The Art of Propaganda

by Shah N. Khan

Why is propaganda so much more successful when it stirs up hatred than when it tries to stir up friendly feeling? That was a question raised by Bertrand Russell, (1872–1970), British philosopher.

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 Most psychologists opine that we are more prone to generalize the bad than the good. We assume that the bad is more potent and contagious.

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The growing sophistication of propaganda techniques has been evident in election campaigns as well as International politics and cold war. Large business corporations and commercial interests have also used advertising and other techniques create favorable climate and to develop public support for legislation that serve their interests. The technological advances of the mass media, especially Internet and satellite TV channels in the electronic media, are expanding the outlets available to these and other groups and are likely to have a significant impact on propaganda efforts in the future.
Propagandist writers have coined and popularized many new words and phrases or changed their original meaning. Iron Curtain, Holocaust, Fundamentalism, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Axis of evil and Islamists or Political Islam are few examples.

Political Propaganda
Nowadays the lies and distortion are freely employed in propagandist writing and speech as we have seen in the election campaigns and attempts to justify Iraq War. Distortion of facts has been going on for centuries and the word propaganda has become synonym of misleading information. But there are realistic examples of political propaganda such as the propaganda literature of the American Revolution (1775-1783). The Declaration of Independence, written by American statesman Thomas Jefferson, which is regarded as a masterpiece of rational propaganda. 

Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968) American cleric relied on realistic propaganda and his eloquence and commitment to nonviolent struggle laid the foundation of the civil rights movement for black population is US in the fifth decade of the last centuries. He won the 1964 Nobel Peace Prize, four years before he was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee.
India and Pakistan became separate states when the British finally gave India its independence in 1947. Gandhi and Jinnah (First Governor General of Pakistan) lead the two major political parties in British occupied India and they established their country's freedom through a nonviolent revolution. Their teachings inspired nonviolent movements elsewhere, notably in the United States under civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. 

Religious Propaganda 
From early days the religious missionary activities depended heavily on realistic propaganda. Saint Paul is said to have established the first Christian churches in Asia Minor, Greece, and Italy. They explained the benefits of embracing the faith and did not criticize other faiths and religions. In modern times, missionary activities by Roman Catholics and Protestants have spread their doctrines in many parts of the world. They distribute free medicines; establish schools, clinics and hospitals besides preaching and distributing pamphlets and books about Christianity.

In 12th century a movement began among the Western European Christians to recover Jerusalem and the other Palestinian places of pilgrimage, known to Christians as the Holy Land, from Muslim control. The political and religious propaganda culminated in the Crusades after the conquest of Syria and Palestine by the Muslim Seljuk Turks in the mid-11th century. Commenting on the propaganda against Islam that has been going on for the last several centuries Thomas Carlyle observed,

"The lies which well-meaning zeal has heaped round this man (Muhammad) are disgraceful to ourselves only." Thomas Carlyle in 'Heroes and Hero Worship and the Heroic in History,' 1840

The word fundamentalism is a misnomer and now it means a sort of fanatical point of view characterized by wrong interpretation of Holy Scripture or rigid adherence to the outdated religious ways. 

Fundamentalism began as conservative Protestant movement in the United States, in the late 19th century. It emphasized the following beliefs as basic to Christianity: the infallibility of the Bible, the virgin birth and divinity of Jesus Christ, the sacrifice of Christ on the cross as atonement for the sins of all people, the physical resurrection and second coming of Christ, and the bodily resurrection of believers. Fundamentalism began to flourish in 1909 after the publication of 12 books called The Fundamentals. About this time a number of Bible institutes, such as the Los Angeles Bible Institute and the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, were established or began to teach Fundamentalist beliefs and doctrines.

Zionism as an organized political movement of world Jewry of fundamentalists arose in Europe in the late 19th century with the aim of reconstituting a Jewish state in Palestine and also to create amiable relationship among Jews and Christians. Modern Zionism is concerned with the development and support of the state of Israel. 

At that time the Western civilization was drifting more toward agnosticism than atheism. But the Christian fundamentalists were against Jews as indicated in the book 'The Popes Against the Jews' by GARRY WILLS before the Holocaust. (New York Times Book Review, 1.9.23) Another book THE POPES AGAINST THE JEWS: The Vatican's Role in the Rise of Modern Anti-Semitism by David I. Kertzer also deals with the subject matter in details. 

After discovery of Dead Sea Scrolls in 1949 amiable relations between Jews and Christians developed. Some skeptics say that the scrolls i.e. the collection of about 600 Hebrew and Aramaic manuscripts, discovered in Jordan in 1947 /49, at the northwester end of the Dead Sea were planted by the Zionists to change of perception of Judaism among Christians. The leather and papyrus scrolls include manuals of discipline, hymnbooks, biblical commentaries, and apocalyptic writings; two of the oldest known copies of the Book of Isaiah; fragments of every book in the Old Testament except Esther; as well as several books of the Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha.

