There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn’t true. The other is to refuse to accept what is true – Soren Kierkegaard
In psychology, cognitive dissonance is the mental stress (discomfort) experienced by a person who simultaneously holds two or more contradictory beliefs, ideas, or values; when performing an action that contradicts one of those beliefs, ideas, or values; or when confronted with new information that contradicts one of the beliefs, ideas, and values. In other words, the term refers to the perception of incompatibility of two simultaneous cognitions, which can impact on their attitudes.
Leon Festinger‘s 1957 theory of cognitive dissonance focuses on how human beings strive for internal consistency. A person who experiences inconsistency tends to become psychologically uncomfortable, and so is motivated to try to reduce the cognitive dissonance occurring, trying to “justify” their behavior by changing or adding new parts of the conflicting cognition, as well as actively avoids situations and information likely to increase the psychological discomfort.
I am frequently asked, “you’re intelligent, how could you support a dictator”? I explain that because I’m intelligent I don’t believe the lies and propaganda spewed on mainstream media, and I dig beneath the surface to find facts. Then I am usually told “But he’s killing his own people, he’s using chemical weapons and barrel bombs too!” That’s when I usually proceed to explain how that’s all been proven to be false or has been debunked and it doesn’t make any logical sense for him to do so in the first place. I usually share an article or video that backs up my response. Chemical weapons allegations have been made numerous times by the terrorists and then shared to mainstream media during this imposed war. This war has devastated the country for more than six years, I share studies and analysis that prove that the Syrian state provided evidence that the opposition were the ones who used mustard or sarin or whatever the new concoction or flavor of the week chemical weapon and gas is, and that in fact it was never used by the Syrian Arab Army. At that point people will sometimes flat out ignore it, or not even consider it based on their deeply rooted biased views of the Syrian state and the Syrian Arab Army and its allies.
Depending on the intensity of their cognitive dissonance some people completely shut out any information you want to attempt to provide to them. They usually reply that they do not believe in “conspiracy theories”.
When I am asked about the imposed war and invasion in Syria I try to first explain how this war should be defined. I explain that the widely accepted terminology that was provided to the masses via mainstream media is that this was started by a revolution and then developed into a civil war. I explain to them how that is false and share with them information that I wrote about more in detail in this article.
After some discussion I tend to conclude with a simple notion that most should be able to accept. That whoever Syrians want to rule their country is who should be the president. This is a decision that only Syrians can make. This global war on Syria has destroyed the country and it was not a war that Syrians wanted to engage in. Syria is a sovereign country and should not be meddled with. It’s politics, government, president, army, etc. is not up for global debate. Does Syria meddle in other countries politics? No.. therefore why does the West, NATO, EU, GCC, etc. think it has a right to meddle in Syrian domestic politics?
I tell people that they can’t have an informed opinion about the war in Syria without knowing both sides of the story. They need to hear all the sides before they can decide what stance you they want to take. I tell them they need to use logic, critical thinking, read, research, and ask questions just like the rest of us do.
I ask them questions that they seem to have trouble answering. Why would someone that’s supported by most of his people need to commit these alleged atrocities? Does it make logical sense?
Sometimes the question is posed to me about why President Bashar doesn’t allow anyone else to rule the country, why is he stuck on keeping his position as president especially during this war. I explain that he won two elections! No one put a gun to anyone’s head to make them vote for him. Many Syrians that were living in Lebanon stood for hours in line just to cast their votes for him. Why? They truly feel he is the best option to lead a secular, nonsectarian, united Syria.
A popular misconception that is easily rebutted is that Syrians do not want him to lead. That’s simply not true. The majority do, he won by a 88.7% vote in the last election in 2014.
I explain a popular reason the opposition do not want him is because of his religious sect. What’s even more interesting is when a Christian holds these views against President Assad. I explain to them that Christians have said time and time again that President Assad protects them, that he allows them to worship freely, and that he is commonly seen visiting churches and monasteries with first lady of Syria Asma Al Assad. I have explained many times that Syria is the only non-sectarian and secular country in the Middle East and this is made possible by having a tolerant president that respects and accepts all religions. This has worked well for many years and people coexisted without any major issues. President Bashar and his father knew how to handle the Muslim Brotherhood and kept them in line, taking him down forcefully without the people’s support will unleash horror on Syrians and especially those of religious minorities.
A Christmas choir had a surprise visitor overnight after President Bashar Al Assad and first lady Asma made an appearance at a church in the Syrian capital of Damascus where rehearsals were taking place.
After much discussion one does tend to get tired, of repeating the same thing over and over for over six years. The media propaganda beast is a vicious, highly funded, emotionally driven, highly intellectual and is supported by mainstream media.
Sometimes it feels like we are Samson fighting against Goliath. It can get discouraging when we feel like given all of the information, facts, and proof that we have that some people have still refuse it because of a deadly combination of arrogance and ignorance.
Regardless of the outcome it is our duty to spread the truth. Humanity is depending on truth advocates to spend their energy and speak up for the the oppressed. They have been silenced for far too long. Syrians have been suffering for over six years from a global war they did not chose to take part in. Keep your heads held high and your voices strong my fellow truth advocates. At the end the truth will prevail and you can sleep soundly knowing you were on the right side of history.