Monday, 28 January 2008

Profiteering Politics

At its best, political discourse and literature is a means of negotiating rights and duties, agreeing to co-exist with groups of people who may, otherwise, be difficult to live with. At its current worst, it's a cyclical commercial venture the currency for which is human sanctity: your family was wrecked by Saddam.. you carry a picture of your father who was executed under that son-of-the-devil's regime so you get elected into power, only to order the execution of someone else's father.. wreck someone else's family; you promise to stand up for the farmers oppressed by Robert Mugabe's government but instead you end up establishing 'diplomatic ties' with him - both are forms of politics, albeit selfish and exploitative.
Arab politicians are particularly skilled hypocrites when it comes to criticising imperial arrogance but following it with inevitable adulation of Uncle Sam et al.

What I find most odd is how adept we are at being selectively amnesic, forgetting whatever stands in the way of the ballooning of our income. Mishan Al-Juboori, Abdul-Bari Atwan, Mahmoud Abbas, Parviz Musharraf.. the list is endless. We send messages of condemnation and commiseration and co-operation only to pick the dust off the feet of our oppressors. In this day and age, mass murderers are awarded the Nobel Peace Prize and are somehow righteous peacekeepers in Darfur and Kosovo. How this makes sense is totally beyond me!
Look at International outrage at Kenya's murderous onslaught and the mass-punishment of Palestinians in Gaza. Isn't it sufficient evidence of how aware we are of human suffering, and how easily our sympathy is evoked? People should feel morally adequate if they spend the night biting their lips in solidarity with the plight of the world's underclass. However, and I say this rather forebodingly, if you feel you don’t fit the description above, it's clear you need to work on your sense of empathy. (If you don't detect the sarcasm, you'll also need to work on your sense of perception!)
The recent revelations regarding the credibility of the Lancet Report, published in late 2006, may appear as a bit of a blow to anti-war activists who flaunted the astronomical figures in the faces of those who said the war was 'worth it.'
So the tables are turned now, are they? Of course they're not.
The report was heavily criticised by Iraq The Model, ITM, for being misleading and politically motivated. A furore ensued their seemingly-automated response and I wrote a rather dense critique of ITM and the line of thought they followed, that which enhances individual exposure to maximises one’s personal gain on the expense of someone else’s tragedy. Considering the fact that I ought to be ruthlessly honest with myself, I should make it clear that I had certain political inclinations at the time, too. That was some time ago and I hope that I have personally developed and realised that there is nothing more valuable than the sanctity of a dignified human life, irrespective of the fluidly-worded political nonsense that we are obsessed with reading and sending to our friends who don’t share our oh-so-correct views - by all means, this very post could be what I'm talking about.
The authors of the report, estimating the death toll at 655,000 (September 2006), are said to have been funded by Bush-haters and anti-war conglomerates. In the opposing corner stand dozens of oil-thirsty magnates and the diabolical world-domination programme. In the midst of all the chaos millions are bereaved, displaced and mass-murdered. A lucky few get the opportunity to convey the tragedy of the voiceless victims of this war of vested interests. One writes in opposition of the war, in opposition of the continuing American presence, and another writes in favour of it, with each side slinging all sorts of accusations at the other camp. What we fail to notice is that we’re losing touch, slowly but steadily, with what matters and what should be made our unchallenged priority in writing about Iraq: Iraqis.
If I am to write for Iraq and Iraqis then I should write about exactly that, Irrespective of what I may think, agree with, disapprove of, have a liking to.. it all withers in the face of honest writing. However, if I am to write in order to be noticed by some journalistic scout then I shouldn’t worry about the ethicality of my opinions and the millions of people whom I’m assuming to have entrusted me with their voices. Self-proclaimed representatives of Iraqis are in abundance.. politicians, writers, scholars – it’s time we realised the implications of our selfish short-sightedness. I stand by what I said a couple of years ago; "I am not in a position to measure the 'iraqi-ness' of people and I believe no-one is; but when push comes to shove, someone has to make it clear that this sort of politically-driven advertising is a crime," be it myself, ITM, Konfused Kid, the Jarrar brothers or anyone else - it's vile as sin.
At the end of the day, we will all perish whilst Iraq stands strong.