Facts, truths, lies and trust.

During the mid seventies we were living in Namibia’s west coast. It was the era of the bush war in the north of the country where South African forces were fighting against the SWAPO freedom fighters. At the age of 15 I knew I would be called up by the South African government to fight in this war the moment I finish school. We were led to believe that the Communists were a very real danger to our existence. Our only sources of news were limited by newspapers and radio news bulletins from South Africa.

At the time I experimented with radio antennas and with the help from Popular Mechanics were able to construct an elaborate antenna for my old shortwave radio. This enabled me to tune into the NBC news service broadcasted from the USA. For more than 5 years I listened to these broadcasts. This was of course illegal as the South African government of the time had a media blockade on the war in Angola.

This was the first time I realised we were taken for fools. Every Sunday we would get the biggest Afrikaans Sunday newspaper with the latest news on the war. That same evening I would tune into the NBC news to hear the international version. Without fail the coverage of the same incident would differ so much that one could assume it to be different incidents altogether.

Who were dishonest? Short answer; Both. It took me many years to understand that the truth is in the eye of the beholder. We are all biased to some extend and it will always reflect in our presentation of facts.

What I learned from this experience is not to trust the media or internet. I will never trust any government again as they all withhold some of the truth as to shape our minds to buy into what they want.

The only way to get through this muck is to use good old common sense or the ability to cut to the chase. Unfortunately not everyone is born with common sense and most of us only obtain it through experience which of course can take years to develop.

Who can we trust? Our own judgement. After all, that is our only defense.