Several days ago PRAVDA.Ru wittily reported that Chechen terrorists “seized” CNN, Associated Press and BBC. More popular newspapers, Germany’s Der Welt, Der Standard, Frankfurter Allgemeine; Britain’s Independent and Guardian; Poland’s Gazeta Vyborca, could be added here as well. These newspapers, right after the hostage release operation, started reporting about the theatre drama in Moscow in a manner which was insulting for Russia. It seemed as if the relatively successful result of the operation frustrated some of their cherished dreams.
You can see it from the headlines of the newspapers: “The Storm Tears Humanity Mask Off Putin’s Face”, “Nobody Executed Hostages”, “Russia Trying To Avoid Scandal”, “The Empire of Lie”, “They Had No Other Way-out” (in the last variant not Alpha soldiers but Barayev’s rebels who held the hostages are meant). And although all these sources applauded to the US-NATO aggression in Kosovo, this time they went into hysteric about the usage of a debilitating gas in the hostage release operation. Publications of this kind and Denmark’s stubbornness with which it hosted the scandalous World Chechen Congress contradict numerous assurances of the whole world of the solidarity with Russia; lots of assurances of this kind are frequently reported in the Russian media.
However, Russian mass media were rather selective when they surveyed those acts of solidarity in the newspapers and on TV. For instance, they mentioned the statements on solidarity made by US President Bush, US Department of State Spokesman Richard Boucher, Secretary of State Colin Powell and even US Ambassador to Moscow Alexander Vershbow; but the sympathetic telegram from Kim Jong-il was ignored, and the address of Saddam Hussein was mentioned just in passing. It is strange why the address was practically ignored; the demand of the Moslem leader to immediately release the hostages was extremely important by the way.
Russian television ORT mentioned Ariel Sharon and special envoy of Israeli prime-minister Roman Bronfman sending their sympathetic words in connection with the hostage taking in Moscow; but nothing was mentioned about the condolences sent by Chinese leader Jiang Zemin (although the latter sent a condolatory telegram to President Putin and touched upon the hostage problem during his meeting with Russian Prime Minister Kasyanov in Mexico).
To tell the truth, there is some regularity explaining why Russian online media mentioned the condolences of some politicians, but ignored the rest of them. It is not accidental that simultaneously with the hostage siege in Moscow, publications in the American media appeared which hopefully said that under those dramatic conditions Russia would be easier persuaded into attack on Iraq. It is perfectly clear that no analogies can be drawn between Chechnya and Iraq: it was the problem of protecting the hostages in Moscow; the war in Chechnya is meant to preserve Russia’s territorial integrity; but Iraq is an object of the US’s colonial aspirations, and Palestinians are fighting for their right for the land, the right which is confirmed by numerous resolutions of the UNO. But in defiance of the truth, the USA and Israel thrust their own ideas upon the whole of the world. And currently such misinterpretation of the truth is seen as quite natural.
After the breakup of the USSR and of the socialist community, the western interpretation of the world events became dominant. Selection of information, interpretation, methods of presentation and terminology applied to the information, everything is currently adjusted to the standards of the leading American and West European media. All kinds of information go about the world flavored and packed equally at that, the same way like McDonald’s hamburgers.
Yesterday I wanted to find a Malaysian source to obtain information about the talks held between Japan and North Korea in Malaysia. I managed to find a website of Malaysia’s newspaper Star. It is astonishing that the website published not its own report about the event held in the country, but that one by the US agency Associated Press. No wonder that Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir, one of the leading contemporary politicians, made anti-Serb statements on the days of the Kosovo crisis: American media managed to embed its own interpretation of the Balkan crisis even into the mind of the far-seeing opponent to the US policy. So, a conclusion can be made that struggle for the truth and reliability of information that people read are today’s burning objectives.
Two and a half milleniums ago, a ruler from one of the Chinese principalities asked philosopher Confucius how to establish a strong and fair government. And Confucius said: “A superior man, in regard to what he does not know, shows a cautious reserve. If names be not correct, language is not in accordance with the truth of things. Therefore a superior man considers it necessary that the names he uses may be spoken appropriately, and also that what he speaks may be carried out appropriately. What the superior man requires is just that in his words there may be nothing incorrect."
In those old days the people knew neither television, nor American-European fifth power that actually can introduce inappropriate words everywhere, even in the communist China. As PRAVDA.Ru reported, majority of Russians were shocked to learn that CNN called Barayev’s bandits, who took theatergoers hostages, rebels. The same could be seen in Beijing’s English-language newspaper China Daily.
It is strange but when China Daily reports about the Uigur separatists or about the Eastern Turkestan separatist organization, no word ‘rebel’ is used, they call the separatists ‘bandits’ and ‘terrorists’. But they think it is right to call the Chechen hostage takers rebels.
Usage of the US terminology in the Chinese media is the result of using inappropriate names under the influence of the western media. And these names get strongly fixed in the subcortex of the people’s brains. Sometimes even curious situations occur. Chinese news agency Xinhua in its Russian-language news always mentions the words “Middle East” in a wrong way (Central East). Then I addressed the management of the agency and told them that they should use the correct Russian terminology for translations into Russian. Especially that the Central East covers the territories of Afghanistan and Iran, not Israel and Palestine. But my opponent confessed that those were the words they used and would do in the Russian version of the publications especially for Russians.
Does it mean that Chechen terrorists are mentioned as rebels in the political vocabulary of the world only because it is more convenient for the English-speaking leaders of the civilized community?
The other day the RF Foreign Ministry demanded that the US diplomacy should insert Chechen terrorists into the list of international terrorist organizations and groups compiled by the US Department of State. By the way, the USA recently agreed to include the Eastern Turkestan separatist organization into the list. It is obvious that it’s not an idle problem how to call Barayev’s bandit group. Restoration of normal life in Chechnya should actually start, as the ancient Chinese philosopher had said, with finding appropriate words for the problem itself.
Andrey Krushinsky PRAVDA.Ru Beijing China
Translated by Maria Gousseva
Not that long ago, American soldiers would train their skills to counter insurgent and partisan military organizations. These days, they are trained to show resistance to the regular army of a potential adversary