The “online” lecture was supposed to start in 5 minutes, when I accidentally checked news and heard that 4800 cases were reported in the country. I was surprised to enter the lecture while a friend sent me a message on the phone: ‘’Do we have fun somewhere today?
I imagined where we could have gone, I thought deeply. I started talking to myself “Where should I go?’’ But I felt fenced in, in my own house, by my own free will… My brain is constantly thinking about something, just repeating only one word – fences, fences, fences…
“Bring a lot of lemons home today, do not forget!’” – I overhear my parents saying.
4 minutes left before the lecture. I hear my mother telling my father how to treat a coronavirus infection at home, using this or that Facebook cure: Lemons, hot water. They did not ask each other a question, even ‘’really?’’ How did they get to this point? The first step that comes to mind is education. But my parents, instead of education had knowledge – orally transmitted knowledge, also within certain limits. This is no accident, because they are the children of a dictatorial world – the Soviet Union. I realize that their dialogue is a direct outcome of this – the Soviet approach of dry knowledge, the constant restatement of facts. A single unquestioned opinion.
This kind of knowledge has haunted our society for centuries. Yesterday, my neighbor insisted: ‘’I read on the computer, how can it not be true, it was written on the computer like this…’’ In the technological age, this ladder of education has two directions. Used properly, it can lead to a modern, Western education founded on critical thinking. But take the wrong way, and you end up to the north of my country, in the Soviet Union or Putin’s Russia.
2 minutes left before the lecture.
I will use this time to describe my neighbor. A woman who is not particularly special, who is an example of ‘’Northern Knowledge’’. I have heard many things from her – facts true and false – but never as much as during the epidemic. She neither knows whether the information is false or true, nor does she know who could be behind it. Even so, she continues to speak. And why is my neighbor the carrier of all this information? Perhaps she read it on the Internet and was convinced that the coronavirus was created in an American laboratory, or that the spread of the coronavirus was caused by the introduction of 5G Internet. She is angry with Bill Gates, who is going to ‘’chip the world population’’. She looks at me with an angry face: ‘’The goal of creating the coronavirus was population decline. What else would you expect from the West? ‘’ I look at her and smile silently. Who told her this? And Why?
It is the last minute before the lecture and I will probably think about it… Where does she get this information… and I remember the fences. I feel fenced in during the pandemic, but our society has been fenced in for decades, centuries. Fences of ignorance convinced us that Coronavirus wouldn’t be dangerous. They locked us in our houses with lemon water, magical cures, conspiracy theories. The Fences of the Soviet empire took away the education of generations…
As I told you before, I am from a small country, a former Soviet country. A certain force is always trying to deepen anti-Western views in our society.
Lies spread easily. I think about how difficult it is for a person to change their mind about what they believed for a long time. Clarifying and believing the truth – this is the only solution. Nobody wants to be deceived. Today, I, my parents, my neighbor and each of you are victims of bitter Disinformation. Wherever it comes from, it easily takes over our thoughts and deprives us of the most important values. Fighting for the truth is always worth it.
Now, I calmly pick up the phone and reply to my friend: Go outside? A good idea, why not?!
RESEARCH | ARTICLE © Salome Salakaia, University of Georgia, Tbilisi, Georgia