The Home Office recently ruled that information extracted under torture could be considered legal provided it hasn’t been perpetrated by an Englishman. Its about as thought through as granting torture licences to anyone called Gary or not wearing a hat.
Convictions blind to the obvious. It is the fact of torture and not the nationality or shoe size of the torturer that is the problem. Such foolishness is bound to be the logic of a government long used to the doublethink that slavery itself is fine so long as it doesn’t actually occur on British soil.
The ‘abolition of slavery’, was the first step in bringing about something quite opposite, the preliminary phase in a sequence of ever more sophisticated spins on the problem of maximizing economic gain with a relatively clear conscience. And so the actual taking of people by force, charitably gives way to the second stage, taking their country instead.
Despite the deepening entrenchment of slavery that this involves we enabled ourselves to do it with two shining badges of merit.
1) we’ve graciously freed the slaves from their iron shackles.
2) we’ve generously gone to their old country and brought the folks there flush toilets, bicycles and God’s word.
The fact that we’ve simply traded in carting people away for ripping off their resources in situ is lost in the proud gesture of what we are so generously doing for the savages.
So part of ‘abolition’ was the tacit agreement that, at one and the same time, European nations could carve up the ancestral lands of the now ‘freemen’ like a bunch of drunks at a turkey dinner. How they must have laughed. Yet a Nation’s moral conscience has to be repressed in order to enjoy such a feast. It is bound to reappear as some kind of avenging harpie to castrate the overblown power, denying eros to those that would deal so blithely in thanatos.
Our Victorian grandparents fainted at the sight of a wellturned ankle at home whilst indulging the whim to rape,pillage and pig sticking abroad. The unconscious is always poetic in it’s afflictions. The phallic thrusting into the third world is bound to evoke it’s counterpoint in the psyche.
In today’s world we’ve moved on a bit from the initial symptoms of Organised Greed into the upland plains of that Vaguely Troubled Feeling which accompanies long term denial. The patient has become depressed.
The shape of the Western divided self has shifted from the punishing moratorium on sexuality to a broader embargo on enjoying life itself. We need the efforts of a multi billion pound service industry to help us ‘relax’. Putting your feet up has taken the place of getting your leg over in the collective imagination.
Poliakoff suggested that the emptiness of modern life can be traced back to Western collusion with the horrors of Nazi Germany, but of course the West had been treating peoples around the world as sub human scum for a long time prior to Auchwitz .
Less than a generation before Hitler, the British had overseen the concentration camp deaths of thousands of Afrikaans civilians. Not to mention the precedents for Ethnic Cleansing perpertrated quite unanimously amongst ‘developed’ nations against Aboriginal people around the globe.
These ghosts are bound to haunt the collective corridors of the modern psyche for as long as Stalin, Hitler and Mao are the only Bad Guys. It’s not personal. Its just that Democracy can’t work for as long as its underpined by Capitalism. You get a police state instead, despite everyone’s best intentions. Don’t you recall how punitive Monopoly used to get? Democracy wants to share. Capitalism does not.
And so, to the Aquisition of Power, nothing is sacred.
But you cannot demean the humanity of others without it rebounding upon yourself. We share in the fate of all people and for as long as there is even tacit subjugation of others then we ourselves begin to become unfree, even though we then gave them back their countries in a show of generous beneficence…
having set in place ‘aid packages,’ economic infrastructure to replace the political one.
This new infrastructure renders direct political control redundant. Corporations cream off the remaining wealth without the cumbersome expense of domestic affairs.
This makes our now free people, slaves in their own lands. Our immigration policy then throws an invisible wall around them no less vigorous in its intent than the pass laws in Apartheid South Africa. They have the freedom to speak in the same way that they have the freedom to starve. Say what you like just stay on your own side of the wire.
After a while the peasants get riled at all our selfless charity and missionary effort. When they start to die because of famines that are the direct result of Western economic policies and wars that are fuelled by foreign interests they get a tad narked.
Of course, because we have oppressed him for his own good we can’t understand this terrible lack of gratitude. Convinced by our own purity and innocence we respond by indulging in even further greed and violence on the grounds that we have now been forced to it.
I was having an FB conversation with a proud British ex-Pat about his father’s role in the suppression of the Mau Mau rebellion, making much of their fearsome, deadly pangas and how barbaric they were to use these great knives. He vanished from cyber-space when I pointed out that it was only because they were too impoverished to afford Apache helicopters to defend their ancestral land from the white version of Ghengis Kahn.
Wars waged on the poor can never actually be won by the Khans. The indignation of the peasant at having his acre of millet trampled by a power that wastes more than the peasant produces puts a resolve into his breast that the powerful other does not possess despite his superiority of strength. Then we make our biggest blunder. We call him a terrorist.
When I waged war on peasants for their own good, utterly conviced in the virtue of a quest that was no more than the further subjugation of an already oppressed people, we soldiers told ourselves endlessly about the inferiority of those we faced, the lack of training, the poor weapons, their inability to use them, the fact that some only had wooden cut out AK47’s. Didn’t they know they were going to die?
Western subjugation of sovereign lands and its systematic destruction of tribal integrity has given rise to people who are now happy to choose death over slavery. When life is rendered dishonourable beneath the yoke of another you develop a disdain for that life. There’s none so brave as those with nothing left to lose. For there are worse things than death.
And that is the unconscious, poetically afflicted, subliminal slavery that we white folks splash back on ourselves in the process of subjugating others on principle, as a matter of fiscal policy. The Enslaver, the Narcissist, who needs to demean and subjugate the person hood of the other, to pick their pocket in some way in order to keep his own buoyancy afloat, does so at his own expense and in kind, becoming a form of slave himself: a slave to the system, prone to addictive habits and patterns, forever caught up in trying to fill the hollow pit that is created inside when we take more than we need, when he’s restricted in what can be thought about, hog-tied by idealised convention…
all chained up in the hold of slave ship, ‘Other People’s Opinions’..
bound for the mystical far shores of Future Redemption.
at some point..
If he is good.