Wednesday, June 1, 2011

warning! warning! warning!

After a Main Street and television weekend engorged with the memories of war, there is a story out of Syria today about the corpse of a 13-year-old boy which clearly showed signs of brutal torture. The brutality has reignited the anger and despair of those seeking regime change in that country.

At every step of the web video displaying the corpse there are repeated warnings that the clip may not be suitable for all viewers. One step demands a sign-in together with a promise that the viewer is over 18.

Not suitable???

What could be more suitable and at what insensate age does the gorge fail to rise?

Instead of withholding such data, I think it should be mandatory viewing for anyone -- including school kids --  whose country goes to war with implicit or explicit tax-dollar support. Let mom and dad defend this horror to their upset children!

Instead of flags snapping gaily in the breeze and people speaking inanely of "heroism" and "sacrifice" and "patriotism," I think each should force himself to look and see what actually-factually happens. Don't play the hero card if you can't acknowledge an equally-intimate connection to the horror.

Why do TV war movies that paper over an utterly mundane outcome like the torture-death of a 13-year-old boy not come with a warning label ... "this movie contains material that may not be suitable for any sane and  informed person. You must be 18 at least in order to view this callous and uninformed approach to war." Why do we not learn to weep and puke at the very mention of victory?

OK, it's idealistic. I don't give a shit. It's the way I feel.

On this blog, in the sidebar to the left, I include a link to an interview done in 1939 with one Charles Monroe, a mail clerk and town philosopher from New Marlborough, Mass. And among his words are those that make me feel some small hope as regards the 13-year-old boys who are tortured to death in the name of some greater and inevitably more despicable vision ... some hope ... not a lot, but some:

I try to be a good citizen by performing certain public and personal duties which most of my friends would throw up their hands at if I suggested they perform along with me. In my opinion there's too much 'passing the buck' going on today. I don't like many of our laws - capital punishment, for instance - but since I'm a voter and a sustainer of our form of government, I of course automatically make myself as responsible as any other individual in the upholding of our laws.

As a sort of an 'accessory to the fact' I once forced myself to attend an execution down in Sing Sing prison where my brother-in-law holds a good job. It was an ugly business. One witness fainted and another vomited, and it was a big relief to get out of there. I felt like the executioner myself, as I was partly, for the fact that we do not press the button or cut the rope doesn't let any of us off.

But if I can't convince you that I was a killer in that instance, you'll have to grant that I'm a killer of pigs and cattle, for I've often helped farmers butcher their live stock. I've done this to satisfy my own conscience, for I'm a meat eater, and being a meat-eater, why shouldn't I assist with the dirty work? You smile!

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