Yesterday’s post was fun… I will do that more often. Congrats to Alexandria McQueen… whose guess of “Maldives” is good enough to with the $100. The rocket didn’t actually hit the islands — whose entire size is tiny; about the same as Vancouver/Burnaby combined — but it’s possible a tiny fragment did. Good enough – good call, worthy of the prize. Win Win.
In the meantime, locally, what a beautiful day… spectacular weather, perfect for celebrating Mother’s Day (Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms!!)… though any day with weather like this around here is worth celebrating, eh… ain’t that the truth.
Speaking of truth… Правда – aka Pravda – aka *the* Russian newspaper for over 100 years.
Throughout the history of the Soviet Union, and especially during the heights of The Cold War, it was the only official source of information for the Soviet people. It’s the one that would be tacked up on the streets and in Red Square for people to read. It’s ironic that “Pravda” means “Truth” – and the paper was anything but. It was, as you’d expect, the carefully crafted narrative that the Soviet leadership wanted out there. The Evil West, the awesome Soviet Union, etc.
It’s the paper that, in early 1984, announced that the leader of the Soviet Union, Yuri Andropov, had a bit of a cold and would be hospitalized for observation. Two days later, he was dead. As it turns out, there was far more to it than a cold, but that wasn’t learned till much later. For more than a year, he’d been suffering with multiple organ failure… and had been in hospital for months leading to his death. Interstitial nephritis, nephrosclerosis, residual hypertension, diabetes & chronic kidney deficiency. Hey, don’t worry, it’s just a mild cold. That was the story until he died, and then it became hard to hide… but at least they managed to push the “Pravda” as far as they could.
His successor, Konstantin Chernenko, started smoking at the age of 9 and was a heavy smoker all his life… leading to emphysema, right-sided heart failure, bronchitis, pleurisy and pneumonia. But he, too, died suddenly and unexpectedly from a mild cold. He’d actually been hospitalized for months.
I don’t know what the Russian word for bullshit is (ok, I just looked it up.. it’s “бред сивой кобылы” – that’s a lot of letters for a simple concept…) but that’s also too long a name for a newspaper… so let’s just call it “Truth”. Ha ha.
I’m sure a lot of quiet, whispered discussions back then centered around “What do you think is actually going on?!” – and that is not a question that we, around here, are used to asking when reading or listening to news or leaders who’ve been hell-bent on providing what they call “transparency” since day one.
And this is why this news of B.C. health info being withheld and now being leaked is bothering so many people so much.
The Soviet people deserved to know their leaders were on their deathbeds. When it comes to news about health, people want to know… even if it’s not their own. If it might affect them, they deserve to know. And the leaked B.C. news affects every single one of us.
I’m not a big fan of withholding information, and I don’t at all subscribe to the point of view that putting that much info out there is a bad thing. Sure, people may misinterpret it, but that’s why there are also people out there who *do* know how to interpret it, and they’ll be happy to share their views. The key is, they need the info to do so properly; if the real info isn’t out there, it leads to more wild speculation and even more misinformation. What does hiding it and then providing one single, linear narrative remind us of? See above. The truth is… regionally speaking, a lot of this pandemic could’ve been handled differently. In perhaps an effort to not offend, the blanket orders affected us all equally, and that wasn’t necessarily the right way to do it for the greater good.
There’s less than 24 hours till Monday’s PHO update, but rest assured that the Henrys and Dixs and Horgans of the world are not having a quiet, relaxing weekend. With these few days for the reporters to inform themselves and line up the questions… it won’t be the usual group-hug; this could be a bit of a melee, and I hope the reporters who get the opportunity to do so ask some tough questions. We, the people who are most affected by this… deserve some Правда.