[Marxism] A sense of perspective reposted for Socialist Alliance - please forward

Gary MacLennan g.maclennan at qut.edu.au
Tue Jun 22 23:41:07 MDT 2004

Dear Lou,

Please excuse this but I am reposting an amended version of my piece on the 
atrocities in Saudi Arabia and Iraq.  I have had a request from the 
Socialist Alliance here for a version of it for publication, but 
unfortunately I lost the email.  Hopefully they will spot this.



A Sense of Perspective

Like everyone else on the left I was horrified by the beheading of the 
American Paul Marshall Johnson in Saudi Arabia and of the Korean Kim Sun-il 
in Iraq and their subsequent grisly manifestations on the web.

These acts have earned world condemnation and I have no problem with
that at all.    But the day following Johnson's murder this item turned up 
on the al-Jazeera English website.

"Many Iraqis killed in air raid on Falluja Twenty-two people have been 
killed and 20 injured in a US raid on a house in Falluja, according to 
medical sources and witnesses."

The USA fired two rockets into the houses and among the slaughtered were 
women and children. Al Jazzera went on to report that General Mark Kimmit 
said at a press conference

'...there was "significant intelligence" that members of Abu Mussab 
Zarqawi's network were in the house, but there was no evidence Zarqawi 
himself was there.'

The Americans have been well taught by their masters in the Israeli Defence 
Force -  the current experts on the torture and the massacring of Arabs.

I decided not to hold my breath waiting for world wide condemnation of what 
the Americas have done.  Wisely, as it turned out, because there has been 
none. Yet the bombing in Fallujah was beyond barbarism and is of course a 
war crime. Kimmit's subsequent remark that there were "multiple 
confirmations of actionable intelligence" serves only to obfuscate but not 
to excuse a crime.

We had the same scenario recently with an Iraqi wedding which was 
bombed.  There too there was supposedly "actionable intelligence" and this 
is expected to excuse the slaughter.  It is worth remembering in this 
context that the whole damned war started with "actionable intelligence" 
about WMD and Iraqi "links" to Al-Qaida.  That has since proven false. But 
the damage has been well and truly done.

When I hear the selective moral outrage in the Western Media I am reminded 
of this scene in Gilo Pontecorvo's film  Battle of Algiers where the 
captured NLF leader Ben M'Hidi replies to the question about the barbarism 
of putting bombs in baskets in restaurants.

[From Script]
Ben M'Hidi is standing in front of the journalists with handcuffs on his 
wrists and ankles. He is without a tie. He is smiling a little, his glance 
ironical. There are two paras behind him with machine guns ready. The 
picture is still for an instant; Ben M'Hidi's smile is steady, so too his 
eyes, his entire face. Flashes, clicking of cameras.

                                 1ST JOURNALIST
                 Mr. Ben M'Hidi ... Don't you think it is
                 a bit cowardly to use your women's baskets
                 and handbags to carry explosive devices
                 that kill so many innocent people?

Ben M'Hidi shrugs his shoulders in his usual manner and smiles a little.

                                 BEN M'HIDI
                 And doesn't it seem to you even more
                 cowardly to drop napalm bombs on unarmed
                 villages, so that there are a thousand
                 times more innocent victims? Of course,
                 if we had your airplanes it would be a lot
                 easier for us. Give us your bombers, and
                 you can have our baskets.

[Script excerpt concluded]

A brutal murder of one man in Saudi Arabia and another in Iraq draw world 
wide disapproval.  Brutal bombing raid after brutal bombing raid is 
ignored.  Such is the way of the West and the Free World. Such is the 
perspective of Pax Americana.



Dr Gary MacLennan
Film & Television Discipline
Creative Industries Faculty
Gardens Point Campus
Brisbane 4001

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