Steve Sachs Duke


Wednesday, June 30, 2004


The Eurocentric Left: Earlier this month, an email circulated around Oxford asking students to participate in a "World Rally Against Torture." The email was universal in scope, calling for "a day of popular rallies in every city of every country in the world," in order "to demonstrate our anger and to demand [that] all Nations respect the Geneva Convention." On the website, however, the examples of torture chosen (and translated into three languages) betrayed, shall we say, a certain bias:


After the tortures of the Inquisition during the Middle Ages, Nazi and Stalinist tortures, tortures in Algeria, and now in Afghanistan, Iraq, Guantanamo Bay… The time has come for everyone who believes in Human Dignity to take a stand!

Hmm... What could all of these things have in common? The skin color of the perpetrators, perhaps?

I've written before on the dangers of ignoring oppression when it fails to fit the typical racial/colonial narrative, but this takes the cake. Does any serious person really think that the worst cases of torture in the world right now are going on in Guantanamo Bay? (Or, given that the examples date back to the Middle Ages, that torture only became an issue in Iraq after Saddam fell?) If this really is a demand for protests "in every city of every country in the world," maybe the organizers ought to show a little more concern for those unfortunate enough to be tortured by people who aren't white.




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