a digital inquiry

Immortalized Oppression

New media, photography, journalism, primary sourced fast news, etc., all play a role in not only the bombardment of bad news and traumatic information and images, but the time we live in today provides a space for great rage unknown to any people before the technological generation. Oppression in the era of oral traditions, could only be passed down by the tongue, weakening its hold with every generation to pass. Even the experience of such oppression firsthand did not necessitate or even unify alternative states of that oppression. Where deals and treaties are made, so long as the previously oppressed lives a life drastically better than before, it becomes easier to forget the injustices they once faced, allowing history to creep and slowly lead to reiteration. There was a time, not long ago, that oppression for the current generations were but unseen, similar to religious tales and stories of prophets and past peoples outside of their time, purely based on faith and hearsay. And we find through this that, if there was one thing humans have in common, it is the need to believe in something, the great desire for witness. And we find alongside this human trait that the eye is far more overpowering than simply hearing something and accepting it as truth.

            Oral traditions and storytelling may have been common and trusted at a time. Despite what we know now, in that oral traditions opened doors to fabrication and human error greater than today, it was far more receptive as a means of passing down histories, for it was the only means of retaining generational knowledge. However, what we find now, in our age of deceit, where news outlets manipulate images and falsely label news stories to portray an agenda narrative, is that history will be and has always been inscribed by the victor. The very history and stories of Rome which we know today, was merely a commission from Augstine to Virgil, author of the Aeneid, an epic poem, in order to glorify a fabricated history. There is reason why President Trump has attempted to pass a bill which would enact the government’s ability to scan everything we (the people) post online, infringing our first amendment rights.

  There is power in storytelling. And today, we have acknowledged, collectively, the fact that our leaders do not want us to tell our stories. The real stories. The ones that will blatantly and transparently inform later generations that for things to change, it comes with the sweat, blood and tears of the people who are looking for that change. As much as we may look to the world today, and find it hard to put trust in anyone who demands it from us, what we can do is turn to ourselves, those of us who live in the truth we need to organize and mobilize every day, the truth which provides us reason to strive for change, the truth which reminds us that this oppression we are faced with is and has always been deliberate and we have seen it take root in our communities for far too long. We have the tools for the greatest surge of power the oppressor could have anticipated. Though at the same time one must acknowledge, that where we plan, they do the same, and better. As they utilize the very tools we use for truth as a means of falsity, destruction and deceit, and if anyone is great at what they do, it is them.

            What is different about this situation is that trustworthiness has been stripped of our generation completely. What does leadership mean if you cannot look a human being in the eye and say you support them truthfully? Deceit and untruths are more common now even with fact checkers and photo and video evidences. It is all open to manipulation and the truths of visualization are being taken advantage of by it. Seeing videos like deep fakes overturn that concept of visualization as truth. What is especially important here is the anger that comes with all of this. An anger and frustration that is specific to us and to nobody else in history. History was not able to repeat for them, as they did not have physical proofs, concrete evidences, or life spans long enough to engage with these histories and actually prevent them from repeating, yet here we are still allowing things to repeat while we know exactly how it will play out if we take the same steps as previous generations. This is why our tools are so great. And this is why skepticism is so high at the same time. Knowing our government and their suspect nature in civil unrest and actions, why allow an angered people the room and means to increase in anger against their leaders? Why not pacify the situation and be done with the problem, at least temporarily? After all, that is precisely what they say they are trying to do.