“Propaganda,” Abayaw declared, “is a very dangerous device calculated to change a public’s attitude towards a desired direction. It is a device used especially by an authoritarian system of government that wishes to control the economy and to crush opposition. You must learn to recognise it, Mog.”

“I suppose you shall tell us now what these propaganda tactics are, Yaw?”

“Yes, I will.” Abayaw picked up a book beside him and turned the pages to find the listing. “Applying emotion-arousing terms to one’s opponents…” he read, and then looked up. “There is an international magazine, one of many cogs in America’s propaganda machinery, which had this phrase on its cover: The rape of the Siberian forests by communists. What do the Americans think they’re doing with the trees in the Amazons and in Asia? Sleeping with the timber by consent?”

Dulmog laughed but Abayaw did not find that funny. “Let me enumerate the other propaganda tactics: using high-sounding words for favoured persons or causes; associating persons or causes with items liked or disliked; using prominent names as endorsers; portraying someone as being a man of the people; presenting distorted facts or figures or falsifying or omitting essential parts of the story; getting everybody to join the procession–You are either for us or against us; playing up to people’s fears; and blaming one’s troubles on a convenient scapegoat.”

He closed the book and laid it down. “Human emotions are so easily manipulated, and to this end, propaganda is very destructive. Be careful and consider the aims of those appealing to your emotions rather than to your intellect.”

“Basic Teachings of the Great Psychologists,” by SS Sargent and KR Stafford (New York, Doubleday, 1965).