Shortly following my last article for BP I already had an idea for the next one which I thought would make for interesting reading, something very different from the gloomy subject of my first piece. However recent events surrounding the Iraqi occupancy have again opened bitter wounds for me and others, namely the Nick Berg incident amongst others and I feel a strong obligation to write about this subject once more.
Over the past few weeks a number of terrible photos have been released to the media showing US soldiers torturing, belittling and intimidating their Iraqi prisoners at Abu Grahib prison. The timing for this of course could not of been worse as the co-ilition finds itself losing more soldiers during the handover of the country than during the actual invasion. I think it is important to make the point that the action of these people does not reflect on the overall stance of Westerners towards the Arab people nor that of any democray in it’s simplicity, but those responsible for the torture are no better than the people we fought to remove from Iraq and should be punished equally for their crime, but they’ll probably just get thrown out of the army.
Shortly after the shock of these US photos being released a British newspaper (The Daily Mirror) released similar pictures of UK soldiers performing such acts upon their captives, namely parading them around naked, urinating on them and assaulting them with butt of their rifles. This of course caused mass contraversy back here in England and many were calling for a full withdrawl from Iraq as the mission of a peaceful handover had become unattainable. It later turned out that these pictures were staged and fake, the editor of that newspaper was duely shown the door. But it would appear that someone has purposefully tried to sabotage our mission in Iraq therefore putting thousands of co-ilition soldiers in grave danger. But why would someone want to do this?
We are only looking at this situation from a western point of view at this time, imagine what is like to see these pictures on TV if you are an Iraqi! Try to imagine a huge, technically advanced army bulldozing it’s way into your city, seemingly in peace and then seeing the contrary that has recently been revealed. You would no doubt feel terrible angst and hate for those people. Unfortunately I feel that Nick Berg is a direct consequence of these revealations. Now regardless of what you think of Nick Berg even being in Iraq or even worse why he stayed after being advised to leave no man deserves what he suffered. I feel relunctant to reveal this but having heard of this story I simply had to see it to believe it. I went on Kazaa and found it pretty quickly and watched. I wish I hadn’t.
I will not go into the gory details of what is one of the most disturbing things I have ever seen but I will tell you how I felt when I saw it, apart from being physically sick! I felt angst and I felt hate. I wanted to take retribution. Even though I have few connections to America apart from my BP buddies and I have never met nor heard of Nick Berg previously, I wanted to avenge him. I have only felt this way once before in my life, that was at the time of 9/11. In my place of work I have a very significant number of Asian colleagues, most from Pakistan whom I generally get on with very well but during the aftermath of 9/11 I felt very bitter towards.
Even though I knew deep down these guys are just normal people and had nothing to with it I still felt resentment and anger towards these people. Unfortunatley there even was a small minority whom I worked with who felt 9/11 was a good thing! I simply cannot comprehend that opinion. Going to work each day for many months had a horrible tension in the air that I wish not to relive. The reason I tell you of this experience is very important because having watched Nick Berg die and having repressed emotions resurface it reminded me of a story that came out in the UK shortly after 9/11, a story of someone who felt as I did but took it too far.
After 9/11, the UK (I am sure this was the case in the US also) there were a number of unprovoked revenge attacks on Asians in our communities. One person however that was caught up in this was a man who had no prior violent related convictions and had a family. A normal guy you might say. However having watched 9/11 on TV he felt the same as me, he felt overwhelming angst and hate towards the Asian community at large. Within a few days his rage had consumed him and he went out one night, indiscriminately targetted two young Asian men and beat them to death.
Naturally he was jailed for life, but he was asked why he did what he did, he was asked why did he target two people he knew had nothing to do with 9/11. Now I cannot quote this piece word for word but his response was something like the following : –
“I’m sorry for what I have done, as anyone who knows me will tell you, I am not a violent nor am I a racist. I knew these people had nothing to do with the 9/11 catastrophy but after I saw what happened, I wanted all of these people to die. I wanted to make the world a better place, and I thought it would be without these people in it”.
