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Birds do not exist. They are all extinct, and the government has replaced them with robotic replicas. This is the contention of the Bird Aren't Real movement, which has thousands of followers on social media. The "pajaronegacionistas" do not deny that they once existed, but global warming killed them all (not just some... ALL!) and the U.S. government would have hidden the extinction by replacing them with surveillance drones. This is what they claim on their website and that their movement was founded in 1976. The reality behind this is a conscious joke by Peter McIndoe to mock the conspiracy theories that flood the networks. The problem is that once the parody went viral it began to "fly", and the movement has taken on a life of its own, with thousands of Americans seconding the outlandish theory. Who needs to scientifically prove anything, when you can make a delusional anatomical schematic of a pigeon with cameras in its eyes, microphone, battery, its corresponding wiring and even its own wi-fi antenna?

We are in a time when humor and conspiracy dance hand in hand on a thin red line. It is increasingly difficult to differentiate between fiction and reality, because almost anything is possible. Technically, naturally and socially.

We have the technology to make a bird-drone (in fact they are already being used in many countries by the police), the credulity for large groups of people to believe in the most absurd story, and the credulity to accept that they do, while we have the capacity for extinction by our actions, to wipe out animal species. Are we looking at the birds when what we should really be concerned about is the bees?

Denialism is fashionable. I don't know if it's so much being it as it is bragging about it. We have seen it during the pandemic. Denialism about the virus itself, about the deceased, about vaccines... A not very clear ideological corpus, which amalgamated different theories, some of them with a touch of reality and others with the most delirious reasoning. Nanochips, 5g, graphene, genetic reprogramming... remote control, New World Order, Soros, Bill Gates. On the other hand, the few scruples of the big pharmaceutical companies (the same that have us unnecessarily hypermedicated, conflicts of interest, the haste in the creation of the vaccine, application of new technologies and the suspension of rights by governments). As we are observing in many countries, denialism is a politically transversal phenomenon, which each extreme tries to channel and use as a weapon against its rival. To capitalize on a discontent and perplexity about the world that already existed prior to covid-19.

It was our first pandemic in such a globalized and hyperconnected world, and like many other issues, the all-powerful animal called human being, it has been too big for him. With hindsight we can think that the total confinement was killing flies with cannons, mortgaging future psychological consequences derived from it. On the other hand, the reality in the hospitals made it necessary to take drastic and unprecedented measures. It was an open hemorrhage that had to be plugged in any way possible (even with dirty hands), hence the need to take advantage of a vaccine made in possibly less time than necessary. The lurches in the measures adopted by the governments have not inspired much confidence in the citizenship either, on which all the sacrifice, mental, vital, economic... fell on. As in previous crises, the rich got richer and the poor got poorer, fed up and damaged.

We had the opportunity to regain faith in humanity, with nations contributing their scientific knowledge to elaborate a cure that, as a global problem, would be administered altruistically to get us all out of the rut. The reality was as expected, a shameful trade war between private companies financed with public funds, with contracts that exempted manufacturers from responsibility for possible consequences. The problem to be tackled was so complicated that they opted for the broad strokes, without taking into account the details, the particularities. The general population, lacking scientific and medical knowledge, could only rely on one of the two options (to vaccinate or not), with all that their decision entailed. Almost as a matter of faith or chance. With this I am not making any proclamation, but a subjective description of events that I do not know if other people are feeling identified. My experience is that of a person who has been vaccinated, who caught the covid, and who fortunately passed without any seriousness. What would have happened to me if I had not been vaccinated is something I will never know.

Let's get to what I wanted to get to. Denialism as a symptom of a social moment of uncertainty, of a state of anxiety with real motivations that needs to be calmed. Finding refuge by escaping from a truth that is not controlled. Denialists by system, because the same system feeds them with reasons and unreasons. In other times it could be embracing a religion. Perhaps we should start with an exercise in sincerity, which is that we are all scared. But not only because of the coronavirus. In fact, for many, this may be the "least" of our problems. The future does not inspire confidence because the present does not allow it.

The wild card of the maguffada cannot be used to attack any principle of doubt, because we would be destroying the necessary critical spirit that our society needs. On the other hand, we are hurting ourselves if we constantly doubt the evidence and the efforts of others. How many hours of sleep have health professionals and scientists lost in the last two years to question that the disease for which they give their lives does not exist? Frankly, I am surprised that no war deniers have yet emerged with the current conflict between Russia and Ukraine. The task of being critical is up to us, although it is something that society should encourage and whose responsibility is shared, but without a doubt, it is the fourth power, the press, that should take a leading role. We are living in times where most of the media are part of large media empires subjected to the interests of the government and large corporations. The figure of the journalist who, starting from a report, investigates the subject in order to extract elaborated, truthful, contrasted and independent information should not sound like a unicorn, but should be the norm, the minimum required. Many historical events may depend on the honesty of their work because they contribute to currents of thought that shape the world.

Albert Camus said "A free press can be good or bad, but without freedom, the press will never be anything but bad", and Ryszard Kapuscinski expanded by stating "To practice journalism, first of all, you have to be good human beings. Bad people cannot be good journalists. If you are a good person you can try to understand others, their intentions, their faith, their interests, their difficulties, their tragedies". More than ever we need a good and free press, if we aspire to have a good and free society.

About the Author

Javier Terrádez

Activista y creador de contenidos.

March 11, 2022 — Javier Terrádez

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