Saturday, December 26, 2015

Bureaucracy of Death and Shame



The victims of Assad's 'bureaucracy of death'. This is the truth buried under tons of gibberish and a myriad foolish pronouncement so it can be “safely” ignored: the systematic liquidation of thousands of political detainees in Assad’s prisons. This fact by itself should give us all pause. This fact by itself should rally us all behind efforts to end this war and bring the murderers to justice, for they are known. But our failure to be moved by it, to allow it to make us reconsider in the light of it our empty ideological stances, to put aside our differences and seek common grounds that can bring a measure of much needed relief and justice, is something that reveals a lot about the state of our battered sense of humanity at this stage. By asserting that some lives fail to matter still, not on the basis of any actions by the peoples involved but of some perceived interests and power balances, all lives fail to matter. We are nothing. Nothing.

Many months ago, faced with this realization, I fell silent. It was not a decision. Not a conscious one at least. But my words rang hollow to me, as hollow as the consciences of those who saw this crime unfolds in slow motion and chose to do nothing to stop it, or, to, at least, try. Some sought guarantees that no one could possibly offer that their intervention would be successful. Others tried to deny the nature of what was happening all together, asking us to belie our own eyes just they did theirs. And many were those who justified it all in the name of some alleged “principle” of theirs: resistance, anti-imperialism, anti-war, anti-everything including the rights of those who chose to rebel against tyranny and corruption, on the pretext that their rebellion could also serve the perceived interests of some external parties which these “principled” “many” happen to demonize. To the right of this lot, all the way from the center left to the far right, there few who justified nonintervention on the basis of realism, raison d’├ętat and realpolitik, or some similar shit. The end result was the same. It was allowed to happen. And I lost my voice. But then I had to regain it, if only for few more moments: to register an objection, and to call for something different. Silence in the face of crime is surrender, and sometimes, it is an enabler. I can bear the guilt of failure, but not that of surrender, not to mention enabling.