And the beat goes on…

by Yule Heibel on May 9, 2004

David Leigh of The Guardian reported yesterday that UK forces taught torture methods:

The sexual humiliation of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison was not an invention of maverick guards, but part of a system of ill-treatment and degradation used by special forces soldiers that is now being disseminated among ordinary troops and contractors who do not know what they are doing, according to British military sources.

One shouldn’t be surprised, I suppose. But one does wonder how anything new can be thought in a world so completely scoped out and plotted in both extremes: mass extermination on the one hand and individual degradation on the other.

What would you prefer? The anonymous mass-produced death of an engineered holocaust? Or the close and personal scrutiny of torture with all the pain that attends the deconstruction of personality?

What, can’t decide? But you’re sure you couldn’t take the latter, you say? You would prefer the former? In that case, the bastards have you exactly where they want you: immobilised and anaesthetised, dead to the world already. When all your senses are numb, it will be easier to bundle you tight to the others, and then we’ll see who can beat whom the hardest.

{ 1 comment }

bmo May 10, 2004 at 9:12 am

For the life of me I’m trying to figure out why that symbol – the fasces – conveys absolutely no emotional or intellectual weight.

I get it. But I don’t get it. It’s interesting to know that the thing is the root of the word fascism, or the Italian branch office at least. But…without the context – or the text – the thing just looks like some sort of kitchen utensil, a tool for slicing apples and rolling dough. Actually, even with the context it is still meaningless.

Sorry to wander off topic like this…but more and more I am noticing that I am symbolically or graphically illiterate. That images are leaving me cold.

What does this have to do with torture? Well, I’m shocked by the fact that Donald Rumsfeld is shocked. Shaken. By the images he has seen. He said somewhere along the line that he wouldn’t have believed any of this – the torture and rape and murder in Iraq – if he hadn’t seen the pictures – video, snapshots, what have you. Admitting basically that he is immune to language and argument. Deaf but not blind.

To me these photos seem a very logical graphical extension of the language and tone of words and phrases like “Fighting Evildoers”, say.

Like looking at the close ups, the coroners photos of JFK on a slab. I’m cold. Whereas seeing the footage of the assassination or the shot of JFK Jr. saluting his father’s casket still hits me.

There was an image on Mike Golby’s blog once, of an Iraqi father carrying his daughter. Her foot had been blown off. It was a horrific image. I’m sure Rumsfeld never saw it. If he had?

Simplistic unadorned photos undermining simplistic unadorned thinking.

Is Rumsfled reading in these pictures the words he has used? Overhearing himself through image?

I’m ruminating here. Thanks for the room.

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