All of us live with “narratives” in our lives. I look at these narratives as “shortcuts” to knowledge provided by others.
One of my favorite songs has been Leonard Cohen’s “Everybody Knows.”
The first “trusted sources” for these life narratives were usually our parents. We accepted what they had to say about the world as “fact” mostly because we trusted them.
Somewhere along the line we started to doubt some of those narratives as we encountered life experiences that did not support their narratives. Challenging the narrative, for some of us, became a normal way of thinking, not so much for others.
In 1968 I was an assault helicopter pilot flying in South Vietnam. On January 30th of 1968 the Communist forces launched the largest offensive up to that time in the war. It was called the Tet Offensive. Eventually, more than 80,000 Viet Cong and North Vietnam fighters participated in the offensive which was directed at more than 100 towns and cities throughout the country. The objective of this assault was to overthrow the government of South Vietnam. They anticipated that the South Vietnamese military would turn against the government and that the civilians would rise up against the government. That objective was never achieved. Instead, the South Vietnamese military, along with their American allies, defeated the attackers in some of the most intense and bloody battles of the entire war which inflicted very heavy losses on the Communist forces.
As they say, I had a front row seat at the war and to the Tet offensive of 1968. I witnessed the terrible defeat of the Viet Cong and regular army forces of North Vietnam. However, I was amazed to read in newspapers and to hear from family members back in the States about the terrible defeat the South Vietnamese had suffered at the hands of the Communists and that the battle was a great victory for the attackers. I was shocked by the narrative.
This was my first experience of a huge narrative I personally knew to be false. It was the “official” narrative accepted by the world and there could be no other narrative available to the public. Powerful voices, trusted sources, said it was so and the narrative was thought, by most, to be the truth. It was not. This false narrative turned a tactical defeat for the Communist forces into a strategic defeat for the South Vietnamese government and its allies.
Today, with regard to the Ukraine Russia Conflict, there have been powerful voices, mostly in the Western Media, that have created a false narrative about what has been happening on the battlefield. There has been a false narrative on why the conflict started and a false narrative of the relative truthfulness of the two protagonists. For most people in the Western World, it is very difficult to discern the truth and most believe their “trusted sources.” Unfortunately, most of those media sources have been compromised and politicized to the point that they are nothing more than propagandists supporting the political agenda of some of the leaders in Europe and America.
I can remember, during the time of the Soviet Union, that we in the West were told not to believe anything from Pravda because it was all “obviously” false and nothing but Soviet propaganda. Hmmm…really?
We must all answer the question: who do you trust?
Today, there are many sources of information throughout the world that present varying degrees of “truth” about any of the world events we live with. Because of alternate media, we have a much better opportunity to vet the truth of these sources and to challenge any of the prevailing narratives. Today, it is much easier to see the ubiquitous false narratives that attempt to “push an agenda” and have no interest in providing the truth about the situations they are reporting on.
I am thankful that with the conflict now raging in Ukraine, I have found a number of “trusted sources” to include “THEDURAN” so that I can get a clearer picture through the “fog” of war. I am pleased that if one of the commentators on The Duran makes a mistake and states an untruth, they are quick to admit they were wrong and make a public correction to “set the record straight”. In this age of overblown egos, it is refreshing to find people trying to find and report the truth whether it supports their personal bias or not.