The Propaganda War

by Seneca Moraleda-Puguan

According to Merriam Webster, propaganda is “the spreading of ideas, information or rumor for purpose of helping or injuring an institution, a cause or a person.”

Many tragedies around the world, from ancient times until now, have been triggered by propaganda. Wars have been won and lost with the help of propaganda. Currently, the world is not just witnessing a war of bombs and weapons between and among nations, but a battle of narratives and propaganda.

We see this very clearly with the way Russian President Vladimir Putin justifies his ‘military operation’ in Ukraine. By controlling the stories, news and information received by his people through the state media, he gets to dictate what is ‘truth’ even if it’s a lie.

This is also happening in the Philippines where the election for the 17th President of the nation is just around the corner. The choices for this season’s elections are dividing the nation’s different sectors, causing rifts among friendships and relationships.

Social media has become very noisy with different propaganda from all camps, especially from the two leading candidates. Who will win the propaganda war? Who will succeed in pushing his or her agenda? It’s crazy but exciting at the same time to see what will unfold a few months from now.

Every day, we are bombarded with all kinds of information – some are true, many are not. Fake news abounds. Wrong propaganda flourishes.

This is my prayer, that we will have the discernment to accept only that which is correct and true. But this is easier said than done. We all have our own biases. We only listen to what our ears want to listen to, and we only accept what our deceitful hearts want to receive. It takes a lot of literal ‘brainwashing’ for someone to let go of his or her beliefs and be replaced with new ones.

My husband and I will not be able to vote in the upcoming election. We missed the registration period, and we are really heartbroken about this. Our votes would have mattered. But we are not sitting idly by.

We are actively and intensely praying for wisdom upon the electorate to make the right decision in choosing the next leaders of our beloved nation. We are aggressively educating ourselves on the different candidates by watching the debates and campaigns and researching their accomplishments.

We are on our knees for the Philippines because it deserves better leaders, but it won’t be possible if the people will always choose wrongly. According to an American Historical Association article, propaganda can be used to maintain unity or break down enemy nations.

“A primary objective of propaganda aimed at enemy nations is to break down their will to fight. It is a part of a nation’s strategic plan to intimidate enemy leaders, to separate them from their people, and to break down resistance. Propaganda, too, is an instrument for maintaining unity and goodwill among allies banded together in a common effort,” the article stated.

May we learn to sift and distinguish the good and the bad, the right and the wrong, the destructive and the beneficial.

Whether in the war between Ukraine and Russia, or the battle between and among the Philippine Presidentiables, let us all hope that everything will end well. May only one propaganda prevail – the truth that sets us all free.

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