Now I know right now a lot of you who are reading this will think “What a load of bullshit!”. I am sorry to say, I do not agree with you. To be so bold I would even say he has a point. Now I am not saying all Asians should be killed, nor I that wish to kill any of them myself, and I am not saying what he did was right or the things he said were 100% accurate, but I do totally relate to this person’s emotions. When I watched 9/11 unfold as it happened and then watched Nick Berg die I felt exactly the same way he did, I would just never do what he did because that is wrong.
The point of this entire article is to try and open everyone’s eyes to the pain and the extreme anger that must be felt by those who live in Iraq, not just how we feel when we hear of another co-ilition soldier being shot, or unfortunately circumstances such as those that ended the life of Nick Berg. Everything that we think and feel regarding this occupation must be 10 fold for the men and women of Iraq.
I would just like to close this article with a brief note to the figureheads behind our occupation in Iraq. It is a good thing that we rid Iraq of Saddam Hussain, but we cannot force Democracy onto a country that has no concept of it. Democracy is a choice not a prerequisite to live in the modern world, and I feel that Bush and Blair are certainly not practicing what they preach with their actions in Iraq.
I hope that you have found this interesting as it is an important topic for everyone.
3 replies on “Enjoy The Silence 2”
this whole thing has me sick to my stomach… i just can’t believe how easily misled people are and now stupid and savage people can act.
wow, people are refusing to comment on this one like they’ll catch the plague. well I’m sorry about that Matt, i know how frustrating it can be.
first let me say that while I think i understand your motive behind writing about your feelings after 9/11 and the Nick Berg incident, you are going about it in the wrong way and your sentiments compassionate towards the iraqi people seem to be in direct conflict with your opinion of people from that area.
incidentily, i think you should go and change “asain” this is not the correct term at all, the middle east is not commonly refered to as asia and the people who live there are most definately not asain, they are middle eastern. just a terminology thing, but it seems so glaringly wrong i’m afraid it takes away credability from an otherwise good article.
i wish you had go more in depth into why people are afraid of what is different from them and why, during times of crisis, people tend to come together for common purposes. in todays society, built on old fashion ideas about the cast differences between races and some more obvious differences between cultures, the human mind will automatically lump people who look the same and share some cultural (some, not all, not even many) similarities with the wrong-doers. therefore is is psychologically understandable that people might have these initially reactions, especially living in a society liek America where there is an abundance of different races and cultures who are sectioned off and seperated out of fear and tradition (on both sides of the fence). It is very hard to overcome these feelings and i think your effort to do so is valient. I also think your arguement in the article is very misleading and confusing. I think you could have better explained and examined these feelings. you make some excellent points about human nature and modern society, but I fear that the average reader will not see this and that in the end you are (in many peoples minds, even if it is not what you intended) justifying this way of thinking.
otherwise, your comments about Nick Berg were fitting, however I wish you had discussed the politics of it a bit more like you did in your last article. but I am glad someone is not afraid to talk about it and share thier thoughts and feelings.
bravo for going to a place not many others on BP have chose to go!! well done!
ps. I forgot to mention, you should go more in depth with the prisoner thing at Abu Grahib. also, i find it funny that this whole situation has be taken so lightly by the public and that poeple claim to be “supportive of the troops” when it is those men and women who are being solely blamed for this atrocity. it is absurd that anyone should think these deplorable actions were not sanctioned, or at the very least, known by higher ranking officers. not to mention that Rumsfeld felt no need to change anything when he read the report, he didnt even feel the need to read the whole thing. that makes it plainly obvious to me that this is not something out of the norm for the army, so if the US is dead set on punishing people for this, why are they attacking the low-downs who have no power over the way the military behaves. scapegoating, that’s why. the rest of the world seems to see it, funny we cant.
also, while this is obviously so commonplace no one seems to be examining or even concerned with what goes on in our own prisons with prisoners who have “comited” drastically less serious crimes. out prisons are overcrowded, not working, and full of prisoner on prisoner abuse and gaurd on prisoner abuse that is virtually ignored and accepted. I was hoping an international incident like this would bring awareness, but it seems that people like to remain ignorant. i guess its easier that way. until thier son gets locked up on boguis possesion charges for a sentance to be carried out with hardened criminals who will probably rape and assualt him. and this is suppose to help him how?