What if it’s not the apple, but the tree that is rotten?Earlier this week I read the phrase "ranking my outrages" on the AngryArab Blog. It was in reference to the current protests over the infamous cartoons and how one’s anger over that issue needs to be ranked in terms of the many outrages that surround us in this miserably unjust world.
I agree with the writer of that Blog, and I too rank my outrage.
And at today’s news I am beyond rage.
I am speaking of the video of British soldiers at "work" in their ongoing occupation over the people of Iraq.
We can see soldiers beating young Iraqi men. The men are pleading for their lives. The soldiers continue to beat them. Other soldiers walk casually by. Some stop to watch.
But the most obscene and unbearable thing is the sound on the video. We can hear these men pleading for their lives, begging for mercy. We can hear that ugly sound the body makes when it is beaten. And we can hear the voices of other soldiers urging the beating on, taking sick pleasure in this scene of hell.
We are told the usual pack of lies. This is just one aberration. The ubiquitous "rotten apples" will be found and punished. The occupation is good for Iraqis. The soldiers are doing good work.
But those of us still in possession of our minds know that this is the language of occupation. This is what occupying armies do and always have done. This is what occupation looks like. This is what it has always looked like.
And this is why the occupation must end.
There is this scene in the movie, "Battle for Algiers", in which a French General is asked about the torture that his occupying army is responsible for. He responds that it is nothing but what is necessary to maintain the occupation. He says that if the people of France want to "keep" the colonies, then this is what must be done.
And so it is up to the people of the U.K. to look at this in the eye and decide whether this is what they want done in their name.
In the U.S., the horror of Abu Ghraib was easily covered away. Far more easily than one could have imagined it to be. The lullabies that soothe the stupid were unceasingly provided by the Bush administration. A few lower ranked soldiers were punished. And we are meant to believe that it is all over.
Until the next video.