Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Deadly Subtle Propaganda

From Orson Scott Card's review of Steve Berry's The Alexandria Link:

This book is evil. I don't mean it's about evil.

I mean that this book, to the degree that it is read by people ignorant of history (i.e., practically everybody), will move us closer to a future in which our society permits or even approves of the murder of Jews and the destruction of the state of Israel.

Here's how it works.

At the beginning of the book, we are shown a Palestinian during the 1948 war over the creation of the state of Israel. The scene is about how this Palestinian has been torturing a man he captured in order to find out what he is doing; then he kills him. But the torture is not treated in the fiction as anything other than a regrettable necessity; later, the character does in fact regret his actions that day.

That's not what makes this book evil. No, it's the fact that Berry sets this scene against a background in which Israelis are systematically driving all the Palestinians out of Israel; the Israelis are heavily armed by the British while the Palestinians have no weapons to counter them; and the Israelis have rounded up whole villages of Palestinians and slaughtered them, men and women alike.

These things are not what the scene is about. They are slipped in as background; they are treated as if they were the sort of thing that was really going on in Palestine in 1948.

This is the kind of thing that readers -- especially ones who don't know anything about history -- are likely to assume the writer has researched, so that it can be trusted. The book is fiction, so we know this particular character did not torture and kill the other guy -- that part is obviously made up. But the background is assumed to be real. And readers often come out of books like this thinking they now know something about the real world.

What Berry is providing is pure propaganda -- the propaganda created by terrorists and murderers to "prove" that Jews "deserve" to be blown up by suicide bombers. It is exactly as reliable as the widely-believed propaganda lie that either President Bush or the state of Israel -- or both -- actually carried out the 9/11 attacks in order to provide a pretext for invading innocent Muslim countries.

Read the entire article at the link above.

Hat-tip to Mystical Paths for link to article.

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