Jesus Rivas: Media hide facts while honoring our heroes

Jesus Rivas of Somerset is a former college professor.
Jesus Rivas of Somerset is a former college professor.

We are used to seeing the mainstream media twisting and spinning things around, but this talent is at its highest when it comes to commemorating the lives of personalities whose ideals are in conflict with the interest of the economic elites that control the media.

Consider John F. Kennedy, for instance. On the 50th anniversary of his assassination, all the talk about his brief but meaningful presidency somehow ignored his dogged resolve to end the war in Vietnam at all costs, even if that meant not being re-elected president.

Clearly, the military industrial complex, which has influence over the media, does not want to associate anti-war ideals with the life of JFK.

We also commemorated the civil rights movement and life of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. However, all the discussion about his legacy deals exclusively with his struggle for civil rights, while little attention is paid to his fight to protect the working classes against economic oppression.

We hear only allusions to his "I Have a Dream" speech while very little attention has been paid to his last one, "I Have Been to the Mountaintop," dealing with economic oppression of the black and white poor, and going as far as calling for a boycott on Coca-Cola for the way it treated employees.

While glorifying the struggle for civil rights does not hurt the economic interests of corporate overlords, they feel different about the rhetoric on economic oppression and class equality.

Anyone who talks about class inequality is immediately accused of waging "class warfare." Never mind that class warfare is happening whether we talk about it or not, and the elites are doing all the firing.

Their game relies on the masses not realizing they are being exploited. Associating class struggle with the life of King would glorify the issue of the struggle of classes. However, we do great injustice to King's legacy by omitting such an important part of its content.

Last but not least, we commemorated the life of Nelson Mandela, the great Madiba, who led the epic struggle against apartheid. However, among all the remembrances of his life there were quite a few important things missing.

One was the fact that Mandela was a member of the South African Communist Party at the time of his arrest. Second, it was none other than our glorious CIA that informed apartheid leaders of Mandela's whereabouts, leading to his arrest and imprisonment.

We did not hear much about all the international efforts and lobbying the United States did to maintain Mandela in prison for 27 years, or that Mandela was on the U.S. terrorist list until 2008.

Because then, as much as now, the United States used the word terrorist for all nationalist foreign leaders who worked for what is best for their people.

Also absent from the remembrance was any mention of the strong ties between Mandela and the much-demonized Fidel Castro and Moammar Gadhafi because these two nationalist leaders unambiguously supported anti-apartheid struggles, providing training and weapons.

There is another group of things we did not hear much of — and for a good reason.

We did not hear of U.S. government efforts to bring down the atrocious regime of apartheid. We did not hear about our government's economic embargo, international sanctions or the red line in the sand threatening military action if South Africa continued brutalizing its citizens. Of course, the reason why is that they never existed.

The United States, then as much as now, was more than happy to look the other way when dealing with tyrants who let international corporations profit from their mineral wealth and to let the market economy wreak havoc among their working classes.

To commemorate Mandela's life while ignoring all the active contributions the United States provided in opposition to Mandela's goals does tremendous injustice to his legacy.

This omission is only conceivable because of the great man's immense capacity for forgiveness.