Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | News Flashes | Scoop Features | Scoop Video | Strange & Bizarre | Search

 


Do Iraqis Count?


Deciphering The Alternative With Grant Finch

Do Iraqis Count?

Do Iraqi’s count, do they matter? In fact the more I ask the question I wonder, does anyone actually matter?

Before you make the obvious retort ‘of course!’ let me define the question a little more Following the O J Simpson trial, and his subsequent acquittal, both the prosecution and defense attorneys were interviewed. The prosecution was upset, because they had seen the trial as a test case for the rights of battered woman, and read the acquittal as demeaning of abused woman’s rights. The defense were elated because a black man had been acquitted of the murder of a white woman and man, and they read it as a precedent for black justice.

I was shocked. Neither legal team mentioned, or even seemed aware, that they were supposedly trying a case where a man had been accused of the brutal murder of two people. Rather this case had been, for both sides, an opportunity to promote their political agenda on national television.

I’ve often thought of this as I have watched other stories play out in the media, and realise that many times the human drama, though very real, and often painful for the individuals concerned, is but a backdrop for a larger political agenda.

Ironic that in a time when individual rights are paramount, individual humans matter less. Which brings me back to my question, ‘do Iraqis count?’

In the last 5 years over 4,500,000 people have lost their lives in fighting in the Congo. How much have you heard about it? When did you last see television images of the conflict?

In the last 2 years over 4,000 street kids have been killed in Rio de Janero. (More than those killed on both sides in the current ‘Intifada’) Do you recall seeing the grieving mothers, the children’s mangled corpses?

What about those killed in the continuous warring on the west coast of Africa.? Chechnya? Sri Lanka?. Indonesia? The list goes on, all people, all dying.

In light of this it could be that Iraqis do count. After all, less than 1000 civilians were killed in the recent war, yet look how much air play it got.

(Do you ever wonder why it is that certain conflicts get better coverage? Are the hotels better for the journalists? Better climate? Are these conflicts ‘safer’?)

Cynicism aside, was the war in Iraq and the global reaction it sparked primarily concerned with the plight of individual men, woman and children who inhabit that nation?

Every day now we see images and hear stories of the brutality and terror which informed the daily lives of Iraqi citizens. We hear of thousands killed in previous attempts to oppose Saddam, and could easily conclude that the numbers killed in this war would be less than those killed had Saddam remained in power. But nothing is said of this and I wonder, ‘do Iraqis count’? Depending on who you listen to, the war was fought to control oil, strategically position the USA, eliminate weapons of mass destruction, or liberate the Iraqi people. On the other side the war was opposed because it was another anti Moslem crusade, it would kill thousands of civilians, Americas global legacy was abusive, or the UN, more tempered and compassionate, had been ignored.

All politics. Iraq is just the latest backdrop on which to play out our political persuasions. Both opposing views would consider that their core concern is the greatest good for the greatest number. (in spite of attempts by some to paint their own position as morally superior).

Which brings us back to the question of whether Iraqis, or in fact anyone actually matters, and though it may be heresy to admit it, I don’t think we do.

Our age could be defined as the age of the individual, because of our concern for people as separate from the group, yet sentient individuals increasingly matter less.

Perhaps this should come as no surprise, because to have ‘human rights’ is to group all human thoughts and actions together, ignoring the fact that we are all unique. Sure there are many ways in which we resemble one another, especially the smaller groups with which we connect, but within that there is still no-one who quite sees the world and acts out their part in it in the way you or I as individuals do.

It is easy in such politicised times as these, to be so caught up with the rights of individuals that we fail to consider the ‘one’ individual.

To think of the ‘one’ easily clouds political rhetoric, which relies on ‘big’ ideas. It is not an easy place to draw tidy conclusions from. .But if human individuals matter, if Iraqis do count, perhaps we have to reframe the debate and means, whereby we endeavor to value that ‘one’ individual.

Grant Finch 2003

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 

Werewolf: Living With Rio’s Olympic Ruins

Mariana Cavalcanti Critics of the Olympic project can point a discernible pattern in the delivery of Olympics-related urban interventions: the belated but rushed inaugurations of faulty and/or unfinished infrastructures... More>>

Live Blog On Now: Open Source//Open Society Conference

The second annual Open Source Open Society Conference is a 2 day event taking place on 22-23 August 2016 at Michael Fowler Centre in Wellington… Scoop is hosting a live blog summarising the key points of this exciting conference. More>>

ALSO:

Buildup:

Gordon Campbell: On The Politicising Of The War On Drugs In Sport

It hasn’t been much fun at all to see how “war on drugs in sport” has become a proxy version of the Cold War, fixated on Russia. This weekend’s banning of the Russian long jumper Darya Klishina took that fixation to fresh extremes. More>>

ALSO:

Binoy Kampmark: Kevin Rudd’s Failed UN Secretary General Bid

Few sights are sadder in international diplomacy than seeing an aging figure desperate for honours. In a desperate effort to net them, he scurries around, cultivating, prodding, wishing to be noted. Finally, such an honour is netted, in all likelihood just to shut that overly keen individual up. More>>

Open Source / Open Society: The Scoop Foundation - An Open Model For NZ Media

Access to accurate, relevant and timely information is a crucial aspect of an open and transparent society. However, in our digital society information is in a state of flux with every aspect of its creation, delivery and consumption undergoing profound redefinition... More>>

Keeping Out The Vote: Gordon Campbell On The US Elections

I’ll focus here on just two ways that dis-enfranchisement is currently occurring in the US: (a) by the rigging of the boundary lines for voter districts and (b) by demanding elaborate photo IDs before people are allowed to cast their vote. More>>

Ramzy Baroud: Being Black Palestinian - Solidarity As A Welcome Pathology

It should come as no surprise that the loudest international solidarity that accompanied the continued spate of the killing of Black Americans comes from Palestine; that books have already been written and published by Palestinians about the plight of their Black brethren. In fact, that solidarity is mutual. More>>

ALSO:


Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Top Scoops
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news