COMMENTARY: Romale, Bill Gates does not want to track you, vaccinations against COVID-19 will not kill you and do not involve microchips
I have always believed disinformation is the domain of Bolsheviks, demented people, and fascists, but what is happening around COVID-19 and disinformation today is on the verge of mass informational insanity. People are believing the urban legends on social media that Bill Gates allegedly wants to inject humanity with microchips so he can control them, or that vaccinations are allegedly killing people, or that public figures are allegedly "staging" their own vaccinations against COVID-19 because allegedly no needles can be seen in the photographs or video footage of them.
It is an absolute tragedy that so many Romani people in the Czech Republic and Slovakia are falling for these urban legends (and are disseminating these absurdities on a massive scale through social media). The foolishness of those who are too lazy to double-check whether what they have read is true makes me want to cry.
Let's take a look at what is going around. Who among you has seen something like the following text (with some sort of image) on Facebook?
"A friend from England went for his COVID-19 tests. His nose hurt for a long time afterward and sometimes he got sudden nosebleeds through the nostril where they had taken the sample. One day he was watching TV and picking his nose, and he pulled out this. He didn't know what it was at first, so he got a magnifying glass and his jaw dropped. This nanochip is what a trained paramedic is inserting deep into all your noses with that long swab during these tests."
I swear that I have seen different versions of this urban legend on hundreds of people's social media profiles; in one variation on this absurdity, the accompanying image was of an LED light that nobody could have ever fit into their nose (not even using a scalpel), while in another variation the photograph was of a nanochip from the year 2009 (long before COVID-19) onto which the entire Bible in Hebrew had reportedly been uploaded. Wherever I am on social media I see people sharing this stuff, and a large number of those sharing it have been (and still are) Romani people across the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
In another such cycle of absurdities, I read that the Canadian Health Minister (and also Czech PM Andrej Babiš, and a billion other people, probably) had gone for their vaccinations against COVID-19, but allegedly "no needles" can be seen in the photographs or videos of those publicized events. Again, these allegations are shared by Romani people, clicked on by Romani people and commented on by Romani people.
I do comprehend that most of those discussing these memes cannot know everything, but does anybody seriously believe that somebody would call television crews to document their being "injected" with a vaccine - but then leave out the needle? I'm afraid I have to disappoint those of you who believe this.
Using Google, for example, you can find a photograph in about 10 seconds that clearly, visibly shows the vaccination needle by the Czech Prime Minister's shoulder. Then there are the memes making the rounds about the American nurse Tiffany Dover, who fainted after being vaccinated against COVID-19 - and people are alleging, falsely, that she died.
The allegation, which is untrue, is that she died (which she did not) because she was vaccinated against COVID-19. Of course, how else?
Unwell minds believe such things, share them, and convince others that death awaits all who undergo such vaccination. I won't go on about how many Romani people have sent me this supposed information.
It takes a minute of searching online to read USA Today's report that this particular nurse overreacts to pain and faints in such situations. Besides that, she's alive and in good health.
Who here is going to research that information, though? Just a few individuals among the hundreds sharing such social media posts will check to see whether the information is correct.
There are also some real specialties out there on the Internet. The Slovak video program "In Seventh Heaven" (V siedmom nebi) features a Zuzana alleging that she became paralyzed after a vaccination.
The disinformers republish this material in association with COVID-19, and the Roma rabidly share it - the problem is that the program is a year old and was produced long before any vaccinations against COVID-19 even existed. Do you need more examples?
What about the headline below? It alleges, falsely, that "WHO finally acknowledges that vaccine supported by Gates caused recent outbreak of polio in Africa!"
That little joke was published by a website called svobodnenoviny.eu ("free news.eu"). That particular server is on the list of websites promoting disinformation here, and all one has to do is look at who contributes to it to understand it is not to be trusted.
For those interested, the authors not to trust on that website are Petr Cvalín, Břetislav Olšer, Olga Pavlíková, Tomio Okamura, Václav Prokůpek (who is a real liar, as Romea.cz revealed in our reporting on him years ago), Eva Svobodová and Tomáš Vyoral. Each of those people is either a Bolshevik or a racist of the worst calibre.
Who is supporting the sharing of their disinformation here, though? We Roma are.
We're too lazy to even look at who the authors of these "news items" are. We don't notice that the news we are reading has been published by, for example, Aeronet.cz.
If it's sensational, then of course you have to "share before they delete it!" My feeling is that the links to some content on the Internet should just be shared on the basis of IQ tests.
However, even a person of very low intelligence would never believe a half-centimeter long LED light with two conductor wires could fit onto the head of a cotton swab. Many of us have believed this, though, and few of us are aware that if we share such lies, there is a big risk others will believe them and pass them on.
Romale, really, don't believe everything you see. I could use a computer graphics program to show you "footage" of Mickey Mouse crawling out of my own nose waving the Romani flag - and I believe most of you would comprehend that such a thing would be fake.
Why doesn't it occur to people to reflect on what the actual dimensions of an LED light are? Lastly, if you can't do without sharing these absurdities, kindly look at who actually authored them before you do so.
Most of the time you will discover that the authors are either fascists or that the content comes from disinformation websites in Russia. Who among you would consciously support a Nazi?
None of you would do that, right? So why the hell aren't you looking more carefully into who is actually creating this fake news?
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