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The two videos watched for this paper have similar purposes. They were designed to deliver messages of propaganda to their audiences. The use of propaganda in the contemporary world is very frequent. This is the result of the high level of effectiveness of propaganda. Gathering crowds and motivating them is the basic and most necessary stage of any social movement directed at creating certain changes in society.
The means and effects of propaganda are carefully studied and examined. Propaganda must have a thick and constant flow so that its impact is all-consuming. In the video of FARC propaganda is carried out through the employment of music and images. First of all, the video is directed by cartoon characters. The use of cartoon images implies a certain emotional pattern that broadcasts innocence. From the very beginning, the video excludes the possibility of critical thinking; the “good” and “bad” sides are named and distinguished (Peace Delegation FARC, 2014). Besides, the use of cartoons simplifies the comprehension of the information delivered by the video to its audience.
This simplification creates the idea that the “truth” is very obvious and clear. The video of Anonymous uses similar techniques, the music played during the first part of the video is rather cheerful which does not reflect the events described in the video, but creates a strong framing effect on the audience making it feel fed up with the “lies” Anonymous seems to imply (Anodora, 2011). The difference between the video is that the second example of propaganda made by Anonymous has an inspirational speech in it that is accompanied by suitable epic music.
The two videos have informative characters. The first one, of FARC, is more education, while the second one has a structure of a report and a moving motivational proclamation. Besides, they target different audiences. Taking a closer and more attentive look at the FARC video, it is easy to notice that the cartoon characters are of Latin origin, the video is designed to attract the people of Colombia and explain to them the purposes and goals of FARC and the obstacles it has to fight with. The video of Anonymous cleverly utilizes a well known American actor and his amazingly touching monologue targeting people of the United States and encouraging them to fight against the regime, cooperate with the distributors of the video, and make choices in favor of Anonymous.
The strengths of propaganda are mainly obtained and gathered through the emotions of its supporters. The loyalty and devotion of the followers of various social movements and non-state actors are based on the high level of their ideological motivation. For a person to fight and be ready to sacrifice their life, their properties, their close people, and their well being for an idea, this idea needs to replace all the other desirable goods of human life.
Such all-consuming passion or even obsession with an idea of a belief can only be achieved through a very thorough and long-lasting motivation that covers every sphere of a person’s life and that flows without any breaks and never lets the individuals get under the influence of the opposing ideas and lose or weaken the effect. To be able to recruit new followers the social movements to turn to various measures, tools, techniques, and devices.
First of all, for the non-state actors and social movement leaders, it is highly important to convince their target audiences that the movements pursue noble and virtuous ideas and that they heroically fight for a better future. This is likely to intimidate some of the individuals and make them feel pressured to pursue the title of a hero too or feel bad for not assisting the noble fighters in their incredibly selfless and generous mission. Such a technique is likely to provide the movements with a flow of new volunteers and followers that can be used according to their talents, qualities, and skills.
The next important and necessary measure to promote the movement is to make it clear and transparent for the audience. The transparency does not have to be real, it is enough to create an effect of transparency to make the observers believe that the organization is genuine and honest and that it is worthy of public trust. Propaganda works excellently when it is designed to deliver information and educate the masses about the “true” goals and intentions of the leaders of the movement.
Again, these goals go not need to be real, but they have to match the main desires and demands of the society, this is what will make the society believe that the movement protects the interests of average people and wants to achieve common well being and happiness without pursuing any personal and selfish goods. Educational propaganda is very popular today. Hundreds of propagandistic videos posted on the internet have proved that to attract public attention, a video needs to resemble research. The experience with all the conspiracy theories and posts claiming that various fantastic events are happening for real was taken seriously by many people.
Some of the examples are the belonging of most of the celebrities to the Illuminati order, hollow earth theory, and lizardoids. The video “proofs” of these fictional happenings were structured as scientific research and presented some statistical data or information from some “classified documents”. This strategy is currently applied to most of the political propaganda videos; it is highly effective and makes an impact on a large number of people all around the world.
Finally, it is important to add some beauty and charm to the movement and its work, to create a special atmosphere around it. Romanticizing terrorism, anarchism and other acts of violence is an efficient strategy. To achieve the attractive romantic effect in is enough to present the events in a one-sided manner without showing the negative aspects, or opposing perspectives. This is the technique applied in the articles of the anarchist journal called “Rolling Thunder”.
The authors of the writings in the journal tend to present the movements of anarchists in a very romantic and beautiful manner, turning them into genuine and innocent nature lovers, gentle people with proud and free spirit passionately desiring to break free from the chains of civilization and order (Beneath the Asphalt, the Paving Stones, 2008). This journal and its illustrations create a joyful atmosphere around ruination and chaos. It also portrays the followers of anarchism as courageous people ready to stand up to the dangers.
A similar technique is employed by the portal of Al-Malahem and the work called “And May He Take Martyrs from You”. Arab fighters are presented romantically and sentimentally, it engages the religious aspect to be able to affect the Islamic readers, it also uses happy and smiling images of the fighters making it look like they are characters of some TV show with a happy end. The soldiers are portrayed as heroes that achieved what was deemed impossible fighting to protect their land of faith (And May He Take Martyrs from You, 2009).
Bite Back Magazine that has a purpose to struggle for animal liberation also uses human emotions to base its propaganda on. It is a well-known fact that millions of people all over the world love animals and feel compassionate about them. It is also known that cruelty towards animals in various forms is a frequent practice in the world nowadays. Bite Back Magazine and the followers of its movement use compassion to justify their crimes.
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According to one of the articles in this magazine, fire is a tool for purification, the author even adds some references to the beliefs of indigenous people of America to support his statement, this is why he thinks it is natural to set on fire researching facilities where chemicals are tested on animals (Coronado, 2004). The article does not focus on the fact of how many animals died in that fire, and how many human victims it had. Instead, the author goes on about the noble intention of setting free the animals without taking any responsibility for the crime. Feeling anger and frustration when animals are tortured is common and normal, desiring to save the suffering animals is noble, but doing it at a cost of many other lives is at least irrational.
And May He Take Martyrs from You. Al-Malahem Media. Web.
Anondora. (2011). Anonymous/AntiSec – Merry LulzXmas 2011. Web.
Beneath the Asphalt, the Paving Stones. Rolling Thunder, 5, 2-3.
Coronado, R. (2004). Editorial. Bite Back Magazine, 7, 1.
Peace Delegation FARC. (2014). Why We Fight – FARC-EP. Web.