you see. Publish it here. We can make a difference.