War. What is it good for?
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Nationalism is our form of incest, is our idolatry, is our insanity. ‘Patriotism is its cult. - Erich FrommHad I been born into one of the oppressive, autocratic regimes that have dominated the Middle East for decades, it is feasible to suggest that my current right to an identity could be perceived as sacrificing some sort of national identity, that my current rights to Freedom of Speech could be perceived as a threat to some sort of tyrannical leader and his tyrannical followers. For an 18 year old female student living in Britain this notion seems unthinkable. Yet, up until quite recently the plight of thousands of civilians suffering in poverty has gone unquestioned. Imagine a life where to challenge the unbearable conditions of your existence would make you a dissident and thus put your life and the lives of those close to you in danger. The general idea is if government represents the values and morals of the nation then one individual act of rebellion is not just against the government but against the nation. And this is one way the ruling classes justify the brutalities inflicted on nations of people. There have been unmentionable atrocities carried out in the name of “national interest.” Innocent Libyan civilians are painting the walls with caricatures of the brutal autocrat Colonel Muammar Gaddafi. One such image was accompanied with the appropriate statement “I’ll either rule you or I’ll kill you.” I am lucky to have grown up in a world where a bit of satirical street art is not so unacceptable as to get me killed. Yet for Qais al-Halali, art cost him his life. Now alongside murder, unlawful imprisonment, torture, persecution and forced disappearances there are further allegations against Gaddafi and his soldiers of the calculated rape of hundreds of women as a weapon against rebel forces. After reading up about the Libyan crisis I was reminded constantly of the systematic attacks against the civilian population. I was reminded that the rebels are just civilians with guns, that NATO is bombing Tripoli to nothing, just to protect the civilians. The news is constantly flooded with images of young boys brandishing their guns in desolate locations supposedly leading the revolution. Yet the civilians appear faceless. Where are the women and the children that are living through this hell while sons, fathers, brothers are slaughtered and daughters and mothers raped?
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