Saturday, April 01, 2006

Man's Inhumanity To Man

I listened to the repeat Desert Island Discs yesterday having missed it the first time round last Sunday. The subject was a very interesting man indeed, Ronald Searle, and whilst listening to him talk about his war experiences I could not but help wondering what his, and others who shared his experiences, thoughts of Guantanamo Bay are. The Guantanamo website tells us very little indeed, and even makes it seem a very benign place indeed; a very much different place than this tells us that it actually is. For someone like this who lived through the horror of the Japanese forced labour camps - I will not call them POW camps because they were not - for someone who recounts stories about waking in the morning and not knowing whether or not you were going to find your friend in the bed (metaphorically speaking) next to you dead or not, the whole situation of Guantanamo Bay must have a very personal, not to mention psychological impact.

The problem is that the further removed we become from the horrors that people like Searle went through, and the less and less of such people there are to remind us about such abuses of our fellow man, the more we slip back into the barbarism of such human rights abuses as are being fostered at Guantanamo Bay. What is happening in Guantanamo Bay is, in my opinion, equally as bad as anything that the Japanese did to their captives in the Second World War; prisoners here are treated as nothing more than lumps of meat; RoadRunner touched on this recently when blogging an
entirely different issue, where he discusses 'rendering', a term straight out of the abbatoir; I have to say it speaks for itself. The question has to be asked, how can we as civilsed (I use the term very loosely) human beings allow a nation like the United States, who purport to be the upholders of democracy, but who deny so many people even the most basic human rights, not to mention removing every shred of human dignity from them; how can we as thinking, caring people allow our fellow man/woman to be treated in such a barbaric fashion? How can we look the other way and pretend it is not happening, or even worse think that it is fine because we are fighting a 'war on terror'? I think that is the worst thing of all, to think that because of a particular situation it justifies our mis-treatment of our fellow man. Should we not stop, take a step back and ask ourselves why we are having to fight this 'war on terror'? Should we not try to address the issues that cause such dissidence in the first place? Because we think that we are right does not mean that we are, and that works for the terrorists also. Everyone draws attention to the religious fundamentalists/fanatics who are behind a lot of the problems; but everyone seems to ignore those political fundamentalists/fanatics who peddle their own agenda no matter how that affects other people. I happen to think that this latter group are far more dangerous because it is due to their blinkered, greed fueled actions that people become dissident, and subsequently a spawning ground for terrorists.

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