Thursday, February 17, 2005

"My beautiful brother"

Technocrats are people too. They are led by the system we live in to become what they are. Perhaps they should not make the choices they make. Perhaps by doing so they support a system that brings pain to many corners of our world.

But they are fathers, brothers, friends, human beings. It does not heal the pain they cause to forget that. Make people into meat, killable for whatever cause you feel compels you to killing, whether we are calling it Allah, democracy or just plain old greed this week, and you belittle all of us, dehumanise all of us.

America reaped the whirlwind on 9/11, I don't doubt it. The thrust of Ward Churchill's piece was that you cannot carry on hurting the world without its hurting you back. I can't argue with that. And he is equally right to suggest that those who died were "collateral damage", victims of circumstance but also of their own complicitness in the hurting. We justify the deaths of the citizens of Dresden, of Tokyo, of Hiroshima in precisely the same terms. And it goes without saying -- or you would think it does -- that the same is said of the people of Baghdad and Fallujah, in particular those occupying the "military targets" that we struck so precisely when shocking and awing the shit out of Iraq.

But two wrongs will never make a right. No amount of murder and destruction on the part of the American military will make the murder of American civilians right. We have to find another way. It's difficult -- of course it's a lot easier, when you feel disempowered, to lash out at soft targets, to kill those who can be killed and think that this is how you hurt those who hurt you -- but if there is to be justice, and justice that lasts, it cannot be bought in blood.


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