Hildegarde The Arena
ZIMBABWEAN President Robert Mugabe, Russian leader Vladmir Putin, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea leader Kim Jong Un and former Cuban President Fidel Castro Ruz share some extraordinary elements.
These are leaders that the Western media and their governments “look for” so desperately the moment they are out of the public eye for a few days.
The rumour mill becomes so fertile with conspiracy theories being thrown around left, right, and centre.
It starts with unsubstantiated statements that they have not been seen in public for some days, to claims that they are not well. It does not take long for an anonymous person to tweet or post a message on their Facebook page claiming that they are dead. The official view is viewed with suspicion.
When you follow the screaming headlines that accompany these veiled searches and worries, you can’t help but sing along with the rock group Whitesnake in their yesteryear hit song, ‘Is this love’:
I should have known better
Than to let you go alone
It’s times like these
I can’t make it on my own
Wasted days, and sleepless nights
An’ I can’t wait to see you again
Is this love that I’m feeling
Is this the love that I’ve been searching for
Is this love or am I dreaming
This must be love
‘Cause it’s really got a hold on me
A hold on me
You initially read: Where is Mugabe/Putin/Fidel Castro? By the time they go into overdrive, you start seeing claims of ill health, death and headlines with phrases such as “Mystery deepens over . . . whereabouts.”
Even creativity in headline construction dies as every newspaper or website use similar headlines. Bryan MacDonald says in his op-edge on RT: “And some say journalism is dead?”
The falsehoods are peddled with such impunity, and you ask yourself what the story behind these false stories is.
Why do they look for the living among the living? This is in stark contrast to what the women who went to look for the risen Jesus Christ were asked: “Why do you look for the living among the dead?”
President Putin is the latest victim of this hogwash, although it’s not the first time. When he disappeared from public view recently alarm bells were rung endlessly — in Western newspapers, satellite TV and social media. The question was: “Vladimir Putin has gone missing, where could he be?”
The following report appeared on a number of websites last week: “It’s been more than a week since anyone in the public has seen or heard from Vladimir Putin. In an age where the world’s most prominent officials are seen and heard from on a daily basis, the length of time since anyone saw the Russian leader has some wondering if he’s either very ill or possibly even dead.”
It added: “Fuelling the fire, rather than putting it out is the Russian government. Despite numerous queries as to where Putin might be, Russia has said that he is perfectly fine but won’t provide any details beyond that. The fact the former Soviet country is being so shady has other members of the world’s stage a bit nervous. If Vladimir Putin was ill or even dead and the country’s leaders were hiding that fact, it could be a sign of Russia doing something rather sinister.
“The rumours ran even more rampant after Russia released pictures this past week, claiming they were taken the day they were released. Those on social media have been quick to claim the pictures were very old and that if he were well enough to refute the rumours of his illness, Putin would have made a live appearance. Until he does step back in front of television cameras, there will be those who believe something is seriously wrong with Vladimir Putin.”
These lies would be incomplete without input from pundits giving blow-by-blow account of what they believe is going on. But all of it, an exercise in futility!
When the “missing” Putin resurrected, there were efforts to sanitise the sinister motives that were so apparent in the alleged disappearance reports.
The UK’s Independent newspaper for example, reported under the headline, “Russian President refuses to comment on 10-day disappearing act — ‘it would be boring without gossip’”: “Vladimir Putin has appeared in public for the first time in 10 days to meet with the President of Kyrgyzstan. The meeting follows more than a week of intense speculation over Putin’s sudden disappearance <http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/where-is-vladimir-putin-the-theories-that-could-explain-the-russian-presidents-disappearance-10110356.html> from the public eye. A smiling Mr Putin did not address the issue while answering questions from reporters summoned for the occasion, saying only: ‘It would be boring without gossip.’”
MacDonald has the last laugh on the experts and their incredible yarns on Putin’s whereabouts: “Experts . . . who? Most of them have either barely or never lived in Russia. Many have not even visited Russia for a considerable length of time . . . None of this stops them from pontificating across social media and the airwaves with their unique brand of collective baloney. One “pundit” trying to outdo the other for impact. Like bar-bores looking for a bit of company on a lonely Monday night.
“So this was it, as now we know: Putin died on Thursday. Following the shock of his sudden death, he then fathered a child on Friday, in Switzerland. Surely overjoyed at overcoming the obstacle that was his passing, his weekend took a turn for the worse on Saturday when he was overthrown in a military coup — on top of having had a fit of aggressive flu. No wonder so many people were surprised by how well he looked on Monday morning, considering these supposed exertions,” writes MacDonald on the RT website.
How unfortunate for the West’s wishful thinking that these leaders continue to be “resurrected” and once up, they give them a run for their money. Presidents Mugabe, Putin, Castro and Kim Jong Un have done that! Meanwhile, their detractors remain clueless why their wishes cannot be granted.
Fidel Castro’s long absence in the public view was a few months ago translated as “death” on social media. However, on March 11, the Cuban Embassy in Harare circulated a letter that Castro wrote to the Venezuelan leader Nicolás Maduro:
“Dear Nicolás Maduro, President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela: I congratulate you on your brilliant and courageous speech against the brutal plans of the US government. Your words go down in history as proof that humanity can and must know the truth. Fraternally, Fidel Castro Ruz.”
He did not need to write his Reflections. The two sentences spoke volumes and demonstrated that he will not forget friends and neither does he forget his nemesis.
Any wonder then that the West would really want these leaders to disappear from the face of the earth forever? There is something about them that unsettles them. The United States has deemed them threats to its foreign policy.
Meanwhile, the “dead” but living Putin was once again yesterday a thorn in the flesh for Ukraine and its Western allies. He was keeping his ace up his sleeve.
He reappeared in time to join the celebration of the first anniversary of the Russia-Crimea reunification on March 18 2014. According to both Russian and Western media, Putin was expected to “appear at a rally and concert outside the Kremlin”, and also address the people.
That’s resurrection with a punch! But we still ask: why look for the living among the living? Could those who peddle these falsehoods be the dead, in which case we are obliged to respond when asked, “Why look for the living among the dead?”