[Marxism] A sense of perspective reposted for Socialist Alliance - please forward
g.maclennan at qut.edu.au
Tue Jun 22 23:41:07 MDT 2004
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.
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.
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.
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
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