Khakra

Monday, May 01, 2006

Tree-hugger and more communist essays

In university, after a drunken night, a classmate banged her head on a tree to convince me that I belonged to her, only her and nobody else. And I was this skinny, dim-witted dude with a rainforest of unkempt hair wondering how to get the situation under control.

Partly it was my fault -- for some odd reason, I have associated with the most psychotic women on this planet -- but she just took the cake. I told her if she wanted to chop a tree, she'd be better off in the Amazon, and asked a friend to drop her home.

Next day in the class, she didn't remember anything, though a small scar on her forehead from behind her mountain of makeup was worth a million words. Even mascara didn't save her from dropping a small tear about it. Darn, was she a nutcase.

Continuing about university essays from the last entries, I couldn't resist Russia/Eastern Europe in college, so I majored in war journalism. (Had to separate the previous entry from this for the profanity thing..but some more follows)

Anyways, scouring j-school essays, hit upon one on how TV helped knock out communism in East Europe. I read *27 books/articles in one month* to complete it. I now struggle to finish San Francisco Chronicle's sports section.

You may find a treasure trove of information in college essays *you* authored. I found this amazing extract of an essay I wrote on how TV helped trash communism in East Germany, Czechslovakia and Romania. Warning: it's informative, but academic in nature. (Sectional references edited out for readability. For the curious, they are: G. Baines (1990), G. Robinson (1995), C. Sparks & A. Reading (1994), M. Smid (1992), P. Gross (1995), J. Alter (1990), P. Novosel (1995))

“First, we will take Eastern Europe, then the masses of Asia, then we will encircle the United States which will be the last bastion of capitalism. We will not have to attack. It will fall like an overripe grapefruit into our hands”

-Vladimir Ilyich Lenin

REVOLUTION AND TELEVISION

What really surprises most people is that the peaceful fall of communism in Czechslovakia (November 1989), Romania (December 1989) and East Germany (October 1989) went unarmed . How did that happen? According to Baines, television was one of the “key catalysts to change in Eastern Europe”.

Giving a stance of all Eastern European nations would be impossible, so I would like to focus on the three aforementioned nations to help manifest my argument. Please note that in this section, I am just trying to explain the revolutions, and a little description of how the TV system reacted to the revolutions. The judgements and critiques will come in the “Arguments” section.

East Germany

On October 1989, a demonstration was organized on the streets of Leipzig, East Germany, where people demanded “opinion and informational freedom” thus making “media democratization one of the central issues of the campaign." Western TV stations beamed images of these demonstrations to East German homes.

Erich Honecker, feeling threatened by these TV images, ordered the military to stop the next demonstration with the use of force. The next demonstration involved half a million people, forcing Honecker to retract his order to massacre. Half a million lives were saved, and the Berlin wall was broken to form a united, democratic Germany.

All the while, East Germany had uncontrolled access to the next-door West German television signals. The West Germans relentlessly beamed images that acted as a contrast to the propagandist East German TV.

Czechslovakia

On November 17, 1989, a pro-democracy student demonstration was organized in Prague, Czechslovakia where the “communist system was most rigid." Milos Jakes, the Prime Minister, suppressed the protest with the help of the riot police. Images of the suppression were replayed on TV (with the help of a clandestine video) and on “large television screens set up by street corners."

Czechslovak TV was striving to provide images of that event on TV, but Milos Jakes restrained them from doing so. That led to a dispute between Jakes and the TV authorities. On November 25, Czechslovak TV provided live images of a huge pro-democracy demonstration. Jakes resigned, and Vaclav Havel appeared on television for the first time.

The communist system in Czechslovakia and its control on TV was most rigid in all of the Eastern European nations. Non-socialist programs were discouraged and there was one whole channel dedicated to “the rebroadcast of Russian TV."

Romania

Based on the media model prescribed above, the erstwhile Romanian Television had no credibility in the programs it produced. The people got fed up of the propaganda they meted out, and they relied on foreign TV channels for information.

Romanian audiences had free access to foreign TV signals: those who had satellites could view CNN, Sky News et al; those with TV antennae could access the Bulgarian, Hungarian, Yugoslavian and Russian TV channels.

Before December 22 (when communism was ousted from Romania) the revolutions in other Eastern European countries were being beamed into Romanian living rooms, harvesting the seeds of revolution amongst the public. Their images of other nations succeeding in ousting communism gave them hope.

On Dec 21, 1989 Ceausescu’s rally, which had a booing audience, was broadcast live on Romanian Television. When the last bit of his speech was blanked out (censored) by Romanian TV, people moved out onto the streets in confusion of what had transpired. Ceausescu’s regime was ousted the next day, and the communist Romanian TV was restructured a day later.

3 Comments:

Blogger venus said...

dude, what's up with your communism obsession?? looks like u are deep neck into this..

7:38 AM  
Blogger Khakra said...

hey venus, atleast its better than fascism! i'm for democracy, oh yes, i'm just obsessed with ex-communist countries. ever since it fell, their lives have changed.. many of them are discovering religion and the other fine stuff about life, and it's just fun watching the transformation. On the other hand, some want communism back... some countries were happy getting supplies from Moscow, and now they have to be self-reliant, but they don't have anything, so they're poor and terrible. Like Central Asia. It's a fascinating concept!

11:28 AM  
Anonymous jaderabbit said...

Funny. When I talk to you, I usually want to beat my head against a wall.

;)

6:25 PM  

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