Friday, September 30, 2005

Grey is just not a nice colour

3 years. And a ‘dishonourable discharge’. That’s all she’s got. 3 years. After that, she’ll be out. And a nation will rest assured that they’ve fulfilled their obligation to the protection of Human Rights. Well, maybe not the entire nation…, just it’s upholders of law.

Sometimes there’s so much anger that I tire myself just thinking about how to let it out. I do not want to start imagining how those closer home to the issue feel.

During the trial, Lynndie England apologized for the pictures, but blamed her then boyfriend and father of her son, Pvt. Charles Graner, calling him the ‘ringleader’, and saying she did it to ‘please him’, referring to photos of her holding a naked masked detainee by a dog leash, posing before a pyramid of naked detainees, and pointing to their genitals, cigarette dangling from her mouth. England’s defense maintained that ‘officers in charge at Abu Ghraib failed to control the guards, creating stressful conditions that disoriented England and led her to take part in the mistreatment’ . An expert defense witness also stated that England should be punished lightly because of the ‘poisonous environment’ that existed at Abu Ghraib. She was convicted of 6 charges, carrying a max sentence of 9years in jail. She got away with 3 . Graner along with some others, was convicted and sentenced to 10 years in prison last year. These are the soldiers. The officers, however received ‘administrative punishment’. Not one went to trial.

She’s part of the last batch of soldiers being tried for physical abuse at Abu Ghraib. Soon the chapter will close, the world will forget. Almost the world. For it will be seared forever in the memory of a nation that cannot forget. A nation that is bursting with outrage now. Outrage at the hypocracy, the double standards, and much worse, the utter helplessness. For them, it will be a never ending cycle of outrage, utter helplessness and cynicism.

This is it – the curse of our millenium - that we live in a world that is so unipolar that nobody, but one, counts anymore. Changing benchmarks, anbiguous criteria, we’re seeing it all. And there’s definitely much much more to come. Why maintain this farce of being a champion of Human Rights, though? So many Iraqis languish in Guantanamo Bay, on the basis of mere ‘suspicion’, and Lynndie England gets 3 years in a classic case of blatant hypocracy in the name of justice. Whatever it means to them.

It’s strange how I, not very long ago, safely ensconced in my home, far far removed from situations of these hues, could dispassionately pass harsh judgement on issues such as terrorism, religious fanatacism, even violence. Now, I don’t have an opinion. My eyes are slowly opening to the other side and its going to take me a while to figure out if there really is a difference between black and white. Or if they are in reality, merely different names for the same colour?