Sunday, October 17, 2004

A released Jordanian's account

A Jordanian truck driver tells about being held hostage and being forced to witness a beheading. This post, like another one that I posted earlier, is hard reading. The details are graphic. I am not posting those details to my blog, but the links can be pretty disturbing, so be advised accordingly.

Here is a link to MEMRITV, The Middle East Research Institute TV Monitor Project. In this clip the man is being interviewed by a journalist. His words are translated in Arabic and English subtitles. There is nothing visually disturbing, but the account is graphic. MEMRI TV

The same interview was referenced by Fayrouze Hancock in her weblog fromDallas on Friday. She also didn't dwell on the graphic details of the article, but she ended with the most important part, his assesment that "There is no resistance. They are all criminals and thieves." Here is the link to the Daily Star story. The Daily Star is a Lebanese publication with an on-line edition in English.

There is something pornographic about focusing on the ugly details of human bahavior. But there is also something hypocritical about turning away when we as citizens are sponsoring a war. As sponsors, particularly of a preemptive war, we need to see conflict in more sanitary terms. It is okay to see the most graphic of blood and death on a screen as long as we know it is a production and the special effects and cinematography are top notch. But when we are forced to think about a real enemy we need to have the image short and easy to understand, unmitigated and demonstrably evil, worthy only of annihilation.

It is unsettling to imagine that there may be a food chain of terror, beginning with ordinary criminals who simply grab people, in the same way that thieves steal automobiles, to be sold on the aftermarket for profit. That seems to be the pattern suggested by the Farnaz Fassihi email I mentioned last week. The unsettling part is that dropping a bomb on a bunch of people, excusing collateral damage, no longer works because the innocents outnumber the guilty.

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