Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Politkovskaya and hypocrisy


/ the plank in the eye /
Mark Ames in the eXile, considers the dearth of American "Politkovskayas" and the inability of the mainstream US press (and it isn't just a US phenomenon) to approximate anything remotely as brave as Politkovskaya's reporting. Extended excerpts:

"The West has used poor Anna Politkovskaya's corpse to do exactly what she fought against: whipping up national hatred, lying, and focusing on evils committed safely far away, rather than on the evils committed by your own country. The West has exploited her death with all of the crudity and cynicism of an Arab mob funeral...only at least the Arabs use their own people's corpses to demonize an enemy that actually kills them. Whereas in this case, the West stole another country's corpse, then paraded it at home in order to whip up hatred against the corpse's birthplace. It would be like the Palestinians slipping into Tel Aviv, grave-robbing Rabin's corpse after his murder, then parading it around Gaza City, ululating hate towards Israel for allowing the great peacemaker to get killed.

That's kind of how Russians reacted when they saw that the West crudely exploited Politkovskaya's murder. The West's crude reaction only increased Russia's crude counter-reaction.

If you ask me, what is most significant for us in the West about Anna Politkovskaya's death, and her courageous life (btw, a big 'fuck you' to our nationalist readers who don't agree with this), is not so much what it says about Russia -- it doesn't say much new at all, to be honest, but instead is another chapter in an increasingly depressing story that started under Yeltsin.

Rather, what is significant about her death is this: Why doesn't America have an Anna Politkovskaya? Why don't we have someone as courageous as she was to tell the story of how we razed Fallujah to the ground Grozny-style? How we bombed to smithereens and ethnically cleansed a city of 300,000 people in retaliation for the deaths of four American contractors? Where is the American Anna Politkovskaya who will tell us about how we directly killed roughly 200,000 Iraqis, and indirectly are responsible for about half a million Iraq deaths since our invasion? Why isn't there a single American willing to risk almost certain death, the way Politkovskaya did, in the pursuit of truth and humanity?..."


...The lesson of Anna Politkovskaya's fearless journalism was completely lost on the West. It's up to Russians to figure out the significance of her murder to their culture and their civilization. But in a West increasingly drowning in lies, war, murder and hatred, the last thing her death should give us is the opportunity to create another enemy, another nation to hate, another regime to be changed.

2 comments:

Renegade Eye said...

Really well made point.

Michael M. said...

There's a pretty intense discussion of this article going on over at crooked timber. It definitely seems to have struck a lot of nerves.