Holocaust used to mean originally, a religious rite in which an offering was entirely consumed by fire. Now holocaust refers to any widespread human disaster, but as the term Holocaust it means the almost complete destruction of European Jews by Nazi Germany.
It is said that after the National Socialist Party (Nazi regime) came to power in Germany in 1933, it began to take systematic steps to free the commerce and industry from dominance of German Jews and made concerted efforts to eliminate Jews from economic life, and from Germany. But the real crackdown is said to have begun in 1938, following the assassination of a German diplomat in Paris by a young Jew. All synagogues in Germany were set on fire, windows of Jewish shops were smashed, and thousands of Jews were arrested. 
World War II began in 1939 and the German army occupied the western half of Poland. Thus almost 2 million more Jews came under Germany's control. Polish Jews were forced to move into ghettos surrounded by walls and barbed wire. Unemployment, malnutrition, and poverty were widespread; housing was overcrowded; and diseases were common without any facility for treatment.

In 1941 German armies invaded the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). It is propagated that the soldiers in special units were dispatched to kill all Soviet Jews on the spot. 

Hermann Göring, the second in command of Nazi Germany, is said to have ordered deportation of tens of thousands Jews from Germany and other occupied territories to ghettos in Poland and to occupied Soviet cities. It was propagated that death camps, or concentration camps, equipped with gas chambers were erected in occupied Poland. People were deported from the ghettos; although their destinations were not disclosed, reports of mass deaths eventually reached surviving Jews, as well as the governments of the United States and Britain that by the end of the war in 1945, millions of Jews—as well as Slavs, Roma, homosexuals, Jehovah's Witnesses, Communists, and others targeted by the Nazis—had been killed or had died in the Holocaust as recorded by the Western historians. Some skeptics say that these accounts are highly exaggerated and fabricated to gains sympathy of Christians and Europeans . In 1993 the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. were opened to commemorate the Holocaust. 

Literary Propaganda
Many literary classics were written in part with propagandist intent or helped in propagating. Examples include the histories of French author Voltaire, the pamphlets of German theologian and religious reformer Martin Luther, and the works of German political philosopher Karl Marx. The novel Uncle Tom's Cabin (1852), by American writer Harriet Beecher Stowe, depicted plight of black slavery in the American South and helped in paving way for abolitionist movement before the American Civil War (1861-1865).
In the book 'The Representation of the Holocaust in Literature and Film' Stephen J. Whitfield and Marc Lee Raphael give details

Propaganda Against Islam
US was one of the most popular countries during the period 1930 and 1955 in the Islamic world. But after creation of Israel and its illegal occupation of Arab land supported by US, sympathy for freedom struggle of Palestinians grew in Islamic world. As US has exercised over three dozen vetoes and various resolutions of UN and Human Rights organization were defied by Israel, Palestinians resorted to militancy and gorilla attacks and suicide bombing. 

In South Asia, India defied the 1950 resolution of United Nations Resolution for plebiscite in Kashmir, which is divided in two parts. A smaller portion is independent called Azad Kashmir but relies heavily on Pakistan for economic and defiance. Major part is occupied by India. Nearly one million strong army is deployed by India to curb the freedom struggle in occupied Kashmir and peaceful demonstrations were met with brute force and the leaders arrested and even killed in fake encounters. That gave rise to militancy and suicidal attacks by freedom fighters. But India had been propagating that these terrorists are sent by Pakistan. Over 100, 000 people have died 

Mosad od Israel and RAW of India appear to have created secret cells In USA and other parts of the world to distort image of Muslims, Arabs and Pakistan. And one of their common missions is to flood the United States and the Western World with anti Muslim propaganda bribing media People, beaucrats, politicians etc. They even recruit traitors and Secret agents to pose like Muslims or Pakistanis and deliberately behave ostensibly in favor of Islam but with intent to create fear, and apprehension among the Non Muslims Their agents even carry out Terrorist attacks and put the blame on Muslim fundamentalists. Killing of Pakistani christians began in 1992 as a part of this propaganda.

Freedom of Media

One of the intentions of corporate–controlled media is to instill in people a sense of disempowerment, of immobilization and paralysis. Its outcome is to turn you into good consumers. It is to keep people isolated, to feel that there is no possibility for social change. ”Defenders of the media claim that the media simply is performing its duties of "the public's right to know," but the simple question is, "Know what?" In his article 'The Myth of Media Watchdogs', William Anderson says. "If the media is presenting a false picture—and aiding and abetting a prosecutorial agent of the state in the commission of a felony—then we should ask whether or not journalists willingly are helping the state to lie." Another critic of media opines that hastiness and superficiality are the psychic diseases of the twentieth century, and more than anywhere else this disease is reflected in the press.It was said that in US a media czar has enormous power and he personally controlled more members of parliament than any of the political parties. What interests do such tycoons have in supporting investigations by their journalists of corrupt public officials? 
Gore Vidal, U.S. novelist and critic said, "The corporate grip on opinion in the United States is one of the wonders of the Western World. No First World country has ever managed to eliminate so entirely from its media all objectivity—much less dissent. See related article "Freedom of Expression" at