Monday, February 13, 2006

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.

6 comment(s):

  • Independent columnist Mark Steel wrote an extremely sarcastic piece some time ago, about the political response to Abu Ghraib et al which expressed surprised that 'professional soldiers' should do such things. Like, erm, you 'train' young men, most of whom have little education, to be a mindlessly obedient murderer, and then feign shock when such people engage in sadistic violence against their 'enemy'?


    The Muslim Anarchist

    By Blogger Julaybib, at 2/13/2006 07:34:00 AM  

  • Ranking outrages is absurd - they are all part of the same systematic demonization of Muslims. Be outraged at all as a whole - not pick and choose.

    It is also a misunderstanding that the present outrages (all of them) are somehow disconnected from each other. They are not. They only appear to be, because bloggers are not recognizing how outrages are related to each other. More understanding of the dynamics of outrage, and less judgementalism at the various outrages may help in coming to a better understanding.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2/13/2006 07:45:00 AM  

  • as a guest in my own house
    i am instructed by my better self
    to choose any seven parts of myself
    to be prepared as a meal

    i need my mind for thinking
    my fingers write and touch
    my arms do, my legs go
    the stomach will digest me
    i can't hold my breath for long
    and i do not like liver

    i tell myself this:
    cut out my heart.
    cut out my tongue.
    after the heart is gone
    i will not care what i do.
    but i do not want to taste it.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2/13/2006 08:33:00 AM  

  • Thanks for the article. Some links in it would be greatly appreciated.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2/13/2006 09:09:00 AM  

  • Could all of you anonymous people atleast come up with a pseudonym or something - otherwise you all appear to be just one big anonmyous blob.

    I think that attacks on cultural and religious values can be just as violent as physcial violence. The effects may not be felt right away, but the long term impacts can, and have been horrible. Just talk to the First Nation/Native American folks. So, by all means let us be outraged at the physical occupation, but also at the colonization of the mind, and distortion of religious symbols.

    Anonymous <--- that's me pseudonym - so don't use that one.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2/13/2006 03:16:00 PM  

  • hi

    i'd like to join ihsan, check out my blog and tell me if i'm worthy

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2/13/2006 08:47:00 PM  

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