by Katerina Nikolaidis, Brunswick Heads, Australia
I was born in the mid 70’s and spent the early years of my life in Greece. During that time, the military junta had just been thrown out of Greece, and the country was joyous and empowered – they had said no to fascism, no to dictatorship and yes to freedom of speech and democracy. Saying ‘no’ had cost many lives; many people had been killed and tortured. My father, a journalist, was one of those held in prison and tortured; luckily he survived and continued in his trade for the rest of his life. He would regularly write about the wrong-doings and the corruption that he saw in politics and the community, which would often leave some people feeling uncomfortable, but I remember as a child how amazing this was. I liked journalists: they told the truth and helped make the world a better place.
Fast forward a few years and I was living in Scotland. I was bewildered with what I saw on the shelves at the newsagents: page 3 girls, the tabloid press, and stories that seemed to be nothing but gossip. Journalism was a different beast (well, it was now actually a beast!), owned by big conglomerates that wanted to make more and more money by selling more and more gossip. When I moved to Australia in 2001, I realised that the same conglomerates operated here too, and sure, there were no topless women on page 3, but page after page I would read drama, gossip, hearsay, more gossip, etc.
I was disappointed with what I saw and what I read, but I knew that there were still journalists out there who were sincere and who would report on what was really going on. It was a BBC correspondent who exposed the mass genocide of the Tutsis in Rwanda, so much so that the international community could no longer turn a blind eye to what was going on. In earlier years, an Australian journalist told the world about Pol Pot’s regime and what it had done to the Cambodian people. And there were others; journalists who cared for humanity more than a fat pay cheque.
In today’s times, in the developed world we may not live under a dictatorship or a fascist regime, and there may not be mass genocide happening to the degree that it took place in Rwanda or Cambodia. But that doesn’t mean that humanity is suffering less. It simply means that the pervasive corruption is more subtle and more hidden.
When a group of people is being harassed and derided for their spiritual beliefs and ways of living, when a hate-campaign via the internet and mainstream media is incited against them, then this is also persecution. It shows us how, sadly, humanity hasn’t changed, and that some individuals will still incite hatred towards another group of people. But worse, it also shows us how this kind of behaviour is now accepted.
This is what has been demonstrated with the hate campaign targeted at Universal Medicine and Serge Benhayon. A small group of people, angry at Universal Medicine because of their own relationship issues (for which they don’t want to take any responsibility), have been hiding behind anonymity and pseudonyms – instigating a hate campaign via the internet. And the mainstream media has also been running with this, commissioning some of the hate-mongers on their payroll in order to get a story that will be good gossip and will sell. But this is not idle gossip. It is much more insidious than that: It is actively inciting a witch-hunt against a group of people because of their spiritual beliefs and way of life.
So those journalists out there who still have integrity and who still do what they do because they want to make the world a better place, I’m asking the following questions:
- Is humanity so dumbed down that it has to take mass slaughter before there is an outcry to stop a witch-hunt?
- Is fascism not tolerated only when it comes knocking on your own doorstep and threatens your freedom?
All it takes is one journalist to seize the opportunity and tell the truth. When that happens, it will have the potential to ‘turn the tide’ and show us all the true power and potential that a journalist holds.
You may think I’m being a bit too simple and naïve. I beg to differ. I feel we have become deeply ‘given up’, so much so that this can appear naïve. We’ve developed coping mechanisms, dare I say it, even a cynicism, so that we just accept the corruption that we see around us. Deep down we know it doesn’t feel right, but we don’t think we can make it any different, so it’s less distressing if we just accept it so that it becomes ‘normal’. That way we can just get on with our lives and hope that at least ‘I’ll be OK’.
But deep down this aches us, because we know that it’s not right. Underneath all the cynicism, the muck and all the giving up, we all hold something very precious in common: our love for humanity and a longing to make the world a better place. And yes, in our times, this may sound like a cliché. But I feel it’s the truth.