UKRAINE: ALL THE NEWS THAT FITS. YOU COULD SHOW THAT THEN… BUT NOT NOW.
In the years 2014 and 2015 in particular the regions of Donetsk and Lugansk in eastern Ukraine were under a daily attack of randomly-fired mortar shells. These mainly hit residential tower blocks, the taller hospitals and schools and others which missed these hit urban areas including civilian housing, roads and village/town/city centres.
The eventual result to date was an estimated 14,000 dead.
At that time, following on from an intent scrutiny of the Maidan Square insurrection in the winter of 2013-14, I followed every possible lead I could find on Twitter to discover the reality behind the obvious lack of headlines available from western mainstream media news outlets.
I built up a stomach-churning library of images during the years 2014 and 2015 in particular. At that time such images could be posted on Twitter and each time I found one I copied it and added it to my gruesome collection.
For those of a strong mental constitution and equally strong stomach these are compiled here:
As I say, images of this kind were posted without any problem on Twitter in those days, on Facebook too and in fact, as far as I know, on any social media platform of the time. No more.
The sanitising of violence, of violent death, just as it has always been sanitised in most Hollywood action/war movies, has now become the rule across most if not all social media platforms.
The argument to censor, and indeed ban people who post images like these, no doubt goes something like this:
Such images may disturb people of nervous disposition. In addition, those other than adults may see them and experience a detrimental emotional shock.
In regard to the first issue I would argue that to disturb people by informing them of these incidents and issues is the point of posting them. The debate on this predates the period I am talking of of course. The depiction of the gruesome realities of war has long been an area of contentious debate. However, I suspect, with the warfare raging in Ukraine currently and recent regime change wars of choice initiated by the West, we have come to a watershed moment when humanity in general should no longer be shielded from the sickening realities of war or prevented from the appropriate reaction which is to seek an end to war.
But more than ever those who wish to transmit this image in image form and by doing so bypass the general acceptance of the wars our elites initiate and promulgate, are censored and even removed from the social sphere of internet platforms.
As far as I am aware no evidence was produced showing that posting images of corpses caused widespread negative effects. This process of censorship to the largest extent came from those western elites who had been creating those corpses. This alongside the new techniques used after the Vietnam war when inconvenient reporting of the actualities of war speeded its end. Journalists, reporters and commentators would henceforth be embedded with the military units doing the killing and receive their “news” via briefings, either near the battlefront or increasingly from remote locations ‘back home’.
We are now in an era where surveillance, censorship and the cancelling of inconvenient or disapproved-of opinions and activities are commonplace. Add to this the ‘war mode’ mentality of those within western mainstream media that reflects that of western elites, particularly in respect of various agendas, narratives and talking points that reference Russia, China or Ukraine.
Now, more than every you need to ‘watch your tongue’ and be very careful in what you attempt to convey in any form where the ‘general public’ are concerned, including in image form of course due to the movement by many away from the intellectual digestion of details toward headline surfing and image-sensitivity.
The image of the little dust-covered boy in Syria that made a western news moderator cry and the many showing “brave” White Helmet “volunteers” “saving” little kids from mounds of rubble were fine. Anything that depicted an object, casualty or somewhat blurred corpse that could be pinned (without evidence being required) to ‘the enemy’ was used with alacrity. The object of course was to produce the very sort of emotional response (though of a different intent) in the viewer. That intent was to strengthen support for ‘us’ against ‘them’. The little boy in Syria, staring wide-eyed into the White Helmet activist’s camera appeared on every newspaper front page and at the head of each news broadcast at the time. Job done!
Activists, whether Syrian or Ukrainian have an unimpeded access channel to the major articles in the western press and major issues as shown on western mainstream TV news. No evidence is required, no three sources or due diligence regarding any investigation. If it has enough emotional pathos or button-pushing power to it it flies direct to page or screen.
Meanwhile the fake news detection industry is hard at work looking the other way, at those who would deign to offer those inconvenient facts and images that contradict all the news that fits.
Interesting that posting the image at the head of this commentary today was depicted by Facebook as an infringement on the grounds of ‘nudity’/’sexual activity